The Console Wars Are Almost as Dumb as Actual Wars

The Console Wars Are Almost as Dumb as Actual Wars

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Phil Spencer says tribalism could drive him out of the industry.

This Week in Business is a collection of stats and quotes from our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that sheds light on console sales, new trends, and more. Check back every Friday for a new entry!

As regular readers of this column may have figured out, there's a lot to get angry about in the games industry these days. Just heaps of bad stuff going on. And as has become games industry tradition, there are a lot of angry people in this space. Maybe they're mad about systemic racism and sexism, exploitation of consumers, exploitation of developers, the fact that we keep running into a lot of these same problems but regularly have to convince people there are problems to start with...

One thing that's not worth getting worked up about is console wars. I know it sucks when the system you scrimped and saved for flops, or when your favorite developers decide to make their games exclusive to another system (or even a storefront you don't like). I know it's fun to watch one company embrace pettiness and dunk on its rival for a terrible anti-consumer policy.

But it's just fandom, and fandom should only go so far.

You can love your favorite games, your favorite studios, your favorite systems, even. But they are not fit foundations to build your identity upon.

The snarky, dismissive way to say it is that liking one system over another is not a personality. Maybe the better way to put it is that people are inherently more valuable and complex than a list of media they consume and entertainment devices they own.

QUOTE | "I love the industry I'm in, this is the job I love... But that tribalism in the industry, if there was anything that would ever drive me out of the industry, it's actually that." - Phil Spencer addresses antagonism between Xbox fans and PlayStation fans.

QUOTE | "A smaller to mid-sized developer might be starting a game and say, 'Hey, we're willing to put this in Game Pass on our launch day if you guys will give us X dollars now.' ... Others want [agreements] more based on usage and monetisation in whether it's a store monetisation that gets created through transactions, or usage. We're open [to] experimenting with many different partners, because we don't think we have it figured out." - In the same interview, Spencer explains that the way developers get paid for including their games in Game Pass changes from deal to deal.

QUOTE | "Rather than utilizing work from home solely as a means of preventing infections during the current pandemic, the Company will establish it as a permanent and core program among the working styles it accommodates. In so doing, the Company hopes not only to create a flexible and diverse working environment, but also to further bolster productivity and help employees achieve the optimal work-life balance." - Square Enix explains why it will allow all eligible Japanese employees to work-from-home on a permanent basis.

QUOTE | "The HD Games sub-segment posted an operating loss as initial sales of Marvel's Avengers were lower than we had expected and unable to completely offset the amortization of the game's development costs." - Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda confirms the long-awaited Avengers game is off to a slow start.

STAT | Four days - How long it took Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity to become the best-selling game in the entire Warriors franchise, which dates back to 1997 and has seen dozens of installments. Age of Calamity shipped (or sold digitally) 3 million copies in its launch week.

QUOTE | "As we move into a new console generation and begin to access the power of cloud computing, the time is right to re-evaluate open world games. We can do better, and create worlds that change in response to player actions. We should make the world itself a vital part of the gameplay experience." - Ubisoft Reflections programmer Chris Jenner says developers need to allow for deeper interaction with game worlds.

QUOTE | "The Stormzy thing... it's something people will play for the rest of time. With Marshmallo in Fortnite, I would potentially say that is a music event as much as it is a games event. Stormzy in Watch Dogs is a games event that leans into our culture. That's what we want to do more of. " - Warner Music UK VP of synchronization Tim Miles lays out the music giant's aspirations for integrating its performers with games.

QUOTE | "The very prominent note right now is people designing for Twitch. And not designing necessarily to integrate with Twitch, but just designing their game with Twitch in mind. How do you make your UI and design easily readable for a viewer? How do you make sure that people have time to chat or talk while they're playing your game?" - Former Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail says nothing has been more disruptive for game development in recent years than the advent of live streaming.

QUOTE | "When a gaming company goes to make a film or a podcast, typically they license it off. And it creates decoupling. The company is usually focused primarily on its tent-pole product, and then everything else becomes a way to expand the fan base. Whereas the way that we're doing this, from the get-go we're thinking of the fabric of the universe as being this living tissue of different characters, timelines, history, and rules that are all canon." - Reflector Entertainment's Alex Amancio explains why the company launched its Unknown9 franchise with a book, podcast series, comic series, and online collaborative puzzle in the same year instead of just focusing on making a game first.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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