October is here and the holiday most associated with the month is of course Halloween. Tough luck Columbus Day. It’s a month where people look forward to being scared. Whether it be at a cineplex or a haunted house, October for many comes with thrills and chills. Yet, no game company wants to look at its receipts or reputation and find something horrific looking back. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft would much prefer the treat over the trick to the classic Halloween slogan. But let’s take a moment to imagine a scary October scenario for each company and its fans.
Nintendo- Another month goes by without a NX reveal or news from the company
This particular scenario is scarier for Nintendo fans, than the company itself. While rumors about Nintendo’s next hardware seem to be in abundance, concrete details from the company itself remain lacking. For a system supposedly launching in March of next year, info is horrifically sparse. Gamers still have no idea what the console looks like, how much it will cost, when it will release, or if it will indeed be the widely speculated hybrid device rumors suggest.
October is not over and there is still time for Nintendo fans salivating to see it unveiled this month. With the disappointing sales success of the Wii U, it is understandable the company wants to get everything right when it finally peels back the curtain. Yet, each week and month that goes by without any new NX news from Nintendo, I can’t help but wonder if that March launch date will turn into a summer or even fall 2017 release. To eager Nintendo fans ready to get their hands on the console, that is a scary thought indeed.
Sony- Disappointing Sales/Reception to PSVR
The future depicted in pop culture is a future that often comes up short. Where’s my flying cars or hoverboards? Yet, one concept often predicted appears to finally be taking flight in the gaming space with virtual reality. Sony is launching PSVR this month, making an early investment in the intriguing hardware. PSVR has many things working in its favor. The solid (if not spectacular) launch lineup, the large PS4 install base, and the cheaper price compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. They have also been setting up demo stations around the country to sell gamers on the experience and I’ve seen their Taco Bell promotion commercial a number of times these last few weeks. Early pre-orders got off to a hot start and the hardware is launching at an optimum time before the holiday shopping season.
Yet, there is still doubt the device and VR as a whole is ready to be embraced by gamers and the populace as a whole. Some gamers see it as an expensive gimmick that is releasing with glorified tech demos which will quickly lose novelty. Others are reminded about how the Kinect or PS Move were supposed to transform gaming in new ways, only to transform into dust collectors of unfulfilled potential. While there are many big developers supporting PSVR, there is always the possibility if the device doesn’t get off to a running start of sales slow to a crawl over the coming months, they will become hesitant to continue that investment.
Then there is also the possibility that the full potential will never be reached for PSVR, at least not this iteration. Leaving gamers with a lot of similar and mediocre experiences for their costly peripheral. The problems of locomotion, motion sickness, skepticism, and marketing are all things Sony must work to overcome. For Sony as a company diving into VR early, nothing could be scarier than the PSVR meeting the same fate as the PS Move.
Microsoft- Momentum Halted, PS4 Outsells Xbox One in October
While the September NPD numbers haven’t been released yet, Microsoft has been on a winning streak lately. The Xbox One has outsold the PS4 in July & August and while it most likely will never catch up with the PS4 this console cycle, building positive momentum is always a good thing. The company has worked hard to reverse its fortune since the rocky reception it initially made. The Xbox One S was released recently to mostly positive reviews, the Xbox Scorpio is intriguing to many gamers, and once again it can be argued the Xbox One has a stronger holiday lineup of exclusive games compared to the PS4.
Forza Horizon 3 was released at the end of September and Gears of War 4 is making its big return this month. Meanwhile The Last Guardian originally supposed to come out this month was pushed back to December. Not that the game had any chance of outselling GOW4, but its delay does take a piece off the chessboard so to speak. With two big titles releasing closely to each other, and no major Sony exclusives this month (not counting PSVR games), it would seem all the momentum is in Microsoft’s favor.
While the company losing the month in hardware sales is hardly a nightmarish outcome, it still wouldn’t be the treat Microsoft would hope for. Like an eager kid on Halloween night ringing the doorbell with thoughts of King Size Snickers and Reeses Butter Cups, only to leave with his/her bag filled with apples and dental floss.
Darius Purse is a Senior Writer at MONG and if you want to talk Games, TV, or MMA feel free to follow him on Twitter.