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PS5 DualSense proves that Sony is still the one to beat next gen

DualSense – another successful reveal for PS5 (pic: Sony)

A reader examines the social media response to the DualSense controller and what it says about Xbox’s chances of success in the next gen.

By now we’ve all seen the images of the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and how for once Sony has decided to change up the design of their joypad. It’s still not particularly revolutionary – colour it black, as many fans immediately decided to do, and it still looks very similar to the old design – but it immediately became the second most liked Instagram post in the history of gaming, right after the PlayStation 5 logo reveal.

Despite the PlayStation 5 logo being completely boring in itself it managed to get 5.37 million likes. As I write this the DualSense is on 4.5 million and will probably beat the logo in the end. By comparison the Xbox Series X reveal, which showed the actual console and not just a logo, only got 1.0 million likes.

I don’t intend for this feature to turn into another anti-Xbox kicking but given how gamers love shouting numbers at each other I think figures like this are far more telling than all the talk of teraflops and other technobabble. When it comes to mass market appeal and brand recognition PlayStation is miles ahead of Xbox and I’m not sure what Microsoft’s plan is to deal with that.

Clearly Xbox has lost a huge amount of ground this generation and the situation is even worse worldwide, as something like the Instagram posts is going to be heavily biased towards American and English-speaking fans, where the Xbox is most popular. To Japan the Xbox brand is irrelevant and even in mainland Europe it’s a three times loser compared to PlayStation.

What’s frustrating, as someone that has enjoyed a lot of what Microsoft has done for the industry, is the Xbox’s problems have always been the same and they’ve never really done anything about them. The design and marketing of the console is too aggressively American and so are the games it plays. The old ShooterBox complaint is still so common because it’s largely true, in terms of the exclusive games and the fact that it tends to miss out on a lot of Japanese titles.

Microsoft has had three, now four, generations to sort out this problem and yet even in its recent buying spree of developers not a single one wasn’t from either North America or the UK. Either they don’t understand the problem, which seems impossible, or for some reason they’ve just… given up? Which also doesn’t make much sense.

They’ve offered so little competition to Sony that that could end up being their greatest weapon: that Sony has been lulled into a false sense of security that they won’t now make a proper effort. There’s even some evidence that this is true, given how little Sony has revealed so far, their lack of attempt to make the tech spec livestream in anyway interesting for normal people, and backwards compatibility promises that are still well behind that of Xbox.

Game Pass and Project xCloud also seem likely to be far better than anything similar that Sony can offer. But just because a console is better on paper doesn’t mean it’s going to sell more. Just as we know that raw power has little to nothing to do with how successful a console is, the fact that dedicated gamers know Xbox has better services doesn’t necessarily mean ordinary people will know or care.

It’s tempting to say Microsoft should concentrate on better marketing and better exclusives, since these are the areas where Sony are currently dominating, but the truth is they have to do better at everything. They have to push the things they have an advantage in, like Game Pass and xCloud, but also do better at the things they’ve traditionally been bad at, as well as the things they just stopped doing at all this gen – like making exclusive games.

It’s a huge task and I have no idea whether they are going to be able to do it. But however they act in public, in private they need to understand that they are the underdog and well behind the pack leader. They are going to need to put on the fight of their life to make any headway in the next generation and I’ve yet to see any real evidence that they’re preparing for that.

By reader Copsical

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

MORE: PS5 DualSense controller gets fan art following and redesigned colours

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MORE: PS5 console designs based on DualSense controller are already being made by fans

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