I’m going to start this blog off in earnest with the hot topic of the moment in gaming circles. That is, the imminent release of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles, both due in November 2013 in the UK. Many, many print and digital columns have been dedicated to the pros and cons of each of the consoles. That said, and after reading a fair few of the information releases, I can say right now that I won’t be buying either for at least a while yet. I’ll say why, but I want to go over a few points and compare them as fairly as possible first.
Price & Value For Money:
For me, this is pretty important. Money doesn’t grow on trees, especially in tough economic times. So, upwards of £300 up front cost of a console means it had better be worth the cost.
Importantly, with these two consoles you have to consider the running charges. As it stands, out of the box the PS4 would cost you £349 whilst an Xbox One would cost you £429. An £80 difference, a fair amount, but it might be worthy of that if it was much better.
One point goes to the Xbox One because that has the Kinect camera included for that price, whereas the PS4 does not – which would cost another £50, but still leaving a £30 difference. Although, the choice is with you whether you buy the PS4 camera or not, as not many PS4 games won’t be using it and it doesn’t really take my fancy to have my console connecting me via video, so I probably would just skip the expense personally.
The trouble with this is that the Xbox One requires an Xbox Live Gold Subscription to work at all (they have back tracked on this a little, but its still pretty clear that Microsoft expect you to have Xbox Live with your Xbox One, otherwise it will be very minimal operating). The PS4 will also require a Playstation Network Plus subscription to work on online multiplayer. Those costs factored in equal another roughly £5 a month, so long as the price of the subscription doesn’t change.
So, overall, after one year the PS4 (if you wanted to play it online with a camera) would cost you around £450 whilst the Xbox One would cost you around £480. The difference between the two is that you choose whether to buy the subscription and camera for the Playstation 4, and I would probably skip the cost of both of those and play games offline, meaning that I would make over a £100 saving if I bought a PS4 instead of an Xbox One.
Now that’s a lot of money, so its a big commitment to buy either of these consoles. But, critically, are they worth it?
For me, what really counts is what games are coming out on the consoles. This is, at the end of the day, what makes the console a games console. Neither console will have backwards compatibility, so you really have to focus on the handful of games currently scheduled for the consoles for the coming months.
Big titles coming out on both consoles include Assassins Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch Dogs as well as a raft of the compulsory annual EA Sports offerings such as NFL 25. Frankly, none of these interest me very much. I’ve played all the Assassins Creeds and have found them to be getting progressively worse, and without getting in to a full blown explanation of why I would definitely recommend Zero Punctuation’s review of Assassins Creed III (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZimXBB3gUQ).
Watch Dogs interests me, but I’m reserving judgement until more gameplay is released. As it stands though, its look like Watch Dogs might fall foul of the same problem as the Assassins Creed franchise; that is their publisher Ubisoft. Essentially Ubisoft is in the business of making as much money as possible from an idea for a game, milking it for all its worth, adding gimmicks to make it make a little more money; thereby killing the idea totally.
I know all these games will sell massively, but I won’t be rushing out to get any. Part of me wonders whether Call of Duty and Battlefield will have massive sales because people want the game, or just because all the multiplayer players they play against will move to the newest version more than anything, which to me suggests that the game itself doesn’t matter all that much – and I suspect it will be the latter.
So the games don’t get my pulse racing. What about the exclusive games? The Xbox generally has the edge on this, with Forza Motorsport V, Ryse: Son Of Rome, a bunch of generic first person shooters primary of which is TitanFall (read Call of Duty: Modern Warfare part 2 for that) and, true to Microsoft form, a reported Halo reboot at some point against the PS4s Killzone reboot. None of these do much for me either, although the Xbox One exclusive Dead Rising 3 could potentially have me interested, but that said I feel that zombies have already been done to death (excuse the pun).
I have Forza IV, which I think is fantastic, but once you’ve played one you don’t really need another, the cars don’t go out of date all that quickly and it still plays as brilliantly as everyone has come to expect from Forza. As for Ryse: Son Of Rome, I’ve watched a lot of the publicity for it and have been decidedly underwhelmed, and the quick time event happy nature of the gameplay has put quite a lot of reviewers off before it’s even released. On the whole though the combat, although very fluid and nice to watch, doesn’t have quite the gravity to it that I was hoping for. If Ryse: Son Of Rome appealed to you as an idea I’d recommend Mount and Blade: Warband for PC instead (http://goo.gl/Mg4Niy). That’s a fantastic game and although the graphics aren’t amazing, the gameplay is the best I’ve ever played. Its an incredibly addicting game online as well, with a strong and loyal community of players who continually create new mods for the game to keep it fresh and exciting.
One PS4 exclusive which could be good is the steampunk inspired The Order: 1886, but there’s very little information as yet on that one to decide with. It certainly seems like keeping an eye on though.
All in all, the games on the new generation of consoles don’t do much for me. For the most part they’re reboots or the next in a series, which generally are starting to feel more like cash cows than games produced for their excellence. I was wanting some new ideas, some new groundbreaking games like the original Halo was for the original Xbox, and Ryse: Son Of Rome for the Xbox One had that potential. But, now that we’re closer to release date, it seems that neither console has pulled it out of the hat on the games.
As for the specs, expect the graphics and CPU to be pretty much the same. The CPUs are even made the same company, so the gameplay and feel will be pretty much exactly the same. Certain elements of the PS4 are significantly more powerful than the Xbox One’s equivalent, but it probably won’t make too much difference. Supposedly the graphics and gameplay will be 10 times better than their previous brother consoles, but we have yet to see enough evidence to see either way on that.
The Xbox One’s Kinect camera is certainly far better, as you would expect when it is central to the game experience unlike with the PS4, but this comes with certain disadvantages. The Kinect has voice recognition, which has never worked in the past and I’m sure won’t with this – plagued forever to be confused by anything other than the Queen’s English. Yet, the Xbox One has been developed with the idea that you will use the voice recognition to tell the console when you want to stop playing, save and then watch tv all with your voice. The thing with that though, is that it inevitably won’t work as it should. What it also means is that the console must be permanently on, permanently listening to you and permanently watching you. Big Brother eat your heart out – and it even looks like something straight out of 1984! So, whilst overall the specs don’t have much between them, the massive advantage of the Xbox One in the camera sector is actually its biggest downfall to me.
This blog post has been pretty massive, but I guess it had to to include all the different debates swirling around the immanent releases of the Xbox One and PS4.
As it stands I think both are expensive and lack any really groundbreaking games that make me want to play them. I won’t buy either, but if I had to I would buy the PS4. I appreciate the way the PS4 allows you to decide whether you want to purchase a camera and whether you want to play online at all. I also generally prefer the PS4’s games, I find the Xbox One’s exclusives too generic first person shooter-like, the type of games they make straight from the same mold of the old game and still sell like hot cakes.
Hopefully everything I’ve put down helps. Personally, I would rather put the money I’d spend on either of these consoles into upgrading my PC gaming equipment, but I know that’s not for everyone.
Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com