The PlayStation vs Xbox enmity is a curious maelstrom of gloating and absurdity. On the surface both companies are comparatively similar, at least sharing a more clearly defined rivalry than either does with Nintendo. Marketing their products to deliberately compete with the other has only intensified the friction between the eccentric, yet equally deluded fan base. The verbal altercations that go on between these “fans” is something you’d expect to see between toddlers arguing over which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is the best! It’s Donatello obviously, but that’s besides the point. The extent to which these articulated debates are often arbitrarily concluded would make even someone with the most robust tolerance to profanities and the graphic descriptions of one’s mother cringe. And though this rivalry is a direct result of the conflicting hubris of its fanbase, neither company has done much to placate this dissent.
Petty squabbling aside, the superficial conflict between Sony and Microsoft is ostensibly shrewd for both parties. Vying for the loyalty of consumers is an expensive business, one that is heavily reliant on hardware, exclusives and of course, the verbal jousting of the fans. Having a dedicated, unwavering support from a rabid group of lunatics with all the diplomatic tolerance of an unstable dictator is a beneficial commodity. In the wake of Microsoft heinously misjudged Xbox One launch, fans vindicated them. When Sony’s PlayStation Network was hacked, crippling the digital service for several weeks, fans defended them. Where there are fans, there are apologists. Possessing that kind of consistent, almost blind impassioned endorsement is only further strengthend by the competitive nature of the two conflicting companies.
With both the Xbox series X and PS5 contesting for the economic fealty of its supporters, its interesting to note how temperate the relationship is between the two companies, despite the perennial competitiveness that remains. Their reticence in disclosing a price for their respective consoles suggests that an inherent rivalry remains steadfast, as they prepare for the other one to blink first. With neither side looking to capitulate on what could be the defining factor for many, the price. It’s understandable that neither wants to take the first bold, yet ultimately erroneous first step. Demonstrating that invariably you can’t really have one console without the other. There’s a mutual solidarity between them that many of us would rather ignore. Preferring to perpetuate the conflated opinions of those that enjoy a feud.
What I find most staggering though is that neither company considers Nintendo a rival? Strange.