It’s been a year since the next generation of game consoles burst (or whimpered) onto the scene. So where are we now? Where are we going? Was it worth dropping the launch day cash? Dave, Baz and Jason discuss and reflect like gentlemen.
Don Mattrick’s vision of the Xbox One was a dangerous move by Microsoft. The original Xbox and Xbox 360 had spent years building this beautiful nurturing trust up, only for Don to come in like a distant racist uncle at the big family wedding. He’d crack wise about the good old days and you’d just sorta brush him aside to focus on the happy couple’s big day. He wasn’t all that important, but we can’t forget he was there to stir shit up from the get go.
Fast forward a little bit, and Don was kicked to the kerb. Microsoft’s very own superhero came in under the guise of Phil Spencer. A man so full of charm and promise he seemed to right all the wrongs over night. Millions of people were instantly able to trust this man and I’ve no idea how he did it (other than not being the big bad wolf himself, Don Mattrick). Well not quite, but I was lost in his eyes, so I don’t really know what he said.
I for the most part managed to ignore the bad press around 2013’s E3. It didn’t phase me. From the very murmurs of a new Xbox, I knew I was going to get one, because like a mange ridden dog, I’m loyal. I even convinced myself an all digital future was a good thing, entirely ignoring the fact that Microsoft in their infinite wisdom think that digital copies warrant a higher price than a physical copy of the game (Sony are also responsible for this). Cheers for that, d**kheads.
Launch day came and went, and within a few short breaths I was already bored of my new toy. Forza 5 just wasn’t enough, and I found myself down my local supermarket justifying the purchase of Battlefield 4 to myself before turning home to be met with a buggy, shitty mess of a game. This would become a trend with game launches in this eight generation. When it worked though, my god – what a bloody game. The matches were often chaotic, intense, and that’s something that for a while felt special. Something new and fresh, or at least it felt like that at the time. There was also the distinct satisfaction of sniping some douchebag at over 1000 metres. Or sitting beside a friend who’d just downed a helicopter with one well placed sniper shot to the face, well done Mike – right in the kisser.
Battlefield convinced me that I’d arrived in the next generation of games, when really it was just a tarted up 360 game. I still sank a load of hours in, but it was no different to the 360 really. More players, better textures, whoop. Who cares? What have I paid for? Well it turns out a year down the line, I have an entirely different machine in my living room. One that has been through so many software iterations I’ve lost count. It’s a machine thriving on a passionate community, that is being listened to in each release of the UI. It’s a machine that is finally getting the game lineup it deserves, and whilst there have been mistakes made along the way (the RAM, numerous price cuts in the first year, drop of Kinect support, etc), they’re on the right track. Now is the time to buy a current generation console, and it really doesn’t matter which in my opinion.
It’s been a year since the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released now and, well, it’s been a year. We are firmly planted in this new generation of consoles and there is no looking back at this point, but I guess the question is if we are better off now than we were before. I made the choice of the PS4 over the Xbox One for the fact that there will be more “can’t miss” exclusives for me (that’s me, personally, okay?) earlier on than there will be on Xbox One. Last generation I did the opposite and bought Xbox 360 over PS3 and just picked up a PS3 after the price dropped.
The fact still kind of remains that the PS4 seems to be running the multiplatform games better for the time being (although Assassin’s Creed Unity spits in the face of that, kind of). The PS4 hasn’t really come a long way since release, meaning that we still don’t have DLNA support (WTF?!), the interface hasn’t really been changed that much yet while the Xbox One has been aggressively updated with improvements. I think at this point buying one of these systems is a no-brainer, though.
There are enough good, new games to justify it and a lot more on the horizon.
While I don’t regret the cash I’ve dropped, I have to admit that the games I’ve enjoyed most on these next-gen consoles have been remastered versions of last year’s classics. On PS4 I have Last of Us and then EA UFC. Some free games. On Xbox One I have Madden, FIFA, GTA V and EA UFC. The only downloadable game that really matters right now is Geometry Wars 3. All in all, I know I’ll get my money’s worth out of these systems, but right now they are just fancier Netflix machines.
While the Xbox’s Kinect is cool and interesting, I could live without it. For whatever reason, the Xbox’s network is absolute crap after being the best for years, and hardware-wise, we all know PS4 is better than Xbox. So all in all, what could I have expected after just a year? I can’t remember any GREAT first years of a console being alive, so for what it’s worth, these have been perfectly acceptable experiences, especially with the free games you get from both Sony and Microsoft every month. The cycle will continue, the games will get better, the enhancements will be even more… Enhanced and we’ll be happy. This Black Friday week or whatever has shown that you can get either system relatively cheap now, so the next big addition will be a new TV for me.
This is just a ramble now. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I can tell you that I’m satisfied with both the Xbox and the PS4. I didn’t have grand expectations, and I’ll always be a PC gamer at heart, so I would say buy either of these consoles when it behooves you. Because nothing is really out there right now that makes either console a must-buy. Maybe Halo. Maybe.