E3 2013: Thoughts on Microsoft and Sony

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I didn’t have the time or the internet speed to watch everything that’s going on at E3, but I was able to watch Microsoft’s PressCon live as well as the replay of Sony’s presentation. I never owned a Nintendo device before but I kinda felt sad that they skipped E3 this year because for some reason, I care.

I had to watch both PressCons at 240p though so it’s all blurry and stuff.

Anyway, if you visit at least 3 different video game sites right now, you’ll find that their favor lean heavily towards the Playstation 4, and it doesn’t seem to be just a bandwagon-jumping thing. Even self-proclaimed Xbox loyalists are saying that they’re moving to PS4. Why? Even the guys that are not supposed to be biased with their opinions…are Playstation-biased. Even I am biased.

No more console wars next-gen?
No more console wars next-gen?

I think it’s a matter of freedom

When Microsoft revealed that their next-gen console would have DRM functionality, the consumer backlash sort of ignited and continued to burn up to now. Now during Sony’s PressCon, they emphasized that we, the gamers, are free to do whatever we want with the games that we have already bought, and that the PS4 doesn’t have to authenticate games via the internet. This threw the crowd into an applause.

I'm pretty sure that if they also allowed digital games to be resold, EVERYONE will pick the PS4
I’m pretty sure that if they also allowed digital games to be resold, EVERYONE will pick the PS4

Marketing the ‘Xbone’ (sounds…inappropriate) as a media device also seemed to be a wrong move (Even if Sony kinda used the same tactic for the PS3 back in 2006 with “It only does everything”). Even if Playstation is touted as the best Netflix companion, the PS4 is first and foremost a gaming console according to Sony.

Naming the Console

Of course, naming the console is very important because that’s what gives the console its identity and recall. First let’s look at the Wii. More than a hundred million people bought the device, but now they think the Wii U is just a peripheral and not much people are paying attention to it. The fault is partly in the name. Not to offend, but the Wii U name sounds a bit childish, and they should have chosen a better name for it. I am very interested in owning one when things start to look better, but the general gamer public may still be uninformed that the next-gen of Wii is already here.

As the internet says; it sounds like an ambulance siren
As the internet says; it sounds like an ambulance siren

The Playstation has been a very strong brand in gaming since the PS1 days, and now it carries over to the succeeding devices and even services like the Playstation 2 and 3, Portable, Vita, Playstation Network, PS Mobile and others that I may not have heard of. There was a rumor before that the next console won’t be called the ‘PS4’ because of superstition in Japan (4 is ‘shi’ in Japanese, the same word for ‘death’). But fast forward up to now and it’s still called the Playstation 4. Logical.

I like it better when it is pronounced as 'Puresuteshon'
I like it better when it is pronounced as ‘Puresuteshon’

Now for the Xbox One. This is very confusing. Microsoft’s first foray into the console gaming industry started with the Xbox, followed by the X360. I read a rumor somewhere that the next-gen console would be named the Xbox Infinity, the symbol being a toppled over ‘8’, which could be a reference to Windows 8 which was thought to be the OS for it. However, they decided to name it the Xbox One, which raises the valid question of why? Because it should be the One device in your living room? I dunno. This could go the way of the Wii U, I think.

Please just call it the X1 instead of Xbone...
Please just call it the X1 instead of Xbone…

Design

As seen above, the Xbox One design literally is a box. I haven’t heard the details about materials used and connection ports, but the black and gray contrasts make it look sleek and simple yet elegant.

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The Slate design of the PS4 though, makes it look futuristic and certainly very distinctive from its predecessor. Although I have a feeling the design will create a problem for some people. I’m not sure what, but I just feel it.

The Presentation

The Xbox One details were already given last may, so during E3 they focused on games. A lot were showcased in the event but only a few stuck to my mind like Project Spark, Ryse, a new Forza game, and a new Halo.

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Of course, Sony also has games ready for day one PS4 buyers, but they didn’t forget to show love for their other devices; the vita and the PS3. Titles like The Last of Us, Remember Me, Tearaway, Puppeteer, Killzone: Shadowfall, Infamous: Second Son, and a bunch of third party titles all showed up on stage.

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Sony also pointed out that Indie Developers are an important part of the Playstation community and explained how much they love and appreciate the games that they release for PS. While it is true that Microsoft also supports indie games (XBLA), they focused on big first and third party titles during their E3 presentation.

One thing I thought though is why Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank, Resistance Franchise), a close Sony friend, is now making the Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive, an open-world third-person shooter. Well I guess that’s alright since Bungie, the one responsible for Halo which is the game synonymous to Xbox, is making Destiny (third-person sci-fi shooter) with PS4-exclusive content.

Also, I almost forgot about cloud gaming. Sony has partnered up with Gaikai to bring the whole Playstation Library starting from the PS1 to 3 and everything in between, into the PS4. Now, people doesn’t have to worry that the next-gen Sony console is not backwards compatible, since they will be able to play games from past generations, provided that they have good internet connection. I know that Microsoft is also giving a similar service, but it was not explained during E3 (or was it?).

Those are the things that I remember from the presentation which I watched two days ago. I’m fully aware that this post seems lazy, but that’ because I’m a lazy guy, although I did try my best to still make sense in it. These are my opinions, and to summarize it all up, I think the PS4 will win the next-gen console war.

You may say that it is too early to decide for now, and I do believe that Microsoft can still do something about their mistakes. Having an always-online policy effectively shuts them away from countries with unreliable internet connections, which I have to say is a big chunk of the consumer pie, and they should really rethink this strategy if they want to stand a chance against Sony.

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Lots of people are saying that only the vocal gamers on the internet are declaring their hate for the Xbox and why they want to jump over to Playstation, and that they do not represent the world’s gaming population as a whole, but one must not underestimate the power of word of mouth. If people initially perceive something as ‘bad,’ they may not give it a second look. The first impression is always important, and right now, Sony has left the better impression.

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Jerem

Jeremiah is a Broadcasting graduate with a passion for Journalism. His goal is to experience as many things as possible so his children and grandchildren will always have stories to hear before bedtime. In his free time, he watches movies, pawns n00bs, learns Japanese, and other trivial stuff.

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