Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sony PS4 vs Xbox One

Sony finally unveiled its new PS4 at E3, and it seems like Microsoft will have to do some serious re-thinking about the Xbox One. (Sorry for not going into much detail, but having to stay up well into over 4AM in the morning to watch the E3 presentations live takes it's toll - though you can check out the posts I wrote in Portuguese about the Xbox One at E3 and the Sony PS4 and hope Google Translate won't make too much of a mess of it - although you can simply skip to the bottom to watch the game videos. :)

I'll do just a quick recap/review of the most important aspects:

  • Xbox One - available in November for $499, region locked, requires internet connection every 24h, used/lent games will be allowed (or not) to the producer's discretion.
  • PS4 - availble for $399, no regions, no internet connection required for offline games, disc games can be resold, given away, etc.

Tough I currently have both a PS3 and a Xbox 360, and am slightly biased to the Xbox (I admit it), I have to say that MS really has a tough road ahead. Looks like Sony really pulled the right cards and trumped the Xbox One in nearly every (all?) aspects. Not everything is perfect, as the PS4 will also require you to pay up for the "Plus" subscription in order to play multiplayer games - much akin to Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. But at least you can still use a PS4 as a game console, taking it with you wherever you want and being able to play (offline) games - while on the Xbox, if you happen to have an internet problem for a week... you won't even be able to spend your days playing games!

Then there's the price. A $100 difference is quite substantial, even more when the PS4 has the edge in raw graphics power (what matters most to gamers). And although the Xbox One includes the new Kinect - which has really amazing capabilities - you can also add the new PS4 camera and still have enough money left to buy some extra game.

Sony also played the right cards when it comes to indie developers, showing that the PS4 will have not only the latest blockbusters and some amazing exclusives, but it will also have lots of original indie games to cater for a substantial larger gameplay variety. And coming 2014, it will also have the Gaikai streaming game techonology.

It will be interesting to watch how MS will react to Sony's PS4 now that the cards are on the table. Will it buckle to the pressure and reconsider its offering? Or will it play it trough, betting gamers won't mind the extra $100, the outdated "region" system, the more restrictive used game policies, and last but not least... the nearly constant internet requirement.

Even worse for MS, it seems that the Xbox One Asia's launch will be delayed substantially, something that would make it even easier for Sony to take a hold in that part of the world.

Being a long time Xbox fan, I can't help but feel kind of sad seeing MS potentially ruining all the reputation built by its Xbox over the years. At the very least I would hope to see the Xbox One and PS4 going at it perfectly balanced and keeping the status quo. As it is right now... I'm afraid there will be a lot more former Xbox users jumping aboard the new PS4 than PS gamers considering the jump to the opposite site.

The Xbox has bet too much into being a TV media center replacement... and forgot the rest of the world won't be able to take advantage of many of those features - and that many gamers don't even care about that  should they have it available.

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