With increasing interest in both Series S/X and GamePass, I have seen quite a few KI related tweets from Japanese players either trying out KI for the first time or playing casuals, especially these past few weeks. I have not kept up with all the discussions and I will not translate the tweets, but I am pleasantly surprised by this. Anyway, I thought I’d share some positive news from the community.
Just a theory, but there are lots of signs the PS5 and Playstation brand in general is in a decline, a decently alarming one, in Japan. As such, Xbox has started to rise in popularity within the country, something unthinkable and unheard of over a decade ago as the 360 was not very popular over there at all.
With a new rise of interest in the new Series X/S models in the country, it’s likely they’re browsing the currently existing library of games and taking notice of KI. Also, since it’s basically the same console as the Xbox One but upgraded hardware, and same OS, the games will remain compatible with the console for a long time to come giving a lot of confidence in people who may want to invest time in it.
I don’t think Microsoft Studios staff read this board much, if at all.
Like we were talking on the weekend, I firmly believe Microsoft will come out on top over Sony this generation. Sony’s eggs are all in one basket: buy our console, play our exclusives. Microsoft has diversified. Want to play our games from the last four generations? Buy our console if you feel like it, or use your PC, or hey, why not your mobile phone? Subscribe to Game Pass and get it all, along with EA Play and Disney +!
Microsoft is being far more versatile and consumer friendly.
I’d suspect the biggest reasons are Nintendo’s broadly-appealing rebound with the Switch taking up a considerable part their market, and Sony’s restrictive approach to their platform looking increasingly bad compared to every other brand besides Nintendo. Not to mention the PS5 shortage and that it may lack in true exclusives for years, which might encourage people to branch out into other platforms itself.
Yeah there was a period where IG and MS Studio developers were around fairly regularly, but we’re long past those days. Pretty sure it’s all community mods now who only check things seldomly.
Well, the main reasons I have seen stated for the decline are as such:
Nintendo has made a broader appeal in Japan since launching with the switch. They also support titles years ago they never would have, some even for more mature audiences. Sony by comparison has started cracking down on Japanese studios with some heavier censorship of their material in games and has made it far less hospitable for studios who want freedom to be as expressive or creative as they want without having guidelines of “acceptable content” being demanded of them.
Sony is TERRIBLE with the promotion of indie titles and seems to actively dislike indie devs. YongYea has made a video detailing out a story about this where multiple indie devs take to twitter to out Sony for their very hostile stances towards them and a developer ecosystem that makes it hard for these smaller studios to be profitable at all on their platform.
Sony constantly makes consumer unfriendly choices, being the last major holdouts for certain things like crossplay of titles between consoles, like Minecraft and Fortnite. They are very driven by decisions that help preserve their dominance at the cost of alienating consumers.
While the PS5 has exclusives, most people have gone on to say they aren’t really all that memorable or worthwhile to own such an expensive and rare console to play. Basically, “nothing to really play.” So while short supply of the console is definitely hurting them, the reason to own one is getting thinner. Most people who would play Demon Souls likely already played the original and have no problem holding out for the console and game to become more available and lower priced.
Sony is obsessed with capturing the Western market more than it is the Japanese market, especially since it wants LOTS of the big blockbuster, multi-million copy pushing games, like their Uncharteds, their TLOUs. Meanwhile they refuse to support new budding IPs that if given a little early love and support, could grow to those massive scale works of art. Not every game can do Infinity War or Endgame level sales, but they don’t see it this way and sacrifice so much to pursue titles like these they bank on to be huge but fall short in many instances.
They’ve officially shut down their own in-house productions in Japan. I feel this one says a lot without saying much at all.
They don’t really value game preservation and playing old titles like XBox does. That’s a fact, as MS has done wonders to try and keep their backwards compatibility line updated and growing, while Sony seems to only focus on the new shiny thing all the time. They also value transitioning to newer hardware to play new games rather than respecting the core audience on the older consoles and keeping them in the loop, a move I’m sure they are now regretting especially in the pandemic era.
There are probably many more reasons, but there’s a lot going against them. They mostly got overly-confident and arrogant on the success of the previous console generations (X1 versus PS4) and rode it into the next generation thinking they were too big to fail, and were proven wrong. Ironically, it’s the same mistake MS made coming from the Xbox 360 to the X1.
And now that PS5 and Sony are losing ground in Japan, people are checking out the competition and seeing what Nintendo and MS have to offer, and may be finding a gem in Killer Instinct.
I agree Playstation is slipping, but it’s important to recognize that it’s not yet anywhere near the severity of what Xbox went through around the beginning of last generation. PS5 sales are still far ahead of Xbox Series X/S, for example, and their set of exclusive IPs are still a big draw. Sony’s mistakes have been numerous but they’ve also been less glaring, partly because they often end up being buffered or backpedaled on. Bad PR is significant, but I doubt some of those things like upsetting the ecchi/hentai niche, shutting down a studio that was already doing very little original work, and TLOU2 being controversial make a major difference in the big picture.
My point being that, at this rate, Sony has a long way to fall and it may not be as dramatic as others we’ve seen in the past. I’m a lot more interested on how its competitors are going to keep building themselves up and rise above. Microsoft getting a lot of beloved exclusives from its new studios, or Nintendo’s hardware and online infrastructure catching up to any contemporary standard, would be huge threats.