As a longtime fan of Microsoft’s Xbox, it hasn’t exactly been easy to stay true to Microsoft. I had the best experience with the Xbox 360 from launch day 2005 until pretty much the end of the consoles reign. Microsoft had hit a stride that Sony just couldn’t catch up to with its PS3. Then E3 2013 hit, and Xbox took a metaphoric dump on all their fans. Announcing The Xbox One not only had to have an internet connection, but it absolutely required the Kinect hardware. They also added you wouldn’t be able to borrow or rent disc based games, and that digital rights management would lock each game to the buyer.
The next day Sony took the stage, and began gaining all of Microsoft’s ostracized fans. Sony announced that not only would its new system the PlayStation 4 be based on X86 architecture (a computer based architecture that’s easy to program for) but that disc based games would be able to play from any official game source. They laughed at the thought of having to be connected to the internet and said the system would work regardless of online capabilities. It didn’t take long for Microsoft to back pedal and change every policy they had just deemed permanent. The damage had been done. PlayStation 4 outsold Xbox One for two years straight and Sony had begun a journey towards total domination.
Fast forward to September 7th, 2016, we are now in what most people call the midlife of both consoles. Microsoft has already released Xbox One S, a new slim version capable of not only playing 4K Blu-Ray discs, but displaying 4K video with high dynamic range on compatible televisions. Sony then decides to debut a slim version of the current PlayStation 4, and a new more powerful version titled the PlayStation 4 Pro. Surely this device would have everything the Xbox One S has and more right?
Sony has decided to Overclock the processor a bit, and include a better GPU capable of 4K gaming, 4K streaming, and HDR to compatible Televisions. Where are the 4 K Blu-Ray players I was hoping for? It seems Sony missed that opportunity, while focusing on the gaming experience. Obviously gaming is the priority here, but that’s with any game console. For a company that helped pioneer Blu-Ray disc, it seems odd to not have 4K playback at launch. When you dominate the market for two years, what makes you say, “Hey maybe we should hold back”? The PlayStation 4 is beefed up only slightly, and that’s just for added power necessary for PlayStation VR when it arrives.
Microsoft is already working on its next Xbox currently titled project Scorpio. Many are saying it will be a modular design similar to a PC, and while it seems far fetched, it’s nice to see a company fighting back for the crown they once had. Sony did manage to throw their fans a bone, by upgrading every PlayStation unit from the launch models to the current units with HDR via a software update due this month. Maybe they’ll secretly allow 4 K Blu-Ray playbacks through a software update, but until then I’ll stick with the launch models I waited so patiently for.