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Why Xbox One Will Win the Console Wars
by Hannah Bloom on 07/22/13 11:21:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Ever since the Xbox One and the Sony Playstation 4 have been announced, the main question that gamers have been asking is which one they should buy. The real question here should be why there is any question at all. While the PS4 is little more than a slight upgrade over what the PS3 offers, the Xbox One is a complete revamping. Microsoft might be offering a console that is $100 more than what Sony is charging, but that extra price tag appears to be because it is well worth what it is asking for.


The best news for gamers is that the one feature that was dragging down the excitement over the Xbox One has actually been done away with. There were plenty of people (myself included) who were less than impressed with the company requiring people to have an Internet connection in order to continue gaming. While always online was never really a requirement, the need to check in once a day was annoying enough. Microsoft seemed to actually recognize that they were going out of their way to annoy the people who would be buying this device and did something very few large companies do anymore. The Xbox One team actually listened to their fans and made their product all the more attractive.


With the hurdle of having to connect online removed, there really isn't a reason not to buy this console. If you were going to save up the money to buy the PS4, then save a little more money and get the console that is going to win the war. The Kinect is improved to the point that its sensitivity will leave you dropping your jaw. The fact that you can actually switch between television and gaming quickly and easily means that you can have your entire entertainment suite in one place. The Xbox One team has even promised that there will be better integration with cable services than what we have heard about so far. This gaming console is going to bring quite a bit more than just games and that is why it will win this battle.

 

Now, this is a personal preference but most gamers would agree that the Xbox controller is arguably the best in the industry. The weight, positioning of the buttons and grip make it comfortable to hold even during marathon gaming sessions. With 40 new design features including thinner analog sticks, a perforated rubber coating and extremely fast controller to console communication, these elements make for a more dynamic experience than ever before.


The Sony PS4 might have scored some victories out of E3, but those who awarded them points that week, need to realize that the points they scored have largely been left moot. Both consoles are going to have better, graphics. Both consoles are going to offer social features that will make gamers everywhere happy. Only the Xbox One offers enough extras to make it a day one purchase. 


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Comments


Dolgion Chuluunbaatar
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First off, I'm not going to buy either console. I play on my PC. But your argumentation seems quite one-sided. You list following positives for the Xbox One:

1. multitasking between TV and games and integration with cable services
2. a better controller
3. a more advanced and sensitive Kinect

I can list some of the negatives.

1. The Xbox One, as far as I understand splits its processing power up into 2 separate layers. One for the TV integration and one for gaming. The PS4 does not do that and it looks like games can have access to more of the hardware's processing power. Both consoles have similar specs. Now, for some people (by far not the majority I think) TV integration is very attractive and 'next-gen'. But for others, this is really not what they're asking for, and the fact that the Xbox One does not actually replace the cable subscription makes the whole thing more complicated than normal. Also, these services are very US centric and if this is going to take off, Microsoft needs to find ways to deliver that experience to audiences world-wide. Even then, cable subscriptions are not common in many countries.

2. In America, the Xbox controller is the preferred one for many people because it was designed for that demographic. For others, the Dualshock feels better. I personally always preferred the Dualshock's form factor. It's a matter of opinion and personal preference. By all accounts, the PS4 controller is a huge improvement in the eyes of some US gaming journalists.

3. Kinect has a long way to prove that it is an essential component of a modern video game console. For many, the voice recognition feels unnecessary and even irritating. Also, motion controlled gaming is still in a place where it is just gimmicky and it remains to be seen if it will have any lasting power. For that to happen, motion control gaming needs innovation. Dancing games can only be fun and attractive for a large market for so long until it becomes boring. The novelty has worn off for many. The best way I think that it has been used is as a supplementary input channel for gamers. For example, Skyrim or Mass Effect 3 integration is a good way to do it. Many people are now suspicious of the Kinect with its creepy capability to track and recognize people. It's an issue of perception. With the things we learn about the government spying on US citizens (and abroad), this does not help sell the idea of a device in your living room that can watch them.

Some positives for the PS4.

1. It's $100 cheaper. In today's economy, that is a huge factor. Both consoles can play and WILL play the latest games for years to come. That's what matters. If one is $100 cheaper, people will lean that way.

2. Microsoft look like they don't know what they're doing. Sure, it's good that they backtracked, but they still look stupid for having to do that in the first place. They didn't listen to their "fans" as much as being bombarded with laughter and abuse by the entire gaming industry. Sony played it cool and look focused by comparison.

3. The previous advantages Microsoft had over Sony in the last generation don't apply anymore. Both consoles will come out at the same time, both will have similar architecture so porting won't be harder for the PS4 compared to the Xbox One. Only exclusivity deals can swing favors over the long term. Oh, and the PS4 costs $100 less.

4. And last but by far not least: Indie games. A console can only win any "war" if the games are there. Games are what it's all about. Not TV integration, not voice controls etc. Triple A games will come out on both console save for the traditional exclusives. But over the last few years one market has risen stronger than any other, which is indie games. These are the games that innovate, these are the games that surprise and entertain people more and more. These are the games that are also often the best value for money if you look at pure hours played vs dollars spent. With better game development tools, more and more people are getting into game development, with more and more diverse and interesting ideas. These ideas will then get made into games and published to the platforms that have the lowest barrier to entry with the biggest audiences. At the moment, only Sony seems to give an honest effort to court these developers and they're already reaping the rewards if you look at the Vita. Only a few months ago, the Vita looked like a device dead on arrival, but now that games like Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Limbo, Guacamelee and others are appearing on the platform, suddenly it's an exciting prospect for people who weren't interested before, when it looked like just a place for badly ported big console games or obscure Japanese RPGs (nothing against JRPGs, I like those). Microsoft on the other hand, doesn't seem to get the importance of indies and half-heartedly shows off Minecraft as if to say "Hey! Hey! We are also indie you know? Minecraft is indie, right? Guys?!"

Ryan Bowen
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This comment is not only longer but also better written and much more informative than this articles three bias points.

Chris Dunson
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Dolgion pretty much said it all. As a competitive gamer I dislike both the 360 and the PS3's controllers. I find my 360 controllers break after 400 hours of gameplay while my PS3 controllers go another 100. I find PS3 triggers to not be very responsive and there the 360 controller wins out. But nothing is more terrible for any competitive gamer than the 360's d-pad.

In fighting games every bit of input counts. Buttons or direction. You can usually tell someone is new to competitive gaming if they rely on a 360's d-pad for directional input. The problem is that when you apply any slight pressure to the d-pad it clicks. That 'click' comes out in game as a 'up' input. In most fighting games this will cause your character to jump. And of course in most fighting games you can't block while jumping. No serious gamer would use a 360's d-pad over a PS3's.

But anyways most competitive fighting game players use Arcade Sticks followed by PS3 controllers.


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