Sony, Microsoft, and the Living Room


Paul Miller for The Verge:

The battle for the living room in 2006 was fought over Blu-ray and HD-DVD, and Sony won. Then there were streaming services, and Sony won that too. The PS3 is now the world’s defacto Blu-ray player, the number one Netflix device, it has NFL games (if you can afford them), a mature video service, and supports your 3D TV. But after decades of ruling the living room, Sony seems to be having trouble seeing what the next step is.

John’s line was that we live “80% of our lives outside the home,” as an excuse for Sony pinning its hopes to the Vita, the PlayStation Mobile platform, and Xperia phones. But most of us have already figured out how to keep ourselves entertained outside the home — here’s a hint: it doesn’t involve Sony products — and now we’re ready to bring those experiences back to the living room. 2012’s definition of home entertainment is “integration,” not exclusivity.

Despite being utterly bereft of Internet access, Paul’s article provides remarkably cutting insight into the ongoing conflict for living room dominance. Highlighting E3’s increasing tendency to pander toward the media market, Paul embosses the disparate methodologies of the gaming giants, ultimately showing Microsoft to have adopted the best strategy.

Having watched each of the three keynotes, I enjoyed Sony’s — particularly Jack Tretton’s easy going demeanor — but I found the vast majority of the presentation to move far too slowly. Lacking any truly revolutionary announcements for the product line, Mr. Tretton’s speech stood in stark contrast to the multi-faceted, high-profile, media-centric Microsoft keynote from earlier in the day.

As I’ve written many times in the past, Microsoft is doing a great many things very well, and I’m certainly excited to watch its progress in the coming months. With far-reaching rebranding, Windows 8, Smart Glass, a renewed push for Windows Phone, and all manner of further surprises, I tend to think that 2012 is shaping up to be an endlessly exciting year for the Redmond-based company.

Perhaps that’s somewhat against the grain, but I’m an enormous proponent of healthy competition. In this instance, for the first time in decades, it’s Microsoft that’s offering the most compelling, innovative movements outside of Apple.