Posts Tagged ‘sony’

Microsoft – Opening Up The Gaming Network

March 24, 2016

microsoftIn the last few weeks MS has announced that it will open up it’s gaming network to other platforms, with a stealthy nod towards Sony and the PS4.

This would mean that subject to a game developer deciding to go down this route, you would be able to play say a PC gamer from your Xbox One.  Also in what was thought to be a ‘never going to happen’ scenario there is the possibility to allow Xbox One gamers to play PS4 owners, that is if Sony decided to take up this offer from MS.
xbox-live-1

I am not a tecnical guru and my knowledge is limited however I have a number of concerns with this proposal which I will detail below:

PC gamers can have an advantage through mods;
PC gamers have always been known to mod games with some even creating whole new games based upon an original game’s engine (DayZ for instance).  However the issue comes with games such as first person shooters as the PC world is plagued by servers full of PC gamers who have modded their game with things such as aim bots, disruptors to others connections, etc.  It doesn’t appear as if this issue has ever been fully resolved on the PC so how do MS propse they will prevent this on the open network?

Varying performance of platforms causing an unfair advantage.
Even if the PC gamer is more saintly than mother Teresa they may have an advantage simply by the speed their rig can display images on screen.  For example lets take the fast paced world of Call of Duty.  If a PC gamer has a top of the range rig, they may see an enemy just a split second sooner thus giving them  the upper hand.  Again how do MS propose to prevent this, or is this down to the game developers?

Is it opening the Xbox world up to more risks of attack?
As we have seen over recent years Xbox Live has probably been the most secure of the gaming networks, however even that has come under attack a few times.  Will opening up the network perhaps leave us Xbox gamers open to more risk, such as when the PSN network gets attacked yet again.  Does it make it easier for attackers to carry out a multi network hit at the same time?
psn-logo

Finally do we want to play with other networks in the first place?
It may be just my personal opinion but I feel there is a subtle difference between the type of Xbox and Playstation gamer, I feel that the Playstation gamers particularly on Call of Duty are often younger and more vocal (what I call squeakers).   As someone in my 30s I don’t want to have to mute half a lobby just because the network has been opened up.

MS has already mentioned that cross network play will be optional to the user, so you will be able to specify that you only want to play with Xbox gamers, however some of the above risks would still be applicable.

I am sure this is not a decision MS has taken lightly and I am sure in time they will publiclly address these and many other concerns, but for the time being it just makes me a little nervous.

Next Gen Console – Why I Have Finally Settled on the Xbox One.

September 16, 2013

Let me start this blog by making it clear, I am an Xbox fanboy, I have owned a PS1 and 2 but my last few years have been spent with Microsoft.

I have spent the last few months agonising over which console I would be going for.  I did a large amount of reading on both consoles and a couple of months back I would have said I am going to get a Playstation.  This decision at the time was purely based upon the rumour that the Playstation was going to be more powerful, the cheaper price and the fact that more of my friends would be going for the Playstation.microsoft-xbox-one

However, a few months on and I have made my decision and actually pre-ordered the Xbox One.  The reason for this complete 180 is down to a number of reasons which I will go into below.

1.  Price – The Playstation is cheaper however if you purchase the Sony camera to go with the console, thus taking advantage of the tech, the prices are almost identical.  This however is not as good as the Xbox One Kinect camera and also not being a mandatory part of the console also means that it will follow the way of the Kinect and thus games using it will be limited as developers are not going to waste money on camera development if only a small percentage of the gamers have it.

2.  The specifications of both consoles are now much closer, particularly since the Xbox’s recent upgrade in GPU means that there is not a significant advantage to go with the Playstation.

3.  Despite my friends being likely to get the Playstation I have found that the fact I play in the same room as my wife watches TV means that I rarely talk to players and therefore playing against friends is such a rare occurrence it cannot justify a console purchase.

4.  Microsoft appear to be listening to their customer base.  At the original launch of the Xbox One, things could not have gone worse, Sony took advantage of that and took as many shots at Microsoft as they could.  They had good reason too, the used game policy, the always online although not major concerns to me were seen as a major issue by many.  However Microsoft (no matter what the reason) quickly did a u-turn on these decisions.  Therefore I feel more comfortable knowing that Microsoft will make further improvements as time progresses.

5.  Perhaps the biggest reason I made my final decision was due to the games.  With both consoles being very similar with regards to specs, Microsoft development is slightly easier as most developers will be programming on windows systems, therefore making the transition between PC and Xbox ports much easier.  I have also found that many of the PlayStation exclusives are directed at the Japanese market, ie anime style games which just isn’t for me,I realise this is not all they offer but it contributes to my feelings on this.  Also the exclusive titles, earlier releases etc on Xbox are more my style of games.  Do not get me wrong, games such as ‘The Last of Us’ on Playstation looked amazing but I felt that these games that actually grabbed my attention on Playstation 3 were few and far between, therefore my decision has been led by the type of games already being shown for the Xbox.  Also the massive server investment Microsoft has invested in the Xbox looks to provide a better gaming experience, yes Playstation are also making a large investment in this area, but in comparison they are a few years behind on this and therefore it will take some time for them to match the power house behind the Xbox One.

6.  It is only now, with the PS4 that Sony are focusing much more RAM on the operating system, I have heard many complaints from Playstation gamers regarding slow friends lists, etc on the PS3.  Xbox had this mastered in the 360 and this looks to continue into the next gen.

So this is why after month of boring my friends on Facebook I made the decision to stick with Xbox.  The discussions will, as with the current generation continue for many years as to which console is best, but I am going to remain an Xbox fanboy for the next 7 years at least.

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.

Next Gen Consoles – Thoughts So Far! Part 2

June 13, 2013

Well after a few days of E3 there has been a ton of announcements and news around the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  Many of which are starting to make me confused and concerned as a current Xbox fan boy.

xbox one vs ps4

Sony has by far come out on top of the initial bout of “my console is better than yours”.  I have owned PlayStations in the  past but have had an Xbox360 for the last decade.  The major blow came as Sony announced their console price is £80 cheaper in the UK than the Xbox One.  I really want to stay with Xbox but with so far no backward compatibility for hardware confirmed there is no apparent reason to remain loyal to Xbox.

It has already been confirmed that neither system will play last gen discs.  But what about my existing controllers and headsets?  It has already been noted that the controller ‘s connectors are different but will there be adaptors available?

The cheaper price for the PlayStation also means non hard-core gamer friends are likely to go for this cheaper option.

The Xbox has come under much fire for it’s pre owned game policy and it’s connection policy which is a concern for  many.  At this point in time I have to admit I am starting to lean towards joining the PlayStation nation however there is a lot of time for Xbox to regain my loyalty.

As far as I understand Xbox will be better for online gaming with it’s 300k server system, it will also have many useful Kinect features, previously wasted due to developers not bothering due to not all owners having Kinect.

But Xbox need  to make consumers unlike myself, who do not have time to read every detail of the specs and news, see why it is worth the extra cash for what a casual gamer sees as a similar system to the PlayStation.

Xbox does seem to have a better launch line up but to casual gamers it probably won’t be enough.

Round one to Sony, bring on round 2.

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!

The Next Gen Consoles – The Good The Bad and The Fun!

October 1, 2008

I have recently acquired an Xbox 360 console, which made me realise that my gadget addiction is really quite bad as bar the PS3, I have owned at some point all of the current generation of consoles!

I am by no means a rich man so I have always sold on the console before getting the next one.  Below I list my personal opinions on each of the devices from the handhelds to the consoles.

I have always been a PC game fan, mainly as my parents never allowed me to get a games console as they wanted it to be educational as well as fun.  Maybe it was this ban that made me the addict I am today.  I have to admit upon analysing the fact that I have owned most of the latest generation of consoles that I must be easily bored, quickly losing interest with each console and moving on to the next.  I have however owned each of them for a fairly long time which I feel gives me a good grounding for commenting on the positives and negatives.

The first of the latest consoles I owned was the Sony PSP.  This was a fairly pricey machine, but it was upon seeing a friend play Virtua Tennis on it that I was hooked and had to have one.  Much eBay selling later I had enough cash to buy one.

The PSP is an amazing piece of kit, with video, games and music however there were a number of issues I had with the device.  Firstly the price, for a handheld console it was very pricey (at the time £180).  My second issue was that for a handheld console it was pretty big.  However, the device had an excellent screen, plush colours, film and games looked realy good and the games were as good, if not better than the actual PS2 console.  The reason however that I decided a year later to get rid of the machine was just that the machine didn’t have the games to make it a great device.  This may have since changed but at the time I felt that the games whilst stunning, were not much fun.

My next acquisition was the Nintendo DS, after selling my PSP this was  gaming device that was completely different.  The graphics are no where near as good as the PSP but the games I felt were just a lot more fun.  The device was also a lot cheaper at nearly half the price.  So on a comparison between these two devices you have to consider what you want from the machine;

If you want an MP3 player, video player and amazing graphics then obviously the PSP is for you, but just watch out for the price tag.  However if you want a device purely for games (and now training games) then the DS is definitely a cheaper and more fun option.

I then on the basis of how fun the DS was and from much recommendation from work mates purchased a Nintendo Wii.  This is an amazing piece of kit and in comparison at the time, a lot cheaper.  This has since changed but I will mention that later.  Nintendo in the latest generation of console went for innovative instead of the costly high powered option which currently appears to have been a wise decision.  Whlst not as powerful, I find the Wii has very good graphics and the games are amazing fun.  I would however state that I have found this machine only coming out when friends are over.  I am not entirely sure of my reasons but as a one player machine I just do not find it a great deal of fun and the controller is somewhat of a novelty when playing serious games.  As a party device tough this is by far the best machine I could recommend.  Family and friends who were never, or would never have considered themselves to be gamers really found the device fun, and any machine that can get my Dad wanting to play to all hours on Christmas day must be something special.  With four controllers it is a huge amount of fun, seeing friends and family frantically pointing and shaking their controllers is a site to behold.  As I said though as a one player machine I feel you would soon lose interest, as I did and therefore you will need to have friends over often or a partner to get the full use out of it.  The wii also has the great download system so you can download games from your childhood which are still amazingly fun today.

The final console I have owned is the Xbox360.  Now this machine never really appealed to me in the early days as I had a PC for gaming and the price tag was just too much for me to consider.  This however has changed, with the price dropping for the Arcade version to £129 it started to become a possibilty for me.  Whilst I cannot compare to the PS3 I can only say that the few friends I know who have played both state that the PS3 is far too over priced and isn’t a lot better.  The main incentive for me to buy this machine was the fact I was selling my pc, I was no longer able to play Fifa and so wanted a system to play PC equivalent graphics.  So with the price drop I quickly shifted some items on eBay and raised the cash for the console.  Now I have only owned this machine for a week but I can give the following opinion.  This is a gamers machine, not really a social machine for when friends come over but it does have a lot of positives.  Firstly this machine has HD graphics, you will need an HD TV to benefit from this but it needs to be seen to be believed.  Games such as Grand Theft Auto are absolutely amazing, to have seen every evolution of this series from the first jump from 2D to 3D to the latest incarnation is amazing.  This game is so rich in detail, from the graphics to the gameplay, it has to be seen to be believed.

There are however some negatives to the Xbox, firstly is the Microsoft online system Xbox Live, whilst I have heard many great things about the service my issue is why should I have to pay for an online service to be able to play my friends when Nintendo and PC games provide this for free?  So paying to play your mates seems a bit expensive to me.  Another downfall to this service is whilst it provides the ability to download demos and previews and also full games, the Arcade version of the console does not have a hard drive and so you do not have the space to save any downloads.  Therefore if you have the Arcade version you will be paying £40 a year just to be able to play other people online which is too much.

Anyway, from what I have seen so far from this machine I am very impressed and hope to continue to be impressed.

 

To summarise I would say each of the machines are for the following people:

PSP – People who travel a lot, want games, music and video and also have a big wallet.

DS – For people who travel a lot and just want something fun to play as they travel, with a slightly smaller wallet.

Wii – For people who regularly enjoy having friends over for laughs on a whole new control system.

Xbox360- For the serious gamer, who appreciates the level of detail and style this machine provides (watch out for the online cost though).