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Erik Kain (Contributor): Sony's Boring PS4 Is Winning The Console War

May 6, 2014
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Sony's Boring PS4 Is Winning The Console War Despite More Exciting Competition

It's a common knock against the PS4 that it's "just a more powerful PS3." Erik Kain posits that that's exactly why it's winning.

Microsoft's Xbox One (originally) launched with the exciting and innovative Kinect sensor, all for just $499. (Now Microsoft offers a much less interesting Xbox One without the Kinect for $399, the same price as Sony’s rather boring PS4.)

The Kinect allows users to navigate the Xbox One UI with voice commands that you may or may not remember. This is a super useful feature for parents whose children refuse to stop watching Netflix or won’t turn off a video game when asked repeatedly. A simple “Xbox Off” from across the room takes care of that problem.
Meanwhile, Nintendo launched its own exciting, innovative product known—unfortunately—as the Wii U (instead of the much better-named Super Wii.) Consumers to this day believe the fancy touchscreen gamepad that forms the cornerstone of the Wii U is simply an add-on peripheral for the better known and more successful Wii—last-gen’s best-selling home console.

The Wii U gamepad allows for all sorts of interesting gameplay innovations, including second-screen gaming, asymmetric gameplay, and watching Netflix on the smaller screen so dad can watch football. It’s also extremely useful for kids, many of whom no longer have the capacity to use buttons properly thanks to the rapid rise of touchscreens in modern society.
Which brings us to Sony’s rather dull, rather plain, rather unexceptional PS4 which comes with no touchscreen gamepad—you’d need a PS Vita for that—and no Kinect—though you could buy the PS Move and do a lot of what the Kinect can do—and has really only one thing going for it:

Horse power.

And a reasonable price-tag.
As much as I admire both Microsoft and Nintendo for their willingness to … think outside the box (as it were) Sony’s move was the most intuitive. The core gaming community that Sony is catering to with the PS4 doesn’t care much about motion controls, and they play games on their phones already and don’t need a touchscreen gamepad for their couch-gaming.

Sometimes boring is the most business-savvy road to travel. Sometimes it’s a word that shouldn’t carry such negative connotation. If games are the most important thing to gamers, making things like the Kinect or the Wii U gamepad mandatory is a big mistake.

The PS4′s continued trouncing of both these systems is proof enough of that.
 

timetokill

Banned
Oct 19, 2004
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It's true. I've said that from the beginning. I don't think it's a knock on it really, but it has made me invest into my PC instead since if you're just trading on horsepower and price, PC seems like a good alternative (cheaper games, no additional online cost, much better horsepower).

For console-only gamers though it's an obvious choice if you're just looking for a simple standard to go with.
 

Bloodrage

Banned
Aug 22, 2009
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Losing the console war is a problem, and so is winning it.

Sony's winning because they put out the most powerful console and everyone took notice. Additionally, everyone that didn't buy a PS3 last gen missed out on ridiculously hyped PS3 exclusives. They didn't want to make the same mistake again this gen. Just a guess.
 

Sentenza

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Dec 3, 2011
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Usual disclaimer: Forbes contributors are just hosted bloggers, they don't write for Forbes.
 
Nov 5, 2010
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The Kinect allows users to navigate the Xbox One UI with voice commands that you may or may not remember. This is a super useful feature for parents whose children refuse to stop watching Netflix or won’t turn off a video game when asked repeatedly. A simple “Xbox Off” from across the room takes care of that problem.
lol
 

cchum

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Feb 27, 2013
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I read this earlier, but didn't want to post it because it's a contributed article.
Anyways, this was going to be my commentary:
I love my ps4 and think that it does have innovation. The writer of this article seems to think it's the most boring of all three however. It also raises the question of how much price point is a factor to the market leader and if motion based gaming (innovation in control) is really the catalyst for capturing the market. If you're talking about the 4 p's, I think price is what factors in the most.
 

jwk94

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Sep 1, 2012
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I wouldn't really say it's even that without the basic media functions the PS3 had. Regardless, the Share feature is still something that debunks the "more powerful PS3" argument a bit.
 

joeyjoejoe

Neo Member
Apr 23, 2014
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I think it should have a new title, "Sony's Boring PS4 is Winning The Console War Because Microsoft Destroyed Their Reputation"
 

iceatcs

Junior Member
Jul 9, 2007
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I think he might be forgot there are new gamers keep coming, not that I mean there is a new market. The new gamers coming from youth.
That's why no need gimmicks thing to get the big market.
 

Eggbok

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Jun 6, 2013
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Which brings us to Sony’s rather dull, rather plain, rather unexceptional PS4 which comes with no touchscreen gamepad—you’d need a PS Vita for that—and no Kinect—though you could buy the PS Move and do a lot of what the Kinect can do—and has really only one thing going for it:

Horse power.

And a reasonable price-tag.
YOU CAN DO VOICE COMMANDS WITH A MIC LOLOLOL
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
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I mean, I agree that the X1 provides much more exciting concepts/features to supplement existing conceptions of gaming but why isn't power something that's exceptional? Isn't that what makes it stand apart, especially prospectively with what software might be able to do in the future?

This article is gonna get ripped to shreds because it mentions Kinect though.
 

Abdiel

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Nov 2, 2013
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This comes across as a really skewed, and strange way to interpret things. The PS4 is not a radical departure in terms of the nature of what the PS3 was, however it does directly address other trends and make steps towards being accessible, like the Share functions... But the entire idea that the Xbox or Nintendo offerings' 'interesting' aspects were what keeping people from buying them is kinda farcical. Speaking directly from retail, people were confused or unaware of Nintendo's new console, and outright resistant/avoiding Microsoft's due to the larger impressions of the messaging/intent of the system. We live in a world of widely accessible messaging, media in the hands of every person in moments, and so its almost impossible to suppress first impressions.
 

Fisty

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Jun 26, 2014
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Calling the PS4 "boring" just shows how little the author understands what the PS4 has under the hood. Sony innovating left and right... so boring
 

Sho_Nuff82

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Jan 2, 2007
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The last bit quoted in the op is really all that needs to be said. The PS4 is just flat out better at playing most of the games people want to play, that's why it's winning. Nothing else should matter.
 
May 6, 2014
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You guys are really misunderstanding his point. He's not saying "boring" is a bad thing. It's right there in the final paragraph.
 

Saucycarpdog

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Nov 3, 2013
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It's true. I've said that from the beginning. I don't think it's a knock on it really, but it has made me invest into my PC instead since if you're just trading on horsepower and price, PC seems like a good alternative (cheaper games, no additional online cost, much better horsepower).

For console-only gamers though it's an obvious choice if you're just looking for a simple standard to go with.
Pretty much, if your looking for horsepower and willing to invest into the platform then PC will take good care of you. If simplicity is your main priority then consoles are probably your best option.
 

PotionBleue

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May 6, 2013
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[The Wii U gamepad] is also extremely useful for kids, many of whom no longer have the capacity to use buttons properly thanks to the rapid rise of touchscreens in modern society.
LOL
 

OverBlood 3

Banned
Nov 28, 2012
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I think people are missing the point

Sometimes boring is the most business-savvy road to travel. Sometimes it’s a word that shouldn’t carry such negative connotation. If games are the most important thing to gamers, making things like the Kinect or the Wii U gamepad mandatory is a big mistake.