Who will win the console wars in the 2020s?

Compared with previous decades, the console war wasn’t so dramatic during the 2010s. However, with the emergence of several new technologies, the next 10 years could see considerable shifts in the console gaming landscape.
X Box Series X
The release of the Xbox Series X will mark another decade of battles between the gaming giants. Photo: Xbox

Despite the somewhat quiet period, there were still large amounts of units shifted. The PlayStation 4 sold over 102 million units, the Nintendo Switch sold around 50 million units, and the Xbox One sold around 46 million units. Altogether, apart from Sony’s offering, the rest failed to match previous sales made by their predecessors.

A switch for Nintendo

Nonetheless, the Switch is the newest of the bunch and still has time to catch up as it is a well-received console. The Switch Lite could further support the Japanese company’s presence in the console market with its fairer pricing.

However, by the time the 2030s hit, it’s likely that consoles will be only an accessory in Nintendo’s arsenal. The firm has been making huge movements in the gaming software market. It has broken download records with billions of fans eager to try its gaming apps such as Pokémon GO! and Mario Kart Tour.

Furthermore, it recently partnered with Facebook to release two Pokémon titles via Facebook Gaming. Pokémon Tower Battle and Pokémon Medallion Battle are likely to be only the first of several Nintendo backed launches on the ever-growing platform.

With this in mind, Nintendo could be investing larger portions of its budget on developing its presence across these digital services rather than focusing on competing in the hard console industry.

Mario Kart Tour
Brands such as Mario Kart and Pokémon will forever be institutions in the gaming industry. Photo: Mario Kart Tour Facebook Page

Xbox’s comeback

We already know that Microsoft and Sony are launching their next flagship consoles this year. Microsoft will be feeling frustrated with the underwhelming results of the Xbox One compared with its rivals and previous offerings. Although, CEO Phil Spencer is determined not to repeat this scenario again.

The Series X’s custom-designed AMD processor, high bandwidth GDDR6 memory and next-generation solid-state drive (SSD) are set to take the gaming experience to the next level. It will also combine with Microsoft’s ambitious Project xCloud to offer gamers an abundance of titles via cloud technology.

Like Nintendo, the US-based company could shift greater attention to software, especially if Project xCloud launches with a bang. Nevertheless, with the way that it announced the Series X, there is more of a chance that Microsoft will continue to balance software and hardware investment for both of them to complement each other.

Phil Spencer
Phil Spencer has been vocal about the importance of making new ground in gaming. Photo: Xbox

The consistent player

This brings us to Sony. We already know that the PlayStation 5 will be available before Christmas of this year but we don’t know too much about the confirmed specifications of the highly-anticipated console.

What we do know is that the PlayStation 4 smashed the PlayStation 3’s sales results. Therefore, if the Tokyo-headquartered company manages to capitalize on its success, it could dominate the console market once again.

Sony has placed importance on implementing virtual reality gaming. It released the PlayStation VR in 2016 and it is set to expand on the technology’s capabilities with the next console release.

This is a contrast to Xbox’s approach, with Spencer sharing that he doesn’t feel that there is any demand for VR gaming. This could be a risky move by Xbox as it may lose ground on next-generation initiatives while Sony continues to lead the race.

Other reported features of the PS4 include an 8-core, 16-thread CPU. along with a custom graphics processor based on AMD’s Navi family using the RDNA microarchitecture.

It is also slated to include support for the acceleration of ray-tracing to enable even greater real-time graphics. Additionally, it’s set to come with custom SSD storage. Altogether, it’s set to be a well-rounded powerhouse.

PS Icons
Following decades of controlling console world, the next generation of the PlayStation will arrive during this holiday season. Photo: Pexels

Industrial revolution

Ultimately, Sony has all the tools to maintain its leadership when it comes to pure console gaming. However, Microsoft and Nintendo will make ground on its developments in gaming software and their presence will be felt across the industry as a whole.

The gaming market is changing and consoles are no longer a priority. New entrances such as the Google Stadia further highlight the advancing industry. This service’s cloud-based model could become the standard of how console manufacturers package their future offerings.

Who do you think will win the console wars this decade? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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