Posts Tagged ‘gen’

Microsoft and the Xbox One – The War Isn’t Over Yet

August 27, 2013

blogLet me start this blog by making it clear that no matter how hard I try this blog will be a little biased as I am undeniably a bit of a Xbox fanboy.  However give me some credit as I have owned a PS1 & 2 and I am also trying my best to stay unbiased.

So over the last few months I have driven my wife, my friends and work colleagues mad with my thoughts on the next gen consoles.

Just a month ago I would have stated that I was well and truely now in the Playstation camp, almost certain I was going to pre order a PS4.  However a month on and that has all changed (yet again).

After the initial Xbox One launch I like many others thought this is ridiculous, how can they not allow indie games, or the sale of preowned games etc.  I also was strongly swayed by the number of friends (real life) who have always been and have stated will still be Playstation.

I had to agree with them, after the initial Xbox One launch, some of the messages coming from Microsoft HQ and the followiing comi-con annoucnments there wasn’t a lot to be excited about.  Microsoft also had made themselves look like money hungry fat cats.

In hindsight I can’t actually remember why I was drawn to the Playstation other than more of my friends would be on it and that it was much cheaper.  I am not a fan of the controller and the exclusives that appeal to me are few and far between.  Many of the Playstaion exclusives are often Anime/Japanese style games which do not appeal to me.

However in the last couple of weeks, particularly after gamescom in Germany I have started to swing my allegiance back towards the Xbox (all be it not fully).  My reasons for this change of heart are due to a number of reasons which I list below:
ps4-rhombox-cropped

The extra £80 on the Xbox is really caused by the inclusion of Kinect, whilst not a huge fan, I did like some of the functions of the v1 Kinect and so wouldn’t mind it being made a staple part of the Xbox, thus making it more worth while for developers to include Kinect functionality in their games.  I have since read on various websites that the PS4 would benefit from the use of their own camera for many functions and this itself would cost currently £50.  Firstly this would bring the cost of the PS4 within just £30 of the Xbox but without the full backing of developers as it is not necessarily going to be on every machine their game is played on.

Now mainly due to my friends all being Playstation fanboys I was desperately trying to find reasons to be excited by the PS4, however I could only find a few items (even on the Official Playstation magazine website) that even warranted a second look.  According to many sources (however yet to be proven) the PS4 is supposedly more powerful, Microsoft have tried to blind people with jargon to argue this case but nothing is yet concrete proof.  Microsoft say that their 500,000 server data centre will compensate for this slightly lower power, but surely this is dependent upon your internet connection?

They also state that the PS4 will be much faster than the PS3 for multi-functioning as they have allocated a large percentage of the RAM to background processing thus making friends list access quick amongst other things.  This however when judged against what is commonly reported as a very slow background processing PS3, which many claim is why the 360 won the current gen war makes you have hesitation about any real excitement by this announcement.

So the reasons for my swing back to Xbox has been caused by the following factors:microsoft-xbox-one

The launch game exclusives on Xbox One have taken my interest much more, perhaps it is because they are more western developed games but games such as Forza, the exclusives for FIFA and Battlefield all have taken my interest.

Microsoft seems to be listening to feedback and have quickly U-turned on many of their original decisions, this makes me think of Microsoft no longer as a corporate fat cat (which I know they are) but of a company that actually listens to the fans.  They have always seemed to listen to feedback and have kept their Gold service running very smoothly over the years I have owned a 360.  This would appear to be continuing into the next gen with the massive data centre investment and all of the new functionality to be available at launch.

I am however, contrary to popular belief no fool, and will not take any reports as concrete evidence at this stage.  I am going to, as hard as it is, wait until both consoles have launched and wait for the consumer/independent reviewer feedback.

Until the consoles are both in the hands of the gamers we cannot be sure of anything, only time will tell.

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Next Gen Consoles – Thoughts So Far – Part1

May 24, 2013

xbox one vs ps4

Let me start this post by making the statement, I am currently an Xbox360 user.

I have not played on a PS3 but many of my friends own one and in my opinion there is little difference between the consoles bar the PS3 Blu-Ray.  There will always be the fanboy wars over which is best but in general it is just down to personal preference.  I chose Xbox360 after owning a PS1 and PS2 as it was cheaper.  I also prefer the controller as I am not having to stretch my left thumb to the analogue stick, but as I stated before, this is just my personal preference.

Over the past couple of months both Sony and Microsoft have made major announcements about their next gen consoles, both presentations (as I presume they planned) presented more questions than answers.

Now both consoles have very similar specs and the varying combinations of RAM type and CPU/APU pretty much makes it a level playing field as far as you can tell at this stage.  The real test will come when the consoles are in the users hands, or more importantly the independent reviewers hands.

However I am guessing the actual games are going to be very similar, I cannot see publishers spending huge amounts of time making one version of a game significantly better than another.  There are of course the exclusives but it really depends on the type of games you are into.  Xbox may have the advantage of being more similar to a PC operating system and therefore easier to port from PC (which most developers use) to Xbox.  But this probably won’t have any impact as they rarely release a game on one console before the others.

Overall I was more impressed with the Xbox One presentation, from the limited game snippets we saw, there does not appear to be much difference between the two consoles when  it comes to gaming, yes this is what the main purpose of the console is for despite all of the new functionality.  Partly due to the similar specs and partly because we cannot assume anything we have seen is genuine, often previews are pre-rendered making them look even better than they actually are.

microsoft-xbox-one

The Xbox presentation was better for me purely because  they showed the improvements from current gen and also they numerous new features.  Sony however spent much time talking about the social side of the system, I have never found the need to let a friend take over a game for me as once completed I cannot say that I completed it if a friend had to help me.  Sony spent much of their focus  talking about the social aspects and with the (in my opinion) fatal marketing error of only showing the controller,  I completely lost interest.

That is not to say I was amazed by the Xbox presentation, whilst I must admit I probably am an Xbox fanboy, I did find some of the presentation a little underwhelming.  For example, Kinect 2.0, whilst much improved on the current system, I rarely get the chance to use it as you cannot have other things going on in the room or others talking whilst you use it, therefore with my current setup I only really get to use it whilst my wife and I watch films or when she is not in the room.  This leads on to the new TV functionality, whilst it is pretty amazing, I cannot imagine many households where the Xbox would be connected to the main TV.  If you are a single person living alone then this functionality is pretty impressive however many families, couples would have the Xbox connected to a different TV to allow others to watch TV whilst others play games.  Therefore impressive but not a major consideration for someone like myself.

Also the ability to use multiple applications together, again impressive but just how much would we use it?  I am not so sure as I very rarely use internet explorer on my Xbox as it just isn’t as user-friendly as on my laptop.  However the ability to leave a game and come back to where you left off is pretty cool, especially if the speed of switching is as impressive as the presentation.

Dual-Shock-4_contentfullwidthThere are still a number of ongoing debates regarding pre-owned games, Xbox has given some information none of which is particularly clear, however it does seem that games will have to be installed (as currently on PS3) and each game will be registered to a user profile, so no lending games to your friends without a fee.  This is however all guess work and without Sony making any announcements yet I am sure it is a strategic waiting game between both companies as to exactly what will happen as whichever makes a wrong move will knock their own market share to disastrous levels.

No prices or release dates have been announced so it is now just a waiting game whilst we sift through the numerous rumours and snippets of information out there.  Roll on E3 where hopefully many of the outstanding questions will be answered, although I am not holding my breath!

UPDATE 25th May 2013
Since publishing my post yesterday I have watched Woody’s Gamertag on YouTube who raised some more concerns. Will our existing accessories work on the new console? Allegedly the Xbox has a new connection on the controller so does this mean our headsets will need to be replaced? I have a new set of Turtle Beach XP 500s and I can’t afford to replace these yet again! I am hoping that they bring out a new connector which would be far cheaper than a completely new headset. The theory behind this change is so Microsoft can take a cut of any accessories for the new Xbox as the connection is proprietary to them. Alternatively they may be looking to only allow some companies to produce items for the console which wouldn’t be good news for consumers as competition would be all but eliminated.

Another concern raised in the video was privacy. If the console can be always online could hackers switch on the Kinect’s camera without your knowledge? I am sure these questions will be answered in time but for now it is definitely food for thought!