Apologies to outdoor walking enthusiasts who follow my blog and have absolutely no interest in gaming. Please skip this post which will most likely just sound like complete nerdy gadget babble (which of course it is).
So, now we’ve had both Sony and Microsoft’s announcements for their new consoles which will be launched later this year. A new generation of consoles is an exciting time, full of promise and hope. I just thought I’d write down where my head is at this stage and hopefully hear what your thoughts are. It’s all very well listening to journalists but I’m interested to hear what my friends think.
Where I’m at with the current generation.
Currently we have both a Xbox 360 and a PS3. It wasn’t a conscious decision to own both, we got the PS3 very late in this generation’s cycle for two reasons;
1) Playstation exclusives like Uncharted, Flower, and Journey that we’d heard a lot about and wanted to play.
2) Free online multiplayer without a monthly paid subscription.
Since plugging in the PS3 we haven’t turned on the Xbox. The main reason why? Free online multiplayer and 4 friends who also have Playstations. There are other reasons too. I prefer the interface and find it surprising that Sony have taken flack for it, for me it’s much more intuitive (and pleasing to the eye) than the current Xbox UI. The machine is also way quieter than our Xbox which has always sounded like a dying aeroplane engine. The controllers don’t require batteries which is a little thing but boy is it great. Lastly Sony, at the moment, seems to me to be more customer-orientated. It’s not, ‘pay a subscription or get nothing’ it’s, ‘pay a subscription to get more’ and that’s a completely different tone.
As an aside, what a generation we’ve had! I’ve never been as excited and into video games as I am now. Assassin’s Creed 2, Fable 3, Tomb Raider (2013 reboot), Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning, Borderlands 1 and 2. Some of my favourite games of all time and all in this generation.
How I’m feeling about the next-gen.
So yes, I’m a little bit of a Sony fangirl at the moment and I expect this has skewed my view but this is where I’m at.
Sony talked about supporting game developers and especially indie developers. Making it easier for them to code for the PS4 and to get their games to market. Horay! More of this please.
All of Microsoft’s TV talk completely missed the mark with me. Why would I choose to pay Microsoft (an Xbox Live subscription would be required) to turn my Xbox into the portal through which media gets into my home when I can access it without any additional cost via a laptop, set-top-box, or smart TV? If they want the Xbox One to be the only thing under the TV, replacing cable boxes and Apple TVs, then these features have to be subscription free. Xbox 360 online gamers are acclimatised to paying Microsoft a regular subscription but to me it’s just throwing money away.
Technically, on paper, the PS4 is a more powerful machine although Microsoft have apparently said some processing power could be off-loaded to the ‘cloud’. This probably won’t have any noticeable effect except on Playstation exclusives but still… vroom vroom.
The Xbox One’s Kinect microphone freaks me out. I know, I know. Every-time I sit in front of my laptop, like I am now, I’m sitting in front of a camera and microphone and connected to the internet BUT the thought of having an always-live internet-enabled microphone in my living room above the TV is creepy.
There’s been no definitive answer to the Xbox One’s rumoured ‘always-on’ requirement but a Microsoft representative has said that it’ll need to connect to the internet at least once a day. As a family who switches everything off at the plug when it’s not being used (to save on electricity and for fire-prevention) what happens if we leave it unplugged?
I love the promise of being able to start playing a game while it’s still downloading. If it works Sony have addressed a major frustration with the current generation of consoles.
Call of Duty with a dog. Even pulling a Molyneux won’t get me interested in that game, sorry.
And finally, perhaps the most important thing, that shiny bit on top of the Xbox is going to be a bitch to dust.
It looks like I’m pretty anti-Xbone! Didn’t realise how much so until I wrote it down. Sony haven’t addressed a lot of things that Microsoft have (DRM, paid subscription services, what the box will look like, etc.) so I do feel they’ve let Microsoft fall on the sword first. The more we know the more there is to dislike. If the PS4 requires a paid subscription for online multiplayer then my tune will definitely change.
Soon it’ll be E3 when Microsoft will be bringing their game face and Sony will get the last word. In the meantime, please tell me what you think…
IGN’s PS4 Xbox One comparison chart here
The Weekend Confirmed audio podcast, Xbox One episode here
Adam Sessler’s first impressions video and others from Rev3Games here