BELLEVUE: The CEO of PC gaming platform Steam, Gabe Newell, has indicated that of Holiday 2020’s new home consoles, he currently prefers the Xbox Series X to the PlayStation 5 – but “has no stake in the race.”
On vacation in New Zealand in March, Valve Corporation CEO Gabe Newell decided along with a group of family and friends to stay on there as the Covid-19 pandemic spread around the world, instead of returning to the USA.
Inspired by New Zealanders’ communal response to the pandemic, Newell and his fellow holidaymakers have now come up with “a way of saying thank you for the hospitality and generosity” shown to them.
He joined TV show “The Project NZ” to talk about the concert, dubbed We Heart Aotearoa or We Love Aotearoa (using the Maori name for New Zealand), and set for August 15 on Queen’s Wharf in Auckland, North Island.
There’ll be race car drivers, VR experiences, music and food for families in the afternoon, followed by a concert for 18s and over featuring Ladi6 and The Bad Seeds in the evening.
Invited to comment on a couple of tech and gaming matters, he said he thought Holiday 2020’s Xbox Series X would be better than the PlayStation 5.
Newell didn’t explain his reasoning further, merely restating his conclusion: “Because it is.”
Official hardware specifications indicate that the Xbox Series X will outpace the PlayStation 5 in every comparable area save for hard drive speeds.
Thanks to historical hardware consistencies, Xbox has also been talking up its large library of games compatible across Xbox Series X, the current Xbox One, and previous Xbox consoles.
Just as Sony did in June, Xbox is expected to unveil a second, less expensive unit, which should dovetail with its budget-conscious Xbox Games Pass subscription service and, potentially, cloud gaming solution xCloud.
Microsoft is also handling online server architecture for Sony’s xCloud equivalent, PlayStation Now.
Though Newell worked at Microsoft earlier in his career, he suggested that wasn’t influencing his outlook.
“I don’t have a stake in that [Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5] race. Obviously we [at Valve] do most of our development on personal computers.”
Though it’s likely that Newell will stick with a PC for his gaming, between PlayStation and Xbox, he said he would “definitely go with an Xbox.”
Should general consumer preferences follow those of Newell, it will be a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Xbox and Sony compared to this time in 2013, before the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Having successfully contained Covid-19 through a comprehensive lockdown system in place from the end of March to mid-May, New Zealand completely lifted social restrictions on June 8, 2020.