The Jury of Many Peers that is the internet has decided that the PS4 is awesome, and the Xbox One sucks. That’s ok — everyone, even me, is entitled to an opinion. But rather than follow the internet mentality, you should take a moment to play Devil’s Advocate, and consider why the Xbox One is actually pretty sweet.
Let’s address two of
Reddit’s the internet’s biggest problems with the One head-on: the need for an internet connection, and the used-game-reselling things. As many people and outraged memes have noticed, the Xbox One requires you to connect to the internet once a day, and the reselling of games may be slightly restricted.
Pretty much everyone reading this, by default, has an internet connection. Connecting your One to the internet once a day really won’t be an issue for you. Yes, I acknowledge that occasionally, when you move house or there’s a catastrophic network outage, you might lose connectivity for a few days. But y’know what? A) I would guess that 90 per cent of the readers of this site have a smartphone they can tether their One to for 30 seconds, to fulfil the connection requirement (you literally only need to transfer bytes of data); and B) you can live without playing your Xbox for 36 hours.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s stupid to rule a console out because of an unlikely situation that’ll happen once every few years. I get that people like options; but honestly, connecting your One to the internet once a day isn’t a massive chore.
Moreover, having internet connectivity has worked before. As a PC gamer, Steam is my Mecca: it requires an internet connection to play games (unless you put it into Offline Mode before you lose your connection, but that requires foresight, so meh), and generally, people don’t complain about Steam.
They don’t complain about Steam because it offers benefits. Namely, digital copies of a game that are accessible on the day of launch, and the ability to access your game libraries from any computer.
Guess what? Those functions are available on the Xbox One. Digital copies of the game will be available on launch day, and you can play your games without having to stick the game in every time. That’s only possible because of the internet connection — if it didn’t require an internet connection, it’d be all too easy to pirate the digital game copies, and the game studios wouldn’t allow these neat features. Going forwards, being tied to discs would destroy innovation; all the Xbox One is trying to do, I think, is innovate. To punish Microsoft for that is cheap.
The second, thornier issue is that of used games. Microsoft have said that the market for used games is going to be restricted a little. You can still re-sell games, but only through ‘authorised retailers’, and you can still give the game to a friend, as long as you’ve been friends with them for more than 30 days.
Yes, it sucks that Microsoft is restricting the re-selling of games. But it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. I hate to use the example again, but PC gamers haven’t been able to re-sell their games since online activation became commonplace. It’s not a problem, though, because the game market adapts.
Go onto Steam right now, and you can find games that are a few years old for a fraction of the price they used to be. Case in point: I recently bought the entire GTA series for about £15. The Command and Conquer set was even cheaper. As games get older, you’ll be able to buy them for less and less money. Sure, it’ll be a little harder to flog your old games on eBay for cash, but again, that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Microsoft have made it clear that you’ll be able to re-sell games, given a minor inconvenience. Console gamers should consider themselves lucky that they’ve even got the option, something I’m sure PC jockeys would die for.
Let’s not forget, Sony aren’t creating a completely open market for used games either. They’ve said that just like on the Xbox One, the used game policy will be up to individual game devs; in essence, you can expect the system to be very similar on both the Xbox One and the PS4. If you’re going to get mad, get mad at the game studios, not the people who make the console.
So that’s why the Xbox doesn’t suck, but that fundementally doesn’t make it any good — especially when the One is £80 more than a PS4. Only, it’s got a Kinect controller that, in the right hands, could revolutionise gaming. Yes, Kinect is mandatory, but that’s the only way to force adoption. If Kinect was an optional extra, most mainstream game manufacturers would shy away from it, since it might rule out potential customers. Making Kinect a necessary device will drive development, creating a whole new genre of immersive games any decent gamer should be totally psyched for.
There’s also the TV stuff. Yeah, Microsoft said TV a lot in their Xbox One reveal, but that doesn’t make the One any less of a gaming device. Just because Microsoft is giving you a bit of extra functionality, does that mean it’s not going to kick arse with the latest Call of Duty? Of course not. The PS2 could play DVDs, and I didn’t hear anyone whinging about that.
Fundamentally, Microsoft has given the One internals every bit as good as the PS4; a controller than has the tech world all hot and bothered, and a cloud gaming functionality that should enable devs to produce some wild graphics. Just because they’re also trying to make the One a controller for TV, doesn’t mean it won’t play your precious games. That’s up to the developers, and if we can learn anything from the much-maligned FIFA and Call of Duty demos, it’s that game studios care about the Xbox One, very much.
To use a footballing cliche: at the end of the day, the Xbox One’s flaws have been blown out of proportion. Checking in online at the end of the day isn’t a hassle for 99 per cent of everyone, and it enables the digital rollout of games, which is a Good Thing. You’ll be able to sell your used games, albeit with a few restrictions. It’s gonna be the same deal for the PS4, so no points to Sony there. And finally, the One comes with a technologically ridiculous Kinect; TV functions that honestly look quite cool, and gaming hardware that’s more than a match for the PS4.
If you still think Sony’s already won this round, you need to think again.