Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thoughts on E3: PS4 or Xbox One?

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So, I've been watching E3 coverage pretty closely.  I'm not the biggest gamer there is, but I do like them, and I will be purchasing a next gen console...because I always do.  But which one?  That's the big question.

(Incidentally, it's crazy to me is that the PlayStation 3 came out 7 years ago.  For perspective on that, I was a senior in high school when it came out.  I've been out of college for two years now.  Yikes!)

When the last gen of consoles came out, I, like all of my friends, debated about which consoles looked best. I remember writing the Wii console off as a big dumb gimmick.  To me, the motion controller looked like it would be fun for about 30 minutes, and then get boring.  I finally got a Wii because my wife (then girlfriend) wanted one very badly.  Turns out, it was a REALLY GREAT...gimmick.  The funnest game for the Wii was the Wii Sports game that came with all of them.  There were a few games that lent themselves to the Wii controller better...but there was really no difference once the new and shiny wore off.

To me, it was between the Xbox 360 and the PS3.  They basically had the same games with a few exceptions (Xbox had Halo and PS3 had Uncharted), so it came down to features.  Both had high-def graphics, offered online things (including the ability to buy games online and download them).

However, while the PS3 had a Blu Ray drive built in, which meant it was the cheapest and best quality Blu-Ray player at the time, the Xbox could only play DVDs unless you bought their HDDVD drive extra.  HDDVD...yeah, remember those?  Like BetaMax or Laserdisc.  They're just...gone man.

So, yeah, PS3.  Not a Sony loyalist by any means.  Just the better purchase, IMHO.

Which one looks best this time?  Let's look at the specs.

·         Xbox One·         Playstation 4
·         499·         399
·         No backward compatibility·         No backward compatibility—but some sort of online service might allow you to access your PS3 games (and possibly much of the PSOne and PS2 library) online.
·         Must check into X-Box Live every 24 hours your you’ll be locked out of your games (meaning X-Box Live membership is required to play games)·         Games will come on Blu-Ray disc.
·         Game will come on Blu-Ray discs, but will be installed on your system like software—the discs are worthless afterward.·         Games do not require you to log in online to play the game.
·         Games can be traded to a friend one time only, and that friend must have been a friend on your X-Box Live account for 30 days prior.·         Game discs and be traded and sold as they have always been.
·         The X-Box Kinect device is always on, and it listens to you and monitors you. Technically, it’s supposedly only listening for the “X-Box on” command to turn it on.·         Region free games – you can buy and play your games from anywhere in the world.
·         The camera will remember your face, recognize you personally, and log into your X-Box account.·         Playstation Plus membership required to play the online aspects of games.
·         You have the option to trade your “used” games into a retailer…somehow…but presumably only an online retailer.·         Playstation will give 2 free games a month to Plus members.

I have lots of thoughts about the Xbox One's Kinect feature.  Like basically everyone else on the internet, I find it creepy.  See, I'm sure they're not actually monitoring you.  I'm sure they're telling the truth that they aren't gathering data, that they're not actually recording the data.  But the fact that the camera and microphone are always on leaves a ton of issues with hackers getting access to your cameras.  If you don't believe me, Google hackers accessing webcams and cellphones and you'll see the problem.  You can turn any internet connected camera or microphone into a spy device if you want, and the Xbox opens you up to that easily.

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In addition, the DRM aspect of Xbox is a pile of shit.  You don't really own your games anymore.  And Xbox is hardcore double-dipping with the price.  A minimum of $60 per game (probably $10 more), and then you have to pay for the Xbox Live membership to be able to play them.

With that said, I don't know much about the PS4's EyeToy either.  It will most definitely not be always on, the games don't require internet access to play, they're region free, they're DRM free, and the used games resale industry isn't going to tank--which means gamers that are hard up for cash won't have to worry about not being able to find games.

The controllers for the two consoles are largely unchanged.  I've always disliked the Xbox controller--too bulky.  Despite the layout being like the GameCube's (the greatest controller design EVER), it's always felt too beefy.

The PS4's controller is largely the same as well, which, unfortunately, means the left joystick is still down at the bottom where it doesn't belong.  However, the controllers have always been relatively small and light, so no big.

Sony did announce that they'll require a PlayStation Plus membership to play games online.  However, personally, I have only played games online 3 times since I've owned my PS3.  Attempted twice on Brutal Legends--it was buggy and my internet was too slow.  And I played the beta of the Uncharted 3 online release once.  It was a lot of fun. I played for, like, three hours.  I own Uncharted 3 now.  Never play online.  I just don't care.

That being said, I may look into a PS Plus membership anyway, since the benefits you get are pretty cool, including access to cloud storage saving, and a couple of free games each month.  That's pretty bad ass.  For $50 a year--the cost of a single discounted game from Walmart--I can get 24 games, and some of those games have been pretty high tier games.

There is, however, one more beef I have with Microsoft and Xbox.

That, in case you were wondering, was part of a demonstration at Microsoft's E3 event.

What that video shows is two people playing a fighting game--a man and a woman.  Basically, Xbox chose two people to play video games.  A guy--almost certainly one of the developers of the game, and a woman--who had clearly never played the game before.  See, then you get the "ha ha ha, girls can't play video games" cliche enforced...yay...

But as if that wasn't bad enough, the guy goes on to say, "Just hold still, it'll be over soon."

That, my friends, is a veiled rape joke.  Holy shit...are you kidding me?

On top of that, Microsoft didn't highlight any indie games, and none of the games featured at their panel featured female protagonists.  So...yeah...basically, I'm probably going PS4 this route.  Not because I'm a Sony fan boy (hardly) but the price is nice, there are a ton of awesome features and advantages for choosing their console, and most importantly, they demonstrated that they respect gamers of all types.  They featured a ton of indie games, a game with a female protagonist, AND they've let us keep the games as ours, in addition to the social media aspects that both companies are trying very hard to push.  While both systems are trying to become a bit more than just a gaming console, Sony kept the focus on the games, and on the gaming audience.

Sony, take all my monies.  All of them.

Next time, I'll talk about games that have caught my eye lately that I'm excited for (both on the PS3 and the PS4).