We are currently in the middle of a war between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, the most well-fought and exciting battle was between PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was a time when both consoles were neck and neck, each did everything it can to take the lead.
Currently, the battle between PS4 and Xbox One is kind of boring. One console is way ahead already.
During PS3 and Xbox 360 days, we saw a major rise in online multiplayer for consoles. We got a new in-game phenomenon called trophies/achievements. Each company, Sony and Microsoft, revolutionized console gaming in the past ten years in one way or another.
One motivation in such cases in outdoing your competition and according to ex-Xbox employee J Allard, Microsoft kept an eye on what Sony is doing.
According to him, Microsoft successfully predicted many of Sony’s moves. Not only Sony but Nintendo as well.
We kept a keen eye on Sony’s hardware performance and watching both companies’ early attempts at online, but that was about it. There was enough history with both console companies that their next moves were fairly predictable. Nintendo leads each generation with content and adapts the controller uniquely to suit early titles with new mechanics. Because they focus on younger gamers, cost of the console is very important so their hardware is generally underpowered relative to the market.
We correctly anticipated that online, again because of their young audience, would be a low priority for them. We believed Sony would push their media format (Blu-ray) heavily, push the hardware to the limit and be difficult to program like all previous generations. We incorrectly guessed that they would buy up a bunch of online companies because of the critical shift from traditional media to digital distribution given that it was the next obvious format and so much of their overall business has been dependent on the shift to next generation media formats.
Microsoft did well with Xbox 360 and gave solid competition to PS3. However, they failed to predict what Sony is going with PS4. Xbox went down a completely different path, one that damaged its image badly from the get-go. Press and fans were out for blood after all the DRM and always online restrictions