All the way back when (well about three months actually), Sony put on a press event that nobody had anticipated and unveiled the PlayStation 4. Now I’m not saying that the PS4’s existence was a massive shock to the world but the event itself was good. Sony who seem to have had a poor track record in the marketing department this generation had not only confirmed the PS4 is coming, but also gave us the system specs, the title line-up, details on their cloud gaming plans and more… we thought we’d just see a box and get a name. As soon as the dust settled though, all eyes turned to Microsoft.
Yesterday Microsoft set the stage for their big conference that would be half the length of Sony’s attempt and then unveiled to the world their contribution to the next-generation of gaming, the XBox One. In terms information given in the reveal it had indeed been set in a similar manor; we learnt of the systems specifications, saw it’s titles, heard who’s on board and were shown what features the console will make use of, we even saw the console (a common complaint amongst the gaming press following Sony’s reveal).
Now we’re pretty clued up on both the consoles, how do they fair on first impressions?
In terms of hardware both consoles are incredibly similar, both black boxes use an 8-core AMD x86 based SoC (System on a Chip), both come with a nice 8GB of RAM and the XBox One comes with a nice at least half a Terabyte of storage to which Sony are rumored to be doing the same. Whatever choice of console you end up going with, looks like it’s going to have power down. Social Media is another aspect to the Next Generation of gaming coming to both the XBox and the PS4, with sharing options for game footage being utilized along with other features that will seem interesting at first but inevitably become an irritation for the friend that receives 90 screenshots of a goal scored on the latest installment of Fifa.
So there’s not much difference between each console on the surface, so who exactly comes out on top thanks to their reveal, Sony or Microsoft?
Sony spent their show telling us about the hardware implemented for the PlayStation 4 without actually showing us the console we’d be putting our money down on (which was only an issue for about five minutes and kind of a moot point now) and instead decided their night to be about the games. A lot of time had been dedicated to the companies exclusives like Killzone: Shadow Falls, Infamous: Second Son and Drive Club, heck even Media Molecule got some stage time to show off their PS Move playtime concert. Along with the titles came developers, ton’s of developers all came on stage and spoke about what a joy it is to develop titles on the PS4 and what the system can do, including David Cage with his love of Polygons and creepy old man face rendering. Sony’s night was a long one but seemed worth the time when getting to see what games are coming.
How Microsoft however let everyone know that their night was dedicated to features and not a games show. We kicked off the night by seeing what the actual console looked like (which was a bit like a old VCR), acting like a smug grin in Sony’s general direction. We saw the console’s new interface with it’s fast app-changing abilities and television functions. As expected the showing of games was indeed lacking with the big focuses being on EA Sports titles (including their recent UFC acquirement), Call of Duty: Ghosts complete with dog in a mocap suit and Forza 5, in fact the only new IP show was Remedy’s Quantum Break. So the event was shorter and seemed very focused on one word, “Televison“. Indeed this morning we’re finding more games announced for the XBox One and there’s more coming for this years E3 but in terms of the actual reveal event it just seemed lacking.
So who’s event was better, Sony or Microsoft? In this instance I’d say Sony. Yes their event was longer so they could fit more in, but what they did show the most of were games, lots of games with lots of footage and that’s what is more important to the average gamer at the end of the day. Microsoft seemed to have relied on showing their console to the public as fan service and then taken to presenting features with a few sequels thrown in.
Well that’s my opinion of the two conferences in comparison, as to what console I’ll choose when it comes to the crunch? For me it’s still too early for decision, I think the final line up of games price and whatever the majority of my friends are picking up will play a major factor.