by Jason Messer
As Ricky Bobby would say…”If ya’ ain’t first, you’re last!”
People have accused me of being a shameless Sony fanboy. The vitriol I’ve exposed for Microsoft and the Xbox brand (specifically regarding their recent next-gen endeavors) has been well documented on the site for the last year now. As a result, I’ve been labeled a shill for Sony. It’s clear my apparent lack of journalistic integrity or an objective opinion is the reason behind me being THIS down on our little green and black friend (obviously because I have a hidden agenda against it). Alas, my motivations I’ve worked so diligently to keep secret have finally been lay bare for all the world to see. My true colors have been revealed, as it turns out I truly do bleed pure PlayStation blue. All hail to the Sony motherland!
News flash…that’s all bullshit.
If you couldn’t tell, I had the sarcasm meter dialed up to about 10 there for a reason. I’m trying to illustrate how utterly ridiculous it sounds when zealots of either side attempt to strength their argument by cutting the legs out from under the opposing side’s position (based on conjecture and not facts). I can literally scream that I’m a lover of Xbox from the mountain tops until I’m three shades of purple, yet some simply don’t care to hear it. The fact of the matter is, anything folks like me say which might be disparaging towards one company or another (be it Microsoft, Sony or our little after-thought that his Nintendo) is going to get someone’s feathers ruffled in a way that usually requires copious amounts of keyboard banging to relieve their stress and anxiety. Personally, I think real introspection is a key way to grow in the positive. Only after those long, hard looks in the mirror do we truly see ourselves for what we are (and in some cases what we aren’t). I don’t know about you, but as an Xbox fan, I’m TIRED of feeling second rate. But that’s exactly what we are. As it stands today (and apparently for the foreseeable future) we live to be #2. Very much Pepsi to Sony’s Coke (or vice versa depending on your preference).
And it’s not like this has exactly been a respectable neck and neck race either.
I’d be willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their year one roll-out, if Sony were having the same troubles. Problem is, they’re not. PlayStation 4 has consistently kicked their ass for almost a year. In fact, if you were to look at the last nine months as a boxing match, there isn’t a single freakin’ round the judges would have awarded to Microsoft by decision. Not one. How is that possible! The Xbox 360 was the most dominant (not to mention revolutionary) piece of gaming hardware to come out of the last-gen, yet now the One’s killer instinct has seemingly vanished along with the other 359 characters in its name. Oh you say you don’t agree? Can you already feel your fanboy ire beginning to rise irrationality? Well you might want to take a step back and breathe before you go full Hulk, because this decree doesn’t come just from me alone. The head of Xbox himself Phil Spencer recently echoed these sentiments in an interview earlier this month. “I own a PS4, and it’s not like I want it to get dusty or not have games. But I do want to sell a lot of Xbox Ones, and for many people that’s a direct competition with the PS4. As the Xbox team, we are the underdog.” Spencer states.
It’s gut-check time for the Xbox, and more importantly, the gamers who support it. I think we’ve been allowing the cheerleaders to guide us down the primrose path for far too long. We’ve become complacent as the runner-up in the gaming world, instead of keeping that driving hunger in our bellies. Frankly, those on our team insistent on banging the drum of awesomeness are doing nothing but blinding us to the truth (and should have no place in our locker room). The recent price drop over the summer is surely going to move the revenue needle a bit during the upcoming holiday season (as we’ve already seen some upward momentum in that regard) but I’m not sure it’s enough. A rumor leaked this week suggesting the updated Xbox One numbers are hovering around the five million mark sold. However, this blurb was mysteriously walked back by Microsoft and later pulled down (leaving us wondering if this is truly the case). It’s possible this was reactionary to Sony recently touting they’ve already hit double that figure, once again highlighting the glaring divide that remains between the two systems.
I want the Xbox to succeed, but how much longer do we need to wait? The more Microsoft drags their feet, the less likely it seems they’ll ever pull their struggling tech out of its initial nose dive. I ask you, where is their PlayStation Now, PlayStation TV or Morpheus counterparts? Where is any innovation for that matter? Why does NOTHING interesting seem primed and ready on the Xbox front, unlike what we’ve seen from them in the past? Where’s the sun peaking over the horizon?
I’m desperately trying to keep the faith, but so far 2015 looks like more of the same. If not careful, it could result in just another nail driven deeper into the coffin.