The Next Video Game War: Discovering the System Right for You
The gauntlet has been thrown in world of video games. Nintendo already unleashed the Wii-U, and this holiday season, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One flood the market. Unfortunately, most gamers already made their decision, considering all the propaganda flooding the internet: Nintendo produced another Gamecube with less than par performance compared to its competitors, Microsoft cares little about its gaming fan base, while Sony's learned from all its mistakes. But what are the relevant facts, the statistics? What's the purpose by the path each company has taken, and how should this influence our decision concerning which console or consoles will grace our entertainment rooms? One should look at the facts oneself to determine which console is more worth its weight in gold.
Before you read below...
Which game system are you most likely to buy?
Behold, and Bask in its Multimedia Power
Xbox One: Microsoft's New Techno-Magic Machine
The Low-Down: Hate it or Love it, the new Xbox One boasts a level of interactivity that separates itself from its competitors. Of course, this primarily revolves around the Kinect, the camera included with the Xbox 360 Elite package that can motion-capture a person's body, turning that person into a living controller. Microsoft now says the One's Kinect is so precise it can track the player squeezing his or her hand. Add in the ability to see in the dark, to see who retrieves what controller, to record the player while gaming or for video chat, and voice recognition able to isolate a player's voice in a crowded room, and you have a device transforming player-game interactivity. And it comes included with each console. Apart from the Kinect, the system software contains several bonuses. The console allows developers to create more advanced AI, and it can even record the player's gaming style and use that "shadow" to play against a player's friends, a system called Living Games Technology. Unlike its predecessor, one can play games while they're getting installed, and voice commands can navigate through the Xbox One's menu whether the gamer's watching a movie or playing a game. However, the most amazing aspect of the One is its switch to clouding, the act of keeping one's data or software in a distant network accessible by a multitude of wireless devices. Considering this change in focus, a player can access his or her gaming files from any Xbox One console, and can even watch a movie on one console then continue watching it on another, making the the use of external storage devices obsolete. The Smart Glass software further expands the gaming experience by enabling one's wireless devices to interact with the gameplay after the application's download. Besides solely including advanced gaming functions, the One includes Snap, an app which enables a split-screen to allow conversations on Skype while watching movies, sports, or television shows. The system also facilitates switching between one's cable or satellite and the Xbox One, allowing one to plug the cable or satelite into the One. Gamers can switch between their games and ESPN with a word.
The Break-Down: The Xbox One sets itself as the middle child concerning memory usage. It runs with 8GB RAM, 500 GB of hard drive memory, and runs GDDR3 for graphics memory. Unfortunately, even though the Xbox One has more RAM than its predecessor, it runs the same graphics memory the Wii and Xbox 360 did... The Operating System, included to run all the applications so the One can do all the magical things it does, will also use memory, which takes from the RAM used to run the games. Microsoft claims their clouding technology will alleviate the stress from the system's memory1. Fortunately, the Xbox One dropped most of the restrictions gamers raged about during its E3 debut: Physical games are back, it won't be a requirement to log on every day, and gamers will be able to freely share their games with family and friends, even though games that use clouding technology will require an online connection2.
Playstation 4: The Modern Gaming System
The Low-Down: Sony challenges the gaming arena with, once again, the most powerful gaming machine of the generation. The PS4 runs the same amount of RAM as the One and the Wii U Basic, yet arrives with GDDR5, the highest grade of graphics memory currently available. It also establishes itself as a gaming machine to its core, including no additional software to hog the memory needed for games. Apart from specs, the PS4 learns a gamer's likes and dislikes, and presents information on similar games and on the games' developers. One can also review game related statistics on friends and watch their gameplay. To compete with the Wii-U's GamePad, Sony allowed its new console to integrate with the Vita, enabling one to stream a game to the Vita via wireless. Then there's the Playstation app, which is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Android, enabling the purchase of PS4 gaming additions through it. To abet their game system, Sony presents and Dualshock 4 controller and the Playstation Camera. The Dualshock 4 includes a touchpad at its top, four color LED lights to identify players and to relay game information, such as when the player runs low on health, a built in mono-speaker, a headset jack, and its signature Sixaxis motion sensor. Other nifty things include a new achievement button, made to initiate a recording of live gameplay, and that the Bluetooth, wireless controllers have their batteries built into them. Sony maintains its Playstation Camera for the multiplayer sharing and communication experience. It records the gamer while they game, visual, sound and all.
The Break-Down: Sony began strong by not attempting to put puppet strings on the gamer experience like Microsoft; however, the PS4 only caters to the gaming fanbase and fails to consider methods to revolutionize its reach. The PS4, as it currently stands, is THE most powerful gaming system released, but it lacks the bells, whistles, and extras to make it the strongest entertainment medium of the big three, falling short in establishing itself in a market where games can easily stretch across all platforms. The battery built into the controller would also force gamers to replace the entire accessory IF the battery went bad. Lastly, there exists no confirmation as to whether the Playstation Camera will be included with the system, and it remains absent with the current PS4 system bundles offered.
Watch the PS4 strut its stuff
Wii U: Nintendo's Improved Wii
The Low-Down: The old toy maker company refuses to revolutionize, but instead creates an improved, funner version of its previous system. Out of all the consoles released, the Wii U is the only one to maintain backwards compatibility. All Wii games, accessories, including controllers, and software are transferable to Nintendo's new funbox. Already having a lead considering its early release date, Nintendo offers an extra gaming bundle beside its Basic system. The Deluxe package costs around $50 more, yet has 32 GB of RAM, four times as much as its Basic and its competitors. Despite maintaining backwards compatibility and the Deluxe's memory, the new GamePad controller represents the Wii U's greatest draw. The 6.2-inch controller resembles a handheld with its large LED touchscreen situated between buttons and analog sticks. The GamePad enables one to browse the Nintendo Tvii to rent or buy movies and television shows, a built in speaker, microphone, and camera that can be used in games or for video chat between Wii Us, motion controls, the ability to become a television remote, and can retrieve information via wireless from special cards. Fortunately, unlike the Wii, the new system sports HD graphics, enabling it to take a step forward in the graphics arena.
The Break-Down: The Wii U doesn't match either of its competitor's graphics capabilities. Also, it recently lacks the strong third party support enjoyed by the upcoming One and PS4. Finally, the Wii may be the only backwards compatible system, but it's also the sole console without the ability to play Blu-Ray DVDs.
Watch the Wii U in action
A Final Reflection
And that sums up the latest console war. Neither system flies ahead of the competition as the end-all, but all have something to offer based upon gamer preferences. Want to grab the system with the most innovative features that combine different entertainment mediums and technologies together seamlessly? Buy the Xbox One. A hardcore gamer that wants the most gorgeous graphics this generation can offer? Get the Playstation 4. Have kids that simply must finish that dungeon in Legend of Zelda during a long trip or just love games on the go? Get the Wii U. Now that the Microsoft Puppet Scare is over, all three systems can stand on the same hill in the eyes of the consumer. All that's left is choice. As for this writer? If I had the money, I'd prefer all three.
Most of the information from the three body capsules came from: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xboxone/meet-xbox-one, http://us.playstation.com/ps4/, and http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/features/tech-specs/, respectfully.
1. http://www.oxm.co.uk/54748/xbox-one-specs-are-boosted-by-the-equivalent-of-three-xbox-ones-in-the-cloud/. Xbox 360: The Official Magazine. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
2. http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/microsoft-s-marc-whitten-talks-xbox-one-s-big-poli/1100-4675/. GiantBomb.com. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013