A new console generation is just around the corner, and with it comes a new battle over whose strategy is better, and which one better serves gamers. Earlier, Sony announced an event next week where it will show off “the future of gaming on PlayStation 5.” In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, the outlet suggested “One way to keep PS4 users engaged would be to make upcoming PS5 games playable on the older machine, just like Microsoft is proposing with its Xbox Series X games being playable on Xbox One.”
We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. SIE CEO Jim Ryan
Ryan responded by taking aim at the Xbox plan to have titles and accessories that work across generations, saying “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features. We do believe in generations, and whether it's the DualSense controller, whether it's the 3D audio, whether it's the multiple ways that the SSD can be used... we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
The Xbox team heard the suggestion that games on their platform might not take advantage of new-gen features to provide a new experience, and Xbox Games Marketing exec Aaron Greenberg tweeted “Generations of games that play on latest HW taking advantage of next-gen innovation offering more choice, value & variety than any console launch ever. All our Studios titles launch into Game Pass & you get those next-gen game upgrades for free.” That follows Phil Spencer’s December blog post that said: “Building on our compatibility promise, with Xbox Series X we’re also investing in consumer-friendly pathways to game ownership across generations. Leading the way with our first-party titles including Halo Infinite in 2020, we’re committed to ensuring that games from Xbox Game Studios support cross-generation entitlements and that your Achievements and game saves are shared across devices.”
Highlighting its “generations” of compatible titles and Smart Delivery setup that will download the right version for your hardware in comparison to Sony’s still-murky plans for compatibility is especially timely. Eurogamer reports Sony has told PS4 developers that all games submitted after July 13th must be PS5 compatible, with all the same features available that players experience on PS4.
It’s pretty light for a console battle, although it could get more interesting once we see some real next-gen exclusive games, find out how much these boxes will cost, or even get the slightest glimpse at the PlayStation 5. The PS5 is pushing the DualSense controller as a major differentiating factor, and we’d hope it’s a bit more relevant to gameplay than the DualShock 4 touchpad has been. Of course, Xbox can’t really talk there — many of those Kinects that shipped with every Xbox One launch console never saw much use either.