War… War never changes. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One S might not constitute a new generation of consoles, but their staggered releases have stirred up a fresh battle in the never-ending console wars. Of course, in comments sections and in the hearts of fanboys around the world, the console war is always being waged in full force. Between Sony, Microsoft and their respective social media mouthpieces, things have been relatively civil. That’s all changed.
With the recent unveiling of Sony’s PS4 Pro, previously known as “Neo,” Microsoft has initiated a full-on offense. When the fact was released that Sony’s upgraded PS4 wouldn’t contain a 4K Blu-Ray drive, Microsoft was quick to point out that the Xbox One S was ready and waiting for anyone with a 4K Blu-Ray collection (all 13 of you out there) needing a home media solution.
Then Bethesda showed up to the party and bummed everyone out. As it turns out, Sony wasn’t willing to approve the user mods program for Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition . Xbox One Players, on the other hand, had been enjoying Fallout 4 mods since May – a fact that Xbox Live’s Larry Hryb was keen to point out on social media. Without missing a beat, the Xbox UK Twitter account updated the Xbox One S list of features to include mods as well as 4K Blu-Ray.
Well damn! It looks like someone is getting a little defensive! I have to wonder what Xbox boss Phil Spencer would have to say if confronted with these tweets and images. If you don’t remember, Spencer went on record last September stating that the whole console-versus-console mentality was beginning to disturb him. He said, “…the one thing that I probably find a little distasteful in the discourse around games is the divisiveness that people try to build between platforms. It becomes more about what piece of plastic I own than what games I’m playing. It becomes more about somebody else failing than the things I love succeeding. I don’t think that’s a good place for our industry.”
Not that I’m implying that Spencer himself was sitting behind a laptop posting these catty tweets, but it is pretty ironic. I can’t say I blame them – it’s always the cornered and vulnerable beast that lashes out most aggressively. Sony’s console has always had a pretty considerable power advantage over the Xbox One, and now that the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro specs have been finalized, it’s clear that the PS4 Pro will still be the go-to for anyone looking for the highest resolution and most consistent frame rate. PlayStation VR is a whole different ball game.
Of course, Microsoft is counting on turning the tables with Project Scorpio. “I feel pretty good about the decisions we’ve made,” says Albert Penello, senior director of product management at Xbox. Penello hopes that with the PS4 Pro, developers will get an early start working out a roadmap for 4K that will benefit Project Scorpio in the end. When that time comes, he thinks that Scorpio’s power advantage will be significant. “The performance delta will be obvious,” he says.
Microsoft seems to be pretty confident about the road ahead, doesn’t it? Considering that the PS4 has been outselling the Xbox One twice over for years now, things could get ugly now that Microsoft is projected to have the edge on power for the first time since 2013. Of course, we’re already hearing rumors that a PS5 could be in store for 2018.
We’ve begun our descent. The struggle for power, dominance, and public favor has kicked off, but we still don’t know how Sony will respond. I think for now it’s content to let the PlayStation’s market dominance speak for itself. When it’s the PS4 Pro and Scorpio in the ring, we’re going to see some serious fireworks. Which side are you on?