Who’s right? The answer is: neither. Two different approaches that have advantages and disadvantages.
Sony: upcoming exclusives only on PS5
Sony’s position is certainly clear and the advantages are undeniable. “We believe in generations, that it is the DualSense controller, that it is 3D audio, that it is the ways in which the SSD can be exploited … we think it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different that can only be enjoyed on PS5“said Ryan interviewed by GamesIndustry.
Not supporting PS4 through first-party games has a clear benefit: these games can fully enjoy the hardware features that only PS5 will have, such as those mentioned by Ryan. In doing so, however, Sony immediately makes PS4 obsolete, which has an installed base of over 110 million consoles.
A much more traditional approach: to have new games you need the new console, as it has been for a long time.
After the publication of Ryan’s interview, Microsoft’s response immediately came. And the fact that words similar to Ryan’s have been used, leaves no room for interpretation of timing.
“Xbox believes in generations“wrote Aaron Greenberg, general manager of Microsoft on Twitter.”Generations of games to play on the latest hardware benefiting from the innovations offered by more choice, more value and variety than any other console launch. All the games of our Studios will arrive on Game Pass and you can have the update to the next generation for free“.
Xbox believes in generations. Generations of games that play on latest HW taking advantage of next-gen innovation offering more choice, value & variety than any console launch ever. All our Studios titles launch into Game Pass & you get those next-gen game upgrades for free.
– Aaron Greenberg 🙅🏼♂️❎ (@aarongreenberg) May 29, 2020
Previously, Microsoft had made clear that Xbox Series X will not have dedicated exclusives for at least the first two years of commercial availability. Again, the benefit is clear: first think about the player, who can continue to play future Xbox Game Studios productions on Xbox One (including Obsidian, Rare and Turn 10); if he wishes, the user can switch to Xbox Series X to play an advanced version of those same games, bringing with him three generations of consoles (backwards compatibility also includes Xbox 360 and the original Xbox).
Despite not having sold as much as PlayStation 4, it has been estimated that Microsoft has distributed around 50 million Xbox One: certainly not a few. Then, Microsoft’s strategy is more focused on conveying the value of the monthly Game Pass subscription: it would have been anachronistic to block games on the new generation; it doesn’t work like that with other subscriptions (from cloud storage to video streaming) and so why should it have been like this for Xbox?
Of course, this approach means that Xbox Game Studios developers will also have to keep in mind Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X when they make new games. This could limit the vastness of the games because it is necessary that they are also playable on hardware that is up to 7 years old, does not have an SSD and does not integrate a 12 TeraFlops graphics card.
Those of Sony and Microsoft are two opposite strategies justified by two very different positions on the market. With the new studies acquired, Microsoft is preparing an army of games lined up among the Game Pass rows and ready to be played on any console of the last 7 years. Sony, on the other hand, wants to let the hardware talk and therefore needs weight exclusives that can represent the maximum PS5.
Posterity will judge.