This gamer has made up his mind.
[image via Tech Radar]
Back in the day, I was always a Nintendo fan. My first console was the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES and after that, the SNES. Then came the N64 (my first ever release day console purchase – man that thing was expensive). Many a day and night was spent Mario Karting with friends on that baby.
After that, I owned a GameCube [and came extremely close to picking up a Panasonic Q, but that’s another story]. At some point after this, I fell down some stairs and was bed-ridden for a fortnight. It was during this time that I was lent an original Xbox along with a copies of Halo and Burnout: Vengeance. I’d followed the Burnout serious on the GameCube but the Xbox sequels were immense. I could feel a change coming but it was not coming any time soon as, at some point later, the Nintendo fan in me bought a Wii.
But something was missing. Yes I had Zelda and Mario and Resident Evil 4. But I wanted more. I wanted proper online play. I wanted something in high definition. My friend Roger had just got an Xbox 360 and so now I wanted an Xbox 360 purely so she and I could play together.
Six months or so later, towards the end of 2008 my friend Josh gave me his Xbox 360. I fell in love, and all was awesome. I’ve been an Xbox-er ever since.
I have never owned a PlayStation.
But this year, I think that’s going to change.
When the Xbox One was announced back in May of this year, there was a big hoo-hah around how it would become the media centre for the front room. The TV integration, the awesome new Kinect 2.0, everything about it meant that this little baby would be the only thing we’d ever need.
Then… it ran into a little trouble.
First the machine wouldn’t let you lend games to your friends (not in the traditional sense at least) without paying for it, then it had to ‘check in’ online every 24hrs. Then, in the face of huge negative reaction, Microsoft cancelled all that, but then the Kinect would be ‘spying’ on your every move, and then Microsoft had to clarify on that too.
Even after all that PR pain, I was still leaning towards getting an Xbox One. I love my 360, and I love my Kinect too (yes, I really do use the voice activation stuff). The deal-maker for me would’ve been if Microsoft launched the One in the UK with Sky TV as a partner. I’m a Sky subscriber and having the Xbox work well with that, in the same way that it worked in the US partners, well it’d make the whole ‘TV’ thing worth it.
I’ve got friends in the gaming industry, and I know a few reviewers too. Word was leaking: the One is a pain to develop for. The PS4 is a dream. The One doesn’t have ANY media partners at launch. Whispers became louder… and then came the Eurogamer Expo.
The Eurogamer event at London’s Olympia back in September offered up a chance to play the latest games on the latest systems. Geeks among nerds, my friend Matt and I ventured forth. I played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (AC:IV) on the PS4 and Killer Instinct on the One. The former impressed, the latter did not.
In the pub afterwards, more PS4 rumours were afoot. A quick show of hands of the group we were chatting to proved that pretty much everyone was getting a PS4 first and then waiting to see if the One was going to improve after. But by then, it might be too late.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is the latest mega title to be released in the COD series. Due to the differences in the operating systems between the One and the PS4, the former can only run the game at 720p (the latter hitting full 1080p). Deal breaker?
For some? Definitely.
For me? Maybe.
Last night I went along to the #XboxOneTour, an invitation only event where – similarly to Eurogamer – you got to play the latest titles on newest system, but with the obvious focus on the Xbox One. I got hands on time with Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct (again), Ryse, and Forza. They also had FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and some Kinect stuff too but none of that interests me. I must admit, I was surprisingly impressed with Ryse as up until yesterday I thought it looked, and therefore was, rubbish.
Dead Rising 3 was fairly meh, Killer Instinct looks great, but is fundamentally still Killer Instinct at its core, and Forza? I just don’t get Forza. I left feeling quite underwhelmed (not least because the 5pm-10pm slot actually meant ‘turn up at 5pm and stand outside in the freezing cold until 5:30pm’, or because of any every day sexism – not just because of that) mainly because I just expected more.
I really wanted the Xbox One to blow me away and it didn’t. At all.
I played AC:IV for 15mins on the PS4 back in September, and that did more for me than any amount of Xbox One propaganda ever could. It’s a shame. But I’m a gamer, and therefore I want the best system for games. My gamer buddies? They’ve made their mind up. Which means I have too: if I want the best gaming experience and I want to play online where my friends are – there’s only one choice.
I fancy a change.
I’m going to the dark side.
I’m getting a PlayStation 4.
UPDATE: Here’s a 30min podcast where a friend and I go into a bit more detail on what consoles we’re choosing and why.