Friday, 28 June 2013

Will You Get A New Playstation Or An Xbox?

xbox-one-ps4
xbox-one-ps4 (Photo credit: NewGameNetwork)

Coup D'etat

Both Sony and Microsoft have made their opening moves in the battle for the next generation of gaming.
In the Playstation 4 versus Xbox One showdown at the E3 Convention, Sony made a real coup with their traditional stance on used/pre-owned games.
Will that be enough to sway gamers over to their camp, or is there more to this story?

Talking 'Bout My Generation

I have been a gamer for around 30 years and I have been an Xbox gamer since the early days on the original Xbox (funny, I can't call it "Xbox 1" any more, for fear of confusion!).
Previous to that, I had struggled for years trying to get my PC working with games.
I felt continual frustration with new games exceeding my hardware specs and upgrades exceeding the size of my wallet!

So I bought an Xbox and it was a real revelation to me:
Pop in the disk and it works.
Pop in another disk and it also works, and so on.

I moved on from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360 and this trend continued.
No need to worry about hardware and a simple on or off button when I needed it.
This is important when you have a family and don't have time for faffing about.

The only hiccups I had were with the infamous red ring of death (got a free replacement due to the extended warranty) and 2 games where the disk wouldn't load (which were replaced from the shop and then worked fine).

Making Kinections

English: Kinect sensor and Xbox 360 as shown a...
English: Kinect sensor and Xbox 360 as shown at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I even got a Kinect and have enjoyed the games in that.
I don't have a huge living room, but I have got it working and it's not as bad as I keep hearing around the 'net.
My only disappointment with Kinect is that they haven't done more with it in the time that it has been available before Kinect 2.0 comes out on the Xbox One.

That said, I love the concept of Kinect, and Kinect 2.0 looks potentially very exciting indeed.
I want to see more of everything: more Kinect only games and much more "hardcore" games enhanced in all kinds of ways by Kinect.

I'm Not An Xbox Fanboy, Honest!

So you can gather from the above that I like the Xbox and Xbox 360.
However, I can't say that I am a loyal Microsoft customer, or that I am an "Xbox Fanboy".
As things stand at the moment, I would have no compunction in defecting to Sony, or even to change to another form of gaming.
(Or maybe I will just stick with my 'legacy' system - but that's a subject for another time.)

Why?
The chief reason is Xbox Live.

I love the fact that my console is connected to Live and that my games get updated pretty much automatically.
I quite like the fact that I can view trailers and download game demos when I want to.
I don't play multiplayer games and don't have a 'Gold' subscription, because it costs money on top of what I have already spent on the console.

Now I know what some people are thinking: that a Gold subscription works out at a tiny amount each month.
Yes that's true, but with a limited budget to spend on games, the price gives me a simple choice:
  • playing online for a limited time
  • buying a complete new game I can keep
The latter wins out every time.

Something More Important Than Gold

An example of an xbox 360 case mod
An example of an xbox 360 case mod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But there's something even more important to me.
It's the fact that there is functionality hidden behind the Gold subscription that is free elsewhere or that I would effectively pay twice for!

Take the example of Netflix or Love Film.
I like the idea of using my Xbox as a multi-media device, where I can surf the web and stream or download movies.
(In fact, this is exactly how Microsoft are positioning the Xbox One, in a bid to take over your entire living room.)
However, those services already have a subscription fee, so why do I have to pay for Xbox Live Gold before I can access Netflix, which I may have already paid for?

Worse than that is the internet browsing.
I can happily browse the net for free from my PC, iPod, my wife's iPad and even my Panasonic Blu-Ray Recorder (albeit in a 'walled garden' kind of way).
Give me one good reason I should pay for the same service on the Xbox.

Sadly, it seems that more and more over time, Xbox Live Gold is becoming the only way to get full use out of the system.

The Deal Breaker?

With Microsoft pitching the Xbox One at £80 more than the Playstation 4, I have been given serious pause for thought.

I would love to see what Kinect 2.0 can do, but can I really justify spending that much on a console?
Yes, I know that Kinect is a big inclusion and they have to reflect that in the hardware costs.
But what will happen with Xbox Live Gold?
Will Microsoft still insist that I pay a subscription for Gold, when I have already paid for the hardware?
To my mind, Microsoft needs to choose whether to:
  1. ask more for the hardware and then charge less for Live (or even better, make it free), or
  2. subsidise the hardware to match Sony, or at least get very close to it.
The ideal scenario for me would be the latter option and if Microsoft still charge for Gold service, that it is limited to multiplayer online gaming.

The used games issue would have been a deal breaker for me and many other gamers, but they appear to have fixed that particular problem now.
However, there is still plenty of time for them to make or break the deal with their Live service as well.
Which way will they jump?

What would your solution be and what do you think Microsoft will really do?
Have your say in the comments!

**Update**
Well, both the consoles are here (for those who pre-ordered them anyway) and both are looking great in terms of the machines themselves.
The initial games line-up isn't that inspiring IMO - just the same old, same old, with updated graphics, as far as I can see.
Both seem to have lots of potential, but Microsoft appear to be going down the route I feared with their Live service.
These days, there is so much more at stake: it's not just the machines and the games, it's all the other integrations (and their cost) that will make or break the experience.
So ...I will continue to withhold judgement until we see what developers - and reviewers - make of it all!

If you are really keen and want to pre-order your next gen machine, or you're just curious to see what all the fuss is about, then look no further than these Amazon links:


Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment