Yesterday, we saw the initial release of the Xbox One and PS4. While Microsoft may have shot first, Sony may have shot best with it’s initial announcements.
Finally some questions that we have wanted answered are being answered and there are still some lingering doubts. To get straight to the point, Sony seems to be coming around full circle in what it wants to do for gamers. Go back to 1995 when the original PS was released; Sony was a newcomer to the scene and dominated the gaming generation. Microsoft released the Xbox and then challenged the PS2. This generation saw dominance by Nintendo’s Wii as Sony got off to a slow start by being a year late and 100 to 200 dollars more which allowed the X Box 360 to stay in 2nd for a majority of this generation making Sony play catch up. Now, as we look at the dawn of a new era, it looks like Sony has learned from some of its mistakes and the mistakes of its counterparts and looking to make the jump by introducing a good price point and very few restrictions to DRM and used games. It may be too early to call it a wrap but Sony fired some huge shots over Microsoft’s bow.
I stated a while back that part of what would be the deciding factor (for me anyway) would be cost and while many in one of my groups said games, it seems like the moment the price was mentioned, along everything else already mentioned, critics were quick to crown the PS4 a winner.
Sony has set the stage by taking all that Microsoft discussed went the opposite of what the X Box One can do. No draconican check ins, no huge focus on social media, on the flipside a huge focus on games but teh oinly small minus is it seems that PS+ is going to be required for multiplayer gaming.
Don’t get me wrong, I see the innovation that Microsoft is trying to do with the Xbox One but with what it;’s doing to consumers, it may wind up shooting itself in the foot. You would have thought that these past 8 years would have taught them lessons on how to make a console work just right with players but I could be wrong.
Not to say that Sony can’t do it but in order for Sony to stay up on Microsoft this generation at least at launch, a few things has to happen:
– a smooth launch. Sony’s system needs not to be ‘sold out’ within the 1st few hours. If the demand is there make sure that systems are available day one and when they do sell out make sure people won’t have to wait months to be able to get them. As we know, people will buy them and then flip them on ebay for all kinds of silly money but for people like me, let me just be able to get a system when I am ready.
– great games at launch. Always the bane of any system launch. What’s the sense of buying a new system when there are no games to play or the ones that you DO get you are finished within a week? In my opinion, launching a system near the holidays is a risk as we all know, most AAA games releases are pretty much done right before Thanksgiving and then there is this drought of new games until after February or March. If that’s going to be the case, then at least have anywhere between 10 to 20 games ready to go at launch and some before spring…in otherwords don’t pull a Wii U move.
– great 3rd party support. I think that goes without saying. Another dimension to that is also some great exclusives. I think that was why the latter part of this current generation was so stale was that there were not a lot of exclusives that gave gamers a reason not to own both consoles. If i can get it on one I could get it on the other. I t was just a matter of who was playing the most on which.
– good pricing. This is still the question mark right now. How much are games going to cost? $60 is still a pushing point for gamers and anything over that is going to hurt. A lot. Hopefully Sony and its partners stick to this price and who knows maybe even cheaper and keep money in consumer pockets.
– do away with accesories and gimmicks. The Wii was innovative because of the controls. Xbox tried to do the same with the Kinect and now I ask anyone reading to name at least 3 popular games using the Kinect. No? Ok what about 1? It’s ok, me neither and then the PS Move…well yeah ummm I got one but I can’t tell you the last time I used it. So, Sony…just stick to gaming and any accessories you do make, make them make sense. A steering wheel is cool, a gun is cool a whole new way to control a game? No.
– Vita Support. yes I am one of the few that does own and still play his Vita and I am hoping that Sony sticks with their Remote Play plan. It would be great to not always have to be in front of my TV to play a game and even though the Wii U accomplishes this to a degree, what the Vita can do if done right could be a game changer in answering the question of is handheld gaming dead. I don’t think it is and with the right games brought in for the Vita along with streaming support the Vita can dominate Nintendo’s DS.
Well, these are just some of my thoughts about the impending and long awaited console wars (again) and following this are some opinions about the announcements.
I’m not ready to call this a win for Sony. There are still people who aren’t bothered by the policy that Microsoft placed and those people are going to buy X boxes. Then there are those who will buy the ps4 or both if they are unsure how this will play out. Plus, this is how the crowd reacted to paying $60 a month for Xbox live. Now Sony is doing it as well. I’m not going to sit here and act like its not a big deal that Sony said that because they knocked it out the park last night. But I’ll be interested to see where we are around this time next year.
I think Sony delivered (thus far) exactly what gamers asked for, a return to the fundamentals of great console games. The new sharing features are a natural extension of our existing socially networked lives, it doesn’t seem like an afterthought but more a progression. Microsoft I think is trying to redefine the landscape too prematurely. I’m afraid it may cost them.
The announcements set the stage for a pretty lop sided Console War, or skirmish as it were. Right now, the tide is heavily in Sony’s favor. With the online play pay wall being the only negative [Because you know, people will always be people no matter what], they’ve just set the standard for a great generation of gaming. I wouldn’t count MS out of the water though. This is just the beginning. They can very well turn this around over the course of the next year.
From an architectural standpoint, both companies are going for mainstream technologies to reduce the cost in R&D and entice developers who should be familiar with the good’ole IA64 (e.g. x86). Next gen gaming is no longer about “gaming” but they are creating a one-size-fits-all entertainment concept that will change gaming forever. Things will never be the same.
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