I have been around for several console launches. Based on my last console launch purchases, one might mistake me for an Xbox fanboy.
As I have grown older, I have become more discerning as a consumer. ‘Shiny and new’ is no longer good enough to guarantee that my wads of cash will flow through the system, at least on Day One.
We have come to learn that it is a near foregone conclusion that most things that require online services during a large scale launch will fail on some level for some customers on Day One. This was certainly the case last night for some new PS4 owners and I am sure some Xbox One customers will not be lucky enough to go completely unscathed in some fashion next week.
With these two new consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, there really is no single system selling game, at least for my money. Everything is a mishmash of games available on PC, previous generation consoles (Call of Duty, Battlefield), or just standard launch title fare (Knack, Ryse). If Ryse ends up being a 10 out of 10 classic, I will have no problem eating my words. Take away shiny, new, and fanboyism and I do not see any compelling reason to slam down my hard earned cash for either system.
It is then not surprising, the move I made this week. I took the money I had set aside for the console launch (read: Xbox One pre-order) and diverted it to a much needed gaming PC upgrade.
This is the first time I ever changed direction so quickly, decisively, and so late in the game at a console launch, but I have to admit it was an easy decision considering the facts, or lack thereof.
Fact 1. Microsoft has been very mum, to a fault, about sharing information and specific details about its new console. So much so, that I could not tell you if I would be happy with it out of the box or not. I suspect I might, but too many questions were left unanswered. Some answers have been found, but most of them were not available on Microsoft's own website. I guess no one really cares about the IR Blaster's full capabilities? Microsoft could really benefit from writing up an Ultimate FAQ like Sony did. Instead, Microsoft has slowly trickled out tidbits here and there in videos. Why the holding back of such vital details?
Fact 2. What game is actually worth playing on either console? Resogun? And on the Xbox side, take into consideration the resolution limitations for the currently available titles. Is that really next gen? Sure, games still probably looks impressive, but there is something about knowing a game is running at 720p and wondering why I would not just play it on a 360 or PC. A few extra textures? At this point, I expect each generation to be magical somehow. It needs to wow me (Saying "Xbox on" is not enough), or what would be the point for the next 8-10 years? Regardless, it is tough finding the point on Day One this go around.
Fact 3. I have spent the most money on games this year via Steam. The biggest reason for this is that Steam has ridiculous sales that save gamers tons of cash. In addition, halfway through the year, I stopped buying things on the Xbox Live Marketplace knowing I would not be able to carry my library forward to the ‘One’. You will notice an Xbox Marketplace launch game Powerstar Golf that is retailing for $20. I cannot tell you if this game will be worth $20. I also cannot tell you how much value that $20 will give me in a couple weeks during the Steam Sale, but I can venture to guess I will be able to buy at least 5 “known great” games that I actually want.
With these ideas in mind, I could not come up with a good reason to justify buying either console on Day One. The PS4 was a longshot from the beginning and looking at its unorganized UI (I am certain a 'sort by' feature will be added to the games list in a future update), I could not imagine myself using it as is. I am sure I will eventually get an Xbox One (unless Titanfall underwhelms, although playing Titanfall on PC is always a viable option).
So I wonder, what could have all but assured that myself and other people like me would have plunked down the cash for something shiny and new on Day One this year?
1. Some form of backwards compatibility (even severely limited). I would have been happy playing older, good games on a new console (read: Meatboy, Geometry Wars, etc.)
2. The proper and detailed divulging of details that would allow consumers to make an informed decision on an unknown and unproven piece of hardware. I had to scour the internet to find answers to my questions and some of them are still remain answered.
3. Better launch titles. Everything that seemed remotely interesting to me will not be available until at least next year. Watchdogs, Titanfall, Thief, The Division, etc., ad nauseam.
Both consoles appear to have a somewhat bright future, but for now, I am absolutely convinced that I am not missing out on anything... yet.