Very few people will disagree that Microsoft hit a home run in the 7th Generation with the XBox 360. Sony did manage to fight back to a stalemate with the Playstation 3 but is was a constant uphill struggle as Microsoft had the early installed user base, better hardware, best versions of cross platform games, and a more mature online network.
With this is mind it still baffles how they come out the gate this time round and floundered so badly from the beginning. The main issue was out the gate the new XBox One was less powerful and more expensive than the competing Playstation 4. They also took to the stage to announce the console with a highly restricted DRM scheme for digital downloads that had fans of the platform screaming from the rooftops and Sony famously lampooning within hours.
Despite fixing all these issues pretty quickly Microsoft have not recovered from this false start. They dropped the DRM restrictions instantly. Sorted out the price by eventually dropping prerequisite camera. And improved the power differential with a revised One S model. Alas it was all too little too late as given the time Sony managed to secure their position.
From May 2016’s Uncharted 4 on wards Sony have been consolidating their position by hitting the ball out of the park with quality exclusive following quality exclusive while Microsoft where hitting the headlines with cancellations and mediocre review scores.
Like Sony’s earlier Playstation 4 Pro, Microsoft had been planning a mid-generation enhanced model for a long time. And this enhanced model gave Microsoft the chance to correct just about every defect in the original XBox One hardware. Coming a year after the PS4Pro Microsoft have secured the top spot with the most powerful system of the 8th Generation and the place for multi-platform titles.
Microsoft have also changed their focus and messaging surrounding XBox and have been improving their offerings around backwards compatibility and cross-generational game support. In doing so they’ve come up with a premium offering that sits well next to the original Playstation 4 model and gives the best entry path in to the transition to the 9th Generation and 4K gaming.