Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

XBox One Vs Playstation 4

Microsoft appear to be doing absolutely everything they can to piss gamers off left, right and centre. Although Sony are by no means perfect, they are coming off as the pristine and pure gamer-loving company who is taking them into the next generation with a warm, gentle embrace, rather than the sledgehammer to the groin that Microsoft are doing.

The downsides of the Playstation 4 seem minisucle in comparison to the Xbox One's cavalcade of errors. PSN is now paid-for, there's a ridiculous 'Share' button on the controller and a silly light, too, for no apparent reason. The touchpad is also fairly pointless and the Spectating feature is odd.

And that's it. But what's wrong with the Xbox One (as I try desperately not to call it the XBoner)?

Oh boy, hold on tight, because there's a lot.

It's $100/£80 more expensive, for a start. It's region-locked, and not available everywhere to begin with. It's not backwards compatible. You have to have a Gold subscription to use Netflix. It's (once an hour) always online. Kinect is always watching and listening for you. You can't trade, share or otherwise move around on games without following some strange circuitous dance of Microsoft's own making. 'If you want an offline system, buy an XBox 360'. Ridiculous.

The poor decisions go on and on; seemingly everything that has been announcing is bordering on the ridiculous. It's like Microsoft is doing this on purpose, taking the beatings before the big comeback when they reveal that they're not really that dumb after all.

There's always a line to be drawn, somewhere between exactly what the users - i.e. gamers - want, and a place where the provider wants to take them. Sony have pitched this in around the right place, with their Share button for putting things out on the social media and their silly spectator feature where you can be a patronising, interfering prat while pretending to be 'helpful'.

Microsoft, on the other hand, have gone the whole hog. Convergence is obviously their overriding strategy at the moment, as Windows 8 is designed to look and run the same on every device, no matter the size (this means that everything looks like a tablet, of course). Microsoft are forcing everything into one box, to make things 'easy' for the user. The silly thing is they're just duplicating what we have already.

I have no problem with convergence in the long term, as having one box for everything is probably a good idea. Then that one box fits onto your wrist, then inside some glasses, then in your brain and - oh look - it's suddenly Syndicate (1993) all over again.

But "you can watch television on your Xbox One!", they say, forgetting that we have an input button on our remote controls to switch between the various AV, SCART and HDMI slots. "You can chat online while you're watching movies!"was their shining example of multi-tasking, showing us Star Trek and a chat window, while forgetting that it's the most annoying, immersion-breaking thing in the world.

Microsoft are getting their convergence in first. Sony, on the other hand, are giving gamers more of the same. If I had nearly £400 to spend on a gaming system before the end of the year (which I don't, considering I only bought an Xbox 360 around 18 months ago and have a decade-old PS2 sitting in a dusty box), I know which one I'd get.

It wouldn't be the one with the box big enough to kill a man.

EDIT: Quite typically, the day I post this is the day Microsoft later decide to pull a U-Turn and remove the Always-On and DRM aspects of the Xbox One. You're welcome, Internets.

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