2013 was a huge year for the market. Even the launch of the biggest entertainment product of all time will forever be overshadowed by the year’s biggest moments: the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One.
After a drawn-out eight-year stint with the Xbox 360 and PS3, Microsoft and Sony finally lifted the lid on their next-gen machines. Sony kicked off proceedings with its PS4 reveal conference in February, while Microsoft followed in May.
What came next was a war between the platform holders in the fight for next-gen supremacy.
E3 and Gamescom served as the battleground as both firms showed off their shiny new machines. Microsoft was seemingly on the back foot throughout much of the year as it moved to make changes to its console as a direct result of the backlash from consumers.
Sony basked in the changes made by Microsoft to the Xbox One. From the removal of its pre-owned restrictions to the scrapping of its always-online internet connection, PlayStation used the U-turns to fuel the campaign for its own PS4 – a tactic that certainly won over gamers.
But come November all bets were off and the consoles launched to hungry consumers. In the UK, Xbox shifted almost 150,000 units in 48 hours, while PS4 went further by shifting 250,000.
Both machines are now sold out, although Sony is doing a slightly better job of resupplying stores. And the media response was extensive, leading to many stories and articles on the strength of video games.
PlayStation CEO Andrew House said: “When two consoles of this scale come to market almost simultaneously, it seems to have put video gaming back into the entertainment mainstream and back into people’s conversation.”
But it wasn’t all positive news. The hype and excitement behind the new consoles had an impact on the sales of current gen titles. Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are amongst the big names that suffered sales declines year-on-year, as fans saved up or held off for the next-gen versions.
And although sales are starting to recover, they are unlikely to match the performance of their predecessors. Yet, with some big new IP and a huge install base already, the likes of Activision, Ubisoft and EA can feel confident in 2014.