Ever since the days when people asked “Sega or Nintendo?” a person’s console choice has come to define, for good or ill, a personality type. Though Sega has long since fallen by the wayside, and Sony and Microsoft have joined the fray, the fundamentals of the console war and the philosophy behind it remain unchanged.
Both hailing from Japan, it is hard to ignore the race between Sony and Nintendo for dominance in this generation. If you will recall, Nintendo shocked the world when it overcame the much more powerful Sony PlayStation 3 with its Wii console, a system that went on to become one of the bestselling of all time. Of course, the Wii U didn’t extend this streak but analysts look to the Switch and its hybrid status as a potential upset for the PlayStation’s dominance yet again.
Though Sony’s PlayStation 4 has largely dominated this cycle, the surge in Nintendo Switch sales starting with its debut have brought the console to the attention of the games buying public and called into question Sony’s unchecked domination of this generation.
While the PS4 enjoys a large lead in graphical capability, the Switch enjoys the luxury of having Nintendo’s huge stable of properties to draw from in its future games release schedule.
And here is where the battle between the two Japanese titans gets interesting: This generation has seen Sony truly pull out the big guns when it comes to first-party and exclusive games in general. If Sony can continue this trend then it could be difficult for the Switch to unseat it in the short term.
One sticking point for some gamers is Microsoft’s Xbox One, a distant third by most estimates. Although Microsoft continues to innovate in the area of online services and moving games to different market paradigms the Xbox One has faltered in the face of a continual push by Sony to secure and market exclusive content for its system. Nintendo, for its part, has capitalized on its new system’s novelty as well as the market demand in its fanbase for a new console but the synergies between a hybrid and home console have yet to be realized. In other words, the Nintendo 3DS is still selling. A future Switch that combines the numbers of the console with the 3DS could be a potent competitor for Sony indeed.
All of this comes as the current generation folds into the next with the new systems of Microsoft and Sony expected really at any trade show now. Though speculation has run rampant about what form the new consoles will take, the idea that Sony or Microsoft could use cloud and streaming technology to deliver games remains one of the biggest hypotheticals of the coming years.