People! I come among you to herald a golden age of gaming! The very latest in entertainment technology is soon to arrive in your living rooms, bringing gaming glory the likes of which you have never seen! Will you join with me in praising this most wondrous of times?
No, of course you won’t, because most of you are too busy attacking each other over your choice of console. Twitter has been a dark, dark place over the last couple of days. “Screw Sony”, “Microsoft? More like…uh…screw Microsoft!” and other such nonsense has filled my timeline and I’ve had enough. I’ve remained neutral, of course, in my eyes everyone is free to make their own choice of console and I’ll think no less of them because of it. Of course, you’ve probably guessed that a “but” is coming and yes it is a big one…
I’m sick of being attacked because I’ve all but decided on an Xbox One. Sure, I can’t defend everything Microsoft have done. In all honesty, Don Mattrick might as well have said “We have something for those without access to internet,” before grabbing his crotch, thrusting at the camera and flipping the bird. Despite that, the reasons for which I’m told that I’m “aN 1deeut!” for opting for the Xbone (quit giggling, you) just don’t sway my opinion. Reasons like…
1) “OMG DA XBONE R SOOOOOO UGLY!!!!!1!!!!One!!!!”
Here is the Xbox One.
Here is the Xbox One in a high wind.
Oh wait, that was the PS4? So sorry. Look, I’m not slating the PS4, I’m happy with the look of both of them. It’s just that I don’t think anyone should be openly mocking me via social media for choosing the “ugly” Xbox One, when the PS4 looks like the Xbox One in italics. Both are black, both have a mixed matte and gloss finish, and both will fit in nicely on your entertainment centre. What else have you got, internet peoples?
2) “HAVE FUN BEING SPIED ON BY KINECT!”
The Xbox One and Kinect 2.0 are a lot like Ant and Dec, inseparable. This means that there’s a little camera watching everything you do and OMG! ITZ CAN BE HAXXORED!! The thing is, I spend most of my day in front of a computer. A computer with a webcam. If the “1 in 2 webcams can be hacked” figure currently floating about the net is true, there’s probably someone watching me already. Question is, why would they bloody want to?
Well, there are fears of Microsoft collecting data recorded through Kinect in order to tailor advertising to households, for one thing. Also, we’ve seen rumours of recognition based rights for film and TV, blocking people from watching if the Kinect identifies them as someone who’s not paid for whatever it is you’re trying to view. There have also been weird conspiracy theories about government spies but they won’t catch us because we’re wearing tinfoil pants. That’s right, yeah?
What no-one has mentioned is that Microsoft have addressed these issues. Kinect may be always on, kind of, to allow it to respond instantly. If you want to turn on the Xbox by saying “Xbox On” and feel like a boss, you need an active mic. That’s not to say that you can’t turn everything off if you want to, given that it’s an electrical device and ultimately, even if it’s a case of flicking the switch at the wall, generally speaking such devices come with an on/off switch of some kind. But why go to such extremes when Microsoft have stated (in an interview with Kotaku) that there will be “simple, easy methods to customize privacy settings, provide clear notifications and meaningful privacy choices for how data will be used, stored and shared”.
If Microsoft want to check out what type of cereal I eat in the mornings and then try to sell me some more via dashboard ads, good luck to them. I don’t think there’s that much chance of this coming to pass but if it does, whilst I admit it’s a slightly unsettling thought, I’ll just ignore the ads and maybe switch to toast. Of course, if their reasons are more sinister and they’re just really intent on watching a fat man prance about in the nude to Lady Gaga tunes, they only have to ask. I’m not shy.
3) “WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE A CONSOLE THAT HAS TO BE PERMANENTLY CONNECTED TO THE INTERWEBZ!?”
Why not? I’m not going to try and defend Microsoft on this one, don’t get me wrong. Yeah, I can see some benefits to the permanent connectivity, such as the hourly updates to EA Sports games, but that doesn’t excuse the massive shafting that this delivers to those who, for whatever reason, don’t have regular broadband access. I have regular broadband access. I’m sorry for those who don’t and I agree one hundred percent that Microsoft need to do something about it that doesn’t involve having Don Mattrick deliver a hearty “fuck thee” to the fans, but it won’t cause me a problem personally.
Ok, not strictly true. I may move house at some point in the next four or five years and if so, will likely be without broadband for a week, maybe even two. If and when that happens, I won’t be able to game. Then again, I’ll be trying to move an actual shit-ton of boxes into a new house with two children running around under my feet and my wife constantly yelling at me that the couch is “TOO FAR TO THE LEFT, MORON!”.
Past experience may have coloured my idea of the average house move, but either way it will be a temporary issue, some time in the future. When it comes I’ll likely curse Microsoft to hell and back, but I’m willing to put up with that to get in on the ground floor of next-gen gaming.
4) “EHRMAGERD! URXPURNSURVE!”
I believe that means “Oh goodness gracious, the Xbox One certainly costs a pretty penny, wouldn’t you say Jenkins?” or words to that effect. Yes, the price point is higher than expected and a little more than I’m comfortable in shelling out, but given that I’ll most likely be looking at picking up an Xbox One a few months after release, I’ll have time to hope for a price drop, keep an eye out for a sale and generally shop around a bit. Even so, I’ll admit that Microsoft are overcharging a tad on this one. So how can I defend it?
I can’t. But, I’m sick of people screaming at me that it costs too much and I’m an idiot to buy one. Specifically, I’m sick of Sony fanatics giving me a hard time for it. Casting my mind back…
SONY FAN (circa 2006): “Hey, just been out to pick up my PS3!”
ME (circa the same): “Nice! I opted for the Xbox 360. PS3 was way out of my price range.”
SONY FAN: “You get what you pay for dude! Screw the Xbox!”
Fast forward a little…
ME (circa nowish): “Well, I’m off to pick up my Xbox One.”
SONY FAN (also nowish, circa-wise): “Xbox One? You moron! They cost a fortune!”
ME: “So did the PS3 at launch, but you went for it. Each to their own and whatnot.”
SONY FAN: “What? No it didn’t. It was free. Your MUM cost a fortune at launch!”
The Xbox One pricepoint is high, much like the PS3 before it, but buying one doesn’t make you a moron. It just means you’re grudgingly handing over a few extra notes because you’ve decided the pros outweigh the cons.
5) “SURE, I’D BUY AN XBOX ONE. IF I WANTED TO WATCH TV INSTEAD OF GAMING. HUR HUR HUR.”
Did you not watch the Microsoft conference? Right up until that £429 bit where the Internet went batshit mental, it was awesome. Setting aside the Xbox 360 titles, Microsoft showed off a total of 15 titles during their E3 conference and asides from a brief “SmartGlass is cool, huh”, that’s all they did. Games, games and more games were the order of the night.
The Xbox One is NOT just about TV. Yes, there’s a lot of non-gaming gumph floating around in that box and if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. That’s right people, free will is an actual thing and you can make use of it right there by saying “I’ll play games on my 360 but I’m not too fussed about the telly stuff, thanks”. Bob’s your mother’s brother, you’ve got yourself a console!
6) “PS4 HAS MAD EXCLUSIVES, YO!”
No, you don’t. Let me rephrase before I’m beaten to death by the barrage of comments. You don’t have any exclusives that draw me in, personally. It’s no secret that I’m a Halo fanatic so the Xbox will always have that over PlayStation for me, not to mention the Gears Of War franchise and my burgeoning Minecraft addiction.
Sony did show off a wide range of indie titles which will debut exclusively to PS4 and some of them look fantastic, but for those with a time limited exclusivity, that means that some of those titles could come to Xbox in the future. So, Microsoft has exclusives over which I drool excessively, but what does PS4 have to offer me?
Drive Club – In my gaming career I have played three racing games which I have fallen deeply in love with. Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing on the SNES, Burnout Revenge on Xbox 360 and good old Mario Kart 64. Any other racing title that I’ve picked up has been a case of “shiny shiny shiny vroooom damn it crashed again bored now”. So, though Drive Club looks like a fine example of the racing genre, it holds no personal allure for me.
Knack – When they showed this during the PS4 reveal, I had one thought. “Why are you releasing your tech demo and calling it a game?” Turns out that was a bit unfair and having seen the E3 trailer, I’ve got to say Knack is looking pretty damn good. That doesn’t mean I’m desperate to pick up a PS4 to play it. Think of it as a night out on the town with whichever celebrity floats your personal boat. Sure, you’d probably have a lot of fun but it’s not going to happen so why worry about it?
Infamous: Second Son – Having never played the previous Infamous titles, admittedly because they were PS3 exclusive and I’m an Xbox man, the sequel holds no immediate “OH MY GOD MOAR INFAMOUS” attraction for me. I can’t deny what we’ve seen of it has left me with a teensy pang of jealousy for those who’ll get to play it in the future, but again, not enough to make me jump ship.
So, that’s your lot. If that’s swung you over to Sony’s side then more power to you and I wish you nothing but joyous moments and short loading times. Perhaps you could do me the same courtesy?
7) “OUR CONTROLLER IS BETTER THAN YOURS!”
Oh, shut up. We’re not going to go through this debate all over again. Unsurprisingly an Xbox-style controller for the PS4 has already been manufactured, which you can see in the image above. For me, the PlayStation controllers have always felt small, made my hands cramp and I hate the shoulder buttons. For PlayStation users, no doubt the Xbox controller feels cumbersome and unwieldy. The controller will NEVER make me jump ship and I doubt anyone else would either based on that.
8) YOU’RE LIKE THE ONLY PERSON WHO’S BUYING AN XBOX, LOSER!”
Firstly, no I’m not you asswit. Secondly, you’ve touched upon one of the major reasons that the Xbox One is topping my Christmas list and that’s the fact that other people will be buying it. chiefly, my friends. I’ve a regular, rag tag assembly of gaming buddies and while some may succumb to Sony’s siren song, the majority are most likely going to be sticking with Microsoft.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer so I can whisper it in your ear… GAMING’S MORE FUN WITH FRIENDS! Oh sorry, tad loud, but the point is made. Some of my happiest gaming moments have been tearing through co-op campaigns with a group of mates or taking a squad out into the wide world of competitive multiplayer, sharing many a giggle as we go.
It’s thanks to gaming with my friends that I now quote Monster’s Inc whenever I take someone out with a sniper rifle, why I regularly tell people to shut up for not saying anything, and why our clan will forever be known as Team Active Camel, for reasons too confusing to name. I don’t expect you to understand any of what I just said because they are the in-jokes and stories which make multiplayer gaming with friends such a massive part of my life and I don’t intend to be screwed out of that because I opted for the “wrong” console.
Anyone who’s leaning towards the PlayStation 4 could easily reel off a list of reasons for siding with Sony and I would nod, smile and say “That’s entirely your choice”. As for me? Right now, I’m pretty certain that I’ll be picking up an Xbox One. Microsoft have done us wrong in many ways but for me, on a personal level, the positive column has more ticks than the negative.
If you’re going for the PlayStation 4, that’s entirely your choice and I wish you well. Maybe I’ll pop round for coffee and a blast on Infamous some time. The point that I’m trying to make and that I’ve been stressing throughout this entire article is that it all comes down to free will. Whether I buy an Xbox One, a PlayStation 4 or a pogo stick to ram up my arse so I can bounce about the house singing the Tigger song, the choice is mine and I shouldn’t have to defend it to anyone.