Console Wars Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Console Wars RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Has the Next Generation Already Begun? Tue, 01 May 2018 15:43:15 -0400 Ethan S (Point Blank Gaming)

It's well-known at this point how Microsoft bungled the Xbox One reveal back in 2013. They unveiled a console that was under-powered, overpriced, and marred by anti-consumer features. Forcing users to adopt Kinect, an expensive and useless peripheral, was the nail in their proverbial coffin. Xbox One came limping out of the gate to start this generation, and Microsoft has been trying to recover ever since.

That same year, 2013, Sony introduced us to the no-frills Playstation 4 console. Coming in at a full hundred dollars cheaper than its competitor, with a core focus on gaming rather than media or sports, the console-wars narrative basically wrote itself. Unlike the new Xbox, PlayStation 4 came storming out of the gate to start this generation, and the rest is history.

Yet, we have to remember the context under which the Xbox One was created in order to fully understand where it went so wrong, and potentially so right. 

Circa 2013, the prevailing ideas were that console gaming was dead, mobile was taking over, and only an all-encompassing entertainment box could still command enough mind-share to be successful. Ultimately, Microsoft fell into the analyst trap. They lacked trust in their gaming division despite the successful Xbox 360, and their desire to respond to market trends resulted in a jack-of-all-trades console that was unfortunately the master of none.

Fast-forward five years to 2018, and the industry is once again changing. Maybe in 2013 the market was not ready for an internet-dependent console and the sort of facial and voice recognition technology pioneered by Kinect, but the market sure is ready now. Face-scanning iPhones, talking Amazon devices, and cloud-based services dominate the tech landscape. Ideas that came off like complete ineptitude in 2013 might, in fact, just have been a generation too early.

And it will ultimately be these same ideas that propel Microsoft to success in the coming years. PlayStation 4 may be outselling Xbox One by double or more, but Phil Spencer and his team at Xbox have still managed to put themselves in position for a late-generation takeover.  

No, not the same way in which Playstation 3 caught up to Xbox 360 in hardware sales. A different sort of takeover.

The goal now for Xbox is brand ubiquity. Microsoft realizes that they can no longer increase their install base through traditional hardware sales, at least not in any meaningful way. So they are being forced to diversify and become  software-based instead. Case in point, the Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft has elected to put all current and future Xbox exclusives, plus third-party games, on a $10 per month subscription service. They have essentially migrated and commodified the entire Xbox brand and stable of games into one renewable package.  

Before we get to how important that is, because the Xbox Game Pass is indeed industry-changing, we have to look at how starkly different Sony's business model is compared to Microsoft's. 

Sony's focus right now is on proliferating software both digitally and physically to their huge hardware base. They have a stellar first-party lineup only available on PlayStation 4, comprised of commercial hits, critical darlings, and iconic characters. When there are roughly 75 million PlayStation 4s out in the wild, those exclusives ship a lot of units and turn a lot of profit. It helps that Sony enforces strict console exclusivity on its games and loses very little of its community to Xbox and PC. This sort of isolationist strategy has produced resounding success for Sony this generation, especially compared to the PS3 era, but is it a sustainable model?

The answer is no. 

Sony, like Microsoft, had high expectations for streaming technology. They even launched their own monthly streaming service, PlayStation Now, which provides access to a huge library of first- and third-party games. However, to be frank, PlayStation Now is a complete and absolute dud. Streaming is perhaps the worst way to play, and games on PlayStation Now suffer from graphic and stability issues galore. 

At best, you can stream some older, single-player games for $20 per month.  At worst, games are virtually unplayable. Not to mention that most games on the service can be purchased outright for very little money. Unless Sony is to change the entire fabric of PlayStation Now so that games are downloaded or pre-loaded instead of streamed, there is no viable future for the service as it exists today. High-speed internet access is simply not good enough or ubiquitous enough for PlayStation Now to see widespread success.

So let's say PlayStation Now ends up failing. Besides PlayStation Plus, Sony's annual subscription that allows you to play online multiplayer, what other subscription services does Sony have? PlayStation Music? PlayStation Vue? PS Plus is by far Sony's most popular service, and only about a third of PS4 owners use it. In the age of Netflix and Spotify, Sony is sorely lacking in opportunities for repeat monetization. Sony must ask themselves if they are fully utilizing their enormous install base and stable of exclusives?

Flash back to Microsoft, who ask themselves this very question. They decide that no, the Xbox Game Pass would better leverage their exclusives and grow their potential install base. Rather than sell exclusives piecemeal for $60 each, giving slices of the profit to retail and digital partners, $10 from every Xbox Game Pass subscriber can go directly to Microsoft. While Microsoft's hand was likely forced in taking this more direct-to-consumer approach, it will end up paying off in spades.  

Mark my words, within two to three years, the Xbox brand will become entirely software-based, and it is starting now. Considering that Microsoft already puts its first-party exclusives on Windows, it's safe to say that Xbox Game Pass will make its way to Windows PC, either along with or after the next round of Microsoft-exclusive games. 

You might be asking why Microsoft would shoot themselves in the foot this way. Why release a service in Game Pass that cuts into the sales of their own exclusives? Why release the Xbox One X just to turn around and make Xbox's core franchises available on PC as well? What appears to be Microsoft cannibalizing themselves is actually an ingenious Trojan Horse against Sony. 

Microsoft still has heavy hitters in HaloForza, and Gears of War. They may not have the same exclusive lineup or install base as Sony, but as the Xbox Game Pass grows, it will become a very enticing proposition. Being able to download games from the service and play them off your hard drive is already the perfect solution to PlayStation Now's streaming problem. 

Now imagine the entire Xbox brand, wrapped up into one subscription (Game Pass), available on every platform except PlayStation.  Even as an embedded PlayStation gamer, I would gladly hand over the $10 for access to every Microsoft-exclusive game. 

And this value proposition is what will ultimately fuel Microsoft's rapid expansion in the gaming space and allow them to potentially outflank Sony.  Forget selling full-priced games to Xbox One owners, there is not a big enough install base to even justify that business model. Instead, Microsoft is trying to leave no stone unturned. They will try and migrate every Xbox One owner onto Xbox Game Pass, a real possibility. They will try and court PC players, even PlayStation gamers, through Xbox Game Pass on Windows.  Hell, they can even put games on iOS (see Fortnite). The subscriber potential across all of these platforms is unbelievable, surely worth more money than what Xbox is generating now.

Moving towards this all-digital future may seem negligent to the Xbox One console, both to the hardware itself and to the retail partners selling it, but you have to look at this strategy in the grand scheme of things. Xbox One is no longer going to be the anchor of all Microsoft exclusives; it is just going to be yet another place you can play Microsoft's games. If this point could not be any more on the nose, look at this quote from a recent Microsoft press release:

"Spyro has been unleashed ... in HD graphical glory on PlayStation® 4, PlayStation® 4 Pro and the family of Xbox One devices from  Microsoft, including the Xbox One X."

Yes, that clumsy statement is Microsoft's new tagline, and it tells you everything you need to know about their future console plans. If Microsoft's gaming division does indeed become completely software-based, and Xbox Game Pass is on the rise as a ubiquitous subscription service, where does that leave Microsoft's home consoles? In a great position, as it turns out. 

Microsoft understands that people use different devices for a variety of different services and no longer want to be tethered to a specific device for access to certain content. However, they also understand that many people still want a traditional home console experience. Enter "The Family of Xbox One Devices from Microsoft." Microsoft was not kidding about the end of generations. Once Xbox Game Pass goes open-platform, it will be harder to find a device that you cannot play Xbox games on. 

Don't want to buy a console? You can use cross-play with your phone or laptop. Want a budget option? The Xbox One S is cheap and 4K compatible.  Want the premium home console experience? The monstrous Xbox One X has you covered. Still not satisfied? You can build a PC and max out every Xbox exclusive to your heart's content. The moral of this story is that Microsoft has flipped the switch. The concept of one box for every service might have been a bust, but the concept of one service for every box certainly is not.  Considering that the Xbox One X is already outpacing the PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of raw output, it would be hard to see a reason for Microsoft to invest in yet another home console. Either way, Xbox is being set up for a very bright future.

Now that we're done fawning over Microsoft's business acumen, what is next for Sony? They may be confident in their strategy for now (and for good reason), but it is hard to see that strategy translating over to the next PlayStation console. We have seen how quickly success turns to hubris, and the law of diminishing returns is working against Sony at an alarming pace.  With the Xbox One X not even maxed out yet, and the cost of gaming PCs dropping rapidly, how much room is there really for a whole new console generation?

Imagine Sony were to wait till 2021 and release the PlayStation 5 the same way they released the PlayStation 4. That means no backwards compatibility, no subscription model besides PS Plus, a new round of PlayStation 5-exclusive games, and the same isolated ecosystem Sony maintains now. This may have been their plan after the early success of PlayStation 4, but it has become clearer and clearer that a repeat is not in the cards. 

Game consoles are not cellphones. People are simply not going to go out, en masse, and purchase an expensive new console to play marginally better-looking games. Certainly not at the the cost of their existing library, certainly not for the $500 (or more) the new console will cost, and definitely not to pay $60 a pop for every new exclusive game. We have DOOM on the Nintendo Switch, people. Sony would a have a hard time convincing anyone that their new PlayStation 5 game cannot run on a base PS4, even in 2021. Why wouldn't it? Sony's ingenious "checker-board" rendering technique can already display games like God of War at close to native 4K resolution ... on an existing PlayStation 4.

No, by 2020, PlayStation consumers will be used to the precedent set by Microsoft and the Xbox Game Pass. We will expect access to all of our previously purchased content, whether it is from the PS4 or the PS2. We will not pay full price for every exclusive game and will instead expect a more affordable subscription service similar to Game PassWe will not remain isolated from everyone else when open-platform cross-play has been the norm for years. Heck, we will not be forced to keep the same screen name we've had since 2007! 

The point is, Sony may have been able to buck the trend once and defy the analysts with PlayStation 4's success, but they will not do it again. The little things add up, as they did against Xbox One at the start of this generation, and what seem like nice additions to Xbox now will become glaring omissions against Sony in the near future. Even if PlayStation 5 were to launch with backwards compatibility and a new round of Sony exclusives, it would not be enough to spark a generation on the scale of PS3 or PS4. Sony would have to make the PlayStation 4 obsolete for their next console to see the same levels of success, and that is simply not going to happen. 

In fact, Sony can take a cue from Microsoft as to what their next console should look like. Rather than create another hard starting point in gaming generations, PlayStation 5 would be better served as a more expensive console option for the discerning gamer in PlayStation's community, something the Xbox One X already accomplishes for Microsoft and that the PS4 Pro is a half step towards. There may not be enough room in graphics and pricing for a whole new generation, but the PlayStation 4 Pro will struggle to run games at 4K 30 fps in the coming years. Considering the Xbox One X already does this with ease, Sony will have to at least match those performance levels with their next console. 

If Sony were to instead wait and release a console that dwarfs the Xbox One X -- enough to justify a whole new generation -- it would be so outrageously expensive that you might as well jump to PC. The point is that PlayStation's next console will be more like the Xbox One X's contemporary than its successor, and those expecting otherwise will be disappointed.  

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe Sony waits three to four years and knocks it out of the park with a whole new console generation. But by my estimation, the next generation is already here, and that is because this one is simply not going to end. The next PlayStation console will not be the start of a new era; it will be yet another place you can play Sony's games, the same games you can play on PS4 or PS4 Pro if you choose not to upgrade. As evidenced by the "The Family of Xbox One Devices" and Microsoft's desire to become software-based, the box vs. box generation is over. The future of gaming is Sony's PlayStation brand and service up against the Xbox brand and service (versus Nintendo and Steam).  

Xbox has all of their hardware in play and has already wrapped up their brand into one subscription with Game Pass, so how will Sony respond? They, too, will need some sort of subscription service to galvanize their community across consoles and group their first-party offerings into one renewable package. Leaving people behind on PlayStation 4 or stranding exclusive games on the PlayStation 5 would be a huge missed opportunity for Sony to leverage their sizable install base. 

If they take the traditional approach and expect you to buy a single box for access to everything Sony, including exclusive games for $60 each, they will be making the same mistake Microsoft made five years ago. Not even Sony's killer first-party lineup could reverse the market trends this time.

Instead, Sony will hopefully adapt to what's happening around them. They will realize that the longer they wait, the more expectations will get out of hand for their new home console. Sony will need to think beyond just hardware and go head-to-head against Microsoft in the quest for brand ubiquity, and this quest is bringing PlayStation 5 sooner than you think.

The truth about Next-Gen is that the battle has already started. 

Welcome to the future.

Xbox One Stagnates While PS4 Dominates: Can the Tables Turn? Wed, 08 Jun 2016 08:32:49 -0400 Capt. Eliza Creststeel

Coming up on the third year of this console generation, Sony's PlayStation 4 continues to be the most popular gaming system, hands down. After getting a jump on Microsoft's Xbox One, the PS4 never looked back and barely slowed down. Earlier this year, Sony topped 40 million units sold world-wide, while Microsoft has reported barely more than 20 million

With the fizzled out Nintendo Wii U only selling about 13 million units, Sony has outsold both of its biggest competitors -- combined.

PS3 vs Xbox 360: Revisited

This recent turn of events seems to mirror the previous generation's sale performances, but in reverse.

Xbox 360 was released several months earlier and got a head start on Sony's PlayStation 3 model. But the PS3 never caught up in the U.S., and soon the Nintendo Wii overtook both of them worldwide. As the Xbox 360 dropped from a 45% to 36% share after the original Wii came out, the PS3 never had more than a 20% market share.

It also didn't help PS3 sales that PlayStation 2 units were still being sold competitively. 

The Xbox 360 averaged 4 million units annually (2006, 2007, and 2008). The PS3 climbed from 675k units in 2006 to 3.5 million in 2008, but they were still behind. And yes, there were some high-profile PS3 exclusives, like God of War, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, Infamous, Ratchet and Clank, and Resistance.

But, that was the era of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, as well as Madden and Grand Theft Auto 4. Non-exclusive titles far outpaced exclusives, but Xbox 360 exclusives did fairly well. In the end, the PlayStation 3 was Sony's worst performing console.

Now, the PS4 is in the driver's seat with the Xbox One lagging behind in exclusives and overall players.

This Is Why PS4 Is Hot

Gaming trends cannot always be predicted. Manufacturers can research markets, survey customers and play test, but even the best laid plans can go awry once the rubber hits the road.

  • Initial Price - The Xbox One's $499 launch price tag put off many potential buyers. Dropping $100 and the unpopular Kinect later would help with the sales lag.
  • Graphic Quality - While both produce top-notch HD images, the PS4's faster RAM gives it an edge in highly detailed environments and a faster framerate. And gamers will tell you how lethal lag can be.
  • Critic's Choice - Voices from sites like Gizmodo, GamesRadar, and Kotaku, etc. lean hard to the PS4 side.
  • Features - How cool is it that PlayStation Vita players can STREAM their PS4 games? How about Playstation VR as virtual reality becomes more of a reality for gamers?
  • No One Really Kinected - Microsoft initially bundled the unpopular Kinect sensor with the Xbox One, while Sony made the PS4 camera optional. 
  • Upcoming Exclusives - With titles like No Man's Sky, Horizon Zero Dawn, and the gritty Let It Die on the 2016 roster, will the PS4 continue to run the table?

Then, there's the current crop of exclusive titles. Top sellers like Infamous: Second Son, Bloodborne, Driveclub and this year's runaway hit Uncharted 4: A Thief's End have all sold more than 2 MILLION copies each. Even Ratchet and Clank (yes, THAT Ratchet and Clank) has become the fastest selling title in the UK, Europe and Australia. 

Meanwhile, top Xbox One exclusives like Forza, Halo 5 and Gears of War have barely cleared 1 million each.

And Why the Xbox One Is Not

Though the issues of competitive pricing and hardware comparison may figure into the equation, the biggest sore spot for Microsoft has been their game library this go around.

Tried and true franchises sputtered and games like Titanfall were not overall well-received, falling off fast.

Even the Halo franchise is not the automatic golden goose it once was.

Last generation's Halo 3 cashed in at 14.5 million units; Halo Reach sold 9.76 million and Halo 4 at 9.52 million. By contrast Halo: The Master Chief Collection only sold 2.6 million copies.

And so far, 343's Halo 5: Guardians is barely above 1 million sold. Not good.

And upcoming exclusives may not be generating the buzz Microsoft is hoping for. Gears of War 4 could be a title beyond its franchise's life cycle. Rare's Sea of Thieves has no set date and was pushed back. And Fable Legends is completely dead since Lionhead Studios shut down.

Stepping Up the Xbox One's Game

Just dropping the unit price to stay competitive is not enough. If Microsoft wants to stay in the game, they have to bring an A-game. At this level, it's going to take more than a new Kinect title.

"To be THE man, you got to beat the man." - Ric Flair

Like Sony's PS2 Slim, Microsoft has planned a trimmer version of the original Xbox One console. Estimated to be 40% smaller and include 4k video capability, this lower cost unit may just be a stop-gap, however for the next-gen Xbox One coming in 2017. But even still, PlayStation isn't far behind with the upcoming release of the PS4.5, or PS4K.

Rumor has it that a completely overhauled and muscled up unit will be released late next year. Code-named Scorpio (2 Cold Scorpio?), this model will supposedly be 4x more powerful than the current Xbox One, which records about 1.32 teraflops (trillion float point operations per second).

The PS4 clocks in at 1.8 teraflops with a 4.4 tf model on the horizon. But the Scorpio could rip past Sony at a purported ludicrous speed of 6.1 tf.

Also, there are still some exclusive titles that could draw sales. ReCore, from the creators of Metroid Prime, has been getting some buzz and Platinum's dragon-riding Scalebound trailer looks quite thrilling. An attractive indie title on the way is Cuphead, which combines old-school run-and-gun gaming with very old-school toon characters and bosses.

Another huge step has been Microsoft's decision to bring the Xbox One and Windows 10 together. This means Windows and console players are able to play co-op and PvP together. Players can stream their games to Windows 10 devices, have interactive chats, and record game play. 

The nearly 20 million unit gap between the Xbox One and PS4 may seem unbreachable, but that doesn't mean they can't get a lot closer.

Parts of the Future

With so much riding on a console system's success or failure, another trend looms ahead for all the major hardware makers.

Each generation's life span is getting shorter. 

The original PS2 had a 13-year run. The PS3 was made for 9 years. At this rate, the PS4 might only have a 6 or 7 year lifespan.

Something that could change everything is modular hardware, like PCs.

The PS4 already has an internal hard-drive that can be swapped. Like Google's modular cellphone, next-gen consoles (perhaps even upgraded current models like the Xbox One's Scorpio) could add modular design.

Owners would be able to beef up ram, swap video cards, maybe even add new processors. Not only could such developments prolong life spans, but cut down on production development and manufacturing costs.

It may help companies minimize issue due to hardware, but being the top dog still means having the best games to play on that console. Only time will tell if the Xbox is able to stay afloat in that regard.

[Disclaimer: The author does not personally own a Sony PS4. The Amazon Pirate's den does have an Xbox 360, an Xbox One and a functioning PS2.]

Why Do Gamers Care About Sharing Games on Other Platforms? Thu, 17 Mar 2016 09:13:11 -0400 Danielle Marie

Many gamers have a die-hard affiliation. 

Just as sports fanatics have his/her favorite teams, video games have always been littered with rivalries: Horde vs. Alliance, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and of course Xbox vs. Playstation (vs. PC?).

With each allegiance comes unwavering pride in the form of merchandise, financial support, their first born child, etc.

"Xbox is better than Playstation because we get Halo!"

"Playstation is better than Xbox because we get Kingdom Hearts!" 

The list goes on and on for ages, much like the heated arguments that ensue between the consoles, leaving one or both parties saltier than the popcorn being eaten by the rest of the world. 

However, if we stop to think about all the controversy this has caused, and why people feel so strongly about sharing their favorite games with other consoles, do people actually care about sharing games? Or is everyone's brand loyalty getting ahead of themselves?

A Sense of Pride and Ownership

It makes sense that players of a certain console take pride in their controllers, games, and interfaces of choice. 

The console war has been a timeless battle of friend and foe, but there is no clear winner. Each side has its pros and cons, just like Android and iPhone, that suits different users better.

However, emotions and feelings always let loose when our pride gets involved and with brand loyalty also comes a need to prove that our side is the better side. 

Usually when a new game is announced for Xbox One, for example, it's treated as ammunition against the opposing party. So when Quantum Break, which was originally an Xbox exclusive, is now being released on PC as well, sparks begin to fly. 

Is Pride More Important than Accessibility?

Often times players are torn between defending their console of choice and whether or not releasing on multiple platforms would actually benefit the bigger picture. 

For example, FPS games that are cross platform spark the debate between who gets an advantage. PC users are said to have an easier time using the keyboard and mouse, while the console players are stuck with a controller. 

Again, it comes down to preference and each different player as an individual. 

Microsoft's Big Move with Xbox One

There comes a time, despite all I've mentioned previously, when players can come together, and it seems like that time is upon us. 

Microsoft recently revealed that it will begin to allow Xbox One players to game against PS4 and PC users, so long as the other party is willing. 

This is incredibly significant to the gamer-sphere, since at first glance it would seem that each party suited up and fighting in the console war would be furious. 

To many people's surprise, a lot of players are coming together and actually celebrating this bold move, and are placing friendships and playing with others above the need to be loyal to his/her respective console. 

Agreeing to Disagree

What makes Microsoft's announcement so successful is that it's no longer trying to fight to be the better console, but agreeing to work side by side. 

Each fan group is not being forced to choose now, instead they are encouraged to play with the other, which is eliminating a lot of the hatred and animosity that comes along with choosing a console. 

All in All

It's within human nature to want the entity that you support to be the best, but many times what you have that works for you will not work for someone else. 

Being allowed to game cross-platform (the ball's in your court, Sony) will alleviate a lot of tension created by the "console wars," and in turn allow everyone to be proud of what they like without having to fight over it. 

Why PS4 has defeated Xbox One Fri, 26 Feb 2016 13:00:06 -0500 Eric Adams

Console warfare has been raging ever since Xbox One and PS4 were mere ideas. Now that the two are a few years into their life cycle, is it time to declare a winner? And if so, is the winner a clear and decisive one?

The answer: absolutely.

PS4 has seemingly been two steps ahead of the Xbox One ever since the consoles were announced. The price was lower, the design was (and still is) smoother, and people seemed to gravitate toward the PS4. News of the Xbox One being $100 more than PS4 was the tipping point. Along with that came news that Xbox One was focusing more on being an entertainment system rather than a game console.

The signs for Xbox One were troubling from day one. They have not gotten much better now that it is a couple years down the line, and the hope is for it to be more competitive in the future. But the lead PS4 has created is vast.

Sales Dominance

See the title of this section? By dominance, I mean slaughter. PS4 has reportedly outsold Xbox One by nearly 89%. Sony has been very open about their success with PS4. When announcing its financial report, Sony claimed that 37.7 million PS4 units have been sold. While Microsoft has not released the sales numbers for Xbox One, an EA executive let it slip that PS4 is well ahead.

Blake Jorgensen, EA CFO, revealed that the estimate of consoles in homes was at ‘about 55 million’. Do the math and the numbers are not kind to Xbox One. If the number Sony put out is correct, and in all likelihood it is, then Xbox One has sold around 18-19 million units. As you can see, the console war has so far been very one-sided.

What can Xbox One do to catch up? Well, that is also part of the problem.

Xbox One is updating to ‘catch up’

There is nothing wrong at all with updates that to make the console better, but Xbox One is playing catch up. Xbox has had to overhaul the home screen layout, but it is still a mess. It is nearly impossible to find anything and it is always snapping and unsnapping (personal complaint).

Here is the problem -- why is Xbox One relying on these updates? Because they are trying to save the system. Let’s face it -- Xbox One was an unfinished product when it was released. The layout was a mess and the games were lackluster.

PS4, on the other hand, is very easy to access and has had minimal noteworthy updates. Why do you think that is? It is because the PS4 was finished when it was released, unlike the Xbox One.

PS4 just feels right

As an owner of both systems, PS4 is hands-down my favorite. It's easier to use, has better home screen layout, and better exclusive games. But that category is a wash. If it wasn’t for Bloodborne and Uncharted, then maybe Xbox One would look a little better in the eyes of gamers -- but it doesn’t. In my personal opinion, Halo 5 was horrible.

That was the one game Xbox One had to redeem itself, and it flopped on its face. Microsoft should be kissing the feet of the developers of Rise of the Tomb Raider, because that is the only exclusive game worth playing on that console.

The Future

Does Xbox One have ground to make up? Absolutely, but they can definitely do it. Microsoft is doing a lot right now in order to catch up with the PS4, and they realize that progress starts with the most important factor -- the games! There are indeed some pretty impressive exclusives coming to Xbox One, not to mention their layout gets better and better by the week.

Maybe you disagree with me and maybe you are a sucker for the entertainment aspect that Xbox One brings to the table. However, the gamer in me has declared a winner -- and that winner is PS4.

Which platform and edition should you choose for Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3? Tue, 03 Nov 2015 08:26:58 -0500 Ty Arthur

Moving further into a future timeline, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 takes place in a dark 2065 where things haven't gone so well for society, but on the upside super soldiers now have implants and special abilities to make them more efficient killers.

Going with an even more futuristic setting than the previous Kevin Spacey-focused Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3 features a slew of different “cybercore” abilities. These sci-fi themed powers look like they will add a very interesting twist to the typical run-and-gun action; going more of a Crysis route with different electrical and robotic abilities instead of just simply pointing and firing your LMG. Further distancing itself from the earlier roots of the series, Black Ops 3 will also take place in a solid three dimensions, with revamped movement so you can slide, thrust, and mantle your way up and around the environment.

The release is now less than a week away, set for November 6th, so for those who haven't pre-ordered already the question remains: what edition or platform should you go with?

Standard, Deluxe, Hardened, or Juggernog?

Besides the standard vanilla version, there's of course the digital deluxe edition, including bonus weapon customizations and the season pass for access to all DLC when it arrives. That handy bundle will set you back $99 if you want everything coming down the pipe.

If you aren't interested in all the DLC bundled together and would prefer physical add-ons, the hardened edition for $79.99 comes in a steel case and features limited edition art cards, as well as a digital download of the game's soundtrack.

For the serious Black Ops fanatic who has always wanted their very own perk-a-cola machine, there's the absurd $199.99 Juggernog edition. Much like with the Star Wars Battlefront crazy pre-order option, this one comes with a mini-fridge to keep your Code Red nice and cold until you're ready to play. This one's actually a more solid fridge option than Battlefront's, holding 12 cans instead of 6 and looking less like a standard mini-fridge with a sticker on the front.

Black Ops 3 Juggernog Edition Mini FridgeThe Juggernog Edition

Should I buy Black Ops 3 for the Xbox 360 or PS3?

For quite some time during development it seemed like the title wouldn't even be coming to previous gen consoles, with Treyarch insisting development was only taking place on current gen systems. Thankfully, Beenox and Mercenary Technology were eventually tapped to work on the game for the Xbox 360 and PS3. On the plus side, previous gen gamers get the latest Black Ops title 10 bucks cheaper, at $49.99 instead of $59.99. That's where the pluses end, though.

The main story mode looks to be an intriguing experience, with Treyach studio design director David Vonderhaar describing it as “a very deep, very dark, and sometimes really twisted narrative experience” and stating “there is some really screwed up mind-f***ery going to happen to you when you play the game.”

Unfortunately last gen gamers aren't going to get to experience any of that mind blowing story insanity, as the single player campaign is entirely culled from the Black Ops 3 experience on the 360 and PS3. Yep, you only get to play the various multiplayer modes. Take a look at what you're missing with the story trailer below.

Not only are you left out of the single player experience, but it was just revealed that the previous gen versions will only run at 30 fps, rather than the standard 60 fps the series is known for: a necessary concession to make the game still look acceptable and have key features intact.

Should I buy Black Ops 3 for the Xbox One, PS4, or PC?

Obviously the game is more expensive on the latest consoles, costing the full $59.99 for the standard version, but that's where the downsides end. (Price probably wasn't even on your radar if you were considering the deluxe, hardened, or juggernog editions, anyway).

Unlike the stripped down last generation versions, you'll get the full single player experience on PC or newer consoles -- which is shaping up to be a pretty wild ride. Besides the obvious visual advantage of more upscale hardware, there's also the higher framerate to consider on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC editions, which won't be stuck at 30 fps.

While the PC and console editions are looking fairly close to one another this time around, Activision did throw a curveball to consider for those who are going to devour upcoming DLC: a new deal was struck with Sony, so downloadable content is coming to the PS4 first as a timed exclusive.

Bottom Line

Lacking a huge portion of the game might seem like a downside at first, but if you don't care for canned single player missions and just want to gun down your friends in online matches, then go ahead and save yourself the $10 and go with the last gen version.

For those expecting a better graphical experience or who need to dive into the storyline and experience all those awesome cybercore abilities, then next gen is easily the way to go. While the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 editions don't have any major differences between them, if you absolutely have to have everything new the day it arrives, then the PS4 is the way to go here.

While making your decision on where you'll buy Black Ops 3 and waiting these last few days for the game to drop, don't forget to join in on our speculation on what the 2016 Infinity Ward Call Of Duty game will be!

Which platform should you buy Star Wars Battlefront for? Fri, 23 Oct 2015 05:10:34 -0400 Ty Arthur

Coming just a few weeks ahead of the highly-anticipated release of The Force Awakens, EA is stoking the fire of Star Wars fandom with a new entry in the Battlefront saga. This reboot of the classic series is due to drop drop November 17th, 2015 with a dizzying array of versions available across the various gaming platforms.

Previous-gen gamers are unfortunately left in the lurch for this multiplayer-focused title (time to upgrade, wouldn't you say?). Battlefront will only be available for Xbox One, PS4, and the PC master race.

Across those platforms, Battlefront is available in the basic no-frills standard version, the deluxe edition with bonus weapons and emotes to utilize in combat, and the ultimate edition that includes all the deluxe extras, plus the season pass for all four upcoming DLC expansions. Dedicated console players willing to put down $130 also have one extra option: the deluxe version with a Han Solo carbonite fridge for storing your gaming fuel!

Battlefront Han Solo Carbonite Fridge

It's been a long time since the days of the SNES and Sega Genesis, where the same game was a drastically different experience between two consoles. But there are still fundamental differences to be found between each platform, whether in terms of graphical capabilities or the exclusives available at launch.

In this instance, there are more similarities than differences, as Battlefront is slated to drop on the same day for all platforms (with one slight exception for certain Xbox One owners, explained below). And the same 4 DLC packs are coming no matter where you play the game. The first free DLC, “Battle Of Jakku”, arrives December 8, but anyone who pre-orders on any of the three platforms gets in on the action a week early on December 1st.

On the graphical front, developer DICE specifically stated its intention to make all versions of the game run at 60 fps in any mode but split screen, where it will drop to 30 fps. Frankly the game looks fantastic on all systems – this is probably the best Star Wars game ever in terms of aesthetics– but there are some differences that could influence which platform you go with when laying down your hard-earned cash.

Xbox One

If you have the $5 a month EA Access subscription, you'll get to play Battlefront starting on November 12th rather than waiting for the official November 17th release date – for a short time. For Star Wars fanatics, that's a huge boon, but keep in mind that previous early access games released through this service were only available for six hours before locking you out, and that's likely to continue with Battlefront.

On a less exciting note, in the recent beta test made open to the public, the Xbox One edition was only running at a resolution of 720p – much lower than what's available on the PS4 or PC versions. This lower resolution slightly reduces the graphical polish, especially on objects farther way.

Despite the developer's intentions to keep a consistent 60 fps frame rate, beta users also experienced frame rate drops down to 50 in scenarios featuring a significant number of characters and movement on the screen. This issue may be resolved by launch, however, as beta testing specifically exists to identify these issues and resolve them through optimization before the launch date. But at this point it should be assumed the Xbox One will lag in terms of graphics.


While Sony fans can't get early access through EA's subscription service, the recent beta test ran at 900p rather than 720, offering a smoother graphical experience. While it's not a huge difference for most parts of the game, there is an advantage to be had here, especially at longer ranges where its harder to identify what's an enemy and what isn't in lower resolutions.

Sony also has a leg up over Microsoft with the different versions of the game, as a PS4 console bundle is available. If you haven't bought a current gen console yet and are leaning towards the PS4 (or just want a PlayStation that's specifically Star Wars themed), this is definitely the way to go. The console bundle is up for grabs with either the standard or deluxe (but not ultimate) edition of Battlefront, depending on how much money you are willing to lay down.

Star Wars Battlefront PS4 Bundle


It goes without saying that the PC version will potentially have the highest resolution available, even better than the PS4's 900p - assuming your graphics card and monitor are up to par. While that's a boon for tech enthusiasts, there are some downsides to consider for computer gamers.

First off, there are fewer options of where to buy and how to play Battlefront than with many other PC titles, since you have to go through EA's Origin platform and can't spend your money through a service like Steam or GOG.

A big draw for PC games over their console counterparts are user-made mods, but those are unlikely to be readily available for Battlefront. Besides having to go through Origin, developer DICE specifically doesn't support mods, due to the complexity of the Frostbite 3 engine used to create the game. Add in the fact that there's no single-player campaign (although you can play the various modes with AI bots in offline mode rather than against real players) and that EA will probably clamp down on anything that could unbalance multiplayer, mods are very unlikely to get any traction.

On another potentially negative note, EA confirmed through a Twitter interaction with fans that there will be no native VOIP option for the PC game, meaning you'll either have to use a third party program to chat with friends, or just type out what you'd like to say. This isn't an issue in the console versions, which will let you plug in your headsets and scream profanities at other players to your heart's content. But it could be a bigger problem for PC gamers.

Bottom Line

Clearly there are many different options to take into account when deciding which version of Battlefront to pick up next month. If you demand the best graphics available and prefer the console route to use with your high-end HDTV, then the PS4 is the way to go. This is especially true if you haven't gotten into the 8th generation of gaming yet and are thinking of going with Sony over Microsoft.

While there's no built-in voice chat, the PC edition otherwise will offer the best graphics, assuming you've got a rig beefy enough to handle the high specs. While the Xbox One will have slightly early access available, that console is clearly the odd man out this time around.

Which platform will you be purchasing Star Wars: Battlefront on? Let me know in the comments!

The Console Wars and why nobody wins Tue, 22 Sep 2015 19:30:01 -0400 Larry Iaccio

If you're any type of console gamer (or probably even not) you have most likely heard of the infamous console wars that are raging in the video game industry.

It's a neverending blood bath between the 3 big players, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. The console wars have been going on since the mid 80's, when Sega (and then later Sony) decided to challenge video game king, Nintendo, and change home console gaming forever. The new kid on the block, Microsoft joined late in the PS2 and Gamecube generation with the original Xbox, but quickly cemented themselves as a major contender in the market while Sega faded away.

Flash forward to the present day, and the console wars are as alive as ever with the PS4 and Xbox One battling for supremacy, and the Wii U trailing behind.

Sega was the first major casuality of the console wars, losing to Nintendo

In the end there can be no winners, only losers.

While there may have been a time when the console wars accomplished something, in today's video game landscape they really serve no purpose and end up being nothing more than rowdy fan boys screaming at the top of their lungs. In the end there can be no winners, only losers.

The Console Wars of Yore

So we can talk about the console wars going back to the early 80's with the days of the Atari, but the console wars of today didn't really start until Nintendo entered the home gaming market and revitalized the industry. Even in the mid to late 80's, Nintendo's biggest competitor was Sega with their Master System. There are 2 main reasons why Sega always fell short when it came to Nintendo though, even back in the 80's. 

There are 2 main reasons why Sega always fell short when it came to Nintendo, even back in the 80's. 

The first reason was that Sega's Master System came out after the original NES. Nintendo had already captured a fair share of the Japanese and North American markets by the time Sega even made a dent in console gaming. In the 2 biggest video game markets, Sega was always playing catch up. Oddly enough, Sega's systems actually ended up selling more units than the NES in Europe, but didn't matter much in the long run.

The second and probably bigger reason Nintendo had the edge on Sega was due Sega's lack of support from third party developers. This lack of support wasn't due to the technology of Sega's console or anything like that (in fact the Master System was more powerful than the NES). It was actually due to strict exclusivity restrictions Nintendo had with all of their third party developers, which basically prevented any of them from developing games for other consoles.

This effectively began the demise of Sega. Even with the Gensis and Dreamcast, they were never able to successfully compete with the juggernaut that was Nintendo.

David & Goliath (Sony & Nintendo)

Originally intended to be a partnership between the Sony and Nintendo, the PlayStation was going to be a CD ready add-on to the SNES that would introduce 3D capable graphics to the system. One way or another, the agreement fell through, and Nintendo effectively ended their partnership with Sony. Sony, however, was not going to be humiliated and decided to go forward with the PlayStation project anyway, and the rest is history.

A protype of the Nintendo Playstation

Sony's PlayStation console debuted in 1994 and posed a real threat to the SNES. For the first time in a while, the home console market actually started to shift away from Nintendo's favor. Nintendo responded to the PlayStation with the N64, and while it was received fairly well, the PlayStation did end up being the more successful console.

The Big 3

With Sony riding the success of their PlayStation by releasing the PS2 and Nintendo trying to reclaim lost ground with their Gamecube, players had 2 entirely different gaming experiences to choose from in the early 2000s. Sega had their Dreamcast system, but production on that quickly stopped due to dismal sales numbers.

In response to the online capable PlayStation 2 luring developers away from Windows platforms, Microsoft decided to design a gaming system of their own to compete with Sony, and along came the Xbox.





This generation of consoles set in motion events that would lead to the present day landscape of the video game industry.

What Console Wars Were

The early days of console wars were just that, basically an all out war. Nintendo was the king for so long, and squashed their competition (sorry Sega). Sony retaliated against Nintendo because they were humiliated. Microsoft was basically left them with no choice but to enter the gaming market in response to Sony stealing their clientelle.

All of these companies basically had nothing to lose, but everything to gain, from challenging one another - and the best way to do that wasn't with the hardware, but with the software; the games. Quality, console-exclusive IPs were the selling points for the consoles themselves. Nintendo had Mario, Zelda and Smash Bros., Sony had Final Fantasy, Naughty Dog games and God of War and Microsoft had Halo, Fable, and Gears of War. 

These exclusive titles helped move hardware and helped companies get a legitimate foothold as a competitor in the video game market. As time moved forward, these titles started becoming less and less exclusive for the most part, because those platforms already had their established audiences. 90% of games for Xbox or PlayStation now appear on both platforms, while Nintendo is still all about exclusivity. Nintendo's exclusivity can be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you are, but going strictly by sales of this current generation, it doesn't seem to be working too well for them.

What Console Wars are Now

The game market has changed. Developers now realize that they hold the power over consoles and not the other way around. This is why once exclusive titles have started to migrate to other consoles, and that is a beautiful thing. Not only do game developers stand to make more money by opening up their game to a whole new audience, but now everyone has the ability to play an amazing game regardless of what platform they purchased, and that's how it should be.

For the first time ever in the video game market, console sales are actually determined by the console itself and what it can do under the hood.

Aside from a few games, this current generation of consoles (aside from Nintendo) has no big platform exclusive IPs to really drive sales; this is why the Xbox and PlayStation are neck and neck. For the first time ever in the video game market, console sales are actually determined by the console itself and what it can do under the hood.

Oddly enough, this has divided as many gamers as it has brought them together. Claiming that you have the superior machine and that your game can run a few FPS smoother or this or that has become the norm now. Pledging allegiance to a brand somehow means that you are above everyone else and gives you the right to mock others that don't share your die-hard passion. Even gaming websites help propagate this sense of divide. I mean, just look at the endless list of graphics comparisons that accompany new games now. This bickering and blind loyalty only serves to benefit the big companies in the long run though.  

I think we as gamers need to stop finding anything and everything that is different about one another and finally bond over the one main thing we all share and have in common; a love for games.

The PlayStation 4 is still clearly winning the console wars. Why this worries me... Thu, 20 Aug 2015 06:08:55 -0400 shox_reboot

According to recent statistics, the PlayStation 4 is outselling the Xbox One 2-to-1 right now, with its sales a staggering 22.3 million systems sold worldwide while the Xbox One is lagging behind at around 11.8 million.

This is bad. 

Now, before anyone calls me an 'Xbox fanboy' or something along those lines, let me say that given the history of consoles I've owned I'm more likely to be the opposite. 

I'm not though. I can safely say I appreciate both consoles, even look forward to what Nintendo can give us next, but for now let's talk about the two main contenders in the console wars; The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

Historically I did prefer Sony's console due to its exclusives; most notably games like Metal Gear Solid and God of War. But at the same time I've always loved Halo and Gears of War so I never looked down on the Xbox at all.

Wait, that's not 100% true. My 'console pride' almost always kicked in whenever the arguments of 'which is the better console?' rose so...yeah. Guilty on that.

Microsoft's early mistakes pretty much handed the current console generation over to Sony on a silver platter

However, I hated the fact that the Xbox One failed so hard with its initial announcements, what with those questionable policies and their lack of appreciation for their intended audience. Microsoft's early mistakes pretty much handed the current console generation over to Sony on a silver platter. 

The Damage is done

Yes, the Xbox One has improved a lot over the past few years, what with the price cuts and the recent announcement of backwards compatibility and so on, but the damage has been done. The PlayStation 4 has such a substantial lead that it doesn't seem likely that the Xbox One will ever catch up. 

Is this such a bad thing though, you may ask? After all Sony deserves their victory since they played their cards right; They gave the gamers what they wanted by concentrating on the games, their system was cheaper (initially), its more powerful in terms of specs...they nailed it. 

Rewind back to the days when the PlayStation 3 was announced. That time around Sony was the one making the mistakes. They had gotten complacent, arrogant even...following the wake of their previous installment's huge success. It allowed the Xbox 360 to dominate the console wars, much like the PlayStation 4 is doing now. 

See the similarities between what happened back then and what's happening now? It just all seems to be following a vicious cycle. 

The Price of Winning

Look at the library the PlayStation 4 has. What are the titles that come to your mind when you first hear about that console? And no, don't list third party titles. Or titles that are available on the PC as well.

List the titles that convinced you to buy the PlayStation 4. Actually, list the big 'triple A' first party exclusives. You know, the things that helped you decide which console to buy all those years ago if you had to budget yourself for just one. 

Killzone Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, The Order: 1886, Bloodborne....uhm... 

What else

No, I don't want to hear about remasters.

Let's go back in time again, back to 2008 specifically, two years after the PlayStation 3 was released. I can list at least 10 different first party exclusives off the top of my head. And that was when it was still doing rather poorly compared to the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 as well had at least 10 different exclusives I can think of right now. 

At least, not as much a cause for success as Microsoft's mistakes

By the time November 15th rolls around, the PlayStation 4 will be a full two years old. Look at what the system has to show for it. I know the smaller, more indie-centric games are there but...I'm pretty sure that was not one of the main reasons for the console's success. At least, not as much cause for success as Microsoft's mistakes. 

The best part, Sony doesn't seem to care at all. Why should they? Despite having such a poor library, their console is still doing much better than its competition. 

A Turn for the Worse

Look at the state console gaming is in now. We're at a point where there are console exclusives on content in games (I'm looking at you Destiny). On third party games no less.

Don't let me get started on what Microsoft did with Rise of the Tomb Raider or what Sony's done with Street Fighter V. It's like both sides are now using the most underhanded ways of boosting their sales and trying to one up the other. 

Why can't things be the way they used to be? 

Then and Now

I know some people don't like the idea of first party exclusives. But it's what gave a reason for even having different consoles in the first place. Want to play Metal Gear Solid 4? Better have a PlayStation 3. Want to play Halo 3? Better have the Xbox 360. 

Those games justified you owning whatever console you had. They offered a completely different experience from one another. Nowadays the differences seem to be limited to a Strike from Destiny being exclusive to the PlayStation 4 while you get to play Rise of the Tomb Raider an year in advance on the Xbox One among others.

Back when first part exclusives determined which console gains the upper hand, we, as gamers, benefitted greatly from it

"That's great!" Said no one ever. 

Back when first party exclusives determined which console gains the upper hand, we, as gamers, benefitted greatly from it. We got far more games for one, and most of those games were of the highest quality if not coming extremely close. They obviously had to be good enough to convince us to buy a specific console just to play it on.

It was competition. But it was healthy competition. 

Right now, it's anything but that.

The Future

Despite how much I want the console I own to do well, I wish for it's own sake that the Xbox One catches up and surpasses it. I want the Xbox One to get those titles that will push it over the edge and knock the PlayStation 4 off of it's comfortable spot on the top.

I want it to happen simply because I want to see great games come out again for both of them. Games that will make you want to buy the console its on just so you can play it. We are getting some soon what with the likes of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the PlayStation 4 and Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One, but it just doesn't make up for the pitiful state console gaming is in right now. 

I don't want Sony and Microsoft to go handing money to third party developers just so they can get timed exclusivity for games anymore. 

It's not fair. Not to us. 

PlayStation Vs. XBOX: How The Tables Turned Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:44:57 -0400 Curtis Dillon

If you'll indulge me for a few moments, I'd like to start off by explaining my history with both PlayStation and Xbox. You see, I was born in Ireland in 1992, and growing up my brother and I had a variety of consoles - including the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis, SNES, N64, and the PS1. Some of my earliest gaming memories are of playing Beavis and Butthead on the SNES.

Back then I didn't care what console I played on, I just played games. That being said, I do recall my brother playing Syphon Filter and Duke Nukem on the PS1 and not liking them. They were too mature for me at the time, so I stuck with Banjo Kazooie. Eventually I began playing the PS1 more and more because my brother preferred it. Fast forward to 2001-ish, and my brother gets a PS2.

Before The Stick of Truth, Beavis and Butthead made farts cool

Once again the games were just too mature for me, he was playing GTA III and Metal Gear Solid 2, and I was dumbfounded. So I rebelled and got a GameCube. I mostly opted for the GameCube because it had Mario Kart and Super Mario Sunshine. To be completely honest, I stand by my decision, because the GameCube was an amazing system with great games.

However, I always found myself returning to the PS2. It was there I eventually began playing Grand Theft Auto, Jak & Daxter, Dragon Ball Z, Tony Hawk, Medal of Honor, Crash Bandicoot and Metal Gear. So by the end of the generation I was totally a PlayStation guy. However, I made the same mistake again when the PS3 and Xbox 360 came out. I got a 360.

Once again I turned my back on PlayStation and opted for the competitor. I chose Xbox because it came out a year earlier and it had 2 games that fascinated me, Dead Rising and Gears of War. So I got my first iteration 360 and played the heck out of the aforementioned games, as well as Saints Row. Then, somewhere around 2007, disaster struck....the red ring of death. So long story short, Microsoft fixed it twice, it broke a third time and they refused to fix it, saying it was my fault. It was at this time when my brother decided to get a PS3. Hallelujah.

Three frickin' times

So we got a PS3 and I played everything on it. I mostly stuck to third party games for a while, but at that time I had no idea what a first or third party was. Anyway, after a couple of years I got my own PS3 and with it I began playing more first party stuff. This was also around the time I started following the games industry and listening to shows like Podcast Beyond.

So my knowledge of gaming improved vastly and I suddenly realized how amazing the PS3 library was. I mean, if you didn't like shooters then you were out of luck on 360, whereas the PS3 had Uncharted, Infamous, God of War, Heavy Rain, Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, MGS 4, Killzone, and Little Big Planet, to name but a few diverse titles. I well and truly fell in love with the PS3.

Nothing the Xbox 360 offered was interesting to me. I could not understand my friend who had a 360. I couldn't wrap my head around why you would have a 360 when PS3 has so many games to offer. I quickly became part of Team PlayStation and would proudly state that the games were more important than sales figures. And that's still true.

Then the PS3 and 360 wound down and the new consoles emerged. I won't belabor the history of those 2 consoles - we're early enough in the gen that everyone remembers. But I will say I learned my lesson and stuck with PlayStation. Now you might think this article is leading to my revelation that Xbox One is now the better system but it's not, I am more than happy with my PS4 and don't regret it at all.

The best place to play

However, somewhere along the way, the PS4 has become more like the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One more like the PS3.

This theory was proven 100% correct to me when PlayStation showed off Call of Duty on its E3 stage this year. No offence to the COD series or fans, but that series epitomized the divide between PS3 and 360 - the PS3 had the amazing titles that flew under the radar, the 360 had little to no exclusives and focused on third party support. This has become the marketing strategy of the PS4 and it's a little worrying.

Both systems have had some amazing exclusives, but neither have had killer apps just yet. That being said, I do think the PS4 library is better than the PS3 library at the 2.5 year mark. So while the PS4's marketing is reminiscent of the Xbox 360's, it's good to see that Sony is still producing exciting new IP like Bloodborne, The Order 1886 and Horizon Zero Dawn. But it's also great to see that Microsoft learned its lesson and has concocted a new exclusive-heavy mindset for the Xbox One, with games you would never have seen on 360 - Sunset Overdrive, Sea of Thieves and Recore.

So both consoles are fighting for supremacy and we the gamers are benefitting the most.

That being said, it's undeniable that the PS4 has a fairly sparse line-up this fall, when compared to Xbox One. Now, I personally don't think this is a big deal when we have massive third party games coming out from September 1st right through to late November. Sony President Shuhei Yoshida said himself that Sony was in no rush to put out an exclusive this fall and let it die amongst the third party behemoths.

Indeed it seems fairly illogical of Microsoft to release Rise of the Tomb Raider on the same day as Fallout 4Also, PlayStation rather ingeniously aligns itself with games like Arkham Knight, Destiny, Call of Duty and Star Wars: Battlefront, getting exclusive content and therefore advertising the game as "Only on PlayStation". So the lack of first party games this fall does not matter. And yet it matters to shareholders.

Right now perception is that Xbox One has more exclusives. The facts are thus: the PS4 has 49 console exclusive games, the Xbox One has 34 exclusives. 8 of those are AAA....on both consoles. So the truth is both consoles have had 8 AAA exclusive games, while PS4 has 15 more digital exclusives. Now this isn't a d$*k measuring contest, so it really doesn't matter, nor am I attempting to justify the PS4's exclusives, which I don't think need justifying. My point is that the perception of both consoles has changed and reversed since the PS3/360 days.

Perception Isn't Always Reality

As mentioned before, PS3 fans boasted about the amazing games that were on the console, whereas 360 fans made jokes about the system's sales and poor running of Bethesda games. By the end of the generation, PS3 fans had the last laugh; the system had a vastly better library of games and even sold more! Then the PS4 and Xbox One were revealed and Microsoft did exactly what Sony did with the PS3 launch. It assumed that it had the core gamers in its pocket and attempted to expand, which just pisses off the core. PS4, however, emerged the clear leader in mindshare and pre-orders.

 That initial mis-step by Microsoft has  proved a hard one to recover from,  with the PS4 outselling it by a 2-1 margin. The  public mindshare has been  completely PS4 since launch, and  that's a hard thing to change. So  PlayStation is coasting right now,  with double the sales, and it's doing  so without any upcoming games.  Sony is aligning itself with huge 3rd party games and relying on that to sell the system. Xbox One, however, is trailing far behind, but with a lot of great games on the immediate horizon. The tables have well and truly turned. The good news for PlayStation fans is that the PS4 is not as barren with exclusives as the 360 was.

So truth be told, this generation has just pushed Microsoft to become a lot more experimental and frequent with exclusives.

Competition is best for everyone, most of all, us, the gamers! Rejoice and let the companies continue to wage war for our hard earned money!

Why I Don't Care About Framerate or Resolution Thu, 28 May 2015 02:30:01 -0400 OrganisedDinosaur

So at the very start, I am more than happy to admit that I am in the minority with these opinions (or at the very least, I am in the less vocal camp). Secondly, this is in no way an attempt to suck the joy out of the lives of those who love minor resolution improvements and always strive to keep on top of trends.

However, I know that I am not alone in what I wish to lay out. When it comes to my side of the debate regarding resolution and frame rate, there are two types of detractors: those who claim that the differences don’t exist, and those who claim that they do not matter. I would place myself in between (I know, even my side of the fence has a comfy fence on which to sit). 

My approach to frame rate and resolution

The inspiration to the voicing of this opinion is actually a recent medical that I underwent. With all the system wars, PC Master Race and frame rate movements of late, I had genuinely begun to question my eye sight. As a child, I had full 20/20 vision despite the fact that in my immediate family of six, the five others all wore glasses.

In recent years, as gamers were constantly claiming to see things that to me were simply not there, I realised that I had been told that I had perfect vision well over a decade ago so when I had my medical recently, I was expecting bad news. My worries were for nothing as it turned out, as my vision is now 20/19. In other words, one eye has remained perfect and the other is still better than most (my hearing is also excellent apparently, thanks for asking).

Did this really warrant a remake? 

So why this insight into my personal life? Well, upon learning that my vision is in fact not the reason that I cannot see differences that others claim to, my curiosity peaked and my conviction in my stance became stronger. So, now I am going to make some pretty bold claims that a lot of people will most likely dislike. 

Frame Rate

Most people I speak to actually say that they believe that frame rate is more important than resolution (which really strikes me as odd as frame rate is probably the most recent buzz word in system wars – makes me think of blast processing). I couldn’t even begin to pretend that I understand the brain’s processing of frames, and for the majority of readers, you don’t either! I have heard all the arguments and I don’t know if the human eye can see above 30 or 60 or whatever or not.

...but once it is above 30, my simple brain is completely satisfied that the motions are at a realistic pace and smoothness. 


What I can tell you is what I perceive, and that is: no difference whatsoever between 30 and 60 frames per second. Below 30 and yes, of course I can tell that the movement is sluggish (it’s like you are blinking too much) but once it is above 30, my simple brain is completely satisfied that the motions are at a realistic pace and smoothness. I have tried, I really have tried to see a difference. I have watched comparison videos (at source not just on youtube) and I have tried it myself at home by buying the same games on both console and PC. My screen is capable of higher frame rates and my PC certainly is up for it. I have used Fraps and Steam to monitor frame rates, I just cannot see what people mean when they claim it is any better.

Now, just like I can’t see the difference, I am fully aware, that maybe you can. Furthermore, even if it is simply nothing more than a placebo effect, I don’t even think that matters. My philosophy has always been that something does not need to be real as long as it creates real feelings and reactions (a philosophy you may well see me bring up again in the future). So if you really enjoy games more because you know that your frame rate is super high, than by all means do that and get the most from your hobby. It doesn’t change the fact however, that I simply, truly cannot tell the difference and that in my opinion there is not one. 


So I need to be within five feet of a 40inch screen to see 1080p 

Resolution is a different matter however, because obviously I can see a difference between graphical fidelities. Yes, I can see the difference between a game on PC and a game on a console. Some games have fairly large differences and others have pretty minor ones. However, first of all, I need to see them side by side and second of all, playing on the console never detracts from my enjoyment of a game in any way whatsoever. It never ceases to baffle me that gamers claim that there is no pleasure to be had playing a game at an inferior resolution. If you put gameplay side by side and don’t label the videos then many people can’t tell which is which.

The PS4 offers The Witcher 3 at 1080p compared to the Xbox One’s 900p. I can’t tell the difference. You have to be pretty close (uncomfortably close) to a big screen to notice the difference between those two. People hear that the numbers on the PS4 are bigger and they believe that they will see it. The Witcher 3 remains a good example as we move to PC, because the graphics do improve in many ways. Draw distance, fine details in textures, fog effects all look better and can be immediately noticed when viewed side by side with a console. However these differences are in fine details. The consoles and lower grade PCs still make the game look breath-taking. The differences are the equivalent of Katy Perry having her teeth whitened.

Furthermore, when not playing side by side the differences become even more irrelevant, and when fully immersed in a game, they cease to matter at all. Once again, if those differences really matter to you, then fine, enjoy them. Just ask yourself, are you enjoying them because of the actual differences (that you likely don’t notice most of the time) or are you enjoying them just because you like to know that you have the best thing available?

Live and Let Game

The overall point that I would like to make here is that if you enjoy having higher frame rates or better graphics than other people in your games, no matter the reason, that’s fine. Enjoy it. It doesn’t change the fact that the differences are not as big as some people seem to want to believe nor the fact that there are a large number of people who simply don’t care or can’t tell. I have splashed out to own all the consoles, a top PC and I even have perfect vision, yet I can’t see the point personally. Games already look phenomenally good and arguing over small potential improvements is a huge investment of energy for little reward. Why don't we put all that energy into an area in our industry that needs it and could actually offer a return on investment, like, I don't know, sexism!

Game on the system of your choice, believe whatever you believe and live and let game.

Is Sony's PS4 going to have a difficult next few months? Tue, 26 May 2015 19:39:07 -0400 Dalton White I

Recent numbers indicate that the PS4 has sold better than its fellow eighth generation "rival", the Xbox One. Despite the higher numbers of consoles sold, the PS4's exclusive games haven't received glowing praise with the exception of the recently released Bloodborne. Both systems have fallen behind the Wii U in quality of games. The Wii U has experienced higher sales from multiple titles, such as Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Mario Kart 8.

The PS4's schedule for releases this summer is also not all that illuminating either. That is not to say that third-party games coming to the PS4 are not worth the purchase, but the PS4 exclusives have the potential to really show off the capabilities of the PS4.

One of these examples is The Order: 1886. This game is a visual marvel with both the characters and environments demonstrating a realistic and gothic style. However, concerning the story and the gameplay, The Order: 1886 is rather lacking. The story is confusing, and the gameplay fizzles out as the plot reaches its climax.

On the other hand the power and popularity of Bloodborne demonstrate that the PS4 can really stand on its own. The game has a gigantic map, full of diverse locations as well as a variety of enemies. The scenery of the desolate town of Yharnam is as gorgeous visually as one would expect from a creation by From Software.

Nevertheless the upcoming schedule for the PS4 this summer is a bit lackluster concerning standout games. Two games in particular in the PS4's arsenal have the potential to improve the PS4's summer releases. In July God of War 3: Remastered brings the bloody finale of the G.O.W. trilogy to the PS4. Supermassive Games has recently announced that Until Dawn will be released in North America on August 25th. These games have two different styles that can really show off the PS4's ability to provide fascinating gameplay, intriguing storylines and beautiful visuals. Betting on only two games for the summer lineup is rather risky and may be putting all Sony's eggs in one basket.

Sony will be releasing multiple promising games such as The Witness, Rime, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and No Man's Sky (a timed exclusive) for the PS4. However, none of these titles have a definite release date. All that has been stated so far are promises for 2015, but they have yet to be confirmed with specific dates. A possibility exists for more specific information to be revealed at Sony's E3 Press Conference in June. So there is a chance that Sony will give its fans and consumers a more exciting summer schedule to look forward to. At the moment Sony's calendar of game releases is rather bare to say the least.

Making the Switch: How Console Gamers Become PC Gamers Fri, 03 Apr 2015 19:58:12 -0400 Nutronic

Way back in 1992 I was given my first gaming console; a hand me down from my older siblings: The Amiga 2000. Later that same year I was also given a SEGA Genesis for Christmas, but really it was both of these things together that helped to nurture my love and understanding of an interactive medium. (That was in no small part because you could use a SEGA controller for an Amiga, but that is a different topic for a different day.) Roughly a decade later and some change, I found myself no longer willing to save up and buy “the next big thing in gaming”. After playing both sides for years, I finally decided to settle on PC and haven’t looked back since.

Let me make one thing clear, I do not think PCs are superior to consoles. I simply believe that when you consider the utility given by a PC, the console looks more like a pure luxury item and less like an irreplaceable piece of your life. This of course differs from person to person, but I’ve always figured if you must have a computer, why not just kill 2 birds with one stone and have a gaming rig as well?

Is PC gaming for you?

Kinda funny

Before the idea of having one or the other ever became a thought in my head, I had to find PC games I enjoyed enough that were worth the aggravation of PC hijinks. Dial-up [internet problems] sucked, running out of hard drive space sucks, windows crashing still sucks. All of these things and more happened to me early in my gaming life and have helped me shape the way I approach technology. While I still don’t consider myself any type of tech guru, I know enough about enough to fix a few things and keep them running.

Building a computer for gaming, in my experience, is best done when it isn't made purely for gaming.

Building a computer for gaming, in my experience, is best done when it isn’t made purely for gaming. I’ve made mine based on several premises: Video Editing, Graphic Design, even as an Entertainment System. All of these other purposes for my machine gave it value beyond just being a time sink for my hobbies. The most important question you can ask yourself about getting a gaming rig is: What else can I use it for?

Building or buying, which is better? 

Building or buying a personal computer is in fact a matter of personal taste. It’s difficult to tell which is actually cheaper until you’ve done both a few times, but one constant question should always be first: What are you using it for? This isn’t just a question of what non-gaming uses you have for the rig, but sometimes a question of what TYPES of games you want to play.

For a person who mostly plays League of Legends, World of WarCraft and maybe a bit of Counter Strike for good measure, high graphics aren’t going to matter nearly as much as your internet connection. This is a good ways different from your Skyrim, Far Cry, City Skylines players who obviously want a very powerful machine. This goes even further when you consider that some people just play Facebook games, but would rather prefer a desktop setup over a tablet or phone.

Where do you start?

Telltale games source?

Once you know what you want to use your computer for and which games you are most likely to run, you can begin researching which parts you want in it. Yes, you heard that right: research. It doesn’t matter if you buy one or build one, you need to know what is in your machine and what it does. If you build a computer, there may be a particular GPU or CPU which you base all other considerations around. It's the same thing when buying a computer because if you know what you want to do, then you can narrow down the list of potential buys (and their costs) by picking specific builds.

Good places to start are computer forums and computer magazines sites for information on what you’re looking for. Another great place to start are the system requirements for the next big game you want to buy, from there you can look at the recommended list. Both of these options help you get invested in particular pieces of hardware and help you better learn how all the bits of your machine work. Sometimes though, you can even skip ahead to shopping and from there get a feeling of what is you need.

Where do you buy it? 

Another point easy to recognize that it doesn’t matter whether you build or buy complete the parts have to come from somewhere. Many people will swear to you that is the one stop shop place to go. Those people are wrong. Many others (depending on where you live) will tell you it's Fry's electronics. They are also wrong. In reality there is no one place to shop because we live in the age of price matching.

In my own personal experience, I’ve found that once I have parts or brands that I like it’s best to just do a general web search and go from there. Living in Portland, there are a few lesser known computer stores in my area that even if they don’t have what I want in stock, it can be ordered and sometimes even price matched. Keep in mind that if you can simply buy the item at a store it has several advantages over online purchases such as: immediate returns, in-store techs that might install it for you, and the best one is the immediately being able to see what you are buying. I can’t stress enough how overlooked but important that last one is!

What will this mean for my gaming?

Better Graphics or Higher FPS?

If you choose to drop consoles in favor of PC it may mean a shift in thinking about how you game. Once you start playing games on computer, you have to worry about more than just hard drive space or other arbitrary peripherals. Depending on your machine, you may have to choose between performance and quality. You also have to consider bugs and various fixes for which might only be supported by the community. Overall though, it means you will have far more control over the execution and playability of your games like never before. This isn’t for everyone though and should be heavily considered at each step towards cutting out console days.

An important thing to remember when it comes to PC gaming is that you aren’t just giving up your controller for a keyboard (most times, you can bring your controller with you). You are expanding the possibilities between you the gamer, and the game you play. A great example is Minecraft. This deeply immersive sandbox is great on consoles and offers tons of freedom with few restrictions. However the PC version has more frequent updates, larger worlds, and a thriving mod community which has added endless hours more to an already infinitely entertaining title.

Making the choice to move from console gaming to PC or from both only to the latter, should flow from a place of necessity.

Making the choice to move from console gaming to PC or from both only to the latter, should flow from a place of necessity. I chose to give up console gaming because for me I was moving away from the living room and more into a minimalistic style of gaming. Many others choose to make this switch for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, if you choose pure PC gaming; you can begin to appreciate the creative and technical aspects of games more as you become a part of that process.

Better reviews

5 Video Games Related Books to Read in 2015 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:39:38 -0400 thatzacdavis


With these five great videogame-related books, your bookcase might not look like this quite yet, but with these books finding success, there is more of a chance than ever that you could have this many video game books in the future.


Have a favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments so we can add it to our shelf!


5. Clipping Through


Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to go to the Game Developer's Conference and talk to all of the biggest names in the videogame industry? Well, Leigh Alexander has you covered with her bargain priced eBook, "Clipping Through".


Unlike the other four books in our list, this book is more from the videogame journalism viewpoint, but that doesn't stop it from being a great, enticing read.


4. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia


This is THE book for Zelda fans. It starts with an introduction from famous videogame designer Shigeru Miyamoto and then gives readers unprecedented insights into the true origins of Princess Zelda and Link.


Along with the stories, "Hyrule Historia" is packed with concept art from games like Skyward Sword in the beginning, and moves on to show off art from pretty much every Zelda game ever released in the final 100 pages of the book.


3. Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal


McGonigal takes a similar approach to video games in "Reality is Broken" to what Bissel did in "Extra Lives". It paints video games in a whole new light, especially compared to what the general public views them as.


"Reality is Broken" looks at games as "escapist art", and discusses how they deal with the many social problems of our world today, just as many other forms do.


2. Extra Lives


Sure, both "Extra Lives" and "Console Wars" are both about video games, but that is where the similarities end. Where Harris' novel about Sega delved into the inner workings of a video game publisher, "Extra Lives" dives into the deep inner workings of individual development teams.


The book includes anecdotes on games such as Mass Effect and Left for Dead, and discusses why games such as these two are so intriguing to gamers around the world.


1. Console Wars by Blake J. Harris


Last year was a huge year for Blake J. Harris. His book seemed to be popping up everywhere; with interviews at big outlets like Nintendo Life and Polygon.


"Console Wars" chronicles Sega in the early 90s from an insider's point of view. It skips over the boring, telling type of history and goes straight for the good stuff to keep the pace up and the story interesting unlike many other videogame-related books.


Books about video games used to be few and far between unless you counted strategy guides, but in the last handful of years video games, and the art surrounding it has progressed greatly.


Here are the best five books about video games that you can read this year:

What Is The Nintendo NX? Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400 Curtis Dillon

During an announcement last week that Nintendo would be partnering with DeNA to create mobile games, Nintendo also revealed that they are working on their next home console.

Codenamed NX, Nintendo's next system "surprise gamers" according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. In the interview with Japanese Business outlet Nikkei, Iwata said simply expanding on existing hardware is "dull", and that Nintendo constantly aims to "surprise gamers" and "change each person's gaming life." Those are bold words but Nintendo are bold enough to say just that.


You could go back as far as the N64, and look at Nintendo's strange decision to keep using cartridges of discs, and see that they have always been quirkier than Playstation or Xbox. This of course was solidified when they seemingly dropped out of the power race and opted to produce a more family friendly, motion controlled console in the Wii. Then came the Wii U, which is....baffling. And next we have the NX, which hopefully won't have Wii anywhere near the actual title.

So, considering the Wii was a huge leap of faith when released, and the Wii U was a pretty lame attempt at riding on the Wii coat-tails, it's hard to say exactly what Nintendo might do next...but I have an idea.

First off, it's important to note that the Wii U is not an anomaly because of its low sales figures, the Wii was actually the anomaly. Nintendo's home consoles have been dropping in sales since the N64, continued with the GameCube, then spiked with the Wii, and are back on their original trend again. So with PS4 and Xbox One breaking all sorts of console records, Nintendo could either attempt to jump back into the world of power, graphics, resolutions and the oh-so important frame rates, but that's highly unlikely, especially considering Iwata's comments about changing gaming and surprising people. No it seems Nintendo will continue their trend of innovation, which is obviously very hit or miss.

So what exactly will they do next? Well, I think it comes down to one very important factor, the DS. The Nintendo DS is the most successful handheld console of all time, by far, and continues to sell like hot cakes (the New 3DS XL outsold the PS4 in February). With such incredible sales on their handheld front, Nintendo would be pretty crazy not to do something more official about that.

The Wii U was a half-assed attempt at having a handheld as your remote controller and being able to use it when the tv is off, etc,. PlayStation have done a better job at making the PS Vita a peripheral to the PS4 than Nintendo have with the Wii U and its mammoth controller. The Vita can be used like a Dualshock, it can play PS4 games remotely over an internet connection, and many games have cross-buy, cross-save functionality. Nintendo could learn a lot from how Sony has made the Vita and PS4 sync.

Which brings me to the all-important answer, I think Nintendo's next home console will either feature a DS-style controller that can be used used as a handheld and play DS games, or the entire console itself will be semi-portable. The former seems the more likely option, that Nintendo would want a great handheld that functions as the main controller for the home console, therefore getting two systems into the hands of everyone that buys it.

The second option is more off the wall and unlikely but not impossible. Nintendo could opt to release something akin to Playstation TV. They could release a micro-console that contains both DS games and the home console games, which you can take anywhere, plug into any tv and play with the DS. Needless to say it would need to have a much larger memory than PS TV but it's a definite possibility.

The final thing to consider is the mobile games. The NX's development was revealed during the announcement of Nintendo's partnership with mobile-game developer, DeNA. This is a very smart move on Nintendo's behalf that allows mobile gamers, of which there are significantly more than console gamers, to get a taste for Nintendo's key franchises. Many hardcore gamers were disappointed by this news but the truth is that this doesn't hurt them in any way; they won't be making any less console games to cater to the mobile market. For once Nintendo seen a trend and jumped on it before either PlayStation or Microsoft and they deserve credit for doing so. So with that in mind, will the mobile games have any relevance to the next home console. Quite simply, I doubt it.

Iwata revealed the NX as a way of showing console gamers that Nintendo is still dedicated to the hardcore gamer and aren't abandoning the classic console business. It's not unlikely that the NX could feature some integration with the mobile games but probably nothing more than the way games like Watch Dogs and Dead Rising 3 have done so already. So if you were worried about mobile games rearing their ugly head on your home console, I wouldn't worry about it.

The key to Nintendo having another successful home console is for them to heavily integrate it with their amazing handheld, including cross-save and cross-buy functionality, and to have a much greater online presence and store. Nintendo seemingly fails to understand online gaming and the store on 3DS and Wii U is atrocious. This is something they need to fix with their next console, whatever that may be.

What do you think Nintendo's next console will be? What features would you like it to have? Let us know in the comments!

PS4 Sales Lagged in November Because of Xbox One Price Cut Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:56:09 -0500 Michael Falero

As if Sony's luck couldn't get any worse this week, the company now says that PS4 lost out to Xbox One because of pricing and bundles.

In an interview with Reuters, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House mentioned that the reason for US and UK PS4 sales being weak in November relative to the Xbox One was the latter's price cut.

Even with Xbox bundles, the price points ended up between $350 and $500, as compared with PS4's $400 price tag.

For Black Friday, many big US retailers bundled the Xbox One with accesories and titles like Assassain's Creed and Destiny. Even with Xbox bundles, the price points ended up between $350 and $500, as compared with PS4's $400 price tag.

Another possible cause for Microsoft's unexpected victory is the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which debuted in mid-November.

The Xbox One had been lagging behind PS4 in sales for all of 2014, and only overtook it once before in December 2013, just after they both debuted. In the background of this latest console battle, but certainly not of it, is the Wii U. Nintendo's console has posted strong sales numbers in the past few months, thanks to big releases like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8. So this still is very much a three-way race that could go any way.

Nothing About Xbox One Justifies the Endless Flak it Receives Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:21:47 -0400 Fathoms_4209

It's all about balance.

I'm a PlayStation fan and always have been, but I've also owned both the Xbox and Xbox 360. I don't own an Xbox One but that's simply because it doesn't yet have any games that tempt me. I buy video game consoles for the games; I don't care about extra and - in my eyes, irrelevant - features. I got the PlayStation 4 because being a big inFamous fan, I knew I'd love Second SonTitanfall isn't my bag but Sunset Overdrive could be.

See? Simple. I have nothing against the Xbox brand, even though Microsoft has given me cause to despise their business practices. I'm all about comparing systems objectively and that being the case, I'm not sure I'm seeing such a huge gap between the PS4 and Xbox One. So, why all the hate for the latter?

Game-wise, there isn't much difference right now

Neither system has a AAA "killer app" at this point in time, although I know the Xbox fans will point toward Titanfall. Sorry, I just see it as another shooter. The aforementioned inFamous was great but it doesn't fit my view of "next-gen," and neither did Killzone: Shadow Fall or Ryse: Son of Rome. We just haven't seen the stuff that makes us all go, "wow, now that's next-gen!" It's not like the PlayStation 4 is blowing the Xbox One out of the water on the exclusive software front (at least, not yet; next year's Uncharted 4: A Thief's EndBloodborne and The Order: 1886 might change that).

On the multiplatform front, it's pretty similar. Granted, we've seen a lot of headlines pointing out the resolution and frames-per-second differences between several high-profile multiplatform titles. It's true that PS4 versions seem to outperform their Xbox One counterparts on a frequent basis. However, is that really swaying purchase decisions one way or the other? 1080p vs. 980p is a deal-breaker? I'm not sure that's true.

So, what is it? Reliability issues? PSN vs. Live?

If this were last generation, I'd understand the popularity gap between PlayStation and Xbox right now. The Xbox 360 was catastrophically bad; with defective rights soaring over 30 percent and the Red Ring of Death fiasco lasting over four years (during which time, I believe Microsoft pretended they couldn't fix it to artificially inflate hardware sales). Ironically, that's when the 360 was crushing the PS3 in the US. Isn't that bizarre? And in looking at the PS4 and Xbox One, consumers have been lucky enough to see two very reliable systems thus far.

The PlayStation Network vs. Xbox Live argument still rages, and while I - and many others - will maintain that PlayStation Plus is about ten million times better than anything on Live, there are plenty of gamers who claim otherwise. Hence, this can't be the cause of the popularity gap between the two consoles. The PSN isn't free anymore, either, and a $10 difference isn't that big of a deal.

Aside from bad word-of-mouth due to the PR disaster in 2013, Xbox One seems...fine

This is what I mean: Objectively speaking, I'm not sure Xbox One deserves a fraction of the flak it has received from the gaming community. I think this just proves that a gamer's memory isn't quite as short as Microsoft hoped it'd be. They haven't forgotten the Xbox One announcement and the explosion of negativity that created due to several controversial policies. Microsoft was forced to rescind such policies (and acted all gamer-friendly when they did, as if they hadn't already tipped their hand with the initial announcement), but it wasn't enough.

The bottom line is that the PR nightmare of 2013 has chased Xbox One into 2014, and I wonder how long it will last. Eventually, consumers will start to forget and they'll be more objective in their comparisons. Until then, though, I think PlayStation will continue to benefit from Microsoft's mistakes.

Spongebob Spoof: "The Great Console Race" Sun, 24 Aug 2014 05:33:52 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

Vimeo user lifelikeatexttube created this hilarious video that pokes fun at every single console that is on the market today, and it’s just plain hilarious to see. They use an episode from Spongebob Squarepants called "The Great Snail Race" and changes it up, giving it the name "The Great Console Race". Squidward is Sony, Spongebob is Microsoft, Patrick is Nintendo, and Sandy is PC.

The video plays the episode's original audio, but adds subtitles at the bottom that change their dialogue a bit to make it all about video games. It works surprisingly well. Not only does it makes fun of the companies themselves, but it makes fun of the fans as well. It’s one of those things you just need to watch to get the full majesty of the video.

Why So Serious?

Console wars have been around since the dawn of video games.  They were originally around just to generate sales, but with the Internet, the war has extended and has grown far more bitter than it ever was before. Which is why it’s so funny when people make fun of it.

Let’s face it, the arguments over consoles are pointless, and it brings out the worst in people. New friends become bitter rivals within the first minute of saying what console they prefer. To see something like this poke fun at all of this is refreshing. This was a great way to make all the console fans, young and old, briefly stop spewing random hardware facts, obscenities, elitism and sale statistics at one another, and instead just sit back and laugh for once. 

Nintendo Will Ultimately Win The Console War Sun, 15 Jun 2014 19:10:35 -0400 Corey Kirk

Over the past few weeks, Luigi’s death stare has opened up the meme flood gates, and the tide of Nintendo fans seems more like an organic wall about to collapse on us all. Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated, but don’t think for a second that it is any less than a resurgence.

While the Luigi fade might go into obscurity faster than a virtual boy, his impact is a sign of the times. It is a kick in the groin that Nintendo needed and is subsequently banking on to survive this generation.

With dismal sales of the Wii U in comparison to both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Japanese company is no doubt looking to gain more customers in the coming months.

How will the folks at Nintendo do that?

Riding the waves of Luigi’s death stare is just the beginning. Mario Kart 8 is a great addition to the Wii U’s library, but it won’t sell the system. In fact, no game on the Wii U will sell the system by itself. It’s already had a year and a half to pick up users and it failed. The only way that the Wii U will become successful is by the collective power of all the games.

It is not surprising that many of the fan favorite franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox were treated with announcements at E3. Heck, most of us expected the Nintendo staples to lead the way. The real trick to winning the hearts of gamers are in the new IPs like Splatoon and Mario Maker. Combining old favorites with newcomers will undoubtedly extend the Wii U’s life.

Much like the 3DS, people want to like the Wii U. The difference right now is that Nintendo brought desirable games to the 3DS. Games like Bravely Default and Animal Crossing: New Leaf brought people in; Pokémon X and Y and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds made them stay. Now it’s time to concentrate on delivering epic, new adventures to the Wii U, and Nintendo knows this.

So how will Nintendo win the console war?

By focusing on gameplay, the Wii U will end up the most fondly remembered out of the big three; not just games, but innovative games that try new things and don’t just stick to the usual formulas.

I mean, have YOU ever played an online multiplayer shooter where your goal is to paint things? Or have you ever played as a green dinosaur entirely made of yarn?

There are several machines that can play Titanfall or Call of Duty, but only one can play Super Smash Bros. As long as Nintendo delivers experiences through its games, the Wii U will be the console that we respectfully talk about in 10 years. I doubt we’ll see the same kind of talk for the PS4 and Xbox One.

What do you think? Does Nintendo have a chance to pull the Wii U to the front of the pack? Comment below!

Console Wars are the Acme of Immaturity, But We Need Them Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:06:48 -0400 Fathoms_4209

For years, I've wondered why the "console war" exists.

Even over two decades ago, I thought it was beyond silly to argue over which was the superior console, the Super Nintendo or the Genesis. I thought it was juvenile then and now, if it's possible, the console wars seem even more juvenile and embarrassing. This is probably because kids yelling about their favorite video games makes some sense, while full-grown adults doing the same thing is just...sad.

Being a multi-console owner since those SNES/Genesis days, I've often made my dislike of the console wars plain. I think it damages the reputation of the industry and the inherent hostility runs counter to the purpose of entertainment.

However, as this generation presses forward, I think I've stumbled on an epiphany or two...

It seems to be the only thing that drives interest among the communities

For a while, I thought the console wars did the opposite: It turned people off of participating in communities, because mature individuals really don't care about such childish trivialities, nor do they have time to waste on it. But in fact, all these arguments concerning the PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One are fueling traffic for websites and in turn, they appear to fueling interest in the hardware. In short, is it ridiculous to assume that the console wars actually help sales and in turn, the industry as a whole?

Even the biggest announcements often pale in comparison to the console war subject. For instance, while the press release for the new Uncharted will get plenty of attention, it won't get a fraction as much attention as the piece entitled, "Why Uncharted Sucks" or "Why Xbox Doesn't Need Uncharted." If you care to test my logic, go ahead and use either of those headlines and watch the clicks pour in.

In the end, all the news, no matter how big, always seems to end up editorialized in the console war vein. Obviously, people like this. They like the drama.

Is this one of the reasons why we haven't seen a universal game system  yet?

In recent years, there's been talk of one universal console that simply plays all games released. After all, it's only logical. Who ever heard of producing different movie players that play different movies? Or different CD players that play different CDs? Historically, in the realm of entertainment products, it just doesn't make much sense. Analysts and industry experts have offered plenty of compelling arguments for one game console, and it does make sense.

Honestly, though, I don't think Sony and Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, Nintendo) have any interest in the idea. I think they both know that the incessant bickering amps up attention and general interest. Executives on all sides are usually diplomatic when asked about the console war, but when I read those comments, I sense a wry little smile on the face of the interviewee. It's like they're saying, "Of course, we don't condone it, but you know, it kinda helps."

Here's my question: If one universal gaming console replaced all the machines tomorrow, how much of a drop would there be in online activity in the gaming world? I'm guessing there'd be a massive drop; perhaps even a crippling one.'s like the systems themselves are the celebrities of our industry

There are entire magazines and TV shows dedicated to celebrity gossip. It's a billion-dollar industry. But has anyone noticed that we don't really have too many celebrities in gaming? And the ones we do have aren't too concerned about their privacy, I don't think. Do we see people in gaming forums wondering about what Hideo Kojima wore to dinner last weekend? Or what David Cage ate for lunch? Nah. We really don't care.

It's the consoles that take center-stage. They are this industry's celebrities, if you really think about it. They drive the gossip, even more so than the software. As strange as this sounds, if you make a direct comparison between gaming and any other entertainment industry, it really seems as if inanimate objects are the centers of our attention, while the people behind those objects matter very little. It's weird, but that's the way things are.

So, all things being considered, I guess we gotta keep the console wars. They're like the bullet you can't remove for fear of killing the host.

In Response To: "PS4 Only Has Indie Games and HD Ports" Thu, 01 May 2014 11:30:08 -0400 Fathoms_4209

I've been hearing this for a while now, and usually from gamers in the Xbox camp:

"LOL No wonder PS4 is $100 cheaper; all it has are a bunch of little indie games nobody cares about and HD ports of last-gen games!"

Given the announcements thus far in 2014, I don't necessarily blame someone for seeing it this way. Granted, such a statement is wildly inflammatory and obviously designed to be insulting but at the core of it lies a kernel of truth. Well, at least for the time being.

The bottom line is that if someone asked me if they should purchase a PlayStation 4 right now, I'd have some questions of my own. I wouldn't immediately recommend that purchase because if you're looking for numerous AAA elite exclusives, you might want to wait until the holiday season.

As for the statement in the title, here's my response:

Historically, NO console has produced a ton of must-have AAA games in the first six months

This just doesn't happen. As much as we want it to happen, new consoles take some time to get going. I find it hilarious how everyone is always so surprised at the drought every new system goes through immediately after it first comes to market. Manufacturers try to launch the machine with some decent titles - and sometimes they do; the PS2, for example - but for quite a few months afterward, you don't get much. That's just the way things go.

It's unfortunate that summer is looking kinda empty but at the same time, it's hardly only the PS4 that's going to suffer through this drought. What does the Xbox One have? Neither system has much of anything that screams "must-have" between June and August; things get rolling again in September with Destiny. In the meantime, passing judgment on what a console "has" or "does" is utterly absurd.

At the end of the previous generation, everyone was begging for more innovation and originality...well...

Where are we seeing the majority of innovation right now? In the indie scene. I'm not one of those people who automatically assume an indie title is great just because it's made by a small team with a low budget. In truth, this usually results in a mediocre product and for obvious reasons. However, because such teams don't have publishers looking over their shoulders every step of the way, the designers can pretty much make whatever they want.

As such, we're seeing such an explosion of creativity on the small-budget side of the industry right now. I know they don't take advantage of the PS4's power, and I know such titles aren't the reason to own Sony's new console. I get that. However, complaining that they exist is just ridiculous, because it gives us a wide variety of freshness that we just don't see in AAA gaming right now.

At the bare minimum, it's a lot better than nothing, right? In previous eras, "nothing" is precisely what many consoles had to offer during those initial six months.

I must be missing this onslaught of HD ports

I know about Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and The Last Of Us: Remastered. Am I missing the others? I know they released updated version of digital games like flOw and Dead Nation but beyond that, I can't quite justify the concept that PS4 is "all about" HD ports right now. I guess it's just because the Tomb Raider and The Last Of Us HD upgrades got a huge amount of attention and as such, they're often in the limelight.

Besides, HD upgrades were very common throughout most of the previous generation. That's really the era when it came into vogue, as that's essentially the generation that introduced high-def gaming to the world. Furthermore, I never understood the problem of bringing older games to new systems. Not everyone played everything the instant it came out, you know. Some of us have lives. Maybe some of us really appreciate that games we missed on the PS3 are now on - or coming to - the PS4, especially because the PS4 isn't backwards compatible.

As of now, what does the competition have?

I must also be missing this bevy of great games on the Xbox One that aren't available on Sony's machine. This drought affects both machines and at least the PS4 has plenty of great indie titles, several of which can't be found on Xbox One. I don't get how one fanbase can accuse the other of "not having something" when they certainly don't have it, either. This is not a war that will be resolved in six months or a year; it's going to take some time to develop, so tossing out labels now is meaningless.

This time next year, maybe we should revisit the above statement...