I’m normally a patient person and can wait a couple of months until the new wears off of a product and people chill out. This extended holiday weekend, however, I found myself doing something new. I placed my first ever pre-order for a video game console: the Playstation 4, due out November 15, 2013. If you recall, or are just the type to point things out like this, we did stumble upon a Wii U on launch day at Wal-Mart. While this has been a lackluster system and we’ve played it a total of about 9 times, it still wasn’t a pre-order. So what made me change my mind this time around? What was it about the Sony Playstation 4 that caused this change in routine? Quite simply, it was Microsoft.
I love my Xbox 360 – all three of them that I’ve owned, mind you. I’ve complained about it before, but to make a long story short, I’ve owned 2 Xbox 360 “fat’s” and my current Xbox 360 “slim.” The two fat white consoles were both first generations consoles, the ones with the dreaded Red Ring of Death issue. And sure enough, both suffered the same fate. After the second one, I tossed the heavy paperweight into a draw and left it there, just recently – in fact – throwing it away. The latest incarnation is the all black, sleek console with the hair-trigger eject button right above the CD drawer. I received this one as a Christmas gift from my in-laws and my son and I have been really enjoying it. We’re playing mostly older games that we can pick up from Gamestop for pretty cheap, but that’s fine because I’m several years behind in my gaming – the 2nd 360 died about 2-3 years ago, so I was Xbox-less for sometime.
Regardless of how much we are enjoying the next Xbox 360, Microsoft has managed to step on this gamer’s toes for the last time. While I’m not ready to throw out my 360, I am ready to declare that I won’t be supporting the Xbox One anytime soon. The Xbox One, Microsoft’s next generation console follow-up to the Xbox 360. You know the one. They announced it with much self praise and pats on their own backs to a crowd full of forced applause, occasional boos and large gaps of silence. People were dumbstruck with how this could even been considered a step in the next direction.
Sony came out right after and threw down the heat. They countered pretty much everything Microsoft said about their console. They didn’t force you to sign in every day to keep tabs on your console and games. They weren’t forcing you to buy additional hardware that was completely unnecessary. They weren’t grounding you with ridiculous digital rights management and then telling you it was all the rage because you can turn around and resell those games. And, they weren’t saying you were going to be assaulted over buying used games.
I know I’ve used some harsh words and maybe even slightly exaggerated the above paragraphs, and I would bother to look up exact quotes and charts to show comparisons on these issues. But that was something I would have done before Microsoft took a beating and did a complete reversal on nearly 99% of what they originally told us the Xbox One was going to do. After a furious backlash over the news of the ground breaking console, Microsoft saw how great Sony’s announcement was going. So we quickly got the turn around on:
- 1) An internet connection is no longer required to check in every 24 hours.
- 2) There will be no limitations to using and/or sharing games. It’ll work just like it does on the 360.
- 3) No region restrictions
- 4) The Kinect is no longer required hardware as originally proclaimed
- 5) Xbox One will now include a headset instead of requiring you to buy a brand new one
My issue with all of the above is this: if it could be easily reversed in a matter of days, what’s to say that later on down the road, maybe a week after launch, maybe a month or a year – what’s to keep Microsoft from deciding to flip the switch back the other way. To much backpedaling in too little a time.
And so, to show my support for Sony and the Playstation 4, I decided what better way to do that then to pre-purchase my console and get my foot in the door. Of course, same thing applies to Sony. They could just as easily turn around on day 2 and say, “You know what, Microsoft was on to something, let’s do that, too.” But I have faith that they’ve learned from others mistakes (and their own with the PS3.) Besides, Playstation Plus is the way to go these days, in case you haven’t heard.
So yes, I have joined the next generation of gaming by pre-ordering my console of choice to show my support. As for the Xbox 360, my current faithful companion, it will share the same shelf as the PS4, and we’ll all be one big happy family. After all, as Don Mattrick suggested, perhaps I’ll just stick with my Xbox 360.