Few of you know that I had already predicted that the hybrid Nintendo console would dominate gen 9. I did this years ago (in 2014) because I understand the video game market and was able to predict years in advance the factors that would make that a reality. The main reason was a unified library between Nintendo's home and portable console, which prior to the hybrid were fragmented, and fragmented their release schedule, making it much stronger once unified.
Like TBone, I like to make controversion predictions because, like history has shown us, when most people take for granted by looking at popularity, they are often wrong by using the popularity factor alone. Much more important real factors make the success of a console, and now with Xbox we have an upcoming winner. Let me explain.
The xbox gamepass looks like just any other game delivery service, but in reality it is a very special one. Xbox gamepass is very aggressive.
On day 1, xbox owners get to play the very best offerings because Microsoft is putting their 1st party games on gamepass at launch. Not only that, but they are hard at work with partners, making sure they do the very same thing. Let's compare some alternatives. Stadia for example was a ruin from the start. Google offers users a membership, but users still have to pay full price for games during their membership. Apple offers Apple arcade, but the games are not what most gamers expect, many being small indie app-like games that are not strong in front of the main industry games. Playstation offers Playstation now, however the main games are not there on launch and the service is streamed.
With Xbox gamepass, gamers can download top games directly to their xbox and play them as if they own the game. And even games they might not buy, they can play due to their subscription, like icing on a cake.
This makes gamepass a very enticing service for people who want to play games without committing to high prices for a full game purchase, while giving others the option to do so if they want to. Someone unsure of what console to choose can easily purchase an xbox with a gamepass subscription and get playing immediately.
As people become more and more aware of this purchasing option, I predict the following:
- Microsoft will gain a lot of ground in the US, probably beating the playstation by a two to one ratio in console sales over the course of the generation.
- Sony will continue to keep a hold on Europe as gamers are very loyal to the brand there and Sony's marketing is very strong there. Over the course of the generation, Microsoft will get strong in the UK but continue to struggle in Spain, Italy, France and other mediterranean countries that are dominated by Sony.
- In Japan, Nintendo will continue to dominate leaving little room for the other two, esp. Sony, to get an advantage there.
- While gamepass will be popular on PC, Xbox will be the place to play since the console is a lot cheaper than a gaming PC, and thus much more accessible to the mainstream.
Therefore, my prediction is that while Sony will be very strong this gen with 1st party software, with a similar strength to the PS4, Xbox will catch up to Sony within the first 3 years of the lifespan of the gen. This will surprise a lot of people because most underestimate the importance of gamepass and its upcoming impact.
The sales for both consoles will be very strong, stronger than the PS3 era. Both consoles will finish at around 100M units each.