The UK Twitter account for Xbox fired some shots at PS5 yesterday in one of the silliest ways possible because it’s 2020 and these are the console wars we deserve.
It all began after Sony released a tear-down video of the PS5 highlighting all of the next-gen console’s internal components. The first step in that process involved removing the plastic stand bolted onto the bottom of the PS5 that allows it to stand vertically. In other words to stand the PS5 on its side like you could with all of its predecessors, you need to spend a few seconds fiddling with a fastener.
That’s when whoever was running the Xbox UK Twitter account apparently saw their opening. “How to switch the Xbox Series X from vertical to horizontal,” the account wrote an hour after the PS5 video was posted. The tweet showed two photos of an Xbox Series X, one of it standing upright and one of it laid on its side, no stand in sight. Checkmate. The tweet has since been deleted, though the Xbox UK account hasn’t said why.
It was cringe-y, not because anyone should care about giant corporate brands taking swipes at one another on social media, but because of how much it reeked of desperation to manufacture something like the infamous “How to share games on PS4" moment from 2013 when the last set of consoles was about to launch.
At the time, Microsoft was announcing restrictions on how Xbox One owners would be able to share physical games with friends and family. In response, then head of Sony worldwide studios, Shuhei Yoshida, and then VP of developer relations, Adam Boyes, cut an incredibly brief how-to video for sharing games on PS4 where Yoshida simply handed one to Boyes. The apparently spontaneous gag was a big hit, garnering millions of views on YouTube in just a few days. A few days later, Microsoft reversed the Xbox One’s DRM policies.
Part of why that moment blew up was because console launches have a way of bringing out the aggressive and sometimes toxic zealotry within hardware fandoms. But part of it was because people actually care about sharing games with friends. Console stands ain’t that. Yes, it’s cool that you can remove the PS5's stand if you want. No, the Xbox Series X’s much smaller stand can’t be removed, even though you don’t need to in order to put it on its side. At the end of the day both of these consoles are huge and going to look like Eye of Sauron eye-sores in my living room. Then a few seconds later I remember one of the myriad crises currently facing humanity and forget all about it.