I like to think that this blog has been more about opinion, both justified and unjustified, than about facts. So with that in mind, lets talk a little about the big news breaking out from E3:
Obviously, Microsoft and Sony are the big two, but I will spare a thought to Nintendo here too, because I’m not so biased that…who am I kidding? Nintendo’s line up is an embarrassing collage of yesterdays games with a new number at the end/title. We have more Mario, more Mario Kart, another Sonic, more Donkey Kong, and more Zelda and blah and blah. At the moment I’m fairly sure that if you put a list of Gamecube games and Wii U games side by side and took the console names off of each one, only an adamant Nintendo enthusiast would find one distinguishable from the other.
I can’t see the Wii U lasting out with the current strategy. The hardware is difficult and clunky and the game range incredibly poor. They boast the biggest range of exclusives of all the Next Gen consoles, but that is because they keep wheeling out the “classics” – the only IP they own.
So, bye Nintendo, get something new and we’ll talk, but in the meantime us Gamer’s move on to the war between Sony sporting the PS4 and Microsoft with the unfortunately titled Xbone, I mean XBox One.
And this is where it all gets weird. E3 this year will be fought, not on a battleground littered with new gaming IP and old titles rehashed with new “more immersive” textures – probably for the best seeing the line ups – but on a battleground of consumer consciousness.
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, I’m referring to the way in which consumers (eg: me and the two of you) perceive what individual companies are trying to do to us.
Microsoft pissed everyone off, when they did a pre-E3 conference where they went about telling everyone why they should replace their computers and media centres with a new Xbox One, but seemed to forget that it was supposed to be a games console. They also made a hash of explaining how reselling your games would work too, infuriating people who saw this as a blatant attack on your wallets/parents wallets depending on age range. Then they said, Xbone will have to check in every day to Microsoft’s servers or it will stop you from playing even offline games. Oh and Kinect is basically always watching you like Big Brother! (That last sentence should be followed with the sound of maniacal Microsoft laughter and a consumer-y gasp for full impact. And as a side note to this side note, not taken too seriously)
So, what did Sony do? They made a funny advert about how you trade games by passing them to your friends in a very traditional manner and then shouted about how the PS4 wouldn’t commit suicide if you never ever plugged an ethernet cable into it. Nor would it watch and study your every movement and listen to your every word just in case you were working for Goldstein (read 1984 for clarification)
But fundamentally, does it matter? So, you have to have an internet connection for Xbox, everyone has one anyway right? Well, not everyone it turns out does. And even some people who do, don’t particularly want their games consoles continuous downloading/streaming new adverts at them when they are trying to find the tiny, almost hidden section of the dashboard reserved for the “Play Game” option.
Lets strip away some conspiracy and actually try to understand what Kinect is truly for shall we? Do Microsoft want to stalk you? Yes. Is it for the purpose of data gathering? Yes. But why? Simple, same as it is with every site you look at on the internet, advertising. They want to know what you want so that they can be the ones selling it to you. Easy. Not evil per se, but greedy for sure.
Do Sony want to spy on you and sell you stuff? Yes. Were they so blunt about it? No. Did they manage to lower the shipping price of the PS4 by not shipping with a camera? Yes. This was wise on all fronts. Sony and Microsoft both know that most people will attach their machines to the internet and both will take advantage of the situation to push this or that service upon their customers. Sony, have made themselves look the good guy by undercutting the £429 Xbox by £80 whilst at the same time, shipping less hardware and not forcing certain “services” upon the consumer. It comes back to choice. Do you want a camera device, yes or no? You can have one for PS4, but you must have one for Xbox.
So, Sony good guys, Microsoft bad guys? Don’t be insane. They are both the bad guys, just one is showing themselves up a little more at the moment. anyone who disagrees needs only look at Sony’s botched launch of the PS3 to see that not so long ago, the boot was on the other foot. But, Microsoft have struck a blow to themselves by making “rules” where rules didn’t exist before and they might learn to their great cost, that telling people what they can and can’t do with their games and gaming habits, could be a deciding factor in who wins the war of the next generation.
So, with all this political intrigue out of the way lets talk some about the games: More of the same, meets more PSN/Live Arcade Indie games. Titan Fall and Destiny look amazing – but are out on 360 and PS3, so you don’t need to buy next gen for these. And, that’s about it.
In conclusion, the next generation is just that, more of same, but in a younger wrapper. Happy E3 everybody!
Quote of the week:
“If you have zero (internet) access, (Xbox 360) is an offline device.” - Don Mattrick, President of Being an Asshole at Microsoft, in what we assume is an excerpt from his new book “Still the Evil Empire After All”