2013-06-20

E3: Xbox One vs. PS4 – Why I Don’t Want A PS4

by Yo Snyder

This review will focus on Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 but first a
little history.  I have never owned an Xbox of any
generation.  My ownership of the original next gen systems started
with a PlayStation, followed by PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.  I
have never been disappointed with this decision, and perhaps my only gripe has
been missing some titles such as Halo and Gears of War.  But,
Xboxers could have the same gripe over such titles as God of War.
 I have always seen reason to be disappointed with Xbox, from the
failed HD format to the failed hard drives (ah yes those three wonderful green
lights).  I also enjoyed free online play and never got how
MicroSoft could charge for online services.  To be fair, each has
some distinct advantages, for instance launch pricing of the Xbox360 or the
stability of online play for MS users.  Yes I will admit, those
months where PSN was down were hard, but hey, I got to beat some long ignored
offline games.  And I have experienced the now infamous YLOD
(Yellow Light of Death) 4 years into my PS3 life.  But overall, I
have always been loyal to PlayStation and never felt much regret in never owning
an Xbox system.

Enter 4th generation systems. 
Xbone (seems an appropriate abbreviation) and PS4.  Prior to
the big E3 shows, we had teasers of each.  If I could have summed up my impressions prior to E3, they would be the
following:

XBone – all in one system for your living room. 
Focusing on giving full gaming experience integrated with all
entertainment aspects you want when you sit down in front of your
electronics.

PS4 – focusing on community of gaming.  Share
experiences where you can upload game clips, share experiences real time in
games (could this be the first opportunity to ask a friend for real time help?).

At least that’s the impression I got from initial release
information.  What was presented at E3 seems decidedly
different.

Xbone at E3 – primary focus on gaming and titles, not much
technical content on the system itself.  This is a good idea,
certainly the core of any next gen system will be its game play and gaming
titles.  However, Xbone dropped some unexpected bombs, combined
with the Kinect, the next gen system will retail at $499.  Wow,
that was Sony’s mistake at launch of PS3, a big price point.  The
next few bombs were not so much as presented in Xbone’s release but in Sony’s
launch later the same day.  Xbone seems all about digital content
management.  You must log in and confirm digital rights every 24
hrs or your gameplay locks, both for online gaming and single player
gaming.  Some titles require additional online interactions to keep
online gaming open and functioning.  The big bomb, you can’t share
your games or resell your games except one time.  A lot of the
technical wow from early announcements was quickly lost in what seems to be a
disastrous launch strategy – high price point while managing digital
content.

PS4 at E3 – again a focus on gaming and titles. 
Like Xbone –they threw a bone (pun intended) to indy game developers and
gave them center stage for part of show.  PS4 seemed less focused
on exclusive titles (Xbone presented a number of very cool looking exclusive
titles) and more on exclusive content within such titles as Arkham Origins and
Assassins Creed 4.  I have to admit, a few Xbone exclusive titles
such as the new open world FPS cartoon stylized title from
 Insomniac Games – Sunset Overdrive, have me once again gripping,
but not so much that I will purchase my first Xbox system.  Once
Sony finished their run down of gaming titles and partnerships with media
content providers such as Redbox Streaming and Flickster, they got to their
system details and took direct aim at Xbone.  No digital content
management, if you want to play single player offline, you never need to go
online.  If you want to share discs, they are yours to share, sell,
resell, you name it.  You want a next gen system, how about
$399.  However, there is one announcement that does not have me
cheering, starting with PS4, though not explicit, is the requirement to have a
PlayStation Plus account for online gaming.  This is not a
requirement for online access to media partners, firmware updates, store
purchases, etc. but online multiplayer games will require plus access. 
Of course, they are pitching all the benefits of free games, exclusive
demos, etc.

Final thoughts, my stance as a diehard PlayStation user has not
changed.  At first, some of the Xbone titles and what appeared to
be their focus on a fully interactive living room entertainment center had me
intrigued.  Primarily because PS4’s focus on interactive gaming is
not my thing, I don’t care to load my game clips to Facebook, I don’t care to
share experiences beyond cooperative gameplay with other players. 
I will say, if the interactive features let me link up with a friend real
time to help them or have them help me through a tight spot on a game, I whole
heartedly support those interactions.  With that said, Xbone’s E3
announcements left me less than enthusiastic for their next gen system and far
more excited for PS4.  I am not planning to rush out release day
and purchase either system.  Like the previous two next gen
launches, I will patiently wait for the price point to fall and initial system
bugs to be worked out.  At least that is the plan for now, next gen
titles like Battlefront could have me change that stance.  How
about you?  Which system are you supporting at this point? 
Do you plan to purchase release day or wait?  Do any
specific titles entice you to line up release day for a next gen
system?