Sony vs Microsoft – Productivity and Home Entertainment

The world of technology and gaming, arguably the 2 most exciting and dynamic industries in the world, both with the talent to create and capital to produce at a rapid rate. The interesting things about both the gaming and technology industries is that they both have the ability to function as a host and distributor for productive solutions (imagine the Kinect being used for physiotherapy or virtual teaching in eduction) but also entertainment content. 

Gaming and Tech are extremely synonymous, this is not just in their ability to generate large amounts of revenue but also the creative and engineering requirements they demand to play in the sectors. This has also opened up a large market of 3rd party developers for Sony and Microsoft in the gaming spaces, and now slowly drifting into the content space, call it re-imaging TV if you may like. Just like the mobile space, the one that builds the best hardware and platform gets to attract the best developers, which in turn gives your the best apps and games, which in turn has a massive impact on the experience of the device and platform. 

Microsoft has come a long way, it was never going to be easy for them to enter a space that was mainly dominated by Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, and other strong players. But their ability to transform Microsoft to productivity and entertainment platform (thanks to Steve Ballmer’s playful and eccentric energy) has been magical. It has taken them 19 years to dominate and be one of the leaders in gaming, which is crazy when you consider that they were purely a productivity business, granted gaming is big in PC, but what they have done with the XBOX is beautiful. From entering gaming as a console to completely being a full-blown entertainment platform. 

On the other hand, you have the Japanese giant Sony, what these guys have done in the entertainment industry is simply unrivaled. Beyond the PlayStation, Sony has played a key role in the development of the music industry, from revolutionizing the music industry with their Sony Walkman, to transforming how we view phones as devices we simply use to make phone calls. Steve Jobs was once quoted saying that “Apple is what Sony would have been if they had paid attention”. Long before the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes, Sony was the leader in music and movies, had their own set of devices (which Apple referenced) like the SonyWalk man and some of the most creative tech like the PSP Phone and their Xperia Music devices dine through clever a partnership with Ericsson. 

2006 seams like yesterday when Sony invented and introduced the media storage format Blu-Ray, and while Sony was in the format war with HD, they were also in an open war for sales with Microsoft’s XBOX 360.

The PlayStation 3 was revolutionary with Sony packing it up with all of its latest technology, from being the first to explore iOT through their home entertainment, PlayStation and the PlayStation Portable (PSP) which championed mobile gaming at the time. Microsoft did not hold back any blows, during the era, they started winning the game title war. With the likes of Halo exclusively being available on XBOX, it gave Microsoft the edge it needed. XBOX has gone from the cool new console in the block to re-defining home entertainment through XBOX Live and other great media and content partnerships. 

As we enter the new stages of gaming, productivity, and entertainment, one thing is getting clearer, cloud is a massive part of the next-generation productivity and gaming. 

Devices are getting sharper as they all individually learn what your interests are and what you enjoy the most (thanks to machine/deep learning), and customers are contextually served in all ends thanks to the power of the cloud and social media data, whether it’s for the good or bad, but data-driven product delivery is here to stay, so the deeper we get into their digital ecosystems, the deeper products get to understand what we do, how we do it, and ultimately why we do them. 

A few are as close as the likes of Microsoft and Sony to deeply understanding the customer’s needs and desires, by sitting in the middle of customers living rooms, to serving your favorite cameras, computers, software, and file-sharing tools, they are at the core of productivity and entertainment sessions. 

It will be interesting to see when interface moves from touch (to motion, VR, gesture or projected) to one that is as intuitive as touch to see what great products, content, and entertainment we will be getting.

Writer: Sizwe Cele