E3 2016: Console War Hypocrisy


spencer-scorpioE3 2016 is coming to a close today, and this year has had some really hilarious developments in the console war between Sony and Microsoft.

One of the biggest announcements of E3 this year was Microsoft confirming that they are working on a new Xbox One with a 6 TFLOP GPU codenamed Project Scorpio. Sony is also working on a new PlayStation 4 with a 4.2 TFLOP GPU and that’s codenamed Neo. The new PlayStation is expected to be out either later this year (October) or very early next year (March at the latest). Sony chose to not show Neo at E3, but yesterday they began trying to downplay the power of Scorpio by deflecting the narrative away from hardware to games.

This is absolutely hilarious as for the last few years all anyone would hear about the PlayStation 4 was how much more powerful it was over the Xbox One. But now that Sony is facing a similar hardware power gap that Microsoft did in 2013, they want to spin and deflect what people are talking about in regards to the system.

Even more hilarious is this comment from Sony that came out today in the Guardian, where they attacked Microsoft for announcing Scorpio so early:

“I was surprised by the step of announcing something over a year ahead of time,” he said. “The dynamics of the tech industry are such that there’s a much heavier emphasis on immediate gratification than there was. A lot of that is to do with how Apple has very cleverly and elegantly managed the ‘available now’ approach. So yes, that was a slight surprise to me. We experienced this ourselves, when, in 2013, very much in line with our previous strategies, we announced a concept and a name for PlayStation 4, and everyone said ‘where’s the box? How dare you?!’ That was the point we realised, well, we hadn’t changed but the world around us had.”

What’s so funny about this statement is that most of the games Sony filled their E3 press conference with are 2017, 2018, and maybe even 2019 releases. God of War, Days Gone, Spider-Man, and Detroit won’t be seen until next fall at the earliest. And Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is definitely not something we’re going to be playing until 2018, although 2019 is even more likely for that one with how early things are.

“But revealing games early is different than hardware!”

Absolutely not true. Just ask UbiSoft about revealing a game too early. They, more than any other publisher, have been seriously attacked for “downgrading” their games after the initial reveal. That’s because when they showed the games early they were running on very high-spec PCs, and the final console game looked very different. That’s why at E3 2016, every single reveal UbiSoft did during their conference was something that was actually playable now and would be out by early 2017. UbiSoft was following the “rule” Sony was illustrating above, when Sony themselves weren’t.

This sort of hypocrisy with the console war isn’t new at all. It’s been happening ever since there were two (or more) competing systems on the market. It’s basically just PR spin, but we haven’t seen it to this level in quite a while and it’s pretty funny how the tables flipped at E3 2016 between the hardware power of Microsoft and Sony’s consoles.

The only question with these two more powerful systems on the way is where it leaves Nintendo with their NX next March…