As of this writing, every big-time console manufacturer has a loyalty going for it that deserves praise from fans. The Nintendo Switch is a true marvel of technology, letting people play console-quality games on the go. The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console ever, and when it releases will bring forward tons of games from the past and play them better than ever. Finally, the PlayStation 5 is looking to continue Sony’s success of housing beloved exclusives.
While each platform has fantastic features and are all worth the purchase, they all have their glaring issues as well. Let us take a look at what lessons Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony can learn from the competition.
The Xbox needs to acquire more robust first-party offerings, to bring them closer to Nintendo and Sony franchises. Ever since the reveal of the Xbox One, Microsoft’s most pressing issue has been output from the first party, Xbox Game Studios. A majority of the production from the studios this generation was disappointing in some way. Crackdown 3, Halo 5: Guardians, Bleeding Edge, and Sea of Thieves are all games that have their value, but also disappointed in one way or another. These are by no means bad games, but compared to the PlayStation 4’s library, and when you see how many times there have been extended gaps where no Xbox exclusives release, you can see how things need to turn around.
There are signs of quality titles on the way, though. Phil Spencer and the team have turned around an ugly beginning for the Xbox One into a gaming console people can look at fondly. They got rid of Kinect and purchased multiple high-quality studios that put out a variety of games that reach across genres that have highly dedicated fans. Combine that with the best deal in gaming (Xbox Game Pass), and they could easily make up for a downturn in popularity this current generation.
There is no other company in the world that has the quality of first-party offerings that Nintendo has. That being said, fans are always let down by the disappointing services Nintendo offers its most loyal audiences. As opposed to both Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo has never been able to nail down a quality online connection in any of its popular games. Whether it is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Maker 2, Super Mario Party, or countless other games, every online offering has either completely missing features that are inexcusable in today’s online climate, or shoddy connection issues that make the experience unplayable and downright frustrating.
The issues begin with the Nintendo Switch Online experience. While being a third of the price of PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, the service is distinctly lacking compared to the previous two. The promised “special deals” have been non-existent, and the exclusive games Nintendo gives access to are primarily the same games they have been releasing on almost all of their platforms for decades. NES and SNES games are great and everything, but we have been getting these same games as downloaded games since the Wii over a decade ago. Nintendo distinctly needs to address its entire online infrastructure and make it so the fans do not feel like they are using online equipment from 2006 anymore.
Sony is well praised this generation with its single-player adventure games. That being said, their games are starting to meld together and feel very samey lately. Comparing them to Nintendo and Xbox shows they need to offer a greater variety of games and genres. The recent PlayStation 5 event showed they are starting to take steps towards that with games like Sackboy A Big Adventure. It would be great to see them put out more cooperative titles that anyone can enjoy because essentially all of their well-known games are single-player, third-person adventures where the camera is situated over the main protagonist’s shoulder.
Sony also would benefit from looking at the features they provide their player base. Since Xbox Game Pass debuted, PlayStation Now is distinctly behind with offerings that do not rival what Microsoft has. Backwards compatibility has also been a slow burn that continues to sting PlayStation players. There are rumors that the PS5 will have backwards compatibility to the original console, but then again, there are also conflicting reports saying that they are having issues with it, and it is not coming. PS4 compatibility is confirmed, so they are at least taking steps. Sony has always been a reactive company, rather than proactive, so usually, if you give them the time they will eventually come around and put out a better product.