Features & News

Team Talk: Which Next-Gen Platform and Why?

June 9, 2013, Author: Andy Buick

Following the announcement of the Xbox One last week, this month’s Team Talk discusses the all-important matter of what which platform we’ll be getting our next-gen fix on. Will it be PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, or a shiny upgraded PC? Or has it just all become too much for us, resulting in us being quietly retired to a spot by the sea in Bournemouth?

Ariana Hester (Social Networks)
I can honestly say I have no idea. I have recently pulled back from console gaming in favour of handheld gaming, and I think I should be happy with my 3DS at least for a while.

If I had to choose between the Xbox One and the PS4 I’d have to go with PlayStation. While many were turned off by the Xbox One reveal (and rightfully so IMO), it did not really affect my decision. While I’ve owned and loved all the PlayStation iterations, I have never owned a single Xbox. Not that I dislike the console itself; it has just always lacked a suitable library of the genres that interested me. Every game that I wanted to play on the 360 was also on the PS3. Not so when comparing the PS3 library to the 360. I was hoping Microsoft could finally get me on board (maybe they can; we still have a while), though until I see more than five games I’m mildly interested in I will stick with my PlayStation fangirlism.

A quick footnote on the Wii U. Currently the only system seller for me is Pikmin 3, and I need more than just one title to swing a purchase.

Next-gen graphics... Shiny... But will the gameplay just be more of the same?

Next-gen graphics. Shiny… but will the gameplay just be more of the same?

Trent Pyro (Staff Writer)
While the PS4 reveal wasn’t much of a reveal, the Xbox One (tee hee) reveal did what it said on the tin. Microsoft showed the new console and a bunch of new features it has over the 360. It also tried a little too hard to convince us that having American sports on our console was a really, really awesome thing.

One thing it managed to do, though, was convince me that all is not lost. I was worried that the new Xbox would be a crappy, media-oriented goliath that forced an online connection, ruined the pre-owned market and made it so I couldn’t even lend my friends a game. Instead, it dodged all those issues and showed itself to be an absolute fucking beast, and I think that’s what really matters. The sheer beef in the thing assures me that it will be able to play awesome-looking, cutting-edge games. At the end of the day, it’s a console that I intend to buy to play games on; I’m not really bothered about what else it can do.

The PS4 can keep its social networking crap. I want to tell my console to switch from showing me the latest episode of Game of Thrones to letting me play Watch_Dogs and then order it to shut up while I go and make dinner. For that, it has to be the Xbox One. Despite the shitty name.

Phil Ubee (Contributor)
I’m currently sitting on the Xbox One side of the Next Gen fence. I like the idea of a better, more universal Kinect, something which I’ve missed up till now due to the size of my living room. While gaming is the primary function of any console, I can’t understand people getting upset about the Xbox One being a multi-purpose device. I, for one, don’t want two or three different units sitting under my TV.

The big negatives I hear at the moment surround the need to always (or nearly always) connect to the internet and the re-sale of games, and while I fully understand the concerns neither is an issue to me. My 360 is permanently connected to the web, unless it’s off or my Internet is down (once in the past 4 years), and I am a firm believer that the next generation will involve an increase in digital distribution which will kill the pre-owned market.

Even without it, new games drop in price fairly quick after release; I see no reason why that will change on a new console. I have no problem with having to give up my “license” to play a game when I trade it in, and if I can buy a second hand game including “license” for less than a new one, then in theory nothing has changed from how we work now. There’s just a code involved to ensure it’s legit.

My final decision won’t be made until we have full disclosure of both machines, but right now I’m happy with what Microsoft is offering.

Am I the only one thinking that this is one sniffer dog who might've done more a bit more sniffing than was strictly necessary...?

Am I the only one thinking that this is one sniffer dog who might’ve done a bit more sniffing than was strictly necessary?

Neil Hughes (Site Manager)
As I work on a gaming website, surely that is enough to justify to my wife that I need two new shiny consoles from Santa this Christmas? Well, the jury is still out on that one, but if the retail price stays under £400 then I will probably get both, because I’m an over-excitable gaming geek that will probably later regret this decadent decision.

I’m an Xbox 360 owner that loves the Xbox Live experience, but also hates the fact that I have missed out on Heavy Rain, Uncharted and Journey. This is something I don’t want to repeat, so I’m hoping that there will be a way of downloading older games for rainy Sunday afternoons to enable me to live the gaming dream.

My initial concern at this early stage is not the lack of concrete reliable information on DRM, but the actual switch-over date for our journey into the next generation of gaming. Assuming that the new consoles are not backwards compatible and not in the shops until November, what about the new games that come out before?

My lack of discipline will ensure I purchase GTA V and FIFA 14 before the new consoles are out; but does this mean I will have to replace them when next gen arrives? What about GTA DLC season passes and game saves? How will this work cross-platform? The more I think about the new consoles, I just end up with more questions, so maybe I should refrain from making a decision just yet.

Let’s not forget that these days it’s far from all about the consoles.

Neil Hickton (Podcast Producer)
I’ve seen two heavyweights of the console wars weakly announce their next machines. I stayed up late for Sony’s announcement so I could get all the juicy facts and was left by the end rather tired (as it was late) and a little underwhelmed. When it came to the Microsoft announcement I eagerly sat down together with my 7-year-old son and Andy B to watch it.

By the first utterance of “television”, I think we were all of the same opinion; it didn’t bode well for the rest of the presentation. Even my son got bored and went to play some rubbishy kid’s internet game instead. He announced his feelings on the matter with such a flourish that I actually considered joining him as the word “television” had been uttered far too frequently for my liking. I felt like I was watching a Sky TV announcement by mistake.

Now, as for my reaction, I think PS4 seems to be the winner so far in all this. Some of my friends have already pre-ordered the Xbox One and I’ve asked them “why?”. Microsoft have not handled the answers very well to the many problems that have been posed so far, but then, Sony have had similar issues raised. However, I well and truly believe that it is at E3 this week that many answers will arrive for both machines. More importantly, the Xbox One may yet well prove it is actually about gaming, not just about TV, two TV shows, sport, Skype, oh and that smiley COD dog.

There are two things that bother me about Microsoft’s offering so far. Firstly, Xbox Live games will reportedly not cross over from your Xbox 360 to your Xbox One, and secondly, during Sony’s announcement they pledged that the PS4 was built with the developer in mind. Microsoft are making it increasingly hard for indie developers to create games on the Xbox 360 and it appears with the advent of the Xbox One, they have no desire to make it any easier for them. I’m well and truly on the fence at this time, but my legs are dangling over Sony’s garden.

Andy Buick (Podcast Co-host)
For those of you who listen to the podcast, it’ll probably come as no great surprise that I’m more likely to go with the PS4 for my next-gen fix. I’ve owned every PlayStation out there, PSP aside, and put simply I haven’t seen enough on the Xbox One at this point to make me consider changing that viewpoint. Contrary to what some may suggest (*cough* Neil Hickton *cough*), this is not me being a Sony fanboy; I’ve owned PCs, and consoles by Sega and Nintendo in the past, it just happens that the games I’ve wanted to play most in recent times have been on Sony’s consoles, and I’ve seen nothing to suggest that will change.

I’m put off by Microsoft’s evasion of some fairly important points, and I don’t particularly like the idea of Kinect being a requirement. I don’t see the point of the gesture and voice-based controls (surely it’s quicker just to use a remote), and it annoyed me hugely that the selling points in their announcement were TV, EA Sports games, COD, Forza, and one original IP (combined with a TV show), which had a trailer that made absolutely no sense at all.

There is promise in the 15 exclusive games mentioned, and even if some end up being Kinect shovelware, E3 perhaps will show the Xbox One in a better light. I have also been very unimpressed with their approach to indie games, though, an area which Sony have nailed with their open platform.

My final thought on this: I hate arrogance, can’t stand it, and MS have been hugely arrogant so far. That almost puts me off more than everything else.

James Sheppard (Sub-Editor)
As a bit of a gaming hussy, I’ve been in love with all of the main console platforms at some point or another. I started out as a Nintendo fanboy during my youth, working my way through from the NES to the Gamecube, then got into bed with Microsoft once they brought their monstrous black Xbox on to the scene. The 360 was my current-gen console of choice for some time, but Sony has recently won me over with their unbeatable-value Playstation Plus and free netplay.

Throughout all of this time, however, the PC has been a platform which I have always remained faithful to. The recent controversy over next-gen reveals has done nothing but remind me why this is. My gaming PC is my machine; I picked its hideous boy-racer case with neon blue LEDs; I lovingly hand-selected the exact components I wanted and less-than-gracefully wired them all together; and I do whatever the hell I want on it. I don’t need a corporation telling me how I’ll use it, what entertainment I’ll be playing or what ‘the next big thing’ is.

Pre-owned games have been a thing of the past for years on PC, but I don’t care, because buying PC games is so darn cheap anyway. Backwards compatibility isn’t an issue either (unless you’re thinking of booting up an old DOS relic) because I can effortlessly continue to play games from this ‘generation’. Or the one before. Or the one before that.

No doubt I’ll buy a next-generation console, if not all of them, eventually. I love getting to experience the best of what all platforms have to offer. If Sony keep up their high-value, consumer-centric approach, they’ll definitely be the first to get a knock on their door from me. Though ultimately I believe the next-generation will be the same for me as this generation, and that’s having the PC as my main platform, and everyone else being my bit on the side.