I’ve been through three console wars in my lifetime and 2013 marks my fourth war with the upcoming releases of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. It’s been a long time since my first console war, now I live on my own, and make my own money, no longer chained down by the parental figures that had a hand in which console I ultimately played. All of this would’ve been a great position for me to take my pick of the newest generation. However, I think I’m going to be sitting out this console war.
There’s something about this PS4/Xbox One console war that makes it different from the console wars I’ve lived through. In the past, graphics took precedent over games, with companies trying to best one another to have the best graphics. I fondly remember the leaps and bounds that the console market went through in those years, and the arguments about which system was the best were put in technical terms, such as processing power and the like.
It was during the last console war, between the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii, when graphics and performance became less of an issue. So gamers began to judge a console by their exclusives. Playstation 3 had Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet, while the Xbox 360 had Halo and Gears of War. This trend has continued and there are now only two real factors that matter in this console war: exclusive games and innovation. Out of the two, I find innovation is severely lacking.
I admit, I watched in glee as Microsoft crashed and burned during their E3 Xbox One press conference, but I have to give the company some credit for showing some guts. I don’t think any company has tried so aggressively to fight one of the big annoyances in the gaming industry, used game sales. While consumers may have disliked the Xbox One’s policy on used games, developers and publishers would’ve had an opportunity to claim some of the cash that’s been sucked up by used game sales from stores such as GameStop.
However, this risk was for naught when they cracked under a flood of bad press, and rolled back all of their plans. Now Microsoft needs to pick up the pieces of their shattered reputation and try to win back gamers with Xbox One exclusives like Killer Instinct and the new Dead Rising game.
The PS4, on the other hand, has one thing really going for it: its not the Xbox One. The most memorable thing about the Sony E3 press conference was the blatant attack on the Xbox One’s policies, and outright exploiting Microsoft’s bad press. While that’s all well and good for Sony investors, I haven’t really seen anything interesting from the PS4 other than a graphical upgrade and indie game support. I wasn’t looking for anything mind blowing, but I wanted a system that would challenge the way console games are played.
Which brings us to Nintendo, which has been more or less been sitting out this console war. Nintendo has been trying to be innovative ever since the Wii, and while this is evident, the lack of any eye-catching games leaves much to be desired. I feel like developers for the Wii U, both first party and third party, haven’t used the Wii U’s special features to their fullest potential. If only it could get more games, then the Wii U may prove its worth.
While console exclusives are always good, I really wanted something new for the home console market that was beyond the thinking of the current generation of consoles, something beyond a graphical upgrade. As it stands, If I really wanted to play better looking games, I’d save my money and buy a new graphics card for my PC. So thanks to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for all the new information on the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U, but I’m good.