Impressions of the Consoles of E3: Or, A Year of Living Safely
Much of what might be a “Next Generation” hardware discussion has already been done in our Games thread. It was actually a discussion that I wanted to avoid because it so easily degenerates into a fanboy yelling match. We don’t do much of that here, but it was still something I didn’t want to risk. On the other hand, one of the great things about discussing issues is that it forces a person to examine their arguments and motives for taking a particular stance on something. Mine all became crystal clear to me over the course of the past 3 weeks and I have summarized them at the bottom of this post. They are there for those who haven’t read them, and so that those who have, don’t have to read them again.
Just last week, Penny arcade, with whom I have almost always been in complete agreement since their Halo “review” in 2001, blasted MS and the Xbox One in their comic and blog. Also, it would appear that developers for “Indies” like DayZ, not just Indies like Awesomenauts or FEZ, are apparently considering the PS4 but not the One as a platform on which to hawk their wares.
I know that Zos and Grymmie have already pre-ordered their Xbox One. For the rest of us, however, the next gen hardware purchase (and preceding decision) is not just months, but perhaps even over a year away. This means that we get a chance to sit back and watch the companies follow-through on, or break, their promises, and then finally purchase when there is a game we just have to have (e.g., The Division – which, by the way will not scratch the itch for DayZ as the PvP happens only in the Dark Zones).
So, I am taking a step back.
Currently, the party chat system, the controller, and the UI are much better on the 360 than on the PS3, and those are reasons I would want to stick with Microsoft. Yet, while I don’t trust Sony, a year after launch these three concerns will either be addressed, or they won’t. I won’t have to trust that Sony will deliver on these issues, or worse, that they will at some time in the future turn 180 degrees on policies they have established (as they did with their Linux support for the PS3).
While basically all the things for which people say the PS4 is beating the Bone are irrelevant to me, Kinect, pricing, and region locking are not. Region locking has become an even greater barrier for me now than it was a couple of years ago. I can no longer transfer points to my secondary accounts, and things like the Gears 1 maps and the free Fable 3 during E3 are completely locked out, even from the website work around. Furthermore, there is every indication that MS will increase the intensity of the region blocking and it may very well be that I can’t even play The Division on the Xbox One with y’all anyway. I mean, let’s be just speak frankly here. If it weren’t for the things that Microsoft is doing well (like Party Chat etc.), there would be no denying that they stand in direct opposition to everything that is free and not evil. This past month they made public policies that just three years ago would have had them laughed and scorned out of E3 with flying tomatoes and eggs pelting them in the back as they ran away. Without the soft and shiny fur coat of Party Chat and a comfortable controller, Microsoft is frickin’ Sauron, Blofled, Cruella De Vil.
I am not saying Sony is any better, but I am going to take a step back and watch these two fight it out a bit before I choose sides.
As an aside, one of the ironies is that the publishers have been bitching and moaning for YEARS about used games, and now when MS decides to do everything in their Sauron-ic power to eliminate used games sales, the publishers speak out against them! (via same PA blog post) LMAO
My criteria for the next hardware purchase:
I need to play sitting in comfort with a comfortable controller, have instant, seamless, effortless voice access to my gang of friends regardless of what I or they are playing, and have access to the games I want to play, (regardless of how awesome any other given platform’s library might be).