Last November we saw the release of the next generation consoles for Microsoft and Sony. The Xbox One and PS4 releases were preceded with rumors, crazy speculations, and big expectations. Now many have experienced both consoles. I happen to be one of those individuals and find myself impressed with each device. Some of my expectations have been met while others not so much. But overall my experience had been great. The following are my thoughts on each console.
Xbox One –
“Xbox On.” Those two words, said loud and clearly in a quiet room, can turn your console on. Crazy right? Well it’s a reality with the new Xbox. The Kinect isn’t just an add on this generation, it is the focal point of the experience. Setting up the Xbox One requires some time. There isn’t the option of just plugging in the hdmi and power cable. Setting up the camera is another task upon opening up the box. The Kinect camera comes with thick cables and it takes a little work to find the right location for the device on your entertainment center or stand. Once everything is set up, you of course power on the system and begin the initial setup. The typical options come to the fore but camera setup will take up most of the time. Kinect will analyze your room for sufficient space, sound, and lighting. The camera is very advanced and impressed me very much. Finally, you have made it to the new home screen! The layout emphasizes “fast access” to popular areas of the dashboard such as games, media, friends, and preferences. Powered by Bing, saying “Xbox go to Games” will take you to a screen where you can search your own library or the marketplace. Overall the voice commands worked well but I found myself repeating myself constantly. But when the Kinect worked, it worked well.
Xbox One isn’t a gaming machine. It is an entertainment centerpiece. I do not have cable television therefore I did not have an opportunity to test the Snap feature of splitting the screen between live tv and a game. And I truly believe someone who utilizes all of these features will derive the most benefit from the Xbox One. One major gripe I had came while trying to play Thief. I had to go offline to install and play the game because installing the game and downloading a huge 7Gb patch was taking way too long. I have a 5Mbps internet connection. Not the fastest in the world but it gets the job done in a reasonable amount of time. But this install was going to take a considerable amount of time. It is an issue that get remedied as time goes by.
The Xbox One is slowly but surely gathering up exclusives. The media choices and options will grow surely but games are going to ultimately set this device apart from the rest. We know we will get a new Halo and Gears of War but Microsoft needs to focus on the new and unique. E3 should reveal some new and exciting titles coming to the XBox One.
The PS3 had a very rough start. $599 for the best SKU, a barren game library, and poor online capabilities. This generation Sony has learned its lesson and showing love for consumers who love games. Setting up the PS4 is simple and painless. Now included with setup is the option to display your real name instead of your PSN alias. The XMB has changed quite a bit. In some ways the change is nice but it takes getting used to. Content is lined up chronologically so to speak. Therefore newer content will be the first items you see upon startup. The Playstation 4 immediately reaches the hearts of any who have a PS Plus membership by offering a handful of “free” titles to make sure you aren’t just looking at your new console without any games to enjoy. Friends become closer as you have the option to watch everything your friend is doing and have done. There is a strong “social network” vibe going.
Something that pleases me with the PS4 is Sony’s commitment to the games. There are plenty of multimedia capabilities from movies, music, and much more but the games are coming at a great pace. Infamous Second Son is a great title that has released very early in the life cycle of the PS4 and that is promising. E3 should be really exciting for Sony as well. One of my main gripes is the fact that the controller seems to lose battery juice very quickly. It is a very minor complaint though.
I admit I have not used these consoles to the fullest extent but as more time is spent with each console respectively they are shaping up to offer unique experiences. Either way everyone who loves games will be pleased with the hard work put into these machines.