Console Wars After 4 years

Recently I traded in my Xbox One along with serial games for credit at the local GameStop. I thought I blog about it because in some regards the console wars between Xbox and PlayStation is still happening.

Let me first by saying that I have been an avid PS4 user since 2014 and got the Xbox One in 2015. Forza was the only reason why I brought an Xbox One and up to now was my only excess for keeping it yetnow Forza has loss my interest especially with Motorsport 7s inclusion of loot crates and soon to be micro transactions.

PlayStation-4-Pro
PS4 Pro

This console war battle in my mind was won by Sony back in 2013 when both consoles premiered at E3. In the 4 years since the PS4’s launch, there have been three versions of itself including the latest more powerful PS4 Pro. This Console features 4k gaming with 60fps as standard. Unlike Microsoft’s new Xtreme mega console, the PS4 Pro has been advertises as an optional buy for those who want a more graphically capable console. The regular PS4 still gives players a wide range of abilities to play games, watch TV, surf the web, and capture and share content without the need for a graphical power house.

Microsoft on the other hand, has spent the last four years selling bigger and better Xbox Ones. There are now five new versions of the Xbox One and a new Elite controller that has it’s own market of customizable parts.  Their latest console addition is called the Xbox One X and its being described as a Mega Console to end all console with 4k resolution, 60fps gaming, has a 2.3GHz CPU, a 12GBDR5 graphics card, and will cost $499. Unlike PS4 Pro however this Xtreme box is being advertise as the only way truly enjoy the games in the Xbox One library. Even if I had the money to buy a $500 Xtreme box I still don’t like the idea of being force to buy it just to play a video game. I prefer such mega consoles to be optional for those who care about graphic outputs and how many “taraflops” a hard drive can hold. It’s my belief that graphics do not make a great game and that it’s the gameplay and how players will interact with the world that determine how good a game is going to be.

Xbox One

Microsoft also in 2013 tried to screw the players over with there always on DRM or Digital Rights Manager, daily check ins, the inability to play used games, and that the Kinetic was crucial for the console to function. To be fair much of these statements were retracted within a week after E3. Still the fact that Microsoft even attempted to make such restrictions is upsetting.

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PlayStation 4

Now Sony is no angel either as the PlayStation 4 now requires a pay subscription to the PlayStation Network or PSN to play online, access the internet, and watch Netflix. I also admit it’s a bit unfair to also require a second membership for their PlayStation Now service where one can rent older games from the PlayStation Library to play directly on the PS4. Still overall, I have had a much better gaming experience on the PS4.

I like its user interface and the control over the capture card to capture your screen shots and gameplay. I also like the look of the PS4 and the aesthetics of it’s controller IE the changing LED lights, the built in speakers, the motion controls and the touch pad all of which don’t get enough use in the video games you play it with. I even like the notification messages for game and system updates as well as when things go wrong and the console informs you of a system error after a power outrage. To me the PS4 is just better built both aesthetically and functionally. the Xbox One may have a better graphics card and may run more quietly but at least when I want to use the PS4 for something other than a gaming console, I can do so with ease.

PS4 Controller
PS4 Controller

My main problem with the Xbox One has always been the user interface. It’s improved since 2013 but it is still hard to navigate and find what you’re looking for. Their biggest improvement was making it easier to get back to the home screen from any game yet  navigate through the different menu options is this a confusing mess. A lot of these menu options have wording that’s vague especially in menus like storage options, subscription settings, and where to find your actual game library. As a gamer of the Xbox 360 which featured one of the best user interfaces of any console it frustrating to not have the same movability on the Xbox One.

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The 360 also gave its users more control over what the console could do whereas the Xbox One has everything is saved to the cloud yet denied any real access to the cloud even with the Smart Glass app. The 360 allowed you could control the TV displays, sound configuration, your level of privacy, the defaults controller layouts for common games, and crucially how to manage your storage and while technically the Xbox One still allows these options to be change, it’s a real challenge to find exactly what you’re looking for.

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Xbox One’s Storage Menu

Storage in particular is a real problem as games on the Xbox One trends to store up 10GBs minimal or in Forza’s case around 30GBs for each title and that’s just the base game. These files are saved to the hard drive but with only two options to either copy to the cloud or delete. You can’t move them, you can only transfer them to a Microsoft branded flash drive, and if want to share your content, you have to use Microsoft’s own branded social media outlets.

It’s like Microsoft has done everything to prevent its users from have any control over the console they spend $500 on. Combine this with the constant batting of over hyped game commercials and the lack of an interest game library and the desire to play on the Xbox One become less and less.

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I still have a Xbox 360 and now use it the play older games that I missed out on during their hey day. I also use it to play local multiplayer since it’s financially cheaper to buy a copy of Left for Dead and another 360 controller than to buy the another Xbox One Elite controller and another subscription for your guest account to Xbox live just so that your friends can play Star Wars Battlefront locally on split screen. It’s cheaper to replace a 360 and it’s accessories and really doesn’t need an internet connection to function. Xbox Live still give 360 players access to free games every month and while the 360 doesn’t have a ultra-realistic graphics card that can display with 4k resolution and 60 fps, the gaming library is still the largest of the last console generation meaning there will be many of hours of gameplay for years to come.

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