The man that lead the development of the original Xbox, Ed Fries, weighed in on who he thinks is winning the current console war, and it’s not his old employer.
Ed Fries is the former vice president of game publishing for Microsoft. In the late 1990’s, he lead the team that developed the Xbox, and went on to play a key role in making studios like Bungie, Ensemble, and Rare develop games exclusively for the console.
Talking with the Puget Sound Business Journal, Fries laid out a very honest and blunt assessment of how he thinks the cards will fall during this console generation. “The two sides say nice things about each other; they compliment each other’s cool games,” he said. “It looks to me like most of the excitement is kind of over in the console war for this generation. It looks like Microsoft is gaining a little traction back, but PS4 got a really early lead that will be hard for Microsoft to catch.” When asked who he thinks will be in front at the end, he said “I think it’s PS4 by a nose.”
Fries’s comments match up very well with the sales data of the current gen consoles. The worldwide shipments for the PS4 adds up to about 22.3 million units, while Xbox One trails with 12-14 million.
Of course sales aren’t everything when it comes to the companies behind the consoles. Brand recognition and investment into new technologies is always massively important for securing a future lead. Fries thinks that the development and release of virtual reality devices — such as Microsoft’s HoloLens or Sony’s Morpheus — could change the tide of the corporate battle.
Tech companies spend vast amounts of money on research and development, marketing, and exclusivity agreements just to look good in the consumers eye. In the case of Nintendo, they may even sell their consoles at a loss just to stay appealing. On these business tactics, Fries said “That’s something you wouldn’t do unless it was a battle, right? And I think it’s good. … I think it keeps prices lower and competition is a good thing.”
Which console do you think will come out on top? Sound off in the comments.