E3 2016: While Xbox Invites You To Convert To PC, PlayStation Is Trying To Stop You

Sony's E3 Press Conference this year was dense with game announcements. Game reveals came one after another in quick succession; it felt like rapid fire. By the end of the presentation it became clear that Sony's strong first-party library is unlike any other.

This format showed a stark contrast from the Microsoft E3 Press Conference which was delivered just five hours prior. Microsoft emphasized its new Xbox: Play Anywhere program, which will provide both an Xbox and PC version of its upcoming games at base MSRP. This program arrived alongside the revelation that Xbox exclusives are a thing of the past. Going forward every first-party Xbox game will be a multi-platform release.

As a PC gamer I found myself conflicted after watching both press conferences. Sony's exclusives looked extremely appetizing, especially in the case of Horizon: Zero Dawn and Days Gone. But, if I desire to play any of its games, I will have to turn on my three-year old PS4 and lose the benefits of my high-end custom-build PC. That means jumping down from 1440p to 1080p, usually losing 60 FPS, and having no access to keyboard and mouse.

In this regard, Microsoft is offering something of tremendous value: choice. The future of Xbox is about allowing you to choose which platform is right for you. Do you prefer having static hardware that you can count on? Then you have the option of the more affordable Xbox One S or the almighty Project Scorpio. If at any point you feel that you would rather enjoy the luxuries of PC gaming, then as long as you purchase Windows 10 you'll be good to go.

Sony is fully aware of the potential threat of PC gaming conversion, which is already claiming thousands of gamers following the leaks of Project Scorpio and PlayStation Neo. Speaking on the upcoming but yet-to-be-shown PlayStation 4 Neo with The Guardian, PlayStation Group CEO Andrew House shared the company's intention to limit console exodus as much as possible.

 

We’ve traditionally seen that some of the core audience tends to gravitate back to high-end PCs at some point because these are the people who want the finest graphical performance, so here’s a great opportunity to have them stay within our ecosystem.

Sony's strategy is much different than Microsoft's, and for good reason. Thanks to Microsoft's presence in the PC market, particularly in this case with Windows 10, it financially benefits from consumers entering said market. This has allowed it to diversify its portfolio and offer consumer choice.

It's a strategy that could become pivotal in a future world where consoles become increasingly more homogenous with PCs. For the past decade they have transitioned from being in a league of their own, to being heavily derived from the PC climate they compete for market share against. With the introduction of Project Scorpio and PlayStation Neo, one of the console market's greatest points of competitiveness will be lost; consumers will be expected to make mid-generation hardware upgrades if they don't want to fall behind the technology curve.

In this future world dominated by PC hardware, Microsoft will have an upper hand by having already having allocated resources into bridging its console and PC ecosystems. Meanwhile, Sony will be dependent, more than ever, on its software exclusivity.

In that regard, Sony is ready to handle the pressure. This E3 is showcased a wide breadth of exclusives, including God of War, Gran Turismo Sport, Spider-Man, The Last Guardian, Persona 5, Detroit: Become Human, Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, and many others titles. Of the three console manufacturers left standing, it is the best equipped to carry the heritage of consoles forward. That doesn't mean it won't be difficult, though.