Not E3 2020: The PS5 Reveal and the State of the Series X

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gamer_152

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I don't usually go in for debates about who "won" a console generation or "won" E3. If two good games consoles come out, then it seems pointlessly pessimistic to say that one has failed just because another has succeeded a little more. But we can find insight in comparison. Game companies don't make decisions in a vacuum; they react to each other. And when a technology or experience falls down, we can turn to its competition for examples of how it might have better achieved its goals. So, as far as I'm concerned, you can't discuss Sony's introduction of the PlayStation 5 separate from Microsoft's showcasing of the Xbox Series X.

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Back during E3 2014, Microsoft arrived with an "all about the games" ethos. After years of longwinded speeches and awkward tech demos, the Head of Xbox prized the company on skipping the rigamarole and cutting straight to ninety minutes of entertainment software. It was just what I wanted from an E3 stage show, and largely, what I still do now. Over the following years, the need for transparent, games-focused briefings only increased. We saw releases like No Man's Sky, Fallout 76, and Mass Effect Andromeda where audiences thought they were getting one product and were dismayed when they got something entirely different. Not that any studio knows what their final build will look like until the home stretch of development, but the issue of content confusion wasn't going to be solved by less demonstration of the games.

Yet, the amount of play shown at E3 has been on the decline for the last two or three years, and for a period, Microsoft regressed from a software-only approach to indulge in long-form hardware porn. There are constructive applications of high-end tech in the medium. Some genuinely beautiful and rich worlds have been brought to life through ferocious GPUs and bottomless RAM. However, Microsoft pored over these electronics with a fetishism which suggested that putting more transistors on a chip or finding new heat dissipation methods is an end instead of a means. And if you feel the same way, cool.

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It's valid to appreciate engineering for its own sake and to see games as a means to spotlight the power of your hardware. But a lot of us are looking at it from the other end of the scope. In my mind, just having a wealth of polygons or a colossal draw distance is only so compelling in itself. The goal is to use that potential to realise smart and well-implemented design, art, and writing. Somebody telling me that they're going to have great games because they have a cutting-edge console is like telling me that they're going to make a great movie because they have an expensive camera.

We can be generous to Microsoft and say that by building state of the art hardware, it hypothetically enables developers to achieve stunning visions at the AAA echelon. Not only is it nice to have more lavishly-produced conventional action games; we've also seen realistic graphics used to spark artistically acclaimed experiences. Sony did this with break-through titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn or God of War (2018). We can also understand that Microsoft might have wanted to beat the crowds in raising awareness of their console, but that marketing is tough when launch day is a blip on the horizon. If your machine is still in the oven, you won't be able to show professional-grade games running on it, so, it's rational that you'd just flip through the raw specs.

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But when it came time to show the games for the system, Microsoft came down with a case of stage fright. The Series X gameplay reveal from early May wasn't a gameplay reveal. There were some gameplay supercuts, a lot of cinematics which did not reflect the interactive nature of these titles, and a general scarcity of details. But where were the developers with logo t-shirts playing in-game puzzles, missions, or levels from beginning to end? The headline act was Assassin's Creed Valhalla which we'd already seen same few morsels of the day before. And considering the increasing range of art styles, gameplay structures, and subject matter in PC games, most of these Series X projects weren't pushing the relative boat out.

I don't want to be a doomsayer here. It's not unusual for a new machine to launch with a flimsy catalogue. The install base for existing consoles starts off much larger than the install base of newly-released consoles. That means that there's often comparatively little revenue in forging new games exclusively for the next generation. So, you work your magic cross-platform or just on the older set of platforms. And it often takes time for developers to feel out new hardware and learn to converse efficiently with it.

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So, I could forgive Microsoft on those counts, but you have to ask, given that Halo is their flagship series, how do you have an Xbox gameplay reveal without Halo Infinite? It's intended to hit during the launch window. Moreover, there were no exclusives. And worse, it feels like the ridiculous endpoint of taking live play out of publisher presentations that "gameplay reveals" don't necessarily contain any gameplay now. Those PC games Microsoft is competing against often have hours of taster videos behind them for anyone who wants to know what they're getting into. I can't reliably tell you from the sixty-minute sizzle reel what most of those Series X games will be like to play.

Software is going to be integral for the Series X because there's only so much of a leg over it'll have on hardware. Both the Series X and the PS5 use eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPUs, SSDs, AMD graphics cards capable of ray tracing and displaying 4K at 60FPS, and they each have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. It's true that the Series X has about 200GB more internal storage than the PS5, a roughly 1.75 teraflop lead on the GPU, and 2.4 more GHz on its CPU. But we don't know what it'll say on the price tags, and the two computers are still roughly comparable.

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This is why Sony's approach of trying to woo us with more than ray tracing and high-speed memory is the way to go. In the PS5 reveal, the console manufacturer was also surprisingly adept at avoiding a wet launch lineup and over-reliance on action. I don't want to create the impression that there was no vaguery around games on that stream or that there wasn't a fair few non-gameplay trailers, because there were. I also don't want to suggest that there weren't some number of games there playing on masculine power fantasies because that's what titles like Gran Turismo 7, Deathloop, and Hitman 3 represent. Which is fine, by the way. I've spent thousands of hours with my virtual hands wrapped around grips and steering wheels.

What I mean is that Sony's presentation was less homogenous, and had more gameplay. And proper labelling made all the difference. When Microsoft called what was basically another Inside Xbox their "gameplay reveal", they created the impression that they had a lot more wares on their stall than they did. The peddlers of the PlayStation didn't fall into the same trap.

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Sony's decision to open the curtains on GTA V, a game already released for two generations of consoles, didn't give that impression. It made people think that the company was starving for appealing new creations, but that wasn't the case. Maybe Rockstar's crime game simply got the vanguard slot because nothing gathers people around a screen like the words "Grand Theft Auto". The moment when things really picked up was with Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart which had a devilishly clever application of modern hardware. The game wasn't just plying us with higher-res textures or more particles; it was showing that if you have plenty of memory and lightning-fast loading, then you can seamlessly transport a character between environments. And character is going to be one of our keywords here because this PS5 reveal had more of it than I've seen the Series X ever having.

In addition to showing games more concerned with traditional shooting and driving fare, we saw Sony hark back to the days of the PS1 with some whimsical mascot titles. See Ratchet & Clank, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Bugsnax, and others. Then there were the bleeding heart experimental works like Stray, Goodbye Volcano High, and Solar Ash. These come on the back of a history of Sony seeking out games like Flower or Noby Noby Boy that might do something unusual or even touching with the medium.

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Any one game today may use harsh or soft aesthetics, might be narrative-led or gameplay-led, cares about perfecting an existing formula or is trying something totally out of the box. There are large audiences for all those approaches, and as such, any modern console must have a seat for every one. Sony also showed us plenty of new games that blur the line between AAA blockbuster and artsy darling. We mentioned a couple of the games that went there earlier: Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War (2018). They're continuing that trend on the PS5 through titles like Ghostwire: Tokyo, Returnal, and Horizon: Forbidden West.

It's not that the Microsoft streams were better for those who wanted to talk computer components and that the Sony streams were there for those who wanted to see some creative flair. Instead, I think Sony served both camps better than Microsoft, and they did it by placing a clear dividing line between the arena in which they were going to talk about hardware and the one in which they were going to talk about software. If you wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty of the PS5's copper and silicon, you didn't have to make do with one segment in a feature-length show or see the specs offered up as red meat for a baying crowd. The Road to PS5 lecture was a dedicated and classy one-hour presentation on the PS5 as a piece of digital tech, presented by its systems architect. If that didn't float your boat, then you could watch the PS5 reveal stream and only get the player perspective. With these distinct channels and the platform's fledgeling library, Sony is attacking on all sorts of fronts that Microsoft are not. Or, at least, that Microsoft won't tell us they are.

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Of course, there was one controversial decision we discovered during the PS5 briefing. Comments about the console's appearance include plenty of light ribbing, but also somegenuinecriticismofugliness. Before we go into what the console did look like, let's note that its design is a world apart from the PS5 devkit plastered over the internet. That cryptid first appeared in a Sony patent, and later, a photograph of the same found its way online, with journalists who had witnessed the console first-hand verifying its authenticity. A lot of publications were suggesting that this alien monstrosity might be the finished version of Sony's next console, and a number of gamers took it as gospel, feeling that they'd got the inside scoop because they'd scanned the leaks.

But companies regularly file patents containing outlandish diagrams that don'tend up reflecting any product on store shelves. And devkits aren't necessarily designed to look pretty to end-users; many are simply practical containers for system hardware. If these console shells looked like they were made to provide maximum airflow without any regard for aesthetics, that's because they were. The PS5 devkit was not meant for display in a home entertainment setup; it was designed for engineers to be able to stack them without them overheating.

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The consumer PS5 is a lot less H.R. Giger, but has still been branded as aesthetically offensive, which is interesting because no one part of its visual design is that daring. The running gag is that it looks a network router, which is accurate, but given that we're already comfortable neighbouring our routers with other home electronics, why should that be a bad fit for the PS5? And if black or white are the standard-issue camouflage of domestic media cuboids, what makes the PS5's paint job stand out so much? I think it's a combination of shock at it being something new and different and a reaction to the contrast between its colour and form factor. The console is shaped like a router but is not uniformly black or white. It has an unassuming dark middle section, but also white covers that curve out, away from it. Designers use diagonal lines and heavy contrast to make things bold and eye-catching, which the PS5 certainly is, but that's not what everyone wants from a box that's meant to sit quietly under their TV.

It's indicative of why most consoles are faceless black monoliths. Electronics manufacturers can't make too many assumptions about how a buyer has a decorated their home. So, instead of trying to match the room the item will be displayed in, the corporations behind Blu-Ray players, set-top boxes, and consoles aim to make them blend into the background and fit a generic "functional" look. But I like that the PS5 is a bit of a statement piece. Gamers are always ragging on consoles for being bland black cuboids, so here's one that isn't. Here's one that, like its games library, is trying to exude personality.

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Look, I'm sure that the Xbox Series X will be fertile ground for some great games. The Xbox One was a killer console, the original Xbox was at least fine, and once they got past the horrendous technical muddles of the Xbox 360, it was also huge fun. And I have a lot of faith in the people who make games on all major platforms to keep bringing us experiences crafted with love and talent. But in a world where even mid to low-end PCs are exerting pressure on consoles, I'm straining to see any reason to buy the Xbox Series X around launch. That is, any reason apart from "Halo will be on it". And even that game appears so opaque at the moment.

The Series X is coming out this holiday season, but it's June now, and we have only the foggiest idea of what it looks like in action. During the machine's gameplay reveal, the Head of Xbox Partnerships told us there are hundreds of games coming to the system in 2021, but they're conspicuous by their absence. And many of the titles Microsoft are gesturing to, its suggesting are relatively predictable action blockbusters. Sony showed another way it can be done, with more transparency, more range, and more inventiveness in its games. Even if you want your AAA experiences to be nothing more than fun, we should be able to see those games having fun with themselves. That's what you got from the PS5 reveal, as well as an arsenal of more artistically ambitious projects. But the race isn't over yet. Microsoft will be back with another Series X preview in July, and let's hope they'll bring the big guns. They're going to need them. Thanks for reading.

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Ginormous76

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Nice post. I really liked the look of the PS5 and can't wait to get one. Planning on getting the discless version, because I almost never buy a physical version of a game these days anyways. I think Sony did a great job showing off a variety of games and some gameplay (yes, there were games that were trailer only, but that's also to be expected).

The market for the Xbox Series X has to be small. It's people who don't want to buy a gaming PC, but still want Microsoft exclusives over Sony exclusives (yes, people could buy both). Microsoft has said that their first party published games will be on the Xbox One for the first 18 months (so, May 2022ish), and I think they are still saying they will be on PC. Sony has some great exclusives that they tend to keep off PC (at least for awhile). Anyone who has a gaming PC, has no reason to get a Series X (you mentioned Halo: Infinite, but based on the rules MS laid out, it should be on PC), because any console exclusive 3rd party games will be on both consoles, plus Sony's exclusives will not be available to them like Microsoft's will be.

I feel like our podcast hosts have the opposite impression of the consoles to me, and get confused by the simplest ideas. Microsoft has said that anything you can play on an Xbox One, you can play on a Series X. Any first party game on the Series X in the first 18 months will also have an Xbox One version. To me, there is zero reason to buy a Series X before May 2022 with this messaging.

Sony has said, "There will be a number of games on PS4 that will play on PS5 and any after date X that is labeled PS4 will play on PS5 for sure. Anything labeled PS5 will NOT play on PS4." To me, this is saying, "If you want to play our new, cool stuff, you have to buy the new machine." Yet, somehow in recent podcasts, the hosts seem confused by this statement and I don't know why.

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ThePanzini

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#2  Edited By ThePanzini

I feel MS will have a really hard job selling Series X to new customers, you can pretty much see Sony going all in they'll open their checkbook and push next gen hard its an easy pitch buy our new box for games that can only be played on our new box.

Next month were gonna see Halo Infinite I'm sure its going to be great, but is anyone really expecting a Breath of the Wild reimagining that'll reinvigorate the franchise which has been declining, and given Halo will be cross platform, what or even how can they show off the Series X improvements/difference.

I suppose like a lot of folks I glaze over when I see Halo, Forza and Gears I'm really keen to see big new stuff from MS, the thought of Fable and maybe Perfect Dark coming back makes me intrigued but also feel quite old.

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Ginormous76

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@thepanzini: If Fable and Perfect Dark memories constitute being "quite old" then I must be ancient. I bought an Xbox One to play Halo with my wife (got a bundle with Halo: MCC & Halo 5). I was so mad when we got to Halo 5 and there was no splitscreen co-op.

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navster15

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I am curious what the rumored price points will do for the upcoming console war. Even if we dismiss the actual numbers as pure speculation, I think it’s reasonable that Microsoft will come out at cheaper overall price points. And if that’s the case, will it move the needle for them with the crowd that plays 2K and Call of Duty? I mean, people like to give all credit to Sony’s first party, but the PS4 launched $100 cheaper than the X1, and pretty much every console cycle the one that launches cheapest eventually becomes the “winner”. But have the rules changed? Are people not willing to leave their chosen ecosystem anymore? Should be interesting to find out.

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Pezen

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I was inititally feeling like Sony was dragging their feet and Microsoft was ready to play ball about next gen for a while. But it seems like whatever intentions Microsoft had, Sony just switched gears sometime this year and just started moving. Cerny's talk about the machine was, to me, fascinating. It made me excited about the machine and even if Series X is potentially more powerful in numbers, Cerny did a magnificent thing; he communicated vision rather than numbers despite the talk being extremely tech oriented. At this point I have only a vague grasp of the Series X, yet the PS5 seems both extremely capable and interesting.

Same thing with the games showcases. Microsoft felt vague, known quantities and very little surprises that I took note of. Sony's felt like it was both catering to the known as well as the novelty of something new. When people compared it to the PS2 I was getting that too. There was a sense of optimistic playfulness about the whole thing. Even the games that probably wasn't for me felt like they had personality. I mean, Godfall aside obviously.

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fourthline

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#7  Edited By fourthline

Without backwards compatibility the early PS5 will look much like early PS4 which thrived ONLY because they capitalized on what Microsoft messed up (and seemingly are doing again with Facebook integration). PS3 didn't exactly finish off strong with a promise of more to come after a lackluster Vita and other than the Last of Us in 2013 the last 2 years of ps3 gaming probably has in combined viewership on Twitch today of 12 people viewing streams of those generation defining games (yeah Last of us 2, im playing it now). Same applies to the first 3 years of PS4, highly forgettable. Haters gonna hate and it did Microsoft in.

Facebook partnership will be the Series-X's kinect required console-defining feature. Facebook only has appeal until you finally find that one person you knew in high school and either confirm or are shocked by what they have become. By the time Facebook had an app for phones it was old news Circa 2008. So to integrate into Series X probably means an XCloud and Occulus partnership that has Zero to do with what i want from games.

Anyway the PS5 briefing was a 'my summer vacation' slide show and i rarely lose my shit over those. I guess you had to be there. And sense we actually had NOBODY there to verify gameplay, confirm innovation, or even touch the controller i'm just seeing people take another opportunity to hate on Microsoft. People act like simulating reality is that impressive anymore. Checking mirrors and seeing if toliets flush were vestiges of gaming 20 years ago, but somehow they are essential for the next generation and the next and the next. It's passe. I'd rather re-examine videogame history without needing a credit card number (Sony's idea of backwards compatibility and why you'll probably find digital PS5s in the wild 5:1). Microsoft is no saint. They are flailing but we reap the benefits from them trying to compete.

Series-X needs to chill on the partnerships. I know it's every business' goal to appeal to the customers that you dont have and hope (in our case backlogs) that you've got enough of a track record to keep the ones you've got. It' the same reason why Disney beats Universal... even though Universal's rides outclass Disney. There is really nothing Microsoft can do. I'll get a Series X because PS5 aint limited like a pair of Jordans and i'll get one at some point. Besides,in hindsight i wish i had backed the Dreamcast. I'd have 4 VMU's and 4 controllers and would be a king at NBA2k2 and absolutely would know what Seaman was all about.

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tp0p

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It's weird because it just feels like sony is better at marketing.

I feel it funny I am old enough to remember when sony fans were waging war on insomniac making sunset overdrive since microsoft made it. Like it was too immature and kiddie now the rachet and clank is whimsical and beautiful.

I remember the beginning of the generation when xbox had gears 4, forza horizon 2, sunset overdrive titanfall and halo 5 and Sony had uncharted 4 and bloodborne. Somehow this got turned into "xbox has no games".

I feel like, if microsoft leaves the console gaming market, we are all going to be worse off. And people are cheering their demise.

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notnert427

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#9  Edited By notnert427

A ctrl-f on the original post for backwards compatibility, Game Pass, and the tremendous Forza series interestingly points to no mentions of these obvious Xbox strengths and glaring Sony competitive disadvantages. Weird.

Oh, but let's tout Gran Turismo 7 and its nonexistent release date that's virtually certain to drag out and ignore that Polyphony told everyone their half-assed GT Sport was Gran Turismo 7, and also that Sony arguably didn't release one quality first-party racing game on the PS4 while six great Forza games came out this gen. Racing games should be diminished as just masculine power fantasies anyway (unlike, say, God of War, which is art)...that is, unless Sony shows a racer and then they're cool.

It's also irrelevant that the Series X has a significant power advantage. See, when the PS4 was ever-so-slightly more powerful than the launch Xbox One, THAT was a huge deal because the difference in 972p and 1080p was incredibly noticeable. All that subsequent One X crap of native 4K games often doubling the Pro resolution wasn't noteworthy, just as the continued power disparity next gen won't be. It's all about the games anyway!

Like GTA V, everyone's favorite Sony exclusive that they already played way too much of because the actual PS4 first-party offering for the first three years of this gen was Bloodborne and little else. Microsoft should be mocked for featuring a third-party game like AC Valhalla that we already knew about. And touting their superior hardware? Booooring. Those MS assclowns might as well make up some cheesy slogan like "The Best Place to Play".

Expensive cameras don't mean great movies, so why would anyone EVER buy a console on potential? Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War (both art) clearly informed early adoption of the PS4 years before their release, while those sad early adopters of the Xbox were stuck playing quality first-party games that actually existed then like Titanfall, Forza 5, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Halo 5, etc.

Speaking of Halo, where's the Halo footage? This franchise should really only be acknowledged when it's not prominently featured, but it's easier to downplay it when it's highlighted, so more of that, please. After all, there's a good chance that Halo Infinite could be another masculine power fantasy. If only it exuded personality the way all Sony games do.

Let's not forget those bold, eye-catching console aesthetics. Everyone wants their electronic hardware to be the focal statement piece of the living room. It's why so many routers are used as designer centerpieces instead of being tucked away in closets. We're all fortunate that Sony has made a console to pair well with everyone's standard ultramodernist bright white curvy entertainment center.

This generation's console war has obviously been won already in the first of multiple presentations. There are also no factors in this very normal year of 2020 that could possibly have altered development/production schedules in ways that affected presentations. It is decreed that the Series X will only offer predictable action blockbusters. In conclusion, Sony is art.

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Deathstriker

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Microsoft hasn't had their big event yet. They said July is when they will show Halo and other big titles. I do think their May preview event was a waste of time and was shooting themselves in the foot. They showed a bunch of b-level games that didn't look all that next-gen. They shouldn't have done anything until they were ready to show off Forza, Hellblade, Halo, etc.

The Sony event wasn't all that great, it's more like they didn't screw up. I intend to get both consoles again sooner or later, but neither company is doing a great job at selling their console. What killer launch title did Sony show off? A lot of them were multiplatform or down the road. If Horizon were a launch title I would've been more impressed.

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csl316

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#11  Edited By csl316

That first Xbox show was kind of baffling. You want your first presentation of next gen to have an impact. And while some of those games looked solid, you really gotta lead with some big, first-party AAA games with a bit of wow factor.

The PS5 show was really great, but in my mind the new Xbox still hasn't been fully revealed. So hopefully that July event gives us a clear understanding of where both systems stand.

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navster15

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#12  Edited By navster15

@notnert427: While I will say that the discourse here has been mostly reasonable with regards to the Xbox rollout, the level of concern trolling online with regards to the Series X is maddening. Like, if people are all in on Sony and have decided to go PS5, that’s great. I’m sure it’ll be an amazing system. If other people are happy on PC and so an Xbox would be redundant for them, also great. But the Xbox One, a supposed “failure” of a console, has somewhere in the range of 40-50 million units sold, and any third party game of consequence comes to the platform as a matter of course. As an Xbox owner this gen, I’ve been highly satisfied with the platform, and I see no reason why the Series X won’t also deliver the goods.

And I do prefer Microsoft first party over Sony, because like you mention, Forza is the shit. But it’s apparently a fact that Sony games are better because they cater to the specific tastes of the extremely online crowd.

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@deathstriker: Spider-man Miles Morales is the literal definition of a killer app. Coming off the back of Sony's best selling first party title so far, Spider-man will push PS5 arguably more than Halo will for Series X the Youtube trailer has 11m views on Sony's channel alone.

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navster15

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#14  Edited By navster15

@thepanzini: Spider-Man was my game of the year 2019 (EDIT: 2018, what is time?), so I am totally hyped for a follow up. But Miles Morales is a standalone expansion like Uncharted Lost Legacy, and is based on the same tech as the PS4 Spider-Man. So yes, I do want to play it, but it feels scummy for Sony to make it a PS5 exclusive even though nothing I’ve seen for it so far would preclude it from being cross-gen. It feels like an exploitative cash grab to push more PS5 units. Really curious why more people aren’t calling Sony out on this.

Of course, they may end up showing something that truly couldn’t be done on PS4, but I have my doubts.

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ThePanzini

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#15  Edited By ThePanzini
@navster15 said:

@thepanzini: Spider-Man was my game of the year 2019, so I am totally hyped for a follow up. But Miles Morales is a standalone expansion like Uncharted Lost Legacy, and is based on the same tech as the PS4 Spider-Man. So yes, I do want to play it, but it feels scummy for Sony to make it a PS5 exclusive even though nothing I’ve seen for it so far would preclude it from being cross-gen. It feels like an exploitative cash grab to push more PS5 units. Really curious why more people aren’t calling Sony out on this.

Of course, they may end up showing something that truly couldn’t be done on PS4, but I have my doubts.

Lost Legacy was 20 hours+ its longer than plenty of full priced games Sony's could have easily $60 for it.

Pretty much every next gen game could run on current hardware, even Ratchet the warping could very easily be a non-interactive cutscene, The Witcher 3 is on Switch and most Switch games could easily run on the WiiU, you just have to pick a cut off point.

The scenes in the Miles Morales trailer look almost complety different, if its a 30 hour game I don't see how many people would have a problem.

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navster15

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@thepanzini: As a packaged value proposition I 100% agree that MM is going to be worth it. But as a killer PS5 app I’m not so sure. As you say, most next-gen games can run on current hardware. So why aren’t people asking Sony why they can’t continue to support PS4 like Microsoft is supporting X1? It just feels weirdly partisan that people rag on Microsoft for supporting cross-gen, which is demonstrably consumer friendly, while cheering Sony’s forced exclusivity as a good thing. I dunno, maybe I’m missing something in all this discourse.

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ThePanzini

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#17  Edited By ThePanzini

@notnert427: "A ctrl-f on the original post for backwards compatibility, Game Pass, and the tremendous Forza series interestingly points to no mentions of these obvious Xbox strengths and glaring Sony competitive disadvantages. Weird."

How is any of this selling their new box? If someone skipped the XB1, how would the 8th Forza do what the previous seven couldn't?

Sony's first party have been filling the void left by third parties and have been incredibly successful, half a dozen games from them have done better than Halo 3 Its not surprising people want more of that from MS not that I think they should, they should find their own way but it is a shame none of their new IP took off.

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ThePanzini

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@navster15: tbh neither Sony nor MS need a killer app they'll both sell out every box they can make, the games won't matter till holiday next year which will be Horizon most likely.

Game development is a stepping stone each game made is built upon the last the sooner you start the transition the better, consumer friendly or not Sony and the games will benift from making the transition sooner.

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Deathstriker

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@thepanzini: I loved the Spider-Man game and the animated movie starring Miles, but I'm skeptical of the Miles game, so I need to see more. Feels like it's going to be a standalone expansion pack like Infamous Last Light. Things like story, production value, etc. were why the Spider-Man game was so good and since this isn't a full AAA game, those things might be lacking. Does Insomniac have their A team on Ratchet and B team on this game? I don't think it's an automatic slam dunk.

If either console was going to be $400 I think MS or Sony would've been bragging about that by now. Paying $500 or $600 for a Miles expansion pack doesn't sound tempting to me. I would wait for Horizon and other good games first.

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Deathstriker

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@navster15: That's an interesting take. I've spent way more time with my X1 than on my PS4, but that's because of multiplatform games and my friends are on that system. Forza aside, I don't think MS has any great first party games. Halo should've stopped at Halo 3, the new Gears is trying to change and be fresh, but still isn't there, Sunset Overdrive is like a 8 out of 10 at best. MS definitely needs to get better at first party next-gen and it looks like they're trying. They've acknowledged that it's a problem.

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navster15

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@deathstriker: I mean, we’re into opinions here, but I think Halo 5 is only behind Titanfall in terms of shooter feel this gen and I played a ton of multiplayer, Ori is probably my favorite of the new wave of Metroid-likes, Gears 5 is my favorite Gears game since 2, and there is nothing that brings me more joy in gaming than messing around in Forza Horizon. Sea of Thieves is a really great social experience, Gears Tactics smartly moves the XCOM formula forward, and too many people sleep on Halo Wars.

The list goes on, but basically I’m just saying that the talk about objective measurement does not capture individual preference. There are people that call Bloodborne the greatest game ever, but to me it feels like doing chores, and I think both opinions are equally valid.

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Deathstriker

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#22  Edited By Deathstriker

@navster15: Yeah, it's subjective, I was just curious why you felt that way. I think Halo needs to be reinvented like God of War was. In general, MS relies way too much on Forza/Halo/Gears. I'm hoping with them now owning Ninja Theory they'll have an AAA game that isn't a shooter. Some of the studios they've made or bought have potential too. Sea of Thieves is still boring to me, they need to up the combat gameplay and mission design in order to be interesting.

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notnert427

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@notnert427: "A ctrl-f on the original post for backwards compatibility, Game Pass, and the tremendous Forza series interestingly points to no mentions of these obvious Xbox strengths and glaring Sony competitive disadvantages. Weird."

How is any of this selling their new box? If someone skipped the XB1, how would the 8th Forza do what the previous seven couldn't?

Sony's first party have been filling the void left by third parties and have been incredibly successful, half a dozen games from them have done better than Halo 3 Its not surprising people want more of that from MS not that I think they should, they should find their own way but it is a shame none of their new IP took off.

Obviously backwards compatibility will matter a little less to those who skipped an XB1, but speaking as someone with one and a solid library of games for it, it's really comforting to know that my games won't be just rendered obsolete because they made a new thing. And while I'm not a Game Pass guy because I tend to take deep dives into a few games, for people who want to play a little of a bunch of games, the value proposition there is undeniable. And personally, I adore racing games. Polyphony started pissing me off right about the time they pulled the GT5 Prologue bullshit, which is basically what they just did again with GT Sport in selling half of a game that wasn't worth the wait. When I made my decision this gen, it was largely due to the fact that the Forza franchise was trending in a way better direction than Sony's flagship racer, but I couldn't have ever imagined how much that would prove to be the case.

As for selling their new box, I imagine some of this will matter to people. They're certainly keeping me as a customer. You're probably sadly correct that whatever the next Forza game is won't move the internet hype needle, no matter how awesome it actually is. Somewhere along the way, internet gamers stopped caring about quality and decided they will only accept 100% "NEW!!!!!!" products (from MS). Also, everyone got their pretend-CEO title to faux-concern themselves with sales numbers and who they've decided a thing will and won't appeal to so they can go out of their way to tell others what they should want. I don't give a fuck if MS only sells two Series X consoles as long as the one they deliver to me meets/exceeds my expectations the way the One and One X have, and I don't care to try and shitbomb the PS5 on current semi-limited info, because it's likely to appeal to certain people and that's 100% cool with me. It's not my place to try and convince them what console to buy; that's on Microsoft and Sony and people are free to choose either, or be a PC gamer, or none of the above.

Yet the Xbox brand continues to be this internet hate lightning rod for...reasons? My personal "favorite" refrain is this idea that their console is useless because MS offers gamers the Play Anywhere flexibility also puts their first-party games on PC. As if absolutely everyone wants to spend quadruple the price on a dedicated gaming PC to game at a desk (or should). As if there's no appeal to gaming on a big 4K HDR TV (with use beyond gaming) as opposed to spending a small fortune on a good monitor to worry about FOV. Meanwhile, Sony does shit like being resistant to backwards compatibility or putting the new Spider-Man game only on their new console to try and force upgrades and people love them for it. It's like gamers crave obsolescence. They'd rather be forced to "need" the new thing and lose access to shit they paid for due to shitty, intentionally anti-consumer business practices than to have more of an option to upgrade or not at their leisure. I've never understood it.

As far as Microsoft "new IP", I'd argue that Titanfall took off. It was beloved on the Xbox One, and the sequel eventually found some widespread acclaim as well since the internet hate machine decided they could admit the franchise was good once it was not just an Xbox game. And now Apex spun off from that and has found its own audience and success. I'm still hoping for a Titanfall 3, but who knows. It's only Microsoft first-party games that are subject to these "qualifiers", though. I don't recall hearing people downplay God of War because it wasn't "new IP". Nor are there similar complaints about The Last of Us II. And where was all this great "new IP" that Sony apparently had this gen? Outside of Horizon: ZD, I can't think of another example that meets the bullshit demands people make of Microsoft games so they can more easily dismiss a new Forza, Halo, Gears, et al. regardless of how good those games actually are.

It just gets old hearing this stuff. MS has supposedly been working on exactly what people are complaining about with a bunch of first-party studios (even though it wasn't ever actually half the "issue" it's been made out to be), and we'll be able to have a way better idea of what they've come up with in a matter of weeks with the event that's reportedly specifically this. Until then, though, I guess we needed one more thread getting in some last-minute potshots, as if MS not showing their first-party stuff yet means that they don't have any first-party games. When that pure bullshit take goes out the window shortly, I imagine the internet is fully prepared to pivot to shitting on everything they show to instantly decree that nothing counts as good new IP and that none of it could possibly be exciting to anyone or turn out to be quality. So it goes.

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ThePanzini

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#24  Edited By ThePanzini

@notnert427: "Obviously backwards compatibility will matter a little less to those who skipped an XB1, but speaking as someone with one and a solid library of games for it, it's really comforting to know that my games won't be just rendered obsolete because they made a new thing. And while I'm not a Game Pass guy because I tend to take deep dives into a few games, for people who want to play a little of a bunch of games, the value proposition there is undeniable."

Both will be backwards compatible no doubt MS will be be better and enchance some titles but by in large everyones library will carrie over. Game Pass is fantastic service and value but the first few years of a new console are typically bought by high spending users and are not good value propositions untill later in the cycle which game pass largley appeals to.

"Yet the Xbox brand continues to be this internet hate lightning rod for...reasons? My personal "favorite" refrain is this idea that their console is useless because MS offers gamers the Play Anywhere flexibility also puts their first-party games on PC."

You'll see the same comments on the Horizon Zero Dawn PC port blog post and if you want to see a lighting rod of hate visit The Last of Us Part 2 subreddit, Sony has had plenty of these the same with Nintendo I think your not seeing beyond your bubble.

"As far as Microsoft "new IP", I'd argue that Titanfall took off. It was beloved on the Xbox One, and the sequel eventually found some widespread acclaim as well since the internet hate machine decided they could admit the franchise was good once it was not just an Xbox game."

Titanfall was also available on PC it wasn't just an Xbox game, we also have Respawn on record saying they deliberately took the mobility out of Apex based on player feedback, people didn't want high mobilty shooter especially the audience Titanfall was aimed at, everyone cheered COD with 'boots on the ground'.

"It just gets old hearing this stuff. MS has supposedly been working on exactly what people are complaining about with a bunch of first-party studios (even though it wasn't ever actually half the "issue" it's been made out to be), and we'll be able to have a way better idea of what they've come up with in a matter of weeks with the event that's reportedly specifically this."

Seeing is believing, Sony has outsold MS roughy 2 to 1 and has been delivering games that have sold well creating a lot people championing their stuff, so they speak louder. I don't think July will change anything really Halo won't be a revolution just a great Halo game if you were not interested before why would you now, none of MS new studios will drop a AAA game any time soon if at all even.

Most of MS stuff looks like the usual suspects with Fable and something from the Intitive which seems along way off, with a lot more AA content. I think both platforms are pretty much entrenched Sony's makes games its players like and likewise for MS I don't see any major change next gen.