The first real video game console war was detailed expertly in one of my favorite non-fiction books, aptly titled “Console Wars” by Blake J. Harris. It’s a story of drama, suspense, and even intrigue, and shows how Nintendo eventually bested SEGA to knock the rival company out of the console game. There are funny parts about how SEGA built Sonic the Hedgehog from scratch to compete with Mario (Sonic originally had fangs, a guitar and a busty girlfriend), and intense moments like when SEGA realized the Saturn was doomed once they understood Nintendo had the 64 on the horizon with the original PlayStation not far behind.
This latest console war, PS4 vs. Xbox One, started out in a way that seemed like it had the same high stakes. No gamer will likely soon forget E3 2013 where Sony announced that not only was there no question that the PS4 would play used games (something Microsoft seemed poised to abandon), but the system would debut for $400, a full $100 less than the Kinect-connected Xbox One. The crowd not only went wild, but it set the PS4 up to dominate the Xbox One in sales for over a year and a half to date. Though both consoles have been performing well compared to their predecessors, Sony and Microsoft had a real war on their hands as the Xbox One had to slowly reshape itself into a more attractive console by reversing many of its core decisions. Someone could practically write a book about that someday (paging Harris).