Sony Shows Gamer Focus with PlayStation Now and Twitch, Microsoft Left Behind

One step behind.

Daniel Bischoffby Daniel Bischoff

Sony’s advantage on the competition is measurable; sales figures paint a very clear picture of how it played its cards right during the length of 2013. Xbox One owners would probably argue that their system has more high profile software in its early months, while PlayStation owners will happily fill their libraries with free digital titles and strong third-party ports. But this battle of value will soon become much more one-sided.

Just a couple months into the next-gen battle PlayStation sits poised to totally change the game and redefine what it means to be a top-tier gaming brand in both hardware and software. Sony’s varied manufacturing lines will allow them to leverage three generations of PlayStation software across Sony tablets, phones, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Bravia televisions, and more. With Sony’s friendly attitude towards Android devices and support through PlayStation Mobile, the sky is the limit with PlayStation Now.

Thanks to Sony’s expensive but forward-looking acquisition of Gaikai, PlayStation software will be playable via any strong internet connection and a Sony-friendly piece of hardware. Final Fantasy, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted. All of these games and many more will reach a new audience just by sheer volume of accessibility. Imagine if Sony localized their software and products around the world.

They’d have a globally interactive and connected grasp on the planet. PlayStation 4 seems to be the primary driver here as it represents the company’s carefully crafted machine to-date. Lead Architect Mark Cerny has said on numerous occasions that the system’s time-to-triangle was a key factor in that developers could learn how to program for the machine very quickly. The same appears to be true about getting streaming entertainment software off-the-ground within a year of launch.

In Microsoft's camp there's nothing to counter what could become a driving force for PlayStation hardware sales. The Xbox One not only has no game streaming software planned, but is taking months to incorporate Twitch streaming. The prospect of PlayStation now has excited gamers, casual and hardcore alike, and Twitch has exploded with an avalanche of new users on the PS4. Microsoft's plan to focus on a new audience, which is made evident by its commercials, could be costly in the gaming space.

If you already own the digital version of a game, shouldn’t you be able to access the title on your PS4 through your PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now subscription? It's questionable if something along those lines will be supported, but the potential for that to exist in the near future is potentially game-changing. After all, the jump from last-gen to next-gen is difficult when there's no backward compatibility.

The thought of decades of PlayStation content playable on my phone at any time (with Dualshock 3 controller support) is an incredible prospect. Even better, in a few years it's likely that PS4 games will be introduced to the service. That's remarkable when you think about it.

Sony’s aggressive drive to deliver to gamers is good for both parties. The PS4 is flying off store shelves potentially saving the Sony brand from bankruptcy, and gamers are soon to be more entertained than ever before.