Friday, June 14, 2013

E3 2013: Picking sides in the next-gen

For somebody who writes about videogames for a living, I've not written a great deal about the next generation consoles, partly because I say a lot on the BeefJack podcast. Now we're at E3, now seems like the perfect time to address that.

When Sony revealed the PlayStation 4 I was there laughing at how bad of a job they did. It's hard to remember why now, but it felt lacklustre. When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, suddenly Sony didn't look like they'd done that bad of a job after all. Microsoft completely flunked it, a stupid name that someone in marketing was probably extremely pleased with themselves with, one hour of talking about TV and barely anything on games themselves. The few they did mention are the ones that will come to everything anyway, Fifa and Call of Duty. So meh. Except Quantum Break, but that was so vague it was hard to get excited.

Unfortunately, it's true, I was one of those people that completely ignored Microsoft say they were just revealing the console and that the big game announcements would wait for three weeks until E3. I calmed down after a day, but by that time the rumours of used games, always on and various other issues had started and we had new things to be pissed about. Then Microsoft cancelled their post-presentation press conference and things really started to stink.

Then E3 came, and Microsoft certainly did bring games. Unfortunately most of them failed to grab me. Ryse, looked like it could be interesting, but it's combat was all Quick time events, so no thanks. Halo was a lovely CGI trailer that told us nothing. Quantum Break was possibly the most interesting, as we finally had the concept of the protagonist being able to freeze time for 60 seconds is pretty cool.

Sony's presentation was amazing, and they completely won E3. Yet, it was a total open goal, Sony won because Microsoft let them. Sony didn't make a big deal of this stuff until Don Mattrick and Xbox pissed every one off. Their presentation was basically “We're not changing any of this stuff!”. They may have announced that playing multiplayer online now requires a fee, but I've been doing that since the 360 so that's not a big deal to me, though I'm sure it is for existing PS fans. On the bright side they're giving us free games every month.

As for the games, well there was Infamous: Second Son, which isn't really a surprise to anyone that knows me. Being a big superhero fan I've always bemoaned the fact I've not been able to play Infamous. Visiting a friend a while back I played a good portion of the first game and loved it. Seeing this is a whole new character, I want it!

Everything else that grabbed me was multi-platform. The Division looked awesome, as did The Crew. So they we're down to the company policies to make our decision, and there's a clear winner there.

Xbox is the console that fully turned me into a console gamer. The only PlayStation I've ever owned was a hand-me-down PS1 from a close mate, halfway through the PS2 era. That said, I'd buy a PlayStation 4 over a Xbox One any day of the week.
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