Features & News

One Fought the Four and the Four Won

June 11, 2013, Author: Matt Parker, 16 Comments

Often, the console giants go head-to-head with each other at E3 and points are scored for both camps. Following this, a reasoned debate can take place where people discuss the pros and cons of each platform’s presentation. So, let’s do just that.

Be warned Microsoft fans, this may get ugly. AND I’M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT HOW THE CONSOLES LOOK AMIRIGHT!?

Games

This was an area where it could be argued that neither firm ‘won’. There’s a host of exclusives that have been announced for both consoles, with highlights looking to be Dead Rising 3Killer Instinct and A New Halo (I’d be amazed if it ends up just being called ‘Halo’).

The PS4 also came out swinging, lauding titles such as Killzone 4, InFamous: Second Son and DriveClub. In fact, DriveClub will be free for those of you that have Playstation+.

Speaking of free games, it’s been announced that Killer Instinct will be free-to-play. Sounds great? Well, you get one character for free with every other requiring some money from your wallet. I hate the sound of this, though pricing hasn’t been confirmed, so it may work out well. Either way, the prices will be in ‘Real Money’, as MS Points are to be scrapped. That’s a positive, right?

Anyway, we’ll call this a draw. Both have games that look great and both will be supported by third parties heavily.

Sony 0 – 0 Microsoft

Looks

Be careful what you wish for, folks. Sony have shown us the Playstation 4 and it isn’t pretty. Angular is a word I’d used to describe it. A lot.

We’ve already seen what the Xbox One looks like. In fact, I think there’s telescopes in space that can make it out.

Again, let’s call this a draw in the sense that nobody wins. Not that I care. A black plastic box looks like a black plastic box when it’s stuffed underneath my TV. It’s hardly sitting on a coffee table in the middle of the living room, is it?

Sony 0 – 0 Microsoft

This is where Xbox One fanciers need to look away, because Sony score a whole host of points right here.

Free Stuff

Microsoft have announced that Xbox LIVE members will start receiving free games in a move that’s so unashamedly ‘me too’ it’s laughable. Kicking off this service with Assassin’s Creed II (3 years old) and Halo 3 (5 years old) is hardly the way to make anyone care.

Sony, meanwhile, continue to make PS+ outstanding value for money. Whilst it’s a shame that a PS+ subscription is now requirement to play games online, the service seems to be getting stronger. From day one, the previously mentioned DriveClub will be available to members. PS3 games and Vita games will continue to be given away as well and with one membership covering all systems, the value for money still makes Xbox LIVE look a little underwhelming.

Sony 1 – 0 Microsoft

Price

This is a fairly liquid concept. We all know that consoles plummet in price after six months, let alone 12, but a launch price says a lot about what a console aims to do.

With Microsoft launching at $499, they seem to be showing a lack of awareness of the world’s current financial status. Half a grand on a console isn’t entirely reasonable.

Sony undercut this by some margin. Whilst they’re hardly giving them away, $399 is a little more palatable.

Naturally though, the UK and Europe get boned, but we’re used to it by now. The Xbox One will launch at £429 ($667) and the PS4 will be £350 ($544).

Still, this one’s got to go to Sony.

Sony 2 – 0 Microsoft

Everything else

I’m going to just list the areas in which Sony have dominated now, as to break down each area would make this piece too long. Here’s what you need to know;

  • Xbox One requires you to connect to the internet every 24 hours – PS4 doesn’t need anything
  • Xbox One makes sharing games, lending games and selling games a convoluted mess that’s still not clear – PS4 doesn’t care, will allow you to sell discs and lend games
  • Xbox One will come with a 500gb HDD which seems a little slim considering every game needs to be installed (this can’t be upgraded) – PS4 will also come with a 500gb HDD, but this can be easily swapped out (like the current PS3′s HDD)
  • Xbox One will be region locked – PS4 won’t

Hard to keep track of, but I make that -

Sony 6 – 0 Microsoft

Conclusion

It may shock you, but I’m no Sony ‘fanboy’. The information here is entirely factual, though my interpretation of it is exactly that. My interpretation.

Everything I’ve seen so far, for me, stacks heavily in Sony’s favour. They’re keen on supporting devs and don’t want to make their consumers jump through hoops, which is exactly what Microsoft seem to be expecting people to do.

At this point in time, I see nothing that makes the Xbox One close to competitive. It holds no exclusives that I care for and its ‘features’ are things that my tablet does. They’ve got some serious competition now.

Overall, this competition can only be a good thing for us consumers and don’t forget the heart of the matter.

Some of these games looking fecking great!

Comments (16)

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  1. Phil said:

    Hmm The UK cost of both has the XBOX one £80 more expensive but that price includes Kinect with the PS4 equivalent priced at £54 making ps4 just £25 cheaper hardly a deal breaker. Also if you take the comparative online prices, live is currently £40 per year, throw in 26 free games,over the course of that year and is ps+ really that much better value?

    Xbox 1 will have cloud services available from day 1 while Sony say "2014" this to me smacks of the PS2 launch where gamers were promised online gaming that took, what 2/3 years to materialize (I'd have to check the exacts)

    Whatever the hype you CAN sell and trade games on xbox1 not that you'd believe it looking across the web.

    I'll give you region free and the option to disconnect it from the internet if you want but again I'm not sure either are really deal breakers especially as most people will be online, again, not that you'd think that looking at the web.

    Posted on: June 11 5:14 PM || Report || Reply

  2. AndyB said:

    Fair comments there Phil, but I guess in favour of the PS4, if you're not bothered by the camera shenanigans (I'm not to be honest), then you can save money whereas it's compulsory and has to be connectedon Xbox. That said, I thought Sony originally said that the Eye would ship with all PS4s. I could be wrong, but if they've backtracked on that to make it cheaper in the eyes of the public, that's a wee bit naughty.

    For me, I think it's more MS's ideological approach that I don't like. Maybe that's getting a bit carried away as they're all in it to make money at the end of the day, but it really puts me off, it's not something I want to support.

    I was a tad underwhelmed by the games shown in both announcements though. Ubisoft stole the show for me again with The Division, which looked amazing, although even that is another shooty game!

    Posted on: June 11 5:41 PM || Report || Reply

  3. AndyB said:

    Also, the selling and trading aspect... Funnies aside (although I did have a good chuckle at that Sony vid!), what bothers me is that publishers can choose to lock that out completely, and their involvement also likely means any trade-in deals at GAME and the like will be even worse than they are now. I always sell games I've finished with, to fund new ones, and I also often lend games to friends, so that's another big red cross for me.

    Edit: I should add that I normally sell my games on Amazon as you get more for them - given what MS has said, it sounds like that won't be possible at all!

    Posted on: June 11 5:47 PM || Report || Reply

  4. Andy said:
    Phil wrote: Whatever the hype you CAN sell and trade games on xbox1 not that you'd believe it looking across the web.

    In a limited fashion, only through personal cost at the decision of the publisher and in a way entirely dictated and controlled by Microsoft. That's in no way a victory or Microsoft protecting your consumer rights.

    Also, PS+ is much better value with all the discounts and freebies, and I believe low-level subs are pretty cheap.

    Posted on: June 12 1:59 AM || Report || Reply

  5. Phil said:
    Andy wrote:
    Phil wrote: Whatever the hype you CAN sell and trade games on xbox1 not that you'd believe it looking across the web.

    In a limited fashion, only through personal cost at the decision of the publisher and in a way entirely dictated and controlled by Microsoft. That's in no way a victory or Microsoft protecting your consumer rights.

    Also, PS+ is much better value with all the discounts and freebies, and I believe low-level subs are pretty cheap.

    Reportedly $5 a month or $60 a year, which is the same as Live isn't it? Seriously you guys must get A LOT of free stuff. Is all that continuing next Gen? I'm asking as it's a while since I've had a playstation and genuinely have no idea.

    As for the trade in stuff, didn't MS say there would be NO charges from them? I can't see 3rd parties like EA charging consumers to trade in on xbox1 if they can't or don't do something to get the same from ps4 gamers.

    Posted on: June 12 9:58 AM || Report || Reply

  6. AndyB said:

    Funny you should say that Phil, Sony stated yesterday that publishers will still be able to restrict used games with online passes and the like. So maybe we will get restrictions on all fronts, or as you say, we may just not get any at all and all the hoohah will've been for nothing! I just can't get my head round MS's approach though with the online requirement. I mean, given you only have to connect once every 24 hours, for most people that won't be an issue at all most of the time, but why couldn't they have just required the disc to be in? It would've been so much easier, no need to implement anything complicated, and would have saved them a huge amount of ill will.

    I saw someone comment that no people in the armed forces will be able to buy an Xbone either as they can't go online. That's a bit of a kick in the teeth, especially to the US forces!

    Posted on: June 12 12:48 PM || Report || Reply

  7. Phil said:
    AndyB wrote: Funny you should say that Phil, Sony stated yesterday that publishers will still be able to restrict used games with online passes and the like. So maybe we will get restrictions on all fronts, or as you say, we may just not get any at all and all the hoohah will've been for nothing! I just can't get my head round MS's approach though with the online requirement. I mean, given you only have to connect once every 24 hours, for most people that won't be an issue at all most of the time, but why couldn't they have just required the disc to be in? It would've been so much easier, no need to implement anything complicated, and would have saved them a huge amount of ill will.

    I saw someone comment that no people in the armed forces will be able to buy an Xbone either as they can't go online. That's a bit of a kick in the teeth, especially to the US forces!

    I'd imagine partly as they have stated that digital copies of games will be available. We will need to wait and see if these are cheaper for the consumer or just a way for them/3rd parties to make more profit on the same title. Also MS have been saying a lot about cloud power on games which I'm sure has something to do with it too. Sure some people wont have access to Internet and for them it sucks as they miss out on what looks like being a pretty awesome piece of kit. As for armed forces, no offence but when they are home they surely have internet, when they are on assignment, why are they playing XBOX?

    Posted on: June 12 1:02 PM || Report || Reply

  8. Andy said:

    I'll again state. Just because MS being really shady on consumer doesn't affect some people directly, doesn't make their policies any less wrong.

    Posted on: June 12 1:41 PM || Report || Reply

  9. Phil said:
    Andy wrote: I'll again state. Just because MS being really shady on consumer doesn't affect some people directly, doesn't make their policies any less wrong.

    So MS openly tell us they have set a policy now around what we and 3rd party distributors already do which could future proof the market so they are wrong.

    Sony say they have no policy around what we and the 3rd party distributors do and have admit that they have absolutely no control over when or how this will change and they are right?

    Sorry i don't get it.

    Posted on: June 12 3:59 PM || Report || Reply

  10. Andy said:

    Simply, MS want to monetise and control the used game market to their own end, screwing your rights of ownership, they dodge the important questions about the finer details still. Sony say they won't impose anything other than what happens now. As of a few days ago, they've been pretty upfront.

    It's simple. I mean, Xbox One's restrictions wouldn't have much of an affect on me personally bar the ability to lend games to a mate, but that's irrelevant: I still think these policies are incredibly shitty, greedy, not very user friendly and treat the end user as untrustworthy. As a result, regardless of whether it affects me directly, I'm in zero rush to give them money for removing my ownership rights and infringing on my privacy. If you're okay with that, that's fine.

    People can make the Xbox One vs. Steam comparison all they like, but Steam has not once made me jump through hoops to play a game, it's never treated me like a criminal, and it makes buying games digitally both convenient and cost effective.

    I'll end up with all the consoles as I always do, but Xbox One is at a very low priority right now.

    Posted on: June 13 2:14 AM || Report || Reply

  11. Phil said:

    It's this whole destroying consumer rights thing I take issue with. MS have not,said at any stage I cannot do with my game or my console anything I do now, they have told us they WONT charge us to do any of the things we do now either.

    What they have done is put a policy in place which SHOULD (unfortunately we won't know for sure until its in practice) future proof both their console and YOUR game in what will inevitably be a more and more digital world. The way I read it they have looked at Steam and seen that people end up with a ton of games they don't want any more that they can do nothing with and found away to allow resale of those games. Again where is the negative in that?

    MS have also been completely honest about the fact that 3rd parties MIGHT choose to charge you for this process, much as they do now with online passes. On the flip side, as I said before Sony made a big song and dance about you doing whatever you want with your media copy of a game you still HAVE to install to play before then adding a footnote in a quiet interview that not as many people will see that they also have absolutely no control over whether 3rd parties add a charge for this same process.

    If MS price the digital copies at £10 less than the media versions for me that could sway the balance. As it stands it's much for muchness.

    Posted on: June 13 9:27 AM || Report || Reply

  12. Andy said:

    I disagree that a month dodging an important question and then trying to clarify with more vagueness constitutes being upfront.

    Plus you seem to be missing some of the vital and (currently) factual bulletpoints so it makes this entire discourse a bit pointless.

    Currently, under their plans as of right now, you can categorically not 'do what you want' with an Xbox One game. You MIGHT be able to sell it to an MS approved retailer. You can give someone your game if they've been on your friends list for over 30 days if the publisher allows (who may or might not charge your friend regardless), and then they're stuck with it forever more. You can't lend it to a friend without them using your account. If you move house and are without Internet for more than a day, you can't play games on your games console. If you buy second hand, you could end up paying twice to play the thing AT ALL.

    None of this rings any alarm bells or seems a bit self serving?

    Going back to an earlier comment, Armed Forces get time off when they're stationed. Can't deny them entertainment.

    Posted on: June 13 11:22 AM || Report || Reply

  13. Phil said:

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/m ... -policies/

    Posted on: June 13 12:27 PM || Report || Reply

  14. Andy said:
    Phil wrote: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/microsoft-defends-the-xbox-ones-licensing-used-game-policies/

    ???

    Posted on: June 13 1:39 PM || Report || Reply

  15. Phil said:

    I thought it was interesting and on topic as it explains a bit what I have been trying to say about future proofing against the inevitable shift towards digital copies. As he explains in the piece MS are trying to give us an option to trade in without a disc which imo should be commended.

    I am still waiting for more actual game details before i make any final decisions as i can only afford 1 console but I actually like what I see MS are trying to do

    Posted on: June 13 3:51 PM || Report || Reply

  16. Trent said:

    There's one pretty damning factor that's kinda big for me and that no-one has really mentioned. Sony are boring fuckers. The PS3 was a boring console. It's interface was boring, it's apps were boring and it's features were boring. Home was a failed experiment and I'm not quite sure what they expected it to be in the end. Everything about it was clunky. Throughout my time having a 360 my girlfriend has had a PS3 and not once have I ever wanted to change. My Xbox has everything there in easy reach, clearly has the best controller (another big thing for me) and up until certain developers started multi-platforming everything (Bioware...) the best exclusives; Gear of War, Assassins Creed, Fable, Mass Effect. I would say personally only Uncharted and LBP can stand up to those giants. Killzone and Resistance have always just seemed like PS3 versions of Halo to me and you all know how much Halo bores me.

    My view on this is that the Xbox One seems to have lots of stuff I want. I want to shout at my console and have it do things. I want the next generation of online integration; it needs to move forward and Microsoft have taken some big risks trying to make that happen. I want a system that lets me instantly leave my game to watch something while I eat and then lets me just jump in where I left off. I want a controller that is a tweaked and modern version of a legend, not more of the same with needless stuff tacked on. I want to carry my 60,000+ Gamerscore onward and build on it.

    I agree that a lot of the restrictions and money crap MS are doing is shit. It's not surprising, considering they've always been corporate fuckers, but still. Why it has to check in with Big Brother every day is another shit mystery but one I'm willing to go along with for the benefits it will bring. How can you possibly develop a game that confidently makes full use of a groundbreaking online framework when said framework isn't necessary? It's like the Kinect problem. A big reason why most games don't feature it is because every developer has to make a tough choice; make the features necessary and integral and, well, good and risk half your fanbase not having the extra big of plastic OR make them tacky and auxiliary and a bit shit so everyone that doesn't have the bit of plastic can still get the full experience. Well, now everyone will have a Kinect so those features can be confidently built-in to work in tandem with the controller in an organic way. The same goes for the online framework. If we ever want to see advances in the way we play together we need to give developers the assurance that every player will be connected at least on a daily basis. How can the build fluid updates or cutting-edge online data using into their next game if they can't be sure you'll be online to get it? How would Drivatar in Forza 5 work if they couldn't be 100% sure that you'll get that data regularly and efficiently?

    I'm not sticking up for Ms or anything. I'm just presenting that flipside as there seems to be a lot of anti-Xbox stuff flying around due to a few squiffy decisions and Sony just being really nice to everyone.

    Posted on: June 17 4:13 AM || Report || Reply

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