New Console Blah Blah Blah

So, I posted this in the comments of the XBOX ONE reveal article, but it's a bit wordy for a comments section and no one really cares about comments anyway (implying that anyone is reading this blog, aha). In any case, I figured it was worth reposting here, if only because I like collecting my own thoughts.

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Based purely on what we know coming out of their reveal events, I'm thinking that the PS4 is definitely going to be my console of choice for the next-gen (and I'm used to barely giving a shit about Sony products, even in the PS1 and PS2 eras), assuming I even bother to get one in the first place.

My biggest worry about the NextBox going into the reveal was not that it wouldn't achieve parity with the PS4 in terms of tech and features, but that Microsoft would try to lean too hard on wrongheaded garbage like Kinect and/or Metro. Lo and behold, they did just that, and they even decided to weigh down the console with extra bullshit like fees for used games. A lot of people mentioned that it seemed like a console made for America alone, but I'm an American, and still the whole event felt like it was being oriented towards a demographic that I just don't fit into at all... as opposed to Sony, who were aiming their reveal very squarely at people who care about videogames as entertainment and as an industry. It's surprisingly similar to how I felt about Sony/MS's positions at the very beginning of this past gen, only reversed - one looks like it wants to be a gaming device, while the other looks like it's floundering around trying to be some kind of hybrid media-box (obviously the 360 and PS3 have shifted into similar roles at this point, but it's astounding how poor Sony's big media releases/events were back then).

Plus, as someone who bought a ton of XBLA games and even tried to support what little good content there was on XBLIG, not supporting already-owned digital downloads on the new console feels like a big "fuck you" aimed squarely at me, a loyal consumer of their last product. Dropping XBLIG support was expected, of course, especially considering that XNA is basically done with, but to not support backwards compatibility for more important digital content just seems insane to me, and is the closest thing to a dealbreaker that I can think of. If they want to be able to compete with Steam when it comes to digital distribution platforms, this is a huge step in the wrong direction; doubly so if it leads to the eventual shutdown of the 360's XBLA servers/services.

Ultimately, coming out of this reveal, I'm feeling mostly un-enticed and even a little bit offended. I've owned an Xbox and 360 as my primary systems for the past two generations of games, and this conference (plus some of Microsoft's actions in the past year or two) have left me with the impression that they just don't want me as a customer anymore.

On top of everything else, I've also recently bought a gaming laptop PC for just under $800 whose hardware already seems to outstrip the ONE in everything but its 8-core processor, at least at first glance. Even if I hadn't gotten a new PC, I'd still be planning to wait at least a year or two to see how things shake out before buying a new console. Fortunately, being able to run most console-to-PC ports for the start of this next-gen will make that even easier.

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