The Fifth Column: Generation Next
The next-gen console hype train is in full swing and just in time for the holidays. I can’t think of a better way to make my bonus disappear down a deep hole than by buying a new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Given that this would be grounds for divorce in my house, it is definitely not the option that I will exercise. I don’t know of many people who can drop more than R10 000 on their gaming habit in one go. So with this in mind, it may be better to consider other options, if your bank balance does not allow you to pick up the newest consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Microsoft announced that they will continue to support the Xbox 360 until 2016, which is great news for me because I had to replace my 360 a few months ago and do not want to discard it just yet. In addition to this bit of news, they have also announced that the Xbox 360 will receive about 100 new games before the end of its life cycle. The cynic in me wonders whether these games will be worth the price of admission. After all the Xbox One is the belle of the ball and there is no way that Microsoft will want to take the focus away from their latest and greatest console. On the other hand, there is a significant library of games available from Xbox Live which I still want to explore. So rather than bemoaning the lack of an Xbox One in my lounge, I will put my freshly minted, uncapped 4Mbps line to good use and snag any titles that I may have missed out on. Given that my focus in the last while has been on co-op and multi-player games, there are alot of single player titles that I should able to pick up at a bargain price. Sony for it’s part has stated that the PlayStation 3 will have a 10 year life cycle. This puts the end of its life at around 2016 which is the same as the Xbox 360 which means that PlayStation fans have a reason to delay their console upgrade as well.
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But of course Sony and Microsoft are not the only games in town. If you have become addicted to mobile gaming on your smart device then the Ouya may be just the ticket. To date it has more than 500 games which are free to try out and will let you continue your Android-style gaming in the comfort of your lounge. If you have a hankering for some old school emulator action, there is an app for that too. Given that the Ouya clocks in at around $100, it is a stocking stuffer that is guaranteed to not break the bank.
The third option for me is to upgrade my PC to gaming spec. I am about due for a new PC as my lowly desktop is many years old and only has basic onboard graphics. In its current state it is only good for desktop applications and not much else. I figured that if I upgraded to a desktop with a mid-range graphics card, I would be able to get by without breaking the bank. I am also tempted to go back to PC gaming by the Steam service. It is an awesome digital delivery service and the last time I used it is when I installed Half-Life 2, yes that is a very long time ago. The great selling point for us cash strapped gamers is the awesome sales that Steam holds on a regular basis. You really can’t argue with a fat, juicy discount.
Given the above-mentioned alternatives, there is no reason for you to jump on the next-gen hype train just yet. There is a very good chance that I will upgrade my PC and return to the loving arms of PC gaming once more. Seeing as my 360 will be good for the next few years, I will stick with it and use my shiny new PC as my gateway to next-gen gaming. If Santa thinks that I have been really good this year, he may even drop an Ouya in my stocking so that I can add some casual gaming to the mix. But what ever you decide to do, I hope that you get your gaming off with a bang in 2014.