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💸 The Console Wars: Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo
Sony wins, Nintendo pushes, and it's all-in for Microsoft on Game Pass
This week the Pixels & Profits guys talk about the Console Wars! Meaning Sony vs. Nintendo vs. Microsoft.
Thanks to all of you who DM’ed me about our first episode of the Pixels & Profits series, and we’ll keep going so long as there is interest. So please like and comment if you want to see more of these!
High-Level Thoughts on The Console Wars
The tides of war have shifted. Today, the Console Wars is just as much about different strategic approaches as much as hardware specs or exclusive content.
Exclusive content still matters. As famed private equity investor Roger McNamee once stated:
Between the content and the audience, everything in between is a choice.
Against this strategy, Sony and Nintendo have amassed a critical scale of must-have content. Hence, they should continue to be able to sell new consoles for generations to come. Conversely, Microsoft seems to be going all-in on a platform-agnostic strategy against subscriptions via their GamePass initiative.
At this point, I believe Microsoft will face an existential crisis after this generation of consoles. Even further, Microsoft gave up its beachhead of owning the FPS gamer audience. This segment has now been ceded to PCs.
Hence, it may be do or die on GamePass.
Further, the real Console Wars, in my opinion, are now: Sony vs. Nintendo vs. PCs.
New dominant gameplay patterns have emerged on PCs for the younger generation: mixing community (e.g., via Discord) + competitive gameplay. Hence, PCs have become the dominant platform for FPS and MOBA players.
Note also FPS has historically been the #1 genre on consoles. A slightly dated graph is below:
Historical Overview of The Console Wars:
For your reference, below is an overview of the historical console launches. Thanks to Brian Peganoff for the data!
Generation 6 (1998 - 2013):
Generation 7 (2005 - 2017):
Generation 8 (2012 - 2020):
Generation 9 (2021 - Current):
▶️ Pixels & Profits: The Console Wars (Part 1 of 2), Market Dynamics and Company Overview
Brian Peganoff. Founder at Timber Advisors.
1:05 Console market overview: Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft
9:37 Determinants of success for the console market
12:53 6th Generation: 1998 - 2013
17:18 7th Generation: 2005 - 2017
23:10 8th Generation: 2012 - 2020
29:58 9th Generation: 2021 - Present Day
33:29 Console makers differences in strategy