I Wouldn’t Go Pre-Ordering A PS4 Just Yet…
The gasps are so loud that you can hear them all the way in ‘a day earlier’ which is when this article was (is getting) typed out. Yes yes okay, I think we can all dispatch with the unpleasantries: “Of course the Achievement Whore will caution against pre-ordering a PS4. That X-Bot, what’s his problem anyway? Can’t he just take the hit and move on with his life? Sony totally murdered Micro–” ENOUGH. You know, I wanted to talk about this last week while it was still fresh on the minds of everyone, but I felt that with E3 2013 and of course my ongoing PC issues, perhaps it was better to take a bit more time to think about it, and then talk about it when the dust had mostly settled. That time is now.
Now of course, you can’t actually go and pre-order the PS4 locally because it does not have a release date yet, nor is it available for pre-order on any of the local websites. To my knowledge. However that won’t stop many who don’t care about the NTSC/PAL restrictions from going online and pre-ordering it on international sites based elsewhere. Amazon, for example. Sure, it’s your prerogative if you wish to invest your money in a console based on a single demonstration of its capabilities (Sony’s press conference at E3 2013) but I want to share a few things with the class that I’m hoping will at least elicit a bit of extra thought, so that should you opt to pre-order, it would be a properly educated decision, not a knee-jerk reaction to probably the greatest and worst two minutes of my life, even counting sex.
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The first thing that we must discuss is quite simply that E3 2013, whatever it might have been in terms of public relations and investor appeasement, was indeed won by Sony. This is purely because for once the manufacturer was on the side of gamers, and did not impose the restrictions that another manufacturer was planning on imposing. But let’s take nothing away from the true way of things. E3 2013 did not introduce a whole lot of new additions to the gaming formula. There was more of the same, some restrictions, but not a lot that really stood out this time. There was no Project Natal, Eye, WiiFit or other equivalent shown off during any press conference and the most celebrated thing of all E3 was more of the same. So that’s one thing that must be mentioned here, the fact that there are so many restrictions being imposed that when a manufacturer opts not to add in as many, they are hailed as gods. Indeed Jack Tretton reached cult-like fame within minutes.
But we ought not to let that blind us, here. Make no mistake, if there are two evils present, then the lesser of those two evils is still evil. Good by comparison, but still evil. Think of Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister, if you’re of the Game of Thrones variety. Or perhaps Harbinger and The Illusive Man, if you’re a Mass Effect fan. Just because one is more evil than the other, does not excuse either’s crimes. That might sound a little too conspiracy theorist for you, yeah, sure, I won’t deny that. But what I’m saying here is that Sony is still not your friend. They want your business and they are being handed it on a fucking golden platter thanks to Microsoft’s new policies, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to look after you.
This ties in nicely to the second point of discussion, which is launch schedules. During the most recent launch schedule, we saw the Xbox 360 release strong with a slew of original content, including exclusives and cross-platform titles, and continue to build upon that successful launch. However the PS3 released a little later, for more money, and with less original content to boast. It took a while before even mainstream cross-platforms started making their way to Sony’s console as well. Now that’s not to say that the PS4 will suffer the same fate. After all, towards the end of their lifespans, it would seem that Xbox 360 has moved very far away from gaming and exclusives, while the PlayStation 3 is finishing strong, which you’ll no doubt gather by reading our review of The Last Of Us when it’s out.
When did this flip occur? I’d say about halfway through the console cycle, although I really want to say directly after the PSN hack. Article for another time, though. At some point we got bigger, better titles, most probably delayed because of how long the PS3 took to come out and how long developers took to get to grips with the console’s hardware, but once they started releasing, they didn’t stop, and PS3 gamers were spoiled for choice. Now considering early launch schedules, would you have bought an Xbox 360 or a PS3?
Same thing here. Tell me why the PS4 looks like an attractive offering? It has games, sure enough, but so does the Xbox One. It has sharing, TV streaming, cloud support, sports streaming, everything the Xbox One has. In fact, and I’ve been stating this ever since watching the press conferences, the PS4 is, in every way, what the next Xbox ought to have been. It’s even got the part about charging for online, now. So why do people favour the PS4, right now? Simple: The lack of Microsoft’s policies.
Third point, then. What happens if, say in a few months from now, Microsoft realise that they’re being gits and decide to take a few steps back on their ridiculous policies, maybe even offer a cheaper version of the console which doesn’t bundle Kinect. Then what? What is your motivation then, for wanting a PS4 over an Xbox One? Because I can bloody well tell you, you’ll be missing out on probably one of the best console features in years, and you may quote me on that.
The thing is, it’s just too early right now to call anyone’s bluff and try to figure out who is being honest or dishonest, and who is just plainly out to get the most number of gamers screaming about their console. Sure the PlayStation Plus subscription currently outweighs the Xbox LIVE Gold package but, a) Again, it wasn’t that way during the initial launch period, and b) You’re paying the equivalent of R600 a year for those extra benefits, opposed to around half that price for the so-called inferior offering, which currently has better handling of matchmaking, better prioritisation of applications that use the internet, and party functionality.
What happens if, in a year from now, or let’s say two years from now, Microsoft starts to give back a bit more, perhaps owing to their lack of sales or ruined reputation or something. Or, on the flip side, what happens if Sony starts to get greedy now that they’ve locked you in with your PS4, and stops offering the fantastic PR paradise offers that they are currently screaming about? I’m not saying that the Japanese operate without honour, but I am saying that Sony has a lot of money to make up, both for the PS3 and PS4, and if they’re doing away with PSN Passes and offering all these great things for you, the gamer, without restricting to you at any point besides online multiplayer, how are they going to recuperate costs? And again on the flip side, if the PS Plus subscription price is really enough for Sony, then why is not enough for Microsoft as well?
Like I said initially, the choice is ultimately yours. But there are a lot of key points to consider and this console war, while firmly rooted in Sony’s favour right now (I’m talking 6-1, 6-2, 5-1 in Sony’s favour, tennis fans — Sony is obviously Federer) is far from over. Sony may have won E3. That was but one battle– Look, I’ll save you guys the wartime melodrama. Just put some solid thought into your purchasing decision, alright? Don’t just react to a manufacturer making you feel more pleased than your sexual partner ever could, once.