Let’s take a trip to the past and look at how consoles sold themselves in the days of the SNES and the Genesis. Sure, there was a little bit of tech beating, what with the SNES’s proud Mode 7 graphics and the Genesis’s completely made-up Blast Processing claim, but mostly, these consoles sold themselves on exclusive games. Did you want to play Mario, or did you want to play Sonic? What games were you going to get to play on one console that you simply couldn’t with the other?
These days, things are a bit different. The most hyped titles of next generation such as Watch_Dogs and Call of Duty will be coming out for both consoles. Heck, Sony and Microsoft are barely selling themselves on games at all, instead relying on social media and TV interactivity to sell their new machines. But when it comes to specs, the two consoles are almost virtually identical, and with Sony now announcing Twitch.TV capability, even its streaming and social-media services are carbon copies of each other. So let’s look at the consoles the way we used to and consider their console-exclusive titles as their main selling points.
As far as AAA titles go, the Xbox One has the PS4 beaten hands down. This isn’t said out of fandom or console loyalty; it’s said out of sheer numbers. The Xbox One will have games such as Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, and the teased but not yet developed Halo 5 leading its charge in the AAA market. But then it has a whole bunch of backup, almost-indie triple-A titles that will be coming out on Xbox Live, such as Crimson Dragon and Killer Instinct, two titles that revive some of our most beloved franchises of the past. Then there are the new IPs that the console is experimenting with, such as Quantum Break, Project Spark, Ryse, and Sunset Overdrive. Heck, it even has the cult-classic market satisfied with its upcoming release of D4.
The PlayStation 4 is, unfortunately, not quite as powerful as the Xbox in terms of AAA releases. It has Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, inFamous: Second Son, and that’s pretty much it. It has a few new IPs in Drive Club and The Order: 1886, but once again, this list gets cut off pretty quick. The PS4 also doesn’t have as big of a genre spread as the Xbox One does. Most of its exclusive titles are action games, with one lone driving title. The Xbox One has a fighter, a space shooter, a creation platform, a weird Jet Set Radio-style skating/multiplayer game, an episodic TV-style cinematic game, a horror title, and a bunch of action titles on top of that.
However, the PS4 does outshine the Xbox One in terms of indie titles. In fact, the Xbox One has barely announced any indie titles at all. Meanwhile, the PS4 is getting titles such as Contrast, Transistor (the spiritual sequel to Bastion), Resogun, Mercenary Kings, and more. It also has a bunch of interesting titles that it will have connectivity with the PS Vita for, such as Murasaki Baby by Ovosonico. Those are just the big-name exclusives. You can add titles such as Hotline Miami 2, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Volume, Wasteland Kings, and Rogue Legacy to that list as well! Of course, including titles that already released on the PS as PS4 exclusives is kind of cheating.
So which console has the games? Well, if we are going directly by numbers and exposure, we would probably have to go with the Xbox One. Of course, this means very little when you consider you actually have to be interested in the game for it to matter. Maybe there are some people out there who are really into cutsey action games like Knack and could care less about Titanfall. Still, the fact that so many people consider the PlayStation 4 to be “winning” the launch race when it probably has fewer AAA exclusive titles to offer than the Xbox One just goes to show you that console exclusives don’t sell consoles anymore.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Senior Contributing Writer