Archive for February, 2013


So what is the deal with Sony?  Some employees or executives, or some in some way associated with the company, have seemed to have given up.  I could be wrong, but what the hell?  I think the statement I read in reference to the companies vision for the next Console (now confirmed for sometime in 2013) at least in part contained something to the effect of “….only Hardcore Gamers will get it” – meaning if you are not a Hardcore gamer then you may not be the target audience for the PS4.  OK, so yes it could also be said that Xbox did this with the first Xbox.  True dat.  However, what does that do?  Yeah you have a cool machine and that’s great.  However while I do not regret buying one of those $600.00 PS3s back in 2007, I would rather not pay that much for a console ever again.  I was caught up in the hype, and hype it was!  It was at the time – hype that actually delivered.   In the USA anyways, there was the $600.00 60 GB and the not so great $500.00 20 GB console released in 2006 (I mentioned 2007 above as I did not get the PS3 at launch).  I remember that there were some problems with the 20GB model, a higher than expected amount of console failures and such.  However for the most part, to 60GB original launch PS3 was a great console!

However, as time went on Sony was trapped.  The things that made the PS3 great were actually making it $600.00!  I have heard some viewpoints, that Sony had basically put a Playstation 2 inside of the PS3 – hence the backwards compatibility as well as the High Price.  So, after a while Sony had to come down on price, in an effort to move more consoles as well as attract new customers.  Was it worth it?  Time will truly tell.  I now have a PS3 Slim, and if I really want to play those PS2 games again – I can always find a good used Fat PS2.  The Slim PS2 was a JOKE!

But alas, I am trying to write about as I come to terms with what the reality of the next generation of Consoles is at the moment as well as what it will actually be when said consoles are released.

While yes I love my PS3, I am personally leaning towards saving my money now so that I can buy one of the next Xboxes in 2014.  If the PS4 is truly all Sony is jabbing about, who knows?  I may get a good used one in several years, though I doubt it.  I mean, even if I could afford both consoles at launch – there is only so much time I can play games in a day!  Not just because I am married and I work, I also like to read, we have cats, I love movies, etc,etc,etc.  So it’s not as important to me anymore to have every console out there since I can only play one at a time!  There are really only a few games I care about, and I love to play THOSE few select games again and again and again and yes again.  Some of those games are Madden, Soul Calibur, Fifa, Mario Kart Wii.  In the cases of Soul Calibur, Madden and Fifa I feel that the next Xbox is by far going to offer me the bext game experience, hence my personal choice to wait for the next Xbox.

If you are a diehard Playstation fan, that’s fine.  I can further expand on my thoughts and how I reached my decision.

Why did I not just get an Xbox 360 and I instead recently bought a PS3 slim?  Well in the past I also had Xbox 360s and having owned both I liked the PS3 better and feel good about the decision I have made.  I love the fact that my PS3 also plays Blurays.  I have always been more into playing offline than online, so I was not considering the online game play experience as much when I bought my PS3 slim (or my wife bought it as I get reminded sometimes).  I like how you can browse the web on the PS3; it’s nice to look at websites sometimes on my PS3 instead of going into the other room or having to bring my laptop into the room I am in at the time.  There is a LOT I love about the PS3, however now we will skip the good and the bad…..and go straight to the ugly.

The PS3 network has been an abysmal failure on a very good day, and not worthy of even being spoken about on a bad day.  Having said that, even with the next Xbox I will mainly be playing games offline – BUT – there have been a few times when a better network would have been more desirable.  I am not a computer geek or nerd, I do not want to have to spend hours to get my PS3 humming on the PSN (Playstation Network) – it should just work.  Yes the network is free; though I have my doubts even if and probably when Sony does eventually start charging to use the PSN that they will ever get it right.  I have considered becoming a Playstation Network Plus member, but I see no point in paying for the network when the free version of the network is so bad.  Why does the PS3 not have HBO Go?  Why does the Amazon Instant Video on the PS3 suck so badly?  I rented a movie, and it stopped at least 10 times!  I hate to use bad language in my posts, but talk about a major WTF!

Ok so on the other side of the coin, what do we REALLY know about the next Xbox?  I can sure with a lot of confidence we will not see it this year.  I mean, yes I am no expert here – nor am I preaching to an imaginary choir.  I am just another person looking for answers to all of these questions and concerns, and making the best attempt I can to fins those answers ….. At a time when the internet is chock full of opinions and speculations about the subject.  Yes, I suppose my posts could be viewed as such too.  However, I am only voicing my concerns and hoping to find answers which are far more than over 99% of what I have read on these topics even attempt to ever do.

The next Xbox may have run into production problems, something about a crucial part not being up to specs as well as unforeseen delays with the actual manufacturing of the part to begin with.

I however think this a good thing in a way.  I think Microsoft has learned a lot from the insane amount of ROD (Ring Of Death) failures with the early models of the Xbox 360 consoles.  I feel that Microsoft will fix the problem as well as be damn sure they have a reliable and great machine and then put the final product into production.

Also, it takes a lot of pressure of Microsoft and puts that pressure on Sony.  I would love to see the new Xbox come out in 2014 on the day that year’s Madden NFL game is released.  Though its likely you will see a release closer to the Holiday shopping season – but also if the console came out earlier Microsoft could (in the event of an overwhelming consumer demand) have enough consoles ready for stores by the Holidays if they were to release the console even in August 2014.

There is so much more to say and write about this topic!  I know a lot of people out there will disagree with what I have to say – and that is fine.  Just let me know what you think!

Advertisements

NEXT GEN Video Games

Well what is the deal with the PS4? The  Xbox 720?  The ‘Next” Nintendo?  On the Nintendo if I may for a moment, I have read a LOT of mixed things.  Such as the Wii U was just an upgrade to the Wii, and that Nintendo was indeed (as best as they could anyways) going to compete with Microsoft and Sony in the next round of the Console Wars.  Nintendo could conceivably in fact compete in the future with the other big 2, though it would be a different strategy in some ways.

Blu Ray.
While its not a stretch to expect the next Playstation and Xbox to have a Bluray drive, that may be something you will just not see in a Nintendo system.  However, at what point does that matter? Well yeah you would have the benefits of also having a Bluray player, which might be a selling point (as it was for me with the PS3) for people out there not wanting a separate machine for Blurays.  Then of course there is the issue of Storage, A Bluray disc can hold about 25 GB (single layer, about 50 GB Dual Layer) as compared to a measly 4.7 GB that was on the DVDR discs I used to use with the DVD Recorder once owned.

Of course you always hear about how big newer games are in relation the amount of Data they take up on a disc and what you need in the console to run said game, etc.  In the end they are just games right!  Though some are much better and far more entertaining than others.  Some, while the graphics may leave a lot to be desired like Mario Kart Wii, can offer far more replay value than a much more expensive and polished games.  Of course, while I will always remember the Atari 2600, I don’t really want to go all the way back to those days with a new system either.

WHEN?

When will these so called new systems arrive?  I suppose it could be said the Wii U is Nintendo’s foray into the current Round of next Gen…..BUT just because they were first – I do not see that move as anything other than it was what Nintendo felt they had to do at the time.  I do not think that Sony of Microsoft are basing any strategy whatsoever on Nintendo.  Now that is not to say Nintendo is dead, that they do not matter.  Nintendo will be around for a very long time, likely for good as a nice alternative to what could be seen as the Console standards if there really can be an established standard anyways.

So just because Nintendo put out a system first, I will be amazed if we see the next consoles from Microsoft and or Sony anytime before late 2014 in the USA.  In fact I will venture a guess one step forward and say expect the next Playstation in the USA in 2014, and the next Xbox in 2015.  I have yet to find any definite confirmation of any release dates, if they were coming out this year – there would have been Superbowl commercials announcing when you can place your pre order for the new console(s).  Of course, in Video Games as with anything else – marketing and advertising is never done in a way that makes sense.

The next Playstation will likely be first for two reasons.  First, Sony of course wants to beat Microsoft to the punch just as Microsoft did with the 360 coming out before the PS3.  Another important reason could be that Sony has a LOT to answer for.  Such as the poor quality of the Playstation network, the laughable design of the PS3 controller and so on.  So while it is important for Sony to be first (or Microsoft), it is perhaps more important that they stay relevant in the minds of video game consumers.

Microsoft is on the other hand in a unique position.  The X Box live network is far superior to the Playstation network, the controllers are better, BUT what about reliability?  I have yet to have ever read a single article or release about the ROD “Ring of Death” Fiasco that explained why the first generations of the Xbox 360s had such a high failure rate.  True, no electronic toy, especially one that is going to be used daily will be foolproof.  However, the fact Microsoft took so long to correct the basic design flaws of the Xbox 360 is both laughable and puzzling.

I look for Microsoft to take more time to get it right this time at launch, even if that means delaying the Xbox 720 (or whatever it will be called, possibly ‘X Box’) and giving Sony the chance to jump in first.  Also this could be a great opportunity to see what Sony does first, while the next Xbox is possibly still in a semi – prototype stage and then make a few last minute tweaks to the system.

I have heard that there has been an announcement already on Xbox Live in regards to the next system coming out this year, though I do not have an Xbox myself nor have I found any articles online yet to support this.

One other item worthy of mention, if you will indulge the notion, is that in the past some consoles are first released in Japan or countries other than the USA.  So maybe both of the new consoles will come out from Sony and Microsoft this year or next, though possibly not here in the USA.

In reference to no pre-orders yet, that is of course no absolute indicator though if we do not see pre-orders by say June or July then it is very unlikely the systems will arrive this year.  While it seems more unlikely with the flood of information I have been able to find online about the subject, we may not see the PS4 until 2014 – followed by the next Xbox in 2015.

There are some reasons, some obvious and some not why this too could also be possible.

Launch Games.
True its great if you can afford that fresh new console, but if there is not a selection of games available for it (that you are interested in) when it launches – what’s the point of getting it at launch?  Personally there are only a few games I really love and want to play endlessly as opposed to someone that buys games all the time. (If you are so inclined to and can afford lots of games, go for it – nothing wrong with that.  I would myself rather over time master the games I love like Soul Calibur, Madden, Fifa and couple others.)

Launch Failures.
When Sony released the PS3 even at $600.00 for the 60 GB model – there was an overwhelming demand and they failed miserably with anticipating demand.  Nintendo pulled the same silliness with the Wii, possibly failing much worse than Sony did in getting enough consoles to the shelves.  I will absolutely give Microsoft kudos with the 360 Launch.  While I did not own a 360 when it was first launched, I never had a hard time finding one in a store if I had wanted to buy one at the time. Of course Microsoft failed as well.  Will there were plenty of 360s to go around for whoever wanted one, it was a crap shoot as to if you had one of the reliable consoles or one that would eventually succumb to the Dreaded Red Ring Of Death (better known as simply the ‘Ring of Death’).

Why the ‘Launch Failures’ are particularly puzzling is that late in every console’s lifespan, you will almost always see an excess of more reliable versions of the consoles available for a deeply discounted price (as compared to the original launch price) in store inventories across the country.  Why not get it right to start with?  I hope that is at least one thing that now both Microsoft and Sony are considering with the release of their next consoles – whenever the do actually release them.  Just make a LOT of RELIABLE consoles at launch at then taper down the inventories.  After all, with the Playstation Network and Xbox Live are not most of your system updates done online now anyways?  For those without internet access, at least with the Playstation 3 you can go somewhere with a flash drive and get the system update and update that way if you have to.  The Hardware is more and more advanced with each new generation of consoles, if done right – then you would not have to update that model….. Just update the Firmware every couple of months or so without making an entire new physical version of the console.

The failure of the Video Game console makers to make enough of more reliable consoles at launch also hurts the companies in that at what better time could you attract a whole new set of consumers?  Sure a lot of people like me will wait until after the initial craziness of the launch passes before getting the system anyways.  However possibly even more people will just decide to not buy the console altogether.

One thing I have not heard a lot about is what seems to be a move towards motion based gaming.  That is all fine and well and that – though I hope there will always at least be the option of holding the physical controller in your hand. I can see motion based becoming a trend, as well as a place being there for the more traditional controllers…..I just don’t want to be forced to buy into this motion based craze if I want to get one of the next generation consoles.

I wanted to simply say a few words about the next generation of video game consoles, though I have not touched on price yet.  I look for the Xbox to come out at around $450.00 US and the Playstation around $400.00 US, just a guess.