23 May 2013

Getting it right

So, now that the Xbox One has been revealed (No, not the mother ship) it's time for me to compare between this generation of leading consoles.
So what am I expecting? 
Frankly, just an improvement on the same guff, with a new skin and a few new gadgets and features to keep up to date. Call me what you will, but I don't like too much change.
Touch screens have become an every day thing. And I like that. You can get a touch screen on just about anything, from your phone, to your car, to your keyboard. So I expect some reasonable touch screen implements on the controller. Makes sense to me.
Then there's The Digital Distribution (Pretty sure someone I know hates when people say that). Yes, it's moving into that time of history when you may never have to leave your home for games again, and shelves of game cases and boxes and manuals are coming to an end. And I'll accept that. Though I hope that they come through for the customer and make games cheaper because of it.
And a lastly, Backwards Compatibility. The first person I think of is Scott, a boy who has had his Xbox 360 for a Bajillion years (may or may not be exaggerated), has amassed a Library of games that could potentially be covered by insurance, and not to mention a considerable investment into his Xbox Live Account. So, like myself back in the previous generation where PS3 couldn't play PS2 games, I would hope they don't go to waste on him. Or myself, for that matter. I have these too, you know.
These are my basic expectations. That is all I want. That's all I ever need. Whether its a simple evolution, or to satiate my Hoarding Instincts, these are my standard requests for these consoles.
So what am I getting? Let's begin with the controller. 
Wii U was first in the ring, eager to prove its mettle and show that it's a system that constantly evolving, a reputation that its stuck to for over a decade of consoles now, whether its having ergonomically designed controllers which threaten to cramp your fingers, or making you get off your bedsores and doing jumping jacks in front of your Tv, they continue to do something different.
This time with a large touch screen the size of a tablet, and all the buttons you need to play whatever game you're heart desires. It can be used as a Gm screen for certain games, or it can be used to just keep playing your games on your lonesome by streaming it to the tablet instead of the telly. Like having a handheld console. Or a tablet with buttons and sticks.
Score 1 for Nintendo.
Playstation were up next, ready to show off the muscle power they had for their new Controller and... It was a bit disappointing. They had the touch screen. But, as I was hoping it wouldn't be, it was the same shape controller but the centre bridge was given some touchy bits, and Bob's your Mums Brother, they were done.
Oh, sorry, they added a couple other buttons. Not game play buttons, but an Options Button (I assume is the new PSButton) and a Share button, a feature of your online Profile, which I'll get into later.
So half point, Playstation. I would give you less, but you came through with something.
Xbox, the last into the ring, the big contender, the console with the most-ole... Changed very little.  It looks nice. Sleek and curvy like a sexy lady. But... It looks a bit like a third party piece at the moment. That's probably just me, of course.
It does have a unique Rumble setup. Rather than just shaking madly in the palm of your hands, it actually has a regional thing. Like if you fire a rifle, you feel it in the trigger you use, rather than the entire thing. That's cute, I'll grant.
But where is the touch screen? It should come standard! What?
Zero points, Xbox. No, you can't cheat by making me say your name, Durango.
Okay, so what about this Online Distribution business?
This I cannot really answer. The price for online games will be something we look at long off in the future once they're released. I'm not optimistic at first, since I imagine Game discs won't go extinct any time soon, and each company have made it pretty clear they aren't fully integrating into Pure Online Distribution.
So what else is there to being Online with your console?
Well It's not just a distributor now, it's a Social Network. Like Facebook. Only for games. Originally, it was simple. You pick a name and profile pic, put in a couple of details if you want, and you look up your friends. When you're signed in, you know when your friends are online, how long they've been offline, and what games and notable event tokens they've got (aka Achivements, Trophies, etc).
Playstation and Xbox are working with that. That share button i mentioned before? Well you can upload your events to your profile. Whether you're running through an entire level, or just showing off how stylishly you picked up an achievement. That's fun.
Nintendo... I don't think they're doing anything like that. It's a games console, and it focuses on that. They have an online store and that's pretty much it. You can connect with friends online and stuff, but that's about it. Nothing really Social Network about it.
I can't really give any points, because they're not on my list of Expectations. But if I could, I would give it to Xbox and Playstation for putting in an effort.
However, I would take it away from Xbox again because of their new setup for games. There are no Used Games any more. If you buy an Xbox One game, you register it to your account, you install the game, and that's it. If your friends borrow the disc, they get a prompt asking them to purchase it. That is, if the game doesn't allow you to play a demo of it before asking. That'd be a nice way to handle it.
Xbox did say that there will be a trading option though. Your game is traded for another across accounts. Reasonable. Not too shabby an idea, but what's to stop Xbox from making you pay $5 to make the trade? I have borrowed a few games from Scott over the years. I would probably owe him close to $50 by now, based on that. We'll have to wait and see with that though.
Alright, last thing: Backwards Compatibility. What's the go with that?
In Case you didn't know, Backwards Compatibility is important to me. I've been burnt once before, with the Playstation 3. I'm still hurt. My Playstation 2 is still here, and I have the games hidden away in a box... But I don't want them there. My Playstation 2 should be gone, recycled to make something else. And my games should be out with all the others.
But they're not. They're in a box. With a collection of DVDs that I don't want getting lost with Mums. And my current games would have to join them if I decide to pick up either the PS4 or the Xbox One.
A couple of years ago, about four now I think, when I succumbed and actually got my PS3, one of the higher ups from Playstation said "There's no profit in backwards compatibility". Yep. Fair point. Mind you, there are still hundreds of games for the Playstation 2 that were still being purchased because of the PS2 they continued to distribute until the beginning of 2013.
Since then you can get a select collection of Playstation One and HD remastered Playstation 2 games. Games I already own, funny enough. Games I don't want to fork out more money for just so I can play them. But a half point to them for trying. Most of the HD remasters that I've played though haven't exactly been... Pleasant.
Apparently there is also the mention of Streaming PS3 games. You buy it again, of course, but rather than having to download it and install it, you just play it from a remote server across the globe. Too bad if you don't have a good bandwidth, hey.
Xbox have made a similar statement. "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards." Now that hurt. That's a right run up and kick in the fucking goolies. And I love my goolies. They're good to me. They had reason not to do it, coming down to operating system and such technical jargon, so there wasn't any need for a comment that you know would spark up reactions that would include two words. "Fuck" and "Off".
The other thing is the Online Profile aspect. There are plenty of games on there. And it's all going to be chucked down the drain. All those investments, all those purchases, all those games. Gone. You can't play them if you've replaced your console. Which is the point of buying the new console, you replace it because its a system that does the same thing as its predecessor, but better.
WiiU have at least had the decency to just say "No, it won't be supporting GameCube games." Nintendo: Gamings Evolutionary Experimenter. Gets a point for still supporting its predecessors games. Fully supporting them too. Just because there's a new controller doesn't mean that you can't hook up a WiiMote and threaten to shatter your tv screen. So a half point for being sportsmanlike when you've taken something away.
So where does that leave the three in standing?
WiiU: 1.5 points.
Playstation 2: 1.5 points.
Xbox One: 0 points.
So in the NHCC has declared that the Xbox is the biggest disappointment of this generation, whereas its competitors are considerably more preferable for long time faithful players. I'm appalled, but facing the future and dealing with the fact that companies don't actually have any consideration for faithful customers. If that changes in the future, I would be pleasantly surprised.