Written by Matthew Feldman
Now that the next generation of console gaming has finally reached a majority of consumer shelves, it’s become quite clear that there are a variety of things that each next-gen console is offering that the other is not. However, when we decided to take a harder and more critical look at the next generation of gaming, we found some pretty cool, but also one universally disturbing series of facts. So before reading further, understand that this is simply opinion, not fact, and in the comments section, we encourage our readers to correct us if we’re wrong or if they have an opinion they’d like to offer up.
The Pros of the Next Generation Consoles
Let’s start with what seems to be everyone’s majority favorite; the Playstation 4. Currently, the PS4 is favored not only for some of the more exclusive content that it has, but also that from the day of launch, Sony announced that they would be producing patch updates so that their previous generation games could still be enjoyed on their newest product. The current retail price is 400.00 USD. Now you might be saying to yourself that it’s worth it. In a lot of ways, you would not exactly be wrong. The system also is capable of allowing a friend to not only give you in-game items without being in the game, but you do also get something else: Larger capacity for applications, and a network of its own that Sony itself owns. No different, in some ways, than the Microsoft Marketplace, or XBOX Live Marketplace for simplicity.
The Playstation 4 seems to be worth the 400.00, given the exclusive games it has, such as Bloodbourne, which currently one of the most is highly played video games to date next to Destiny, which is strangely both loved and hated by its community of players, as MFG has come to find. There are other games that have spanned both platforms, such as Destiny, which, has DLC that Bungie and Activation Studios respectively both agreed to release later than the release date the PS4 received. Translation? If you are an XBOX ONE owner you will not be seeing your content until the yearly anniversary of the release of the game, and apparently, there are extra things involved such as a strike or two, and a series of extra exotic (incredibly rare and powerful weaponry). So again, the PS4 seems to stand tall among the Next Generation of Consoles.
Microsoft, though has not completely fell out of the running. After a disastrous and quite frankly, humiliating opening run, the company’s next generation console was marketed as the next generation of gaming, but used its XBOX LIVE network to promote its own version of television and connectivity. On top of this, individuals were also introduced with another problem: the Kinect. Conceived for motion action based games to put the player into the game more fully, in much the same way the Nintendo Wii did, the Kinect is an ill-conceived concept due to the lack of strength of the motion capturing on its behalf. However, its voice command features stood out above all other things for the system. The problem: You cannot at all, detach it from your system, and it is always on. This has of course been rectified in the newer version of the console, along with the reduced price of 350.00 USD. There was another issue that Microsoft faced with its console, one that has also been rectified and that’s the confirmation of backwards compatibility for gamers not quite ready to let go of their favorite XBOX 360 games. However, nothing has yet to be done there, but, Microsoft’s XBOX One has done something that no other console has yet attempted: It’s actually attempting to be its own television network hosting, which in many ways could be considered a bold move. Furthermore, the XBOX One is, in terms of performance closer to making games seem more realistic, especially with the most up to date gaming engine, the Unreal 4, and Unity Engines, respectively. Exclusive game titles like Evolve have also been largely praised. Microsoft, like Sony has its own exclusive games that it will be holding fast too, and the performance truly cannot be argued in the actual sense: Marginally the graphics of the in-game play are noticeably better than their previous generation counter-parts.
Now, considering the evolution of the consoles, and how they’ve largely stuck with their own design, Nintendo has always been outside of the box thinkers in the way they attempt to revolutionize gaming consoles. From the original Nintendo, the Powerglove (though considered to be one of its worst inventions), to the Gamecube, which is to this day, still hailed as one of its most successful products, defeated largely by the Nintendo 64 and the impressive array of video games that were put out during its tenure. With the evolution from the Nintendo Wii, to the Wii-U, we have seen it go from an incredibly awkwardly designed box, to the inclusion of a tablet as a remote control that actually helps to interact with the game. This innovation is something that hasn’t been thought of (and it’s potentially because realistically, have you ever actually seen the size of an IPAD or a Nook Tablet or Kindle? Try playing that with a joystick and buttons) as somewhat iconic, if not wholly accepted. The idea however is quite innovative. Yet, unfortunately, Nintendo’s Wii-U, despite its acceptance to be anything other than a console with good graphics, just has not yet quite caught up to the XBOX ONE or the Playstation 4.
Now, the real problem about the XBOX One and Playstation 4
It’s not a secret: As technology grows and earth’s connectivity becomes greater, we’re going to do what we can to advance our technology, and in gaming, that’s always a truth. Whether it’s digital dungeons and dragons, World of War Craft, Magic the Gathering Online, it really all comes down to the fact that each console is attempting to bring the gamer more into the game by adding better graphics, better sound, and overall better performance. However, there’s a sad truth that the Playstation 4 and XBOX One truly are hiding beneath their exclusive titles and downloadable content, and it’s the fact that these consoles are attempting to become entertainment centers rather than actual gaming consoles, with the large exception of the Wii-U, which honestly, is just trying too hard to compete with consoles that far surpass it in performance and style and simplicity in many ways.
The problem does stem from the fact that though that these consoles are attempting to become privatized gaming networks that specialize in television and entertainment centers rather than actual gaming console. Added on top of this, the DLC that they release is just another way for them to continue to bleed the consumer dry. Not all DLC isn’t worth it, that’s not the argument at all; but the argument is that the next generation consoles aren’t as strong as they could be because of the fact that the developers have attempted far too strongly to create home entertainment centers out of their gaming consoles and only now are they beginning to realize how much of a problem this is.
Is there Hope?
There is some hope, however. As each developer fixes their problems with their consoles and listens to their consumers vaguely, there is one company that’s beginning to emerge and show that it isn’t going to be anything more than what it claims to be, and that’s Steam’s new next generation console, set for release between this year and next. According to all information, the console that Steam is producing will allow users to take it where they wish, sign into their accounts, and access their games from their library. Not much has been said about storage space, but, given the nature of how Steam is known for porting their games to be played on a computer, one can bet that the hard drive space is going to be fairly high and necessary. Steam has a collection of games, software, and is also known for the inclusion of their achievement system, which is just like the Wii, XBOX, and Playstation Tropy, Achievement system.
So who wins at the end of the day? Well, that’s really up to you, but, it would seem to MFG that Steam is beginning to enter the race and once it starts, it isn’t going to stop.
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