Readers make the counterintuitive argument that competition is bad for your health video games Take Sony and Nintendo as examples.
I mostly play games on PC nintendo switch I wasn’t really interested, so what’s going on at microsoft And their attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. It kind of sucks to see a wealthy company buy their way to success like this, but that’s life and I’m pretty sure Sony would have done the exact same thing if they had the money. So there is no moral height here.
But what piqued my interest was the following discussion: Xbox Fans argued that Sony suggested that more competition would be good for them and for gaming in general (which Microsoft probably did in court, too). At first glance, this seems like a very simple truism, but the more I think about it, the more it seems plain wrong.
First of all, it only makes sense in the sense that Sony is somehow resting on its laurels and becoming creatively complacent. A quick look on Metacritic reveals that their games have been of surprisingly high quality over the years. The only complaint fans have is that Spend all your money on live service games… which they probably wouldn’t do if Microsoft hadn’t strangled them.
Rather than improving anything, the new competition with Microsoft seems to encourage Sony to do the opposite of what fans want: just try to compete. For example, it would create an obligation to attempt to clone Call of Duty in preparation for the day when Microsoft would make it an Xbox exclusive, but again, I suspect fans don’t want Sony to waste their time.
At least in the gaming industry, competition doesn’t provoke innovation, it provokes panic and conservatism. Sony is happy to know that its dominance provides quite a safety net if some game or hardware idea doesn’t work out, so it won’t be free to innovate and do whatever it wants. If you have your back against the wall, it’s the opposite, and you have to focus on pushing out solid strikes without taking risks.
If you prefer a neutral example, consider Nintendo, which has been around since the early days of gaming. They’ve had their ups and downs, but all of their best work has come from being in a dominant position to lead the industry, and their worst was when they were under pressure trying to play against Microsoft and Sony in their own games.
A lot of questions have been asked lately about whether Nintendo is a direct competitor to Microsoft or Sony, but I don’t think so. Clearly, they’re in the same industry, but neither of their rivals make anything alike, either in terms of hardware or software. Nintendo has essentially no direct competitors, yet it continues to make some of the most acclaimed games of the last decade, and everyone loves the Switch.
No company is perfect, but Nintendo doesn’t have a particularly bad anti-consumer policy and certainly isn’t afraid to change because of more direct competition. I would argue that Nintendo and Sony’s games and hardware are so good precisely because they haven’t had any real competition for so long.
Compare the Wii and Switch to the GameCube era, when Nintendo had generally good third-party support (including Call Of Duty). It was a complete disaster and completely changed direction with the Wii. Otherwise there are risks involved.
In theory, it doesn’t seem right for any company to become too dominant, but in video games…every time it happens, it benefits customers rather than harming them. The conclusion I’ve come to from all this is that the Microsoft acquisition would do the exact opposite of what they’ve been claiming, leading to worse, less innovative games from Sony. It may be a boon for Xbox, but it will never be a boon for PlayStation owners.
From reader Amchor
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/07/22/if-competition-is-good-for-video-games-how-do-you-explain-nintendo-19172537/ If competition is good for video games, how would you describe Nintendo?