XBox One and PS4 – Are Exclusive Titles Still A Selling Point?

On the XBox 360 and PS3 there was the constant bombardment of exclusive titles like Gears of War, Halo and Forza versus Killzone, Resistance, Gran Turismo and for some sports gamers – MLB: The Show.  Now that the next generation of consoles have finally started to become more common in households around the world it is interesting to see that the focus has shifted away from the exclusive titles and more towards the features of the systems themselves.

MGSV
Snake isn’t limited to just Sony consoles these days. But some of his missions are exclusively on one console or the other.

Sure, there are games that XBox One and PS4 have exclusive agreements and rights for, but they aren’t exactly the same type of focus that we saw last generation.  While there are some gamers out there that will have certain games that they simply must have like the Halo or Killzone titles for each respective console… that time is changing.

One of the most obvious changes can be seen in the Metal Gear franchise.  Metal Gear has always been a Hideo Kojima/Konami production.  In saying that – it has also almost always been seen as a Sony Playstation title as well.  Now that they have announced Metal Gear Solid 5 is going to be multi-platform it seems that they are starting to realize that more console availability also means more sales overall.  This isn’t always a blessing as other content within the game will be exclusive to each console.  This is more annoying than anything as it drives many gamers to wonder why they bother spending more and more money on microtransactions.

With multi-platform releases like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Madden NFL and other titles that prefer mass marketing based on volume of sales rather than simply having an agreement with a certain company to release on a specific console.  The one caveat to this is when companies like EA and Activision make agreements (like they did with Microsoft) to release certain downloadable content (DLC) on one console before other another.  This is a practice that is rather insulting to users that buy a game like Battlefield 4 on PS3/4, XBox 360 and especially PC as well as purchasing the $50 ‘Premium’ service.  Primarily because they are being cheated out of content that is obviously available for XBox One users far earlier than anyone else that have purchased the same service for a different platform.

As we enter into a new era of gaming and an eventual move into a focus on digital content, it will be interesting to see how long exclusivity really plays a role in corporate gaming decision making.  As it stands, there are a lot of gamers that are sick of feeling cheated out of their money when it comes to ‘exclusive’ titles and other DLC not being available for whatever reason.

What Console War? – XBox One and PS4 Aren’t Much Different

I have been fielding questions from friends, family and NoobTubeTV visitors lately and now I will just put this out there for everyone to read.

The next-gen consoles really aren’t that different from each other.  With some minor differences in RAM speed and other internal tuning the consoles are relatively similar machines on the inside.  The real difference will come in the $100 difference in price on release day with the PS4 being the cheaper of the two.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the system specifications.

Playstation 4 vs Xbox One specs

After going down this list of specs you won’t see much different in the primary specs.  Also, for those that say that PlayStation Online Network is free and XBox isn’t… that argument is over as PS3 will now have a fee to play multiplayer games.  However, that doesn’t mean you will have to find a new receiver for Netflix as it should (still) work just fine with the free online account.

Also, there are conflicting reports out there and let it be stated here that neither system is ‘backwards compatible’ with titles from older consoles.  However, the PS4 will be able to stream games from the old system if that is any consolation (no pun intended).  So, keep that PS3/360 if you plan on wanting to play Grand Theft Auto 5 for the foreseeable future.

What other questions do you have about the coming release of the new consoles?  Put them in the comments section below.

Grand Theft Auto V – Too Big To Fail?

With the release of GTA:V only two weeks away there are millions of gamers chomping at the bit for a chance to devote their spare time to murdering innocent people in the street, taking cops on crazy chases, organizing heists and playing the occasional mission in the story mode.

Grand Theft Auto V is almost here.
Grand Theft Auto V is almost here.

If you consider the fact that Rockstar has stated that this game will be bigger than virtually every GTA game put together there is room to worry about the potentiality for major bugs in the code.  While this is obviously something that will be an issue at some point (as it has been with almost every game during this generation) one can’t help but wonder if this game might be so large in scope that it succeeds much like Skyrim has for a few years – even with the bugs.

The marketed depth of GTA:V prior to release is something that has driven me to wonder if this is setting up many people to wait out the release of new consoles as they play one of the most beloved series in gaming over the last 10 years.  The question is, will it be enough to keep you from feeling like you have to get the PS4 or XBox One when they release?

Creativity Isn’t Dead – Most Perceptions of Entertainment are Boring

I have been fortunate to know or be acquainted with artists, writers and even some people that work in video game production.  One thing that has never ceased to amaze me is their creativity.  There is always something new in their head.  Some sort of cool new project that is simply amazing because it is fresh and straight out of their creative mind.  The current mainstream gaming atmosphere doesn’t allow for this sort of creativity anymore.

Video-games-as-art-600x300

With games like Call of Duty and Madden being released every year it doesn’t say much for what corporate monsters think of gaming.  They don’t see it as art – they see a bottom line that must be met in sales or the studio will be closed.  As you start looking at the upcoming consoles do yourself a favor and ask why the games are getting stale.  While Madden can’t exactly change or implement something wild or crazy graphically or otherwise – it is still lacking creativity.

Another example of a great game that became over-produced quickly – Assassin’s Creed.  Really?  Is the character truly a different person?  Sure, the voice is different and the face may be structured with some new scars, etc… but this is the same damn game every time it comes out.  Attack, Counter, Attack, Kill, Run, Repeat.

There are many artists and developers out there that want to be creative in gaming and they are being held back because gamers don’t want new games or concepts.  They want a fresh veneer painted on the same crap they have been playing for 10 years.  People generally fear change and it is up to artists, musicians and writers to flip their world upside down.

I look forward to the day when I can look at video games and see them as new, fresh and risky art… right now all I see is what most people seem to want:

2/3 of a gun
Crosshairs
Poorly animated blood

The list could go on, but really if it needs to you are missing the point.

Next Gen Consoles = The Death of Gaming

You don’t have to do a lot of googling to find out some of the rumors pouring out into the interwebs.  The XBox 720 seems destined to be an ‘always online’ DRM machine designed to say, No you can’t take your new game to a friends house.  Make those cheapskates buy the game too.  We are entering what might be the twilight of console gaming as we have known it for the

ok... Maybe it wasn't ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.
ok… Maybe it wasn’t ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.

better part of 30 years.

Whether or not you want to take the incredibly negative interaction between ex-Micro$soft employee Adam Orth and upset gamers or the non-denial denial from M$ that their console will always be online, the fact of the matter is that this stuff has been a long time coming.

Many of you have iPods that have some sort of DRM protection from Apple (a company that is highly supported by hipsters the world over) and then there are others that have been playing games on the PC client, Steam.  Either way you roll with these different examples of DRM and online functionality it is safe to say that ‘The Matrix Has You’.

While the Playstation 4 seems to be what every angry former Microsoft fanboy is cheering for, it is interesting to see them flock to a console that hasn’t actually been shown to the public.  We have seen videos of games that don’t look much better than current PC titles (or even current console titles for that matter) and we also have yet to hear what type of paid service they will demand for their console.  Sony doesn’t exactly have the best record for internet privacy or security.

If you are set on getting a new console this holiday season there isn’t much I can do to stop you from spending your money.  I personally think you would be better off saving the $500 on a new video card for a gaming rig and never have to worry about consoles running your gaming world from an ‘always online perspective’.

Whatever happened to single player games and other people having some privacy?  In a world full of instagrams and shameful skynetspring break videos it really shouldn’t surprise my seemingly old-crotchety self that consoles are going towards this same style of social networking.  Afterall, it is vital for everyone to know exactly what you are doing at all times no matter when or where.  It seems that John Connor has failed after a long fight against the corporate machines.

Skynet will become self-aware this holiday season.

PS4 Specs For Your Viewing Pleasure

Sony

CPU – x86 Format AMD Jaguar (with 8 cores)

GPU (Video Card) – 1.84 TFLOPs AMD Radeon

Memory – 8GB GDDR5 RAM

HDD – Size Unknown (built-in)

Optical/Disc Drive – BluRay/DVD (Read Only – No Burning)

I/O – USB 3.0 (Amount is unknown)

Communication – Ethernet (10BT, 100BTX, 1000BT), 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1

A/V – HDMI, Analog, Digital Out (Optical)

* While these are what have been provided by Sony, you should keep your eyes and ears open for any changes or new details as the Holiday Season gets closer.

Playstation 4 Announcement Coming Today – What Does It Mean To You?

The Sony Playstation 4/PS4/Orbis is going to be officially announced today in New York.  While many gamers are considering the exciting news about updated graphics engines and gaming innovation there are other things to consider and look for as the new console(s) are announced.

Remember the Duck Demo from the PS3?…  Don’t let them fool you today.

  • Pricing – Will Sony make up for their pricing mistake with the PS3?  Most analysts believe that the PS4 will have a price tag around $400.  This is a fair price point in terms of how systems have been priced since 2000.
  • Online Functionality – PlayStation Network has been an embarrassment in terms of service and lag in gaming experience.  Add the fact that Sony became a target for hackers and were subsequently hacked to the max should be a sign that they must improve there service and more importantly – security.
  • Motion Control – This is a niche function that shouldn’t be considered in terms of controller functionality.  They tried to push the Six-Axis early on and then the ‘Move’ to no avail.  They should try to make more use of the Eye-Toy camera (like the Kinect) if they want to do anything with motion.  Even still – it is a novel concept with little to provide to gamers.
  • Design and Engineering – While Sony fanboys like to make fun of 360 users for the RROD (Red Ring of Death) they were victims of similar failings from Sony.  The YLOD (Yellow Light of Death) and over-heating of PS3 Slim consoles was a common theme that should scare any day-one console purchaser at least a little bit.
  • What Else Can Be Done… Really? – Console gaming is hitting a peak plateau because graphical improvements are becoming more and more detailed in non-gameplay scenarios.  We may see improvements to physics (which is doubtful in Madden – call me cynical, but you know it is true) but we are getting to a point where developers of games are moving towards microtransactions and forcing you to buy add-ons rather than any sort of true improvement in the game itself.  Don’t let Sony (or Microsoft, when the time comes) to get you drunk with graphics and take advantage of your wallet with fancy videos.