With the PlayStation 4 set to be revealed right before we go to press (thus negating my ability to write about it), this week we’ll be looking back at the current generation of consoles, what is rumoured for the next and probably not talk about Nintendo’s stuff, because reasons.
So first up, let’s take this as an opportunity to acknowledge some of Sony’s lameness during the PlayStation 3 era. Off the top, their dashboard experience was a sloppy mess that essentially worked against the user when it came to linking up with friends, or trying to navigate the confines of the system’s software. In fact, more than six years after it launched, you still can’t chat with a friend online if they happen to be playing a different game than you! C’mon, Sony.
Another thing that sucked about the PS3? Half-assing their backwards compatibility. One of the coolest things about the PlayStation 2 was that you could play your original PlayStation games on it. Naturally, people expected that for the PS3, and Sony kind of allowed that to happen, for a bit, but then scrapped the feature later on because it was “too expensive” to keep. Whatever, Sony.
Look, I don’t hate Sony. The PS2 was probably the greatest console ever. I still have mine tucked away in my closet along with all of those magnificent games and I’ll be the first to admit that during its heyday, the PS2 was untouchable. GameCube? Xbox? Get out of here.
However, Sony seemed to be banking on people’s love of its previous console to carry over to the next, which may have been why the PS3 ended up being the money-loser it was for Sony for the longest time.
Also, don’t think I’ll gloss over any of the Microsoft’s negatives. I’ll admit that it does kind of suck having to pay an annual fee to use certain online features, and who can forget that whole Red Ring of Death thing? That was the worst.
The only saving grace was that the PS3’s online features were free to use (unlike the 360’s that required an annual fee), but that was probably only because they knew they couldn’t get away with charging people for what was pretty much half of what the Xbox experience was.
Okay, now, onto the future.
By announcing the PS4, Sony will also be trying to get the jump over Microsoft for the next generation of consoles, something Microsoft was able to do during the current gen with its Xbox 360.
Specs and features rumoured include a new take on the famous dual-shock controller, this time complete with a touchscreen LCD, 8GB of system memory, 2.2GB of video memory, four dual core processors (for a total of eight) and, of course, Blu-ray.
Also with the announcement of the PS4, it may force third-party developers to disclose which upcoming next-gen games are going to be cross-platform, making it pretty weird for Microsoft to keep their secret safe when developers will essentially be saying that we’re also developing stuff for the next Xbox.
Speaking of which, rumour has it that the next Microsoft console, be it Xbox 720 or whatever you want to call it, will be host to some sort of anti-used game software that will pretty much make it impossible for gamers to play used games on their systems. Other rumours are also saying that it will include mandatory Kinect (i.e. motion controls), both features that are pretty damn crap, in my opinion.
While I enjoy the current Xbox 360 experience more than the PS3’s, I could not care less for the Kinect and any motion feature rubbish. As for the whole, anti-used games scenarios, that is instantly a deal breaker. If Toyota sold a car that would only run for the first person that bought it, nobody would buy that vehicle, the same should go for consoles and any other device.
Oh yeah and Nintendo’s Wii U is already out and I guess that kind of counts as the first next-gen console but seriously, Nintendo isn’t really in the all-in-one media centre console business like Sony and Microsoft. They’re more of the cute kid who’s happy bouncing his ball in the corner.
Begun, the console wars have.