BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY! We thought we’d never see it happen and according to Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, he didn’t think they would manage it. But they tried anyway and now have delivered an excellent strike, a sucker punch against Sony, to continue their ascendency in “The Console War”. Now Sony is still ahead by quite a distance in terms of console numbers but they are no longer looking as strong and up for the fight as they did a year ago. The strategy seems to be “Hang on and the games will come eventually” Enough about that for now.
Xbox’s backwards compatibility is a genius trick, running what is essentially an emulator app on the Xbox One allowing people to play 360 games yet again just like the good old days (If 3rd Parties agree to take part) pop in your disk, download the game online and there you go, an old game playing in all its old glory. By comparison Sony’s PSNOW streaming service is looking a little stupid right now, basically an online version of Blockbuster with sky high prices where you can pay to stream a game for the day, a weekend or a week etc. I’m not part of the Beta that’s ongoing but I know people who are and I’ve seen screenshots online of the pricing etc. It’s not looking good at the moment so I wanted to put forward my thoughts on how Sony can do better with this service.
Easiest of all is changing from a model that we know doesn’t work anymore, i.e. Blockbusters renting system, and move on to one that seems to be working fantastically which is the subscription model used by the likes of Netflix. Set a monthly price and say you can have access to a total of 10 games per calendar month. Or something similar with a tiered system, the more games you want access to at one time then the more it costs a month, and make it changeable once each month penalty free.
Then the second change to make is obvious, Xbox One is limited to 360 with its backwards compatibility, PlayStation could put all the games ever made for the system available via this streaming service. Think of all those PS1 classics, like Spyro, Ape Escape, Metal Gear and Crash Bandicoot, or PS2 games like Jak and Daxter, Conflict: Desert Storm and thousands upon thousands of others on top of the PS3 games that are due to be available. That could be game changing in this particular battle but they have to act and quickly.
In the meantime however, while I wait for that to happen, Microsoft deserves a huge round of applause for pulling this rabbit out of the hat they really do. I am hugely impressed by this and it definitely looks like 2015 is going to be Microsoft’s year.
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