British retailers and manufacturers set to make hundreds of millions from new videogame consoles
Video games enthusiasts put the Xbox One console through its paces during a midnight launch event. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/REUTERS
It’s a battle that makes the Samsung Galaxy versus the iPhone, Oasis v Blur and Strictly v X Factor look tame. Xbox and PlayStation, the two biggest names in video games, go head to head over hundreds of millions of pounds in consumer cash.
Microsoft‘s Xbox One launched with a spectacular live show in London’s Leicester Square. Sony‘s PlayStation 4 will arrive on Friday in what is expected to be an equally lavish affair. Never before have two games consoles of this scale launched so close to one another. The UK games industry is spending £68m on advertising both these new machines and their games to ensure they are this year’s must-have Christmas gifts.
Over the past eight years Microsoft, with its Xbox 360, has been the UK’s top-selling console maker, while Sony, with its PS3, has struggled. Now PlayStation is tipped to make a comeback with its more affordable PS4. The Japanese company seems to have renewed vigour under the leadership of British-born Andrew House, who became president in 2011 and is tasked with taking on Xbox.
Both Xbox One and PS4 are expected to sell out this Christmas – and that’s good news for the British games industry. Many of the most-anticipated video games for both consoles are being created here, including blockbusters such as Kinect Sports Rivals, The Crew and Fable Legends.
This comes just a few months after the UK recorded its biggest video game success to date. Grand Theft Auto V, created by Scottish development studio Rockstar North, broke sales records in September by making £308m in a single day. Xbox One and PS4 also arrive at a crucial time for the UK high street. Sales of hard-copy video games have declined in recent years as consumers spend more time and money on downloadable games for tablets and smartphones. And this has had a significant impact on retailers such as HMV and Game, which have closed hundreds of stores over the past two years. Meanwhile, Blockbuster – another key games retailer – is on the verge of disappearing altogether after going into administration for a second time this month.
The launch of these new games systems is expected to be a huge boost to the retailers. Kim Bayley, director-general of the Entertainment Retailers Association, said: “The drama and excitement generated by Playstation 4 and Xbox One look set to produce the sales boost retailers have been crying out for.”
Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offer a number of impressive innovations over previous consoles. The latter boasts a more advanced Kinect camera, which allows families to control the TV and games with gestures and voice commands. The new camera can pick up the gamer’s heart rate and the slightest movements of the hand, and can even render console owners in full 3D.
Meanwhile, PlayStation 4’s new controller features a touchpad interface, and gamers will be able to upload videos of their games to YouTube simply by pressing a button. Fans who also own the portable PlayStation Vita machine will be able to stream games from the PS4 and play them on the handheld, so that other members of the family can use the television set.
Post By Mantiosh Pal