Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there are two key players, Xbox One and PS4, now vying to be number one in the next-gen gaming market. As an Xbox loyalist, times have been tough for us. PS4 has been winning round after round of this on-going debate, so much so that I sometimes wonder if I made the wrong purchase.
Right out of the gate, Xbox’s marketing team failed them, by not being clear on DRM, game/disc sharing policies, it’s always-on internet restrictions, and most recently, their resolution not running natively in 1080p on some of the most anticipated games. I can confidently say that the marketing team at Xbox failed given by how they’ve backtracked on their own stance, the recent shake up at Microsoft, as well as key players leaving for greener pastures literally months after all this bad PR in 2013. But despite it all, I still bought an XBox One on November 22, 2103.
Now my Xbox One sits up in my loft, collecting dust.
There’s simply nothing to play. They had some decent launch titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts, NBA2k14, and Assassins Creed: Black Flag. The heavily touted Ryse was a boring, button-mashing, albeit beautiful, spectacle. It was great for trailers, but not so much as a game you want to spend more than an hour with. Forza 5 was great by all accounts (I hate racing games so I didn’t play it) but Watch Dogs, probably the game I most wanted to play, was delayed by more than 6 months (Boy, that was depressing). Truth be told, I was bummed that I couldn’t play games like Killzone: Shadow Fall or the upcoming InFamous: Second Son. I understand why exclusives are important for console’s, it just sucks for the consumer. But whether you bought an Xbox One or a PS4, we’re all facing the same issue:
We’re all waiting for the truly next-gen games to come out. That’s the BIG payoff we’re all waiting for. This brings me to my main concern for Xbox One…
They’re not as focused on games as PS4. It’s obvious.
They built a good gaming machine by all accounts, but it was only a part of a whole for Microsoft. Sony clearly built their entire platform around games and gamers. Microsoft was more concerned with my family and my living room. Don’t get me wrong, the entertainment features on an Xbox One certainly enticed me to purchase one, but if you think that thing is going in my living room, you’re crazy. I don’t want my family watching TV or movies on it and hindering me from being able to play games. I think most half-serious gamers get a second TV for their machines so they can play and customize at will. So I think Microsoft was a bit misguided in assuming that my Xbox One would be the center of everyone’s living room. Maybe if I was a bachelor, but many of us “old” 30-year-olds are a little more grown up now, and we have to segregate our gaming from our day-to-day responsibilities.
In the end, we buy the machines to play games. Not to manage our lives. Games are what brought us all to the same table and they will keep us there as well.
I think Microsoft went too far focusing on their entertainment features and not enough on gaming. Their latest PR nightmare involves one of the most cutting-edge game developers, Hideo Kijoma, basically saying he prefers to develop for Playstation 4; suggesting that it’s a higher quality for games and gamers. What is terrifying for me is that he’s probably right. I want to play the best, most-beautiful, most cutting-edge games that are out there. That’s the real reason I fork over $500+ bucks.
You may be surprised to know that I was a PSX One and a PS2 owner back in the day. I loved Sony at a time when Nintendo 64 was ruling the day. I also never owned an original Xbox. So why did I make the switch from PS2 to XBox 360, instead of to a PS3? That’s right, games. Xbox 360 had better games, a better controller, and was easier to develop for than the PS3. How ironic that stories about PS4 being easier to develop for and the Xbox One not having the highest quality or focus on gaming are coming out now. It appears that Sony aggressively learned from their failures, while Microsoft made the classic business mistake of getting away from your core competencies and trying to expand into other things.
I’m not arguing that content creation, entertainment, inter-connectivity, and many of the features Microsoft is targeting are where things are going, generally. Things are heading that way, of course. But I’m arguing that the only reason I give a shit about any of that is if you have a good gaming machine first. For instance, you can’t tell me that allocating 3GB of RAM of your power to switching and Windows 8 doesn’t impact the gaming.
Overall, given the stories out there and the general sentiment, I think we have cause to be concerned about whether the future of gaming is brighter at Sony, than at Microsoft. It’s something I think about, as my Xbox One collects dust in my loft waiting for next-gen games to be released.