Right now, gamers everywhere are waving their consoles around trying to suggest that they are winning the console war. PS4 users in particular are sitting pretty saying, “look we have a couple more million sales than the Xbox One, so we win, nyah!” Of course, early on in the console wars, Xbox One users were saying the same thing.
All of this changed when the PS4 launched in Europe of course, giving it yet another venue for sales. Of course, Sony saw its sales get a huge boost and all PS4 fans were happy. Of course, this is going to happen again because the Xbox One isn’t yet out in Japan. Once it does launch there, Microsoft will see a big boost in sales and, guess what, both consoles will end up about even again.
But even so, it’s really not sales that determine whether or not a console wins the console wars… or at least not year one sales. A very good question to ask is, “who won last generation’s console war?” If you said, “the Nintendo Wii” then you would be correct, in terms of sales. However, it’s a very common opinion that the Wii was home to gimmicks and shovelware more than it was home to astounding gameplay experiences. Many fans say, “the Wii doesn’t count!” But if that’s the case, can we honestly say that sales count?
Here’s another way to look at the console war: which consoles kept your interest the longest? If you think of it this way, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 easily outperform the Wii. Nintendo gave up on the Wii several years early for the Wii U to take its place. Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 is only starting to slow down now, and tons of games are still coming out for the PS3, including the much awaited Persona 5. Of course, then we would say the PS3 won the console war, as there are far more PS3 games planned for the future than Xbox 360 games. Most people wouldn’t agree with that because, well, the Xbox 360 beat the PS3 in sales, and now we are going in circles.
Many people will say that the console war is won by features. These are the people who love to drool over resolution gate stories, loving that you can squeeze just a little bit more resolution out of the PS4 than the Xbox One, even though it’s nearly impossible to detect until someone spills the beans. The fact that the PS4 also supports 4K ultra HD is also a feather in the cap of early PS4 adopters. However, we then have to consider that the PS3 technically had more features than the Xbox 360, including higher resolution, the ability to run Linux and more. Heck, it even let you play online for free! In fact, the one console that had the least features was the Wii, which beat everyone in sales… oh goddammit!
The fact is, there is no clear winner to the console wars. The Wii sold the best, the Xbox 360 was the most popular, and the PS3 had the most features and looks like it’s going to last the longest. So now, not even a year into the next-generation of consoles, the thought that sales alone will determine the “winner” is kind of laughable, especially since we can’t decide on a winner of last generation’s console war. In a sense, this whole concept of “console war” is kind of stupid. Figuring out what console is “the best” is arbitrary and subjective. The only objective way we have to figure this out is sales and… there we are full circle again. However, we won’t know who “won” the console war until this generation ends and since, arguably, last generation hasn’t even ended yet, we still have a long ways to go.
Former Contributing Writer