One, Four or None

This holiday season, Microsoft wants your living room and Sony wants your gaming thumbs.

By Zain Abouraia, Opinion Editor

Every decade, another round of video game consoles roll around promising the moon. For veteran gamers, the promises have usually been pretty shallow and predictable: better graphics, higher capabilities, crazy specs, etc. This holiday season, however, ushers in a brave new world.

Gaming is not about playing anymore. The simple pleasure of immersing oneself into an alternate universe where they can forget their tedious, mundane reality for a few hours or entire weeks in some cases and instead kill dragons and save princesses are no longer the novelty found in games.

It used to be that all one needed to save the world and defeat the ultimate evil was a TV, an electri- cal outlet and the cartridge or disc of one’s choice, or maybe a memory card to save progress. Now a pro- spective gamer needs an HDTV, an HDMI cable, a high speed internet connection, a subscription to Xbox Live or PlayStation Online, a head- set, a motion and voice sensitive camera and for some, the willing- ness to put up with all these new changes.

Microsoft is trying to annex your living room. The Xbox One will come with Microsoft’s motion sensing technology, Xbox Kinect, a camera that tracks your move- ment and your voice. While the Kinect camera is used to play cer- tain games, it is primarily used to navigate the new Xbox One menu system and to control your TV. The new feature Microsoft is shouting about is the ability to connect your cable box through the console to your TV, allowing users to switch seamlessly between Grand Theft Auto and Sons Of Guns.

The PS4 has no such capabili- ties; users can still watch Netflix and Hulu, and they can still use Skype. The PS4 has its own motion sensing capabilities with their sen- sor, PlayStation Move. In general, Sony’s theme with the PS4 has been focused towards “hard-core gamers” — those who just want to play their goddamn video games in peace without all the superfluous extra features.

This leaves gamers an inter- esting dilemma. Does one buy a giant box that will most likely com- plicate your entertainment center rather than simplify it? Or does one buy the slightly smaller box that is just another console? Both sys- tems are not backwards compatible, meaning that player’s collections of games from the past decade or more — collections that they have spent thousands of dollars on — are no longer playable. Both consoles have the same specifications and aesthetic, and all the good games that are coming out are available on both consoles. The only real differ- ence is that one is $100 more than the other. However, that is not to say there are any launch titles worth the discerning gamers attention.

The solution may be to wait. Any system bought at launch will almost certainly have hardware malfunctions; the launch games are almost never good and they will set you back a few hundred dollars.

Do not even consider the Wii U unless you have a Tri-Force tat- tooed to your face.

Your thoughts?