Sony and Microsoft resume game console battle

Sony is hoping for blockbuster sales of its new PS5 games console and a leg-up in the battle for dominance with Microsoft, which will launch its Xbox Series X console in the late autumn.

Last week Sony released a preview of its new PS5 games console, due in shops before Christmas, says Matthew Field in The Daily Telegraph. Sony is hoping for“blockbuster” sales and a leg-up in the two decades-old battle for dominance with Microsoft, which will launch a competing machine in the late autumn, the Xbox Series X. This comes as lockdown has “super-charged” the gaming market, with reported sales of Sony’s PS4 console and Microsoft’s Xbox One more than trebling in the first half of the year.

Both companies’ new offerings seem highly advanced compared with the current generation, says Dan Gallagher in The Wall Street Journal. They boast faster processors, better graphics and more storage. Still, the ”harsh” global backdrop may persuade cash-strapped consumers to stick with “cheaper options” such as second-hand copies of current models. The fact that production in the games industry has been hit by the pandemic, with programmers forced to work from home, is also a worry as new games “are key to selling new consoles”.

A bigger concern is the shift towards streaming games on the internet, says Kosuke Shimizu and Ryosuke Arasawa in the Nikkei Asian Review. If 5G mobile technology spreads fast people “will be able to enjoy high-definition games on their smartphones or standard PCs”, rendering consoles redundant. So, it is no surprise that Sony will make the PS5 “backwards-compatible” with older games to minimise disruption for the 41.5 million users of its subscription service that allows them to play online with other gamers. 

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