Sony revealed most of its hand yesterday during a presentation with PS5 game announcements and the console design. Now analysts are weighing in.
Rupantar Guha, a Senior Analyst at GlobalData, says that the key to next-gen success for Sony and Microsoft will be platform-exclusive titles, subscriptions, and cloud gaming. He adds:
Sony’s main strength is its extensive games portfolio, which features a mix of first- and third-party titles. Its main rival, Microsoft, has some exclusive titles, including Halo, but the PlayStation 5 will maintain Sony’s advantage thanks to titles such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Gran Turismo 7, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Sony promises backward compatibility of PS4 and older consoles games on the PS5. With no equivalent to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery (that offers the latest versions of older games on new devices), it is reportedly integrating its PS Now cloud gaming service with the PS5. This should help Sony overcome technical and cost-related challenges related to the compatibility of old PS games, but the company will have to address the latency issues facing PS Now. Failure to do so will cause it to lose market share to Microsoft, which is planning to integrate the xCloud cloud gaming service with its Xbox Series X consoles.
Another key area of focus for both Sony and Microsoft will be subscriptions, as the industry transitions to an as-a-service model. Microsoft plans to bring the Xbox Game Pass service (which currently boasts 10 million users) to the Xbox Series X, but Sony also has an advantage here. Its PlayStation Plus service has 42 million users and could be integrated with the PS5, especially its digital variant, although the company has yet to officially announce such a move.
With limited hardware differentiation between the two systems, the points that Guha makes all strike me as critical to the success of both platforms. The other critical piece of the puzzle – the price – we do not know yet. That may bring some clarity. But assuming the price is comparable for both systems, these other factors will probably make a big difference.