The Tuesday that many gamers had been waiting for has come and Microsoft announced the latest iteration in XBox consoles. It isn’t much of a surprise to hear that they are planning a release ‘later this year’. While this most likely means a retail release for the holiday season, it would be interesting to see them try to beat the Playstation 4 to the punch with a release prior to that time period.
Some of the other details include a BluRay Disc Drive, 500GB harddrive and an 8-core CPU to go with 8GB of RAM. The system will also have wireless-N tech for networking. USB 3.0 ports will help for a faster connection for Kinect and other peripherals – it will be interesting to see how far they really want to take Kinect at this point.
In terms of backwards compatibility – none. This isn’t really a surprise as the 360 and PS3 had virtually zero backwards compatibility after a couple years.
Used games? The rumors were swirling and they will continue to swirl because Microsoft didn’t address this issue at all. It does seem that you will have to install every game to your harddrive which would make for an interesting issue when dealing with enormous games on BluRay discs. Will you have to uninstall old games and then start switching between them after awhile? The move away from being ‘used game friendly’ isn’t going unnoticed, but many gamers out there won’t do much to prevent this move as they continue to buy big budget titles like Call of Duty and Madden without thinking twice.
Hopefully, the limitations of second-hand games will create a more picky audience of gamers.
(No price points have been discussed, but look for it to be similarly priced to the PS4)
Now that we are coming to the beginning of yet another console generation you are most likely asking – “Should I wait this out?”. That would be a good option if you could stick to it. Considering the growing rumors that the next console generation will not allow you to buy games second-hand (used) or even bring a game over to a friends house to play it on their console; It is starting to look more likely by the day that the PS4 (Oracle) and XBox 720 (Durango) are going to focus less on hard copy media (discs) and move further towards downloading and cloud based gaming.
This feels an awful lot like the console version of Steam/Origin. Both of these game hosting services allow you to play your games through an online based client that essentially acts as a proxy game library. Instead of actually having a collection of games on your shelf, they are in the Steam application under – you guessed it – Library.
With Microsoft’s online service already requiring users to pay $60 per year for online play and other features it will be interesting to see how they go about forcing people to do most of their gaming based on the ‘always online’ capabilities and the apparent desire to get rid of second-hand gaming. This isn’t really that surprising in terms of the direction that gaming and entertainment have been going in recent years. The sales of CDs and DVDs have plummeted because of services like iTunes and Netflix. The question remains as to whether or not this is a good thing when it comes to gaming.
Console gaming is nice for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is the fact that you don’t have to sit at a desk on your computer to play these games. You can sit on a comfortable couch, beanbag chair or even on the floor in front of a flat screen TV and game out. That is slowly becoming a less exclusive reason as PCs are becoming easier to incorporate to your TV rather than a monitor. The biggest downside to moving in the direction of PC gaming remains the initial investment and upkeep.
If you consider the amount of money people pour into their console gaming it isn’t really a good argument to say that it is cheaper than PC gaming. XBox users are paying $60 a year on top of their initial console purchase. Then there are DLC packages that often add another $20-50 to the price of the games they are playing. After all of these expenses there are batteries for controllers or new controllers if the console is used regularly. By the time you add up all of the costs a hardcore gamer might put into a console they could have easily bought a PC that could be used as a work station and gaming rig. Not to mention the fact that most PC games feature free online play and more consistent patches and user mods.
A PC gaming rig also costs as much as you are willing to put into it. You don’t have to have the same set up as someone else if you can’t afford it. The best place to spend your initial money is going to be on a sizable case and motherboard. The case is vital for multiple reasons (ventilation, size for expansion and video cards, USB ports, etc.) but the motherboard is the most important aspect when it comes to ‘future-proofing’ your PC. Make sure that you have plenty of room for video cards and a powerful CPU to power everything. You will need to also invest in a power supply to give your rig the needed juice to run. Other than that, you can typically piece together everything else.
GPUs (video cards), RAM, Optical Drives and Hard Drives are all replaceable and changeable once the main components are installed. If you are looking for a way to stick it to Microsoft’s XBox division and Sony’s Playstation division you should consider moving to PC gaming. The time has come to take gaming to the next level and that means putting your PC in the living room and using your HDMI/DVI cord to link it to your television.
Looking for a few ideas on how to build a budget rig or a monster gaming PC? Check out the wishlist section over at Newegg.com. You should also talk to your computer savvy friends for advice or ideas on what could be the best build for you. If you want even more input shoot us an email at email@example.com and include PC Building in the subject.