Finally the next console war is here, and the big players have arrived guns blazing. Sony has been keeping quiet, biding their time, but at the 2013 E3 showcase last week they certainly didn’t pull any punches. Up until now the Xbox One was certainly the most talked about of the two consoles dominating the headlines in tech and gaming news. Microsoft has been leaking information for months about the Xbox One and prior to the event released a stream of news about its console that got a less than positive reception.
One of the most annoying facts to be revealed about the Xbox One, and still an issue that is causing a large stir, is that the console basically relies on the internet. Every 24 hours the console needs to connect to the internet to verify various details and content on the new Xbox, which arguably is fine most of the time. But having just left the world of student life and the most stereotypical of student living arrangements myself, I am very familiar with things in the home sometimes not working. This could range from faulty taps to the unexpected disappearance of the internet, and when things like this happen it’s good to know it will affect as few other devices in your house as possible. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had to turn to playing video games during the creeping panic attack that ensues upon finding out that for whatever reason you’ve indefinitely lost your internet connection at home. And there’s the obvious problem that should Microsoft’s Xbox One servers encounter some sort of problem and crash for long enough, then Xbox One users everywhere may find themselves unable to actually play games on their console.
And if things couldn’t get any worse for those excitedly awaiting the Xbox One (most of whom I’m sure would have lost the majority of their excitement by now), Xbox One also announced it would in essence oppose one of the elements at the heart of gaming culture, and indeed the micro-economy of the gaming industry. The exchange. Swapping, sharing and reselling of games will be restricted and in many cases perhaps even blocked through a system of network barriers limiting the amount of consoles a newly purchased game can be used on. You could almost hear gamers across the land boo and hiss at the announcement, regardless of its impressive line-up of launch titles such as Project Spark which allows gamers to quite literally create a whole RPG world for themselves, and sequels to the cross-platform successes of Metal Gear Solid and the zombie blood splattering festival that is Dead Rising.
And then there was the PlayStation 4. Not so much a revelation of the amazing feats it could perform, but rather a simple kick to the competition while it stumbled, just by announcing they wouldn’t be pulling any of the aforementioned stunts of Microsoft. When the American CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Jack Tretton, announced Sony would allows gamers to have full rights over the games they buy, with the right to share and resell as they pleased, he was met with a standing ovation. In addition to this, no server imposed restrictions on gameplay, and no need for a constant internet connection was stated. Of course Sony continued to impress with a strong line-up of launch titles, such as a new addition to the hugely successful Need For Speed titles and likewise with FIFA 14. Sony also struck a final blow to Microsoft with a $100 price cut, coming in at US$399, marking it as not only less restrictive but cheaper, with just as much competitive machine power as the Xbox One. Whilst admittedly I’m biased, having been a bit of Sony fan for a while now, it would be hard to argue that they haven’t come out of this event looking a lot better than the competition.