Why do we need all this extra crap?
After a good number of years pursuing other interests besides video gaming, I’ve returned to see the hobby up-ended. Nintendo released the Wii-U without very much to offer besides 2007′s graphical fidelity and a Speak-and-Spell sized controller / tablet bastard child. Sony and Microsoft’s (referred to S&M herein) upcoming offerings are slathered all over the “controversy” sections of gaming sites as opposed to “squirming with gleeful anticipation”. There’s talk of social media integration, on-demand high-def stream capabilities, OS update efficiency, motion sensors, the list goes on.
I find it a difficult affair to make much hullabaloo over any of the contenders. Brand affinity and fanboy-ism are the only current indicators on how most of these features may help/hinder the gaming experience. S&M haven’t shone much of a spotlight on what makes their technological menagerie pull its’ weight: the games! Without a solid lineup to drive the masses into a slobbering horde, they’re going to have a hard time making many sales after this year’s
shopping-orgy holiday season.
Nintendo’s seated firmly on an entire vault of thirty-year-old intellectual properties and one exclusive sequel. From what their direct streams have shown, not much is coming in the way of unfamiliar territory. Fresh coats of paint on an eleven year old game and the same ol’ Mario [insert sport here]. Lucky for Nintendo, their software standards are gold standards. I only wish they’d be more open to deviating from what to expect from them.
I’m already a hard sell. My backlog is huge. Aside from curious technophilia and trainwreck-level interest for Microsoft’s massive PR blunders, I didn’t pay much attention to this rigmarole. After a few industry shows and conversations with esteemed cohorts, I perceived a drought of exclusive software announcements upon seeing both companies lean heavily upon a similar list of games. Why would both show off Assassin’s Creed 4, Battlefield 4, Minecraft and their social media networks to such extent? Possibly because a quick rundown of technical specs finds our poster children running nearly neck and neck (PS4′s GPU is much beefier).
Microsoft doesn’t have much choice. One of their major releases is just as mired in bullshittery as the system itself. Most of their other “features,” as listed earlier, were backpedaled on when current and prospective customers bucked Microsoft’s idea of a utopia. Sony quickly took note and took the easy victory in both price point ($100 cheaper) and in not fucking over potential customers.
The death rattle came when I found myself compiling a list of system-exclusive launch games in an attempt to dredge a shit. The key here is system-exclusive, meaning I can’t play these games on any other system, Windows and mobile included. This whittles the Xbox One’s launch exclusives to nine titles (but only until Peggle 2 gets ported away), and Playstation 4 has ten.
“Quality over Quantity,” you stutter at your computer screen. Why not both? Why have we been ground down to accept mediocre offerings in light of newness? I realize it’s been eight years since the Xbox 360 hit shelves, and not everybody can have a PC that runs half of what the PS4 is going to offer (most of the aforementioned launch games are simultaneously being released on PC), but if I have to spend upwards of $500-$600 on something that can only play a few games, I don’t see the point yet. I doubt I will for the first year after release, and I suggest everybody wait until more developers hop on the bandwagon.
Case in point: The Playstation Vita. I bought a Vita earlier in the summer after seeing them price drop on Craigslist to insanely low prices. I picked up a WiFi version with seven games, an 8GB memory card and a case for just over $200, the price of a new system. I was elated, and played through most of Rayman: Origins in the upcoming week. However, after looking around at what next, all that interested me were ports of Playstation 2 and Wii titles I already owned. I played Little Big Planet, then the system festered on a shelf until bought by a fellow Craigslist-er.
Will our new round of home consoles fare the same? I suppose I can wait until shop-orgy 2014. I’m thinking of getting a pool together to see what replaces the Red Rings, Yellow Lights, and Red Blinks.