The Console Wars

Now for something a little less serious.

I’m no stranger to the console wars. I’ve seen the battles that have waged for a decade or more, watching from my lofty perch as one of the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race. And now and then I’ve thrown my lot in with one side or the other… Sega Dreamcast, initially, and eventually the XBox. 

I’ve quite liked the XBox and the 360. They’ve had problems now and then, but they were still generally fun. On the other hand, I’ve had a strong aversion to Sony for ages. So the 360 has been the way I’ve gone. I’ve literally purchased three… only one died of the red ring.

My Sony hate is largely based on corporate policies rather than hating the Playstation itself. They just never came across as ‘good people’ (so much so that even Microsoft looked alright). The CD rootkit fiasco, for one. Their ridiculous hardon for proprietary media formats has also been an intense annoyance, eventually giving way to amusement at their silliness about it. It got to the point where my XBox near-exclusivity was a product of an informal Sony boycott.

Well haven’t things changed.

At E3 yesterday Microsoft revealed more about their new console, the XBox One (already being called the XBone, X-bone, or xboner). This $499 machine will need to connect to the internet regularly, won’t let you share games with friends, only lets you trade in games at undefined ‘participating’ retailers, has no backwards compatability, has a built in Kinect that many people just don’t want, and has exactly one game (Forza 5, I love Forza so fucking much) that I’d want to play.

Later in the day, Sony had their chance with the PS4. $399, no connection required, freely shareable and tradeable games (As demonstrated in this hilarious rubbing-it-in video), optional camera to watch your shit, with backwards compatability, and the downside that they’re now adding a fee for multiplayer to match what XBox has done all along. 

So… xbox that I don’t want at a price I don’t like to play one game I love, versus a console from a company I dislike at a reasonable price doing reasonable things with several games I’d probably enjoy.

Needless to say my internal conflict engine is flipping the fuck out.

Right now I imagine Microsoft is in a bit of a tizzy. There’s a vast amount of negative buzz for their new toy, and Sony is looking really sharp. So sharp that loads of XBox fanboys (and myself if you want to apply that title to me) are looking at switching allegiances. It’s a bigger deal than many might think. The question is now “will MSoft capitulate”. It would look bad for them, but they had a strong dominance in western markets for the last cycle. They’re likely giving it up if they don’t cave. And if they cave, will it really be enough anyway?

I’ve never pre-ordered a console before. Ever. I had been consdering pre-ordering the new xbox, I love Forza so much. And now the tables have turned so sharply I’m considering a PS4 pre-order. That’s how fucked Microsoft looks to me right now.

I’m giving them a month or two to capitulate before I make a decision. But goddamn, Assassin’s Creed 4 looked cool didn’t it….

edit- But I did just cancel my XBox Live renewal.