OPINION: Xbox’s Gamescom fight back. Is the console war back on?

If there’s one thing Sony can feel pleased about after Xbox’s pre-Gamescom announcements, is that it got it right in the first place.

Microsoft – the UK market leader remember – has spent the last two months reacting to PlayStation. Rather than going on the attack in the build-up to the next-generation, Xbox has been behaving defensively. Changing business policies about game ownership and indie support, correcting the hardware and, today, trying to do something about that price.

All in an effort to get back on level terms with Sony.

That’s why consumer publications like Edge have already dismissed Microsoft’s platform in favour of PS4.

The reality is that it was never that clear cut. But although Xbox 360 remains the market leading games console, the momentum does appear to be with Sony. This summer, PS3 has been outselling 360 each and every month in the UK. The Last of Us certainly played a part in that, but PlayStation has been generating a groundswell of goodwill since it announced PS4 in February.

Does this FIFA deal level the playing field between Xbox One and PS4? Well it certainly helps.

I remember attending an Xbox hands-on event after Sony’s E3 press conference. It was an unusual atmosphere, with Microsoft execs feeling subdued. Sony had delivered a knock-out blow and Xbox just rolled over. Today at Gamescom, it is showing a bit more fight.

430 for a console, FIFA and Kinect is a far more attractive proposition, and Xbox will certainly argue it is better value for money than its rival.

FIFA is a phenomenal brand. The biggest in Europe. In the UK over the last 12 months it has sold 3m units across the country. FIFA fans on the fence over which console to choose will have been won over.

Yet, whilst there are millions of consumers that will be attracted by the FIFA bundle, there will be just as many that will not be remotely interested.

The fact remains, you can buy a PS4 and any game you want for a lower price than Xbox One.

We are also only half-way through the pre-Gamescom events. Sony still has time to react. Perhaps a game bundle of its own? Or, as is more likely, an aggressive PlayStation Plus offer.

Xbox has finally shown some fight in the next-generation console battle. Now it’s PlayStation’s move.

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