Xbox One vs. PS4: Microsoft’s Indie Scene, Exclusive Games and Console Sales—Can It Compete?

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By Gel Galang | December 5, 2013 5:05 PM EST

When it comes to the indie gaming scene, Sony's an immediate standout. It may be because of the PS4's constant campaign towards independent gaming ever since the first announcement in February or the fact that Sony has always been a household brand for promoting and loving independent games.

For the PS4 vs. Xbox One battle in terms of independent games, it's not a surprise that Sony takes the cake with the indies. Recently, however, it seems that Microsoft is going after Sony's established path, particularly for its Xbox One console with the ID@Xbox programme.

The Verge reports that this programme seems to be working to Microsoft's advantage, and the results of the efforts have been seen in the latest announcements of indie developers for Xbox One.

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Among the named developers are Vlambeer, Slightly Mad Studios, Comcept, Born Ready, Double Fine, Drinkbox, Team Colorblind, Signal Studios and Zeboyd Games, to name a few.

"We're working to make the program as accessible as possible. There're no fees to apply to the program, or to submit a game for certification, or to submit game updates," said Chris Charla of the ID@Xbox program to The Verge. In addition to this, Microsoft also provides two developer kits for registered developers, access to Xbox One add-on for Unity and special Xbox One Unity Pro licenses, all free of charge.

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Exclusives: Just Where is the Xbox One Now?

Speaking of independent games, some of Sony's exclusives are obviously independent games. But with the introduction of the new programme for indies on the Xbox One, some independent games that have been announced for the PS4 and other PlayStation devices are now coming to Microsoft.

OXM caught wind of two of these exclusives, one of them being Zeboyd's "Cosmic Star Heroine." Though it had been announced for the PS4 and PS Vita (and PC), "Cosmic Star Heroine" will now come under ID@Xbox for the Xbox One.

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Another title is Iron Galaxy's "Divekick," with the intention of putting the Kinect to good use. The game developer, Dave Lang, does have a good point on why they are participating in ID@Xbox with the title. "All developers care about is being able to make the games they want and get them into the hands of as many people as possible," Mr Lang stated.

Perhaps the bigger question here is how this new programme will affect the PS4. Considering that indie games is its main and defining strength, will Xbox One's movement in that direction take away from the PS4's appeal?

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The Numbers: How Microsoft Goes Head-to-Head With Sony's 2.1 Million

Another area that Microsoft is trying to go head-to-head with Sony on is the number of next-gen consoles to date. While both the Xbox One and the PS4 have reported breaking the 1 million mark of consoles sold in 24 hours, the PS4 immediately pushed the numbers even more after its second launch date on Nov 29.

Because of this, Sony welcomed the month of December with a PS4 global sales update post on the PlayStation Blog, announcing that, after rolling out to 32 countries, it has achieved 2.1 million PS4 sales---basically doubling what it has achieved in the first launch.

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Microsoft's response to this for the Xbox One, however, is more abstract in terms of its numbers. In a recent post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft has given an interesting picture of the gamers' activities and time spent while playing with the Xbox One, rather than the actual number of gamers who did them.

Featuring its key games, Microsoft gives a quick infographic with the details. For instance, 3 billion zombies have been killed in "Dead Rising 3." Gamers have also driven 90 million miles in "Forza Motorsport 5." Over 186 enemies have been defeated in "Ryse." More than 150 million combos have been achieved in "Killer Instinct." And there are over 415 million Gamerscore Points achieved.

"We are seeing incredible usage from our engaged fans who have purchased Xbox One with more than 50 million hours spent on Xbox One games and entertainment," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP for Strategy and Marketing for Xbox.

Obviously, these are not concrete numbers to continue battle with the PS4, but it does show how popular the featured games for the Xbox One console are.

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