If Microsoft Entered The Console Business To Stop Sony, They Failed

Just a couple days ago a former Microsoft Employee had an interview with IGN. You can read all about it here.

This former employee, Joachim Kempin, expressed that Microsoft’s sole purpose for entering the console business was to diminish Sony’s presence in the living room and to enhance consumer’s wants for a more Microsoft-branded household.

They failed.

Sony entered the gaming industry not only to complete a project they set out to see finished but because they loved games. They saw the industry as a big money maker, of course, but you can tell that their dedication to the gamer is just as big as Nintendo’s, the only pure gaming business in the “console wars”.

Since the PS1 Sony has been trying to give gamers the best experience through software. While Nintendo achieves this through their hardware and accessories, Sony has always been about the games. So what is Microsoft about? Marketing, experimentation, and money.

This is much more evident with the Xbox 360 than it was with the original Xbox. Since its inception, the 360 has evolved into an amazing marketing tool for companies. You have millions and millions of people that own a 360 and each them are able to see dozens of ads on the operating system. Look at the Kinect, as well. The Kinect was supposed to be this revolutionary way to control games and it was supposed to be featured in nearly every genre. Well, you can tell that while Microsoft still rams the thing down our throats every E3, the amount of games coming out for the Kinect and any kind of real effort has tapered off. Then you can bring up the $99 2-year Xbox Live subscription Xbox 360.

Everything Microsoft has done with the 360 has been an experiment. They are gauging to see just how much they can push gamers to their limits in many aspects. All of this is going to go towards their upcoming console. They have done a lot of work to figure out what kind of gamers they have and what they can do with them.

Sony, on the other hand, has had the same disposition since their first console: pleasing the consumer through content, software, and features. They don’t need to experiment on gamers. Sony already knows what the gamers want: games. When the PS3 came out there was plenty of negative response but it was all featured on price. Through the price issue came other insults such as the form factor of the console, the Cell processor, and other thing.

Through all of this Sony has remained vigilant in doing one thing: releasing games for their console.

So now we hear that Microsoft only made the Xbox to stop and stop Sony. They failed with the Xbox and even now the PS3 creeps up on the 360 in total worldwide sales (currently sitting at a market share of 30.2% and 29.6% in Microsoft’s favor). If you would have tried to predict this back in 2006 or 2007, you would have been called a mad man/woman. It was so clear cut to us that the PS3 would finish in 3rd place but steadily the console picked up steam.

Thanks to its numerous exclusives, constant game releases, PS+, and free features that are otherwise Gold member-only on the 360, the PS3 became a bombshell within the gaming industry and hasn’t looked back. Soon enough the PS3 will overtake the 360 in worldwide sales and for a second generation in a row Microsoft will have failed in their attempt to foil Sony’s living room dominance.

Sony may not be finishing in 1st place this gen but it has made a remarkable comeback and if Mr. Kempin’s remarks are true then it means his former employer wasn’t able to complete their mission.

The next gen holds many questions and while we may see Sony’s hand on February 20th, we’re still way too far off to make any kind of judgment calls. Also, I’d say that gamers should hold off on any judgment calls this next gen due to Sony’s comeback kid, the PS3, and what it was able to do.

Think about it this way, Microsoft, don’t get into something and do it half-ass or for any other reason than to fully compete in what the industry is all about. Gamers want great games, great experiences, and great features at the best rate on the market. They want consistency and quality. For the third generation in a row Sony has hit the mark in all of those categories. Stop caring about marketing evaluations and consumer experiments and start giving the gamers what they want.



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  1. datdude

    Only an idiot would believe that Microsoft has “failed” this generation. They are on equal footing with Sony worldwide, and dominate the North American market. Who thought that would happen in the heyday of the PS2 when the original Xbox was struggling to get a foothold? For Microsoft to now be an equal to Sony in the gaming industry is a huge win for them. And they did it pretty much overnight in one console generation. That is remarkable.

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