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Tag: xbox one

Dear fellow gamers: Pre-orders and season passes are gambles, so stop whining when you lose

There seems to be a lot of uproar over the fact that Destiny’s first expansion gets more content on PS4 than on Xbox One:

Unfortunately some people bought the season pass on launch day. I don’t believe they can get a refund. What do you say to them?

I bought it before it was revealed I’d be buying DLC that has more content for other platforms.

I have a friend that bought the DLC not knowing he wouldn’t get access to some DLC strikes. What does he do now?

I find it hard to feel much pity for these people, the same way I don’t feel too bad when Kickstarters get canceled or people pre-order a game with a disastrous launch like Battlefield 4.  Make no mistake – every single time you pre-order a game, or back something on Kickstarter, or buy a season pass – you are gambling with you money.  If you don’t like what you get when you buy products without seeing them, stop giving people money before you know how good their product is.

Is saving a few bucks on a season pass or getting an exclusive sword for pre-ordering a game really worth the chance that the content or the game will be terrible?  I personally back projects I’m hopeful about on Kickstarter, but I also acknowledge upfront that it’s a gamble, and that the thing I want may never actually exist, and I certainly don’t cry about being cheated if a project gets canceled, and  I can’t even think of the last time I bought a game or DLC before reviews were out.

It’s up to you, as a consumer, to protect your money and interests and vote with your wallet, because you certainly can’t expect the companies in the gaming industry to have any interest in mind except their own.  And as such, the only one to blame if you feel ripped off after pre-ordering a game or buying a season pass is yourself.

PS4’s Share Play is, perhaps, the first truly “next-gen” feature

While I’m still waiting for the long-promised Standby/Resume functionality of the PS4, Share Play is coming tomorrow, and I think this could be way bigger deal than people are giving it credit for.

What exactly is Share Play? In Sony’s own words:

As we’ve said before, the best way to think about Share Play is like a “virtual couch.” PlayStation 4 will create an online local co-op experience by allowing you to invite a friend to join your game for up to one hour at a time — even when they don’t own a copy of it.

Those last nine words are where the magic happens.  PS Now, Sony’s game streaming service, has been praised for the technology, but rightfully panned for the pricing.  This takes what is, presumably, that same core functionality, and leverages it in a much more consumer friendly way.

Does your friend own a game that you want to try?  Ask them if you can try it.  Do you own the (incredibly entertaining) indie fencing game Nidhogg, but your friend across the country doesn’t?  Now they can play it with you, without having to download a thing. Thanks in large parts to indie games like Nidhogg, TowerFall, and Sportsfriends, the PS4 is already on the way to becoming a local co-op powerhouse – and now Share Play will take that understated strength and bring a next-gen twist to it.

It’s also an important platform differentiator in a way that I don’t think we’ve yet seen this generation.  Sure, Sony and Microsoft fans can argue back and forth over the relatively minor differences between their consoles – even more minor now that Kinect is basically out of the picture – but thus far, there have been very few, if any, console-defining, gaming-centric features.  Suddenly, we have a piece of functionality with no cross-platform equivalent.  If your most of your friends own PS4s instead of Xbox One’s – and let’s face it, the way sales are going, that’s probably the case – this is just another way you’ll be able to play games with them.  I’ve always said that perhaps the most important factor in choosing a console is to figure out what console your friends are using, and Share Play is Sony doubling down on that aspect of social gaming.

Hell, I just downloaded Nidhogg this weekend, and come tomorrow, I’ll download an update, and suddenly anyone I know with a PS4 and PS Plus will be able to play it with me. That’s pretty damn cool – and, I would argue, the first truly “next gen” feature I’ve seen from either platform.   At the very least, it’s certainly the most gaming-centric one.

Of course, a lot of this hinges on Sony getting the tech right – from my limited experience with PS Now, I’m pretty optimistic, but there’s still certainly a chance for this to fail in a spectacular manner.  Of course, we’re early in this console generation, so there’s plenty of time to get it right, even if they stumble out of the gate.

Perhaps even better, having a differentiating feature like this means Microsoft has to respond in some form, sooner or later – and when they do, it’ll make that platform better, and the cycle of improvements will continue.  I haven’t been this excited about gaming in a long time, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

The power of competition: The Xbox One drops to $349 for the holidays

Going into the holiday season, the Xbox One is going to be $349including a game.  You can also get a game and Kinect for $449. Considering that, just 9 months ago, the Xbox One with Kinect and no game was $499, this is a remarkably solid deal – though it also shows just how much Sony has been beating them over this last year.

As someone who still remembers the early PS3 vs. 360 days – and bought a 360 last time around for the same reason I bought a PS4 this time around – it’s remarkable how much this generation has started off like the last one.  The major difference seems to be that Microsoft is responding to market realities way faster this generation than Sony did last generation. I didn’t get a PS3 until years after release, because the price point and exclusives just weren’t there, and the 360 was already my multi-platform box.

The Xbox One is in the same boat for me at the moment, and I hope Microsoft can win me over. They definitely seem to be on the fast track towards doing so.

I can’t believe how fast the new consoles are selling

Arstechnica writes:

Combined, US sales for the Xbox One and PS4 are up 80 percent compared to the first nine months of sales of last generation’s Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, NPD said. Those consoles sold a combined 3.82 million units in their first nine months in 2005 and 2006, putting current combined US sales of Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles at around 6.87 million.

Even as someone who loves his PS4, I continue to be surprised by how fast both it and the Xbox One are selling. I figured only the more passionate gamers would translate into early adopters, but I guess public appetite for new game consoles is much greater than I (and many others) thought.

Could the next Dragon Age wash the taste of DA2 from my mouth?

Polygon has a preview up of the new Dragon Age, due out October 7th:

My hour or so with the game took place in the world’s Hinterlands near the Red Cliff Village. The Hinterlands, Laidlaw told me, are so big you could “pour all of Origins into just this region and it would fit.”

The game’s world is made up of more than eight “enormous regions” like the Hinterlands and many smaller ones. And these locations are packed with choices and consequences, all governed by what Laidlaw called the World Master.

This game might just be enough to lure me back into Dragon Age after DA2 so thoroughly pushed me away. I keep hearing that “this one area is bigger than all of Origins!” like, though, and it makes me wonder how exactly that’s being measured. Origins wasn’t an open-world game, but it wasn’t asmall game, either. I’m less interested in size and more interested in diversity and interesting content; DA2 drove me away because the entire game felt like the Deep Roads area of Origins, which was almost enough to drive me away from that otherwise-fantastic game.

Size doesn’t impress me – content does. Still, fingers are crossed.


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