Which Platform is going to rule 2016?
2016 is heavily-contested: PlayStation sales are spiking, Xbox is seeing interesting titles, PC gaming and Wii U are both honing their platforms. Virtual and augmented reality are getting ready to hit the shelves, and finally, PS4 Neo and Xbox Scorpio are there to blow our minds.
So, which platform will be the bestseller in 2016? Let us find out.
2016 will see these major giants clash for the biggest slice of the gaming market: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Gaming, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. Historically speaking, PlayStation has the record for most hardware sales. 3DS isn’t much behind.
When calculating hardware sales, we can’t take computer gaming into account, because obviously computers are sold much more than any gaming console.
The largest number of units ever sold of a gaming console is the PlayStation 2 – a legendary milestone in modern gaming. NDS comes pretty close to it.
Also, in the recent market, the highest number of hardware sales are shown by Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4. East Asian countries like Japan actually have more NDS and 3DS sales than PlayStation family, mostly because Nintendo is a Japan-based company often making games on Japanese anime.
The Lost Fighters
Let’s start from the other end. For predicting the bestselling platform – we will remove the ones who have no chance of winning.
Nintendo is also behind Wii U. Wii U has gamepad controls and HD graphics and a more global-focus when it comes to audience and software. Although as compared to PlayStation, Wii U looks very tiny.
Many call Wii U a failure because its sale is even less than its predecessor as of now. Even Nintendo GameCube, the worst performing Nintendo console, has more lifetime sales than Wii U has in more than three and a half years. There’s no point in comparing Wii U to PlayStation or even Xbox.
Microsoft’s Xbox One recently surfaced as hitting 20-million sales mark. Xbox has many promising games this year, including Warner Bros’ Lego Star Wars, Ubisoft’s The Division – Underground, Square Enix’ Hitman: Episode 4, 5, and 6, etc. FIFA 17, Attack on Titan’s game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Batman: Return to Arkham, etc. will also have good impact. (Check IGN’s upcoming games list)
The question is, most of these games are also coming for PS4 and PC, and whether or not Xbox surpasses PS4 could be figured out by looking at some historical data.
Xbox is far from catching up with PS4. You can check the official VGChartz lists. PS4 also beats XOne in game count. As GameRadar reports:
PS4 has well over a thousand games, while XOne comes close to 600.
PS4 also has a huge fanbase, high demand, and a brilliant capability of creating remastered versions and sequels of its famous games. The only thing that makes people prefer XOne over PS4 is the price. XOne is much cheaper. It also has better bundles and cheaper controllers. It’s more affordable to the average gamer.
However, PS4’s demand is always spiking. So the price factor isn’t showing any hope for XOne to surpass PS4 either.
Basically, we can safely disregard Wii U and Xbox.
As for Nintendo 3DS, it’s a handheld console. So although its sales are pretty decent, we can’t really compare it. If we do, we have to compare a lot of other consoles as well, like PS Vita, NVidia Shield, and maybe even iPhone gaming. Although game-wise, 3DS and its predecessors are always masterpieces.
The rise of VR and Augmentation
Virtual Reality is going to be the driving force behind gaming in 2016. Xbox is betting on augmented reality: projecting 3D holograms in real world using Microsoft’s Hololens technology. We still need solid confirmation though. We only have one instance with a Minecraft and one Halo 5 showcasing that’s all.
As for Virtual Reality – it already looks the next show-stopper in tech world. With Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard support, etc. virtual reality is going to make a bang. PS4’s VR headset is pretty cheap at $399, as announced to be released in October this year, as compared to other high players, like Rift for $599. This will boost PS4’s market as well.
To be honest, PlayStation’s VR headset looks cool and it holds a good deal of promise. But only time will tell how good it comes out to be. We can only judge VR stuff on hope and their flashiness as of now.
PC Overview: Beyond legal sales figures
In these analyses, we only take legal gaming into account. Those who play using pirated or cracked copies aren’t true games. But, only if we were to take these into account, nobody could beat PC gaming ever.
PC gaming is huge and if we were to list down the popular PC games, it’ll take us weeks before we finish. Let’s take one small example. Dota 2 (free to play through Steam, no piracy possible) sees almost 1M players online at one time. Now, there have been 40.7 million sales of PS4. Now, that means slightly more than 2.1M consoles per month (PS4 released on November 2013). So, there are much more Dota 2 players in world than there are PS4 consoles even manufactured. And how do they play it? Using PCs. And that’s just one game. Now you do the calculations.
The rise of 4K Gaming
4K gaming is finally here. Sony will release the PS4.5 Neo/PS5/PS4K (name will be announced later) soon enough. Date isn’t confirmed, but reports suggest end of this year or next. Though I’m betting more on the next year. Read our speculation article on the PlayStation 4K Neo.
Xbox will release the final, most powerful 4K beast the world has ever seen, the Scorpio Project — in fall 2017. The Scorpio will have not 4, not 5, but 6 teraflops of power. Teraflops stand for a trillion floating-point operations per second. More operations mean more graphics prowess and faster polygon rendering. So, with a 6 teraflops power — the new Xbox will be able to render raw, uncompressed 4K graphics. Developers are asked to start working on utilizing this new dimension of gaming. Read our speculation article on the Xbox Project Scorpio.
PS4K Neo is supposed to have 4.14 teraflops, which is quite mediocre. And if we compare it to of Xbox’s Project Scorpio, it’s way down the ladder.
So, we’re moving from 1080p to 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. More details, higher processing powers, 8-core CPU, high-end GPUs. Good. So although these things are going to make pronounced impacts in the gaming industry starting next year only (Nintendo is also releasing its 4K flagship product, the NX, next year) — their release information only makes their market values spike. We couldn’t just leave out this important part when discussing who will win in 2016.
Also, these 4K beasts would utilize virtual reality in plenty. The applications designed for the VR define how successful VR gets to be, but 4K is solid already even without VR. Neo’s inferiority against Scorpio stops PlayStation from having an edge here, because although PS wins at VR, VR isn’t all there’s to 4K.
At the E3 2016 (Electronic Entertainment Expo, June 14-16, 2016), Microsoft released a touching trailer for the Scorpio, calling it “the beast.” The reveal video ended with “It’s a monster.” Check it out, you would love it:
PS pulled out from E3, and nothing has been confirmed about Neo as of now. Perhaps because of their teraflops difference with the biting scorpion? Not sure. Official reports confirm PS saying they wanted to focus on more pressing issues in the E3 and they put all the concerns to rest there, and will announce about their product codename Neo when they’re fully ready. Or perhaps they’re waiting for developers’ consent and want to be sure of game choices before saying anything. Who knows.
So as of now, Scorpio looks closer to reality. Read The Inquirer article by Peter Gothard about: 5 reasons why Xbox One Project Scorpio is better than the PS4 Neo for more. Xbox One and Xbox One S games will be fully compatible with Scorpio. They’re all a part of the same family. However, those games won’t have their framerates increased when played on the Scorpio, as you would know (check the Forbes article for more details). Framerate depends on the developer.
But still, let’s limit ourselves to 2016. We don’t know if 4K gaming turns out to be a huge flop-show — take 4K TVs for example; so much hype but no practical revolutionary impact. Or take the example of Blu-ray vs. DVD: Blu-ray is still not able to bite into the core chunk of DVD market because of price issues. So until we’re confirmed of Scorpio’s and Neo’s full specs, capabilities, and developers’ opinions — which games will be able to utilize all those raw pixels? — we can’t really decide the impact of 4k gaming on 2016 market.
And our Winner is the PlayStation!
Sony PlayStation 4 is our winner. The sales are not showing signs of any backing down. New games are coming, and virtual reality is going to make an explosive entry through PS. As Charles Poladian from International Business Times writes in his analytical article,
To confirm this, you can have a look at the infographic chart on TopTenReviews that compares various consoles and provides their price in Indian Rupees too.
So let’s summarize why PlayStation 4 will rule 2016:
- PS4 has historically sound sales.
- Xbox One was always cheaper, but the price factor never showed any hope for its surpassing PS4.
- PS4 is much better than Wii U, and better than XOne.
- PC gaming’s large part is about pirated games. There are games with millions of people, but all the popular gaming titles that release for PC mostly also release for consoles.
- PS4 has great plans to exploit virtual reality. It might even be releasing a PS4K – a console with UHD graphics that will just take its market through the roof.
- With titles like Ratchet and Clank reboot, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Bloodborne, Infamous: Second Son, etc. – PS4 comes with a promise of awesome gaming.
- Things might change when Scorpio and Neo come out next year, along with NX.
What are your views on our analytical predictions? Did we miss something? Do you think the winner should have been some other console? Keep in touch with Spiel Times for more gaming, technology and esports related information, news and stuff.