It’s only the end of June, parents, and yet you already know… the irrefutable evidence of the holidays will be upon us soon. That evidence will manifest itself in many ways, but chief among them is the dreaded “Christmas List”. A yearly reminder that we simply aren’t good enough as parents, and that we must provide them more entertainment. Furthermore, it reminds us that we don’t really make enough at our jobs to intelligently meet their little terrorist demands.
During the last few (six, to be exact) holidays, we only had to brace ourselves for the typical video game requests from our gamer children. This years Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield or whatever is the hot IP at the time (IP stands for Intellectual Property). This year, however, is different. This year, we will see the release of the “next gen” for gaming platforms.
Before I go any further, I am purposefully leaving out Nintendo. Nintendo is not for “gamers”. Nintendos are for people who like the occasional distraction from life, the same way some authors purportedly do blow off of a hooker’s kiester. For “funsies”. I didn’t make this up, it’s in the bible. Next to the animal/boat thing but not before the whale thing. No, don’t go look. Just trust me.
I am also removing the dead on the vine “steam box” as well as you buying your child a gaming PC (unless you have around $1800-$2500 to spend in order to prove that mommy and daddy love them. If so, contact me. I too need a mommy and daddy to love me.) This brings us to the PS4 and the Xbox One.
So.. hard… to… decide!
How do you decide, right? If you’re like most adults, you’ve been busy climbing the ladder at your job, making sure your marriage is in tip top shape and your investments are all in a row. You don’t have TIME to figure out which is best. I get that, and you’re in luck. That’s why you have me! A 39 year old father of two!
My job? STAGNANT! My marriage? Two time loser at that game! My investments? I still have Bullseye’s first appearance in Daredevil #131 bagged and boarded. After that, there is a sharp decline on the ol’ investment portfolio. What AM I good at, you may be asking yourself?
Sadly, not much.
But I am VERY knowledgeable about video games. I love them. I love the escapism. I love the writing and the art. I’m not good at them, mind you. As a matter of fact, one of my best friends told me one time after my 87th consecutive death on Call of Duty MW 2 “I really admire you. If I was as bad as you I would just give up, but you don’t.”
This was years ago and to this day, I don’t know if he made a compliment sound like an insult, or an insult sound like a compliment. I suppose, in the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ve just established “dedication”. To what, I have no idea.
Years ago, if you wanted entertainment, you’d have to pray you could get your little brother to let you punch him in the dick because “mom said so”, but fast forward 25 years and now not only is there a distinct lack of cock punches, there is also a deluge of entertainment options. The home video game system, (or “consoles” going forward) is no longer square pixels on a screen trying to take a dump on a different colored set of pixels that seemed to be suffering from a stroke. Today they don’t just play games, they also have Netflix, Vudu, ESPN and a host of other portals to lose yourself.
Start with the price point: The PS4 will launch with an MSRP of $399.99. The Xbox One comes in $100 more at $499.99. I look for Microsoft to address that price difference before their November launch.
At its core, everything seems fairly equal. Both of the new consoles will output to the new 4000p hi-def standard (what? You didn’t know you’d have to be buying a new TV soon? Now you do. Enjoy!) as well as the current 1080P. Both have HDMI outputs, both play Bluray. Both systems will have game DVRs built in (so your ego-maniac child can record himself beating the hell out of a 39 year old divorced father of two), both will have 500 GB of hard disk drive space (HDD). Both of the systems will have cross game chat so your ego-maniac child can brag to his friends about how he was just beating the hell out of a 39 year old divorced father of two while they play separate games. Most likely the friend will be playing the game the 39 year old divorced father of two retreats to so he can salvage what little dignity he has left only to, you know, get the hell beat out of him again by someone else’s ego-maniac child.
Both systems will have 8 GB of RAM. That seems equal, right? Not quite. The PS4 will have 8 GB of DDR5, while the Xbox One will only have 8 GB of DDR3. Without going in to the nuances in the different speeds, I can simplify it like this: If you were given the option of $3 or $5,what would you take? If you said “$3″ and started blathering about tax brackets, I would wholeheartedly suggest you look in to self-mutilation, preferably your genitals, as a hobby.
You must have an Xbox Gold membership for the Xbox One (the rumor I heard was 2 years up front, but have not confirmed that) which will run you $50 a year. You do NOT need any kind of a membership to play a PS4 game.
That is, unless you want to play the multiplayer component of the game. At that point, hello PS Plus membership. That too, is $50 and a dramatic departure from the PS3 where there were no fees to play online. The upside is you get a free game every month for your PS Plus membership and significant discounts in the PS Store. Xbox Gold membership is only offering free games through January, and as a live member since 2007, I can tell you, that is less a “regular thing” and more like a “bait and switch”.
Services like the aforementioned Netflix are behind a “paywall” on the Xbox. Without Gold membership, you cannot stream to the console, regardless of whether you have a Netflix account or not. On the PS4, you will be able to stream without a PS Plus account.
Here’s an important one: they will both have motion control. This is REALLY important to know, because as an American, it’s our job to keep the NSA happy. If you’re too lazy to click the link, or the spastic guy on the malware commercials has you convinced you’re only a click away from seeing donkey shows, I’ll keep it as simple as possible. The new Kinect, will, in tandem with the NSA, watch you 24/7 and record your every move. That isn’t some conspiracy bullshit. That’s true. Granted, I am fairly certain they have been doing that the whole time. With me, I am betting they have hundreds, if not thousands of hours, of me nude with my junk tucked back through my legs while I sobbed and repeatedly proclaimed “I’m an ugly girl.” Some of you may actually do embarrassing stuff in your home (unlike me) and I could see why you wouldn’t want a record of that anywhere. This is a big blow against the Xbox One. To date, no such allegations have been leveled against Sony for the PS Eye.
Another thing that has critically hurt the new console launch for Microsoft was the decision to ship the new box with douche-mode enabled. This meant that every 24 hours, the system would check to see if the device was online. That doesn’t bother me. I am wired into the net constantly. What bothered me was what it was looking for: Licenses that showed you were the original owner of the game. If you do not have the license, you would no longer be allowed to play even the single player mode of the game. You could purchase a license, effectively meaning there was no reason to buy it used. Why do that? So they could shut down the used gaming industry. You see, very few people know this, but Microsoft is actually populated by dirt poor 3rd world citizens who have perpetrated an elaborate hoax on the world. Painting themselves as rich white people has been tough, but they have been able to keep up the facade until recently, when the donations gained by Sally Struthers reportedly stopped being deposited.
On a related note, Sally Struthers is either an ugly woman or a pretty monster. I’ve not figured out which yet.
Oh, by the way, I made up the part about them being poor non-whites. They may be non-whites, but they are an extremely lucrative company and douche-mode is a great example of there never being enough money for them to grab from we, the people. Remember when you were younger and you’d swap lovers with your friend or neighbor? We called them “key parties”and they were marvelous. Today, kids do the same thing with their video games, sans orgasm. This allows them to see if they will actually enjoy the $70 game before they buy it. Except douche-mode makes no differentials between “used” games and “borrowed” games. That’s right, Microsoft doesn’t want you to borrow games either. Douche-mode also screws over gamers in countries with weaker internet infrastructure. Want to play the latest FIFA Soccer and you live in a grass hut? Sorry.
Douche-mode has turned into a PR nightmare for the company. What may only be the second time in history (remember New Coke?), a major company was forced to do a complete 180. Now, after you plug your Douche-mode enabled device in for the first time, it will update and turn douche-mode off. Yay! The little people win, right!?!
Well, no… the coding is still in the device. What is to stop them from turning it back on in 6 months, or a year? Their respect for their customers? If they had that, they wouldn’t have been trying to convince you they were giving you a hand job while they took your car keys in the first place.
Does this make the PS4 the patron saint of gamers everywhere? Yes, and no. While Sony hasn’t said they will restrict used/borrowed games, they did say they would leave it up to game manufacturers. While it’s no secret the gaming industry hates the used gaming market, a lot of them consider it a necessary evil. There was a huge backlash when Activision started charging for online play in their used games. That backlash hurt not only the various manufacturers under their umbrella, but also their download service Origin. That backlash did not stop Microsoft from trying to force it down our throats and I seriously doubt it will stop design houses from doing the same on the PS4. The best we can hope for is that PS4 exclusives will never be in danger of needing a license. Still, I consider Sony’s “leaving it up to the developer” to be the adult version of marching at your sibling while chanting “I’m just swinging my arms and kicking and if you get in the way, it’s your fault”. In other words, its a very crafty way to doing the exact same thing Microsoft wanted to do while still smelling like roses.
Either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain, eh, Microsoft?
As much as I hate to admit it, being an avid Xbox 360 fan for years, I can only come to one conclusion after looking at the facts: The PS4 gets my initial cash this holiday season. I am assuming it will allow me to stream my porn collection to my TV also, right? It’s mainly squid porn, if that matters.