E3 2013 is now over. It was a three-day event teeming with leading gaming companies, console manufacturers, industry analysts, developers and other visitors, who were all there to witness amazing new technologies and never-before-seen products. The buzz around the rivalry between Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s PS4 and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Xbox One could be seen before the expo. Both these consoles were officially showcased during the show, with implications for the industry and investors.
A brief recap of the event
In this article, I have focused on the highlight of the expo: the launch of new consoles. Microsoft kick-started the expo with its press conference on releasing Xbox One, details about which were unveiled in May. As reporters from the venue put it, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) just focused on new game titles, which included new versions of legendary games like Halo, Battlefield etc. Since most of the hardware and other details were announced by Microsoft in May, its press conference was all about games. It launched approximately 15 new titles, out of which eight were brand new intellectual properties.
The Xbox One was being talked of more as a home entertainment system (customers can also watch TV) rather than a pure gaming console. However, it has all the ingredients of an A-class gaming console like superb game titles, cool graphics and amazing controls. The gamers got disappointed when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that the Xbox One would release across the globe in November for $499.
After Microsoft, it was Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s turn to launch its new console, PS4, ending the long wait of ardent Sony supporters. The audience gave complete attention during the conference as it launched the new system (only the controller was revealed earlier) along with breathtaking new game titles. Gamers were pleasantly surprised when Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) announced its policy of no restrictions on used games, no requirement of online check-in for playing disc games and better backward compatibility with older consoles. The biggest reason to rejoice came when it announced the launch price of PS4, $399.
Sony Vs Microsoft: Who ruled E3?
A line from this Forbes article read, “Sony didn’t just capitalize on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s mistakes over the past few weeks. They picked up the ball Microsoft dropped, tossed it in the air, then smacked it out of the park.” Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) did implement smart strategies regarding its policies and pricing that elated the audience at E3.
Microsoft’s much awaited reversals
One of Sony’s policy announcements regarding the absence of restrictions on playing used games was received with a cheerful applause. Even Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) clarified its stand on used games as it announced that there would be no fee charged on trading and resale of eligible Xbox games. Microsoft has been on a reversal spree after it took note of gamers’ disappointment around some of its policies. It has removed the requirement of an online check-in if a user wants to play a disc game. As with Xbox 360, the users can now take their Xbox One console anywhere and play games with the removal of the online check-in restriction.
As this article reports, Xbox One is seeing a rebound in pre-order numbers as a result of these positive changes. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has done the right thing by fixing policy issues placing it at par with Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s PS4. The phrase “Better late than never” is very apt for Xbox One, which is regaining the lost confidence of gamers and analysts.