Wednesday 22 May 2013

At Least The D-Pad/Triggers Look the Part

And so here we are, on the brink of a new generation of games consoles, hell, we even know what one of them looks like.  How exciting...

The PS4 was sort of revealed back in February.  The demos looked shiny and the console seems to be built for gamers with developers having a hand in the architecture to make the creative process easier than it was with the notoriously hard to program for PS3.  It was a bit of a soft launch, we still haven't seen the device but there was lots to be positive about.  Online streaming, a share button, a new touch pad on the controller and a new EyeToy in the box.  On the downside it's not exactly clear when Europe will see the machine and there may still be a block on used games although Sony have been pretty quiet on this so far.

The Xbox One was launched yesterday.  It looks a bit like a Panasonic PVR from three years ago and will come with Kinect in every box.  Primarily Microsoft are selling it as a complete entertainment device, focusing way more than is healthy on what it can do for television than on gaming.  And there's the rub.  Sure the gesture and voice control looked great but I'm still not sure I want to speak to my games console (I'll avoid speaking to people outside of work most of the time).  But the TV stuff, the deal with the NFL and multi-tasking stuff seems to be aimed at a pretty narrow, if dominant, market.  The frat boys.  And I mean that in the most general way, there's plenty of frat boy equivalents in every market.  The lock on used games doesn't impact on me at all and in many ways I welcome the change, the industry clearly had to do something to get game revenue to the right people, but it is going to piss off a massive swathe of the gaming community.

The demos, for both machines were lacking, at E3, particularly with Nintendo not even showing up, both companies need to do a lot to convince the masses that either machine is worth a punt on.  Most people will go for one over the other, arguments will rage across the internet for years between the faithful but there will also be lots of gamers who end up with both bits of kit eventually.  For the current generation there isn't much between them.  Graphically the PS3 is the better machine, when pushed by an exclusive such as Ni No Kuni or the Uncharted series, but the Xbox 360 has the edge with this generations key titles, the shooters.  It simply has a better controller for that kind of game, even with its ropey d-pad.  Lots of developers built their games for the 360 then ported them over to the PS3 leading to the superior machine ending up with an inferior version of lots of the product.  There have been exceptions to that rule (Final Fantasy games etc) but generally multi-platform titles have not been good for Sony.  I have a feeling that may flip this time around.

If you want to find it there's plenty of negativity about both machines all over the internet but brilliantly the d-pad on the Xbox looks to have been sorted and the triggers on Sony's iconic controller look the part.  It's all we ever wanted from our buttons.  Now I want my mind blown by software.  Go.

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