It seems like every single website has to do one of these right now, despite the fact that none of us actually know anything about these consoles other than the shape, mostly. But here we are, we’ve all got some time to kill, so let’s do it. Which of the three new consoles should you buy?
Nintendo: Wii U
Hahaha. No, but seriously, which actual next generation console should you buy? Since even Electronic Arts has only said it’s going to develop games for the Wii U when it saw how potentially disastrously wrong the other two consoles could go.
X Box One
Already universally referred to as the X Bone, but this shouldn’t put anyone off who saw how well a console did after it was actually called “wee”. Less optimistic is Microsoft’s doomed approach to digital rights management – saying that the console needs to check in online every 24 hours or it will stop working, or that games won’t be able to be resold or shared, or won’t be able to be resold or shared without paying a fee. To this the entire gaming community turned around and said “Noooooooooooo!” and Microsoft backtracked spectacularly.
But they did backtrack eventually, and the X Box will have loads of great games, won’t it? I think this video sums it up. The opening announcement for X Box consisted mainly of talking about how great it will be for watching TV (apparently unaware that most people with games consoles use their, well, TV for watching TV.
Oh and it’ll feature a new Call of Duty game that will look exactly like all the other Call of Duty games except that you’ll get a dog.
The PS4 has the wonderful smug glow of a job interview candidate who just saw the last candidate come out of their interview covered in sick. However, aside from their revolutionary ability to let players share games just by lending each other the disk, the PS4 isn’t all roses and gravy. Their main selling point, after all, seems to be the ability to let other people watch you play, or take over your controller remotely and play. And that just seems, well, why would you want to do that? Why would anyone?
The New Console Problem
The thing is, nothing on the new consoles actually convinces anyone that they want to shell out a third of a month’s wages to own them. When the 16 bit consoles were released we all had to own them because they allowed us to play games with more than four colours. When the 64 bit consoles came out we all wanted them because they allowed us to play games in something approaching genuine 3D. Even the jump from X Box to X Box 360 resulted in a leap in graphics that genuinely made a few jaws drop.
But we’ve stopped being impressed by graphics in an age where one of the most popular games around is Minecraft. And improved graphics means that a new top of the line game requires so many assets that the budget approaches that of a blockbuster movie, with the same bland samey-ness occurring as a result. If this new generation of consoles proves anything, it’s that maybe it’s time to stop being impressed by graphics and start thinking about gameplay again.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Roxanne Ready