The PlayStation 4 is considered by several measures to be beating the Xbox One in the current generation. From sheer sales to exclusive software, the PS4 is “winning” this generation’s console war. However, things might be shaping up to take a turn next generation, just as they did with the generation of the PS3 and Xbox 360. As such, Sony could learn a thing or two ahead of time from Microsoft if it wants to stay ahead of the curve.
Among what Sony can learn for the next generation from Microsoft is Microsoft’s Game Pass program. With three different plans, including a console plan for $9.99 a month, a PC plan for $4.99 a month, and a plan available on both that includes Xbox Live Gold for $44.99 for three months, Game Pass allows access to a huge variety of games, new and older. PlayStation 4’s PS Now isn’t exactly user-friendly, so Sony could stand to implement a system akin to GamePass with the release of the PlayStation 5.
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The PlayStation 5 also needs some form of backwards compatibility. As it stands, only select PS3 games are playable through PS Now on the PlayStation 4. There are a number of PS1 and PS2 titles available on the PlayStation Store, as well, though Microsoft has done a better job at implementing backwards compatibility. With the ability to play a long list of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, the Xbox One has a massive benefit over the PlayStation 4. And the Xbox Series X looks to continue with its backwards compatibility feature. If Sony wants to dominate the next generation, the PS5 needs some backwards compatibility.
There’s also the future necessity of cross-platform play. While Nintendo and Microsoft have generally been fairly open to cross-platform play, Sony was initially very strict. Lately Sony has been more open with cross-platform play, and hopefully this openness will continue into the next console generation.
It’s still unclear who will come out on top in the next generation. As it stands, Microsoft has many merits with the Xbox Series X, between backward compatibility, technology, and so forth. But Sony still has excellent consumer goodwill from PS4. If Sony can meet the trends and perhaps outrun Microsoft, then it is likely we’ll see its continued domination in the next console generation. If it does not, then we might see the turnaround that we saw in the previous console generation.
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