My Thoughts On The Next-Gen Consoles

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The year 2013 has been monumental to gamers around the world. This year we have been lucky enough to be a part of the announcement’s for the next generation of gaming consoles. On top of that we got to experience what the next generation has in store for us as far as games go at E3. Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 have been turning heads all over the internet, in both good and bad ways. I must say this year the console wars have grown exponentially, separating gamers and causing some hateful words to be thrown around.  People are picking sides now more than ever, whereas in the past many people (including myself) preferred to stay in the middle enjoying both big time consoles equally. This great divide has caused a lot of uproar, in this post I plan on describing that uproar from my point of view as well as share my thoughts on each console/company.

Microsoft: Xbox One

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Alright, let’s clear the air here once and for all: I do not hate the Xbox One. I don’t even hate Microsoft. Hate is a very strong word, I choose to use ‘dislike’ or ‘disagree with’ more often. For years now I have found Microsoft (commonly referred to as M$) to be a greedy, bloodthirsty company for various reason, most of which stem from the Xbox Live service. For 5 years now I have been paying $60/year for an Xbox Live Gold membership, and what do I get out of that $60? The ability to play games online and talk to my friends. Oh, I can also watch Netflix and experience other apps too. Really? It’s kind of a rip off.  I mean, I’m already paying a monthly fee for Netflix, why should I pay a yearly fee just to watch it? This is one of the main reasons I dislike Microsoft and their console service tactics. Until recently players got nothing in return for their subscription to Gold, it basically just unlocks the ability to use the internet, which I also pay a monthly fee for. See where I am going with this? Luckily enough, Microsoft will soon be offering up two free games a month to Gold member. For me though, it’s too little too late.

Gold subscription aside, the company as a whole is out for top dollar rather than to make the consumer truly happy. When the Xbox One was first announced it was advertised as more of an addition to cable/DVR than as a gaming platform, which may be cool if you watch TV but since I don’t I’m out of luck. They said they would show the games at E3 though, and that made sense, so I sat in wait of game announcements for the Xbox One. Shortly before E3 Microsoft released some of the consoles features to the public including a mandatory connection to the internet every 24-hours for a “check in” to play games, an always on Kinect, and massive used game/DRM restrictions. These were a huge turn off for a ton of people and caused fans some fans to freak out while others (like myself) were simply disappointed.

Let me break it down, as far as my thoughts go:

  • Online check-in? Stupid. Sure, I am always connected to the internet already, so it wouldn’t really be an issue for me, but it’s the principle of the thing that bothers me. Why do I need to be checked in on via the internet to play my games? What if my internet goes out (which is does often since I have Charter) and I can’t play games? It’s a lot of ‘what if’s’ but honestly, I think it was a bad idea to begin with.
  • Always on Kinect? Great, now I have to actually worry about changing in my room because of that thing. And let’s talk about the elephant in the room: what if the Kinect system gets hacked? Now possibly the world will get to watch me undress… Awkward. Regardless, I already don’t want a Kinect for the 360 so having it be mandatory for the console is not cool. Also a bad idea.
  • Used game/DRM restrictions? I have nothing wrong with DRM and restrictions, but come on. We have to be on each other’s friends list for 30 days before I can share a game with a friend? That is some serious BS. I only buy new, I never buy used, and I feel like if I buy a new game and go out of my way to pay full price and give my money to the company making the game then I should be able to share said game with my friends. End of story. Yet another bad idea.
The Xbox One was recently nicknamed "Xbox 180" after the full turn around.

The Xbox One was recently nicknamed “Xbox 180” after the full turn around.

Just recently Microsoft announced that they are doing away with those online check-ins and the used game hoopla. I cannot fault them for listening to their consumers and making choices that benefit us, the gamer, but I must say that I find it odd. For over a month Microsoft stood by their policies saying that these things are what the console is built around and that this is the way of the future. Pretty much everything short of “get over it” was said in defense of their original policies and now they are saying “We’re sorry!” and I just don’t buy it. Maybe I’m too skeptical, but I just have this feeling that this flip-flop was only done for the short-term to please consumers. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in a year or so Microsoft implemented these things back into the Xbox One. For me, it’s honestly one of two things (or both, I guess):

  1. Microsoft is really changing themselves and trying to benefit the consumer. This prospect is neat and all, but think of it realistically – it’s pretty much a political flip-flop. If this is the case then they lied when they said they were backing their original policies 100%. If they are so willing to drop these core values for profit then what does that say of them? I saw this analogy used and thought it was clever: If someone walked up to you and punched you in the face then saw your pained reaction and said sorry, would you forgive them?
  2. They are playing us all. Microsoft is dropping their odd policies for the time being in order to make people happy enough to buy the Xbox One with plans of re-implementing them later on down the line. Think of it this way: why not? In time, people will already have the console and will have already spent the money, so why not just put these policies back in place? Who would it hurt? Not them, really. They will have already made the money. It’s just a theory, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case.
Not my sentiments exactly, but you can see the internet dislikes the Xbox One as well, albeit more verbally than myself.

Not my sentiments exactly, but you can see the internet seems to dislike the Xbox One too…

Either way, I am still disappointed. Maybe one day in the future I will pick up an Xbox One, but not after a good period of time. It’s obvious that Microsoft still needs to sort themselves out as they are a mess right now. For now I will still refuse to give my money to such a greedy company. It’s the same reason why I don’t buy games I don’t agree with or used games: we vote with our dollars and if I don’t agree with a console or company then they will not be getting my hard-earned money. To be honest the Xbox One exclusive games announced at E3 didn’t blow me away, either. One or two of them looked interesting, but nothing I can’t live without. We will see what comes of this debacle in time, but as for now I am staying away from Microsoft and the Xbox One.

Sony: PlayStation 4

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I have a lot less to say about the PlayStation 4, simply because I say more when I dislike something than when I like something. I like Sony’s approach to the whole next generation situation. It’s professional and appeasing to the consumers. They have stated that they want the PlayStation 4 (or PS4) to be focused on the players and the developers. That the console is meant for gaming first and apps/TV second, if at all. Basically that we the gamers are more important to them than mindless zombies forced into buying something to give them a fat paycheck. It may be just be good PR in some people’s opinion but regardless I am happy with it. I appreciate that I am being considered first and that developers will have more freedoms with this console, which benefits everyone in the long run. One of the most impressive pieces was actually the focus on indie game development on this console. Indie games are very important to the industry and I love playing them, so I think that it’s pretty neat to have more of them on console, namely on the PS4.

The PS4 will require a paid subscription for online play, unlike the PlayStation 3, but gamers can also play single player games offline. A constant connection to the internet is not required to play games. The paid subscription will remain PlayStation Plus (PS+), as has already been implemented on the PlayStation 3. This service, in my opinion, is the best out there. PS+ members get free games, massive discounts, early access to betas/demos, automatic updates, and much more. It’s totally worth the $60 yearly fee and to prove that point I have an example: Awhile back they put the Sleeping Dogs game bundle up for free for PS+ members – A $50 value. Then, a few weeks later, they put Deus Ex: Human Revolution up for free to members which was a $20 value, so just two games in the span of about a month paid for my subscription and then some. Every week there are new discounts and games too, so there is a lot of variety and chanced to get in on the deals.

Sony said from the start that they themselves will not implement DRM restrictions to their consumers and that DRM was up to the game publishers. This is how it should be. If a publisher wishes to have DRM restrictions on games (like online passes and whatnot) then that’s up to them. No company should make that choice for them or for us. It’s really the only fair way to go about the DRM issue. I mean publishers have the right to DRM (obviously, it’s their game) and we have the right to choose not to buy the game if the restriction is too much for us. Sony just allows the platform to be used for games, all the other nonsense is left to the publishers. It’s simple, it’s fair, and it makes sense. Like I said before, I am not against DRM at all unless it directly hinders the game or my wallet. End of story.

Sonymeme

All in all, I plan on going all in with the PS4 when it comes to the next generation. I already have my launch edition console pre-ordered and I’m ready to go. My gaming focus for next generation will be on the PS4 and the PC, maybe with a side of Wii U. I appreciate Sony’s marketing strategy and the price of their console ($4o0) and plan on reestablishing my roots in Sony consoles. It’s refreshing to see such a positive approach to gaming.

Nintendo: Wii U

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Oh, Wii U. What can I say? Every since the Wii was released, I have somewhat despised Nintendo. I mentioned it before in another post, but basically Nintendo broke my heart. They shifted away from fun, creative games to focus on motion control gimmicks and rehashed Mario games, released annually. I loved the NES and the SNES, and I still have my N64, but I just feel like Nintendo isn’t even trying anymore. I’ve recently had a change of heart though and have considered getting a Wii U at some point down the road. I can’t deny that a part of me has always wanted a Wii/Wii U because that is the only place to play the Legend of Zelda series, which my blog is so aptly named for.

I don’t really know what sparked this change of heart, but I’m rolling with it. Nintendo may still disappoint me most of the time, but if they can impress me some of the time I will be happy. The console is pretty cheap now, anyway, so it’s not a huge expense to enjoy a few fun games.

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Well, that’s a wrap. Thanks for reading though my thoughts and opinions! I really hope this cleared up some of the bad air surrounding comment’s I have made verbally, through my blog, or on Twitter. If not, well then read it again. There have been some misunderstandings and condescending comments made, so I just want everyone to truly understand where I am coming from. Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed reading this, see you next time!

9 thoughts on “My Thoughts On The Next-Gen Consoles

  1. Good article, tho I disagree with quite a few things. But i’ll only comment on one I think all gamers need to realize. A business is a business. There is no company out there that honestly truly cares about its customers, They live to make money and continue to cash in. They all want our income and some are just better at making people “believe” they care about them than others.
    Sony is only capitalizing on the mistakes Microsoft are making and the overblown hate on the internet. They are simply better with words, and all the people out there that truly believe they care about the “gamer” are sorely mistaken. They only care enough to say the right things and grab your wallet.

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    • I know that all company’s want money and I think most people in general understand what the point of a company is, but there are different ways of going about it that obviously prove to be more profitable…

      Sony may be capitalizing at this point in time, but you have to remember that they announced their console first. It’s not like they changed everything just to be better and get more attention or made the announcement to compete with what Microsoft’s policies are/were. Microsoft made this issues for themselves, there is no doubt about that and Sony shouldn’t be blamed simply because they are better off right now in the consumers eyes. Just saying…

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      • I’m not saying Sony should be blamed for anything, i’m saying a ton of gamers out there on Twitter and Comment sections simply say “Sony cares about the gamers!” and leave it at that. They only care enough to influence and grab you as a consumer. Yes, they’re saying the right things, i’m not taking that away from them, but people need to wake up.

        People are free to like what they like, but I wish the world would go about it with more intelligence. Also, Sony didn’t actually go into that much detail in that initial February reveal. They gave out just enough information to still hold things close to the chest and change how they may market or capitalize on the competition. It worked perfectly, but revealing first doesn’t mean they showed it all. They made sure they weren’t in a position to give or take to their consumers.

        I’ve explained the console reveals and the reactions at length on CC, but as i’ve said multiple times as well, it doesn’t actively effect me, I’ll grab both systems. Simply wishing “gamers” and the internet at large would see things for what they actually are. Not saying you aren’t, just an internet frustration.

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  2. I believe that Microsoft expected Sony to follow suit with their own brand of DRM. There were a lot of rumors circulating to support that theory. I’m sure Sony was considered it, despite what their PR guys say. Because at the end of the day they are a business aimed at making money.

    Of course Sony ended up flipping the script by saying a few choice words to stroke the ego of “core” gamers, who then used social networks to spread the word that Sony is good and Microsoft is evil. Sony’s PR was brilliant, putting emphasis on their “we care about gamers” message while sneaking in less popular policy changes like pay-to-play online.

    What choice did Microsoft have but to axe the DRM? Should they stick their head in the sand and watch as their brand crumbles before their product is even released?

    I’m getting the PS4 first, but it’s not because I think Sony cares about me. The PS4 has better hardware at a cheaper price. Both consoles have a list of interesting exclusives. Whether or not I think Sony will cuddle with me after sex is irrelevant.

    To put in succinctly, both companies wanted your money, they just had different approaches. Microsoft wanted to appeal to publishers, hoping that with a huge line-up of games, gamers would follow. Sony appealed to gamers, hoping that with a huge install base, publishers/games would follow. Neither company’s goal was altruistic.

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    • I agree, I think that things have been so close with the two of these companies thus far that MS expected Sony to do similar things and when Sony didn’t, it blew up in MS’s face. This would be a logical reason for the change of plans since it’s obvious they were all but dead in the water before. I mean, I know plenty of people who were previously exclusive Xbox fans who are now switching over to the PS4 or PC, or just staying with the 360 for now.

      The PS4 hardware is better for sure, and I personally like the exclusives much more than those of the X1 as well. Regardless of PR, company politics, or choosing sides I simply prefer what the PS4 is offering compared to what the X1 is offering. I think that if the X1’s focus on television and family entertainment wasn’t so strong I may consider one down the road. Not that either of those are bad necessarily, but they don’t do a darn thing for me. I don’t watch TV and I play games alone in my room most of the time. I’m also the only gamer in household. Like I said, I have been sort of against MS for awhile now for various reasons and this whole thing isn’t doing them any favors, in my mind.

      Sony may not actually care, but they at least took the time to pretend which is much better than nothing at all. MS made it clear that they don’t want their new console to appeal to only the gamer demographic, they want it to appeal to a much broader audience I think that in itself is awesome for the general public, but not for me. I mean, I’m a gamer. Plain and simple. I want a console that doesn’t have these side focuses on things like TV and sports since those are things I don’t care about.

      It really all comes down to person preference at this point but I think more people need to be less cynical and look at the small picture for once. Who is playing to a large crowd and who is playing just to you? I feel like Sony’s approach is more personal and maybe that’s just what they wanted to do, maybe it isn’t. Not all companies are the same. Sure, they all want the same goal, but the way some of them achieve that goal is totally different.

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  3. Xbox gold is such a super rip-off. Since I’m not a FPS enthusiast, aside from a few titles, I;m a certified hater. And hey, what you brought up about the Kinect is super 1984. I’ll never get one. I’ve also heard that it scans your room for brand logos for targeted advertising O_O. Nintendo for life.

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    • Yea that has always been the problem with the Xbox/Xbox 360, if you aren’t into shooters there sin’t much for you there. Nintendo is making a comeback though with all this battling taking place over the Xbox One and PS4. 😀

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  4. I really think this entire thing was an issue in PR and marketing. Both systems will be great, both have great exclusive titles. Microsoft just made some mistakes along the way and Sony took advantage of that. They each have different attributes that I think are going to depend on what a person ultimately wants from a console.

    With that all being said, mistakes were made, and I’ll be getting the PS4 first (though I will eventually have to get the Xbox One as well)

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