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PS4 and Xbox One launches: were they any good? – opinion

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 08:03 GMT By Dave Cook

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have launched in most territories now to varying levels of fanfare. VG247′s Dave Cook reflects on both launches and look forward to what next year might bring.

”A lot can happen in a year though, so to call out a winning format now would be tantamount to being an antagonistic prick. What I see now is less of that bullish aggro, and those redundant schoolyard scraps behind the internet’s sports shed. People are actually excited.”

The ‘worst’ is now over. Seriously, I think I may get ’2013′ engraved on my tombstone when I die. No name, no epitaph, just those numbers. People mourning at my funeral will know what it means. They’ll know.

Yes, it’s been an insanely busy year, what with all the rumours about how many Nega-Flops AMD’s tactical nuclear chip-sets are capable of, and how many clouds you can fit into a single internet pipe. Analysts, desperate to raise the profile of their firms plucked numbers from arse in a bid to whip gamers into a frenzy of gen-war squabbling, leading them to flog one another with flails made from frame-rate statistics. The term ’1080p’ was initiated into the Oxford Dictionary by Britain’s brightest literary agents, along with the description, ‘who the fuck cares?’ I hear the post-ceremony buffet was excellent, but a little fuzzy.

What an absolute ball-ache it’s been, but here we are still standing, ready to sit down and play the bloody things. As is tradition, you’ll now start to see both Sony and Microsoft whipping out post-launch sales stats, online user metrics and teasers for their respective 2014 release slates. So when you think about it really, this frenzy one-upping the competition has only just begun. Meanwhile, Nintendo has been dubbed “irrelevant,” by the former steward of a now-defunct company.

PlayStation 4 was first out the traps, chasing the money hare to North America where it managed to shift over a million units in just 24-hours. The console’s UK release yielded 250,000 sales and – when combined with the totals from Europe, Australia and New Zealand – accounts for 2.1 million PS4 consoles sold worldwide. It may surprise you to learn that this is not a small number. Then, Xbox One launched on November 22 and achieved over a million units in its first 24-hours. We haven’t heard much on how it’s doing since then however. The press release must have got stuck in the cloud.

Forgetting about numbers and all of that knee-jerking, number-crunching twattery for now, how have both console launches fared from a general public angle? You’re the people playing these machines after all. It’s been one of those ‘tit-for-tat’ affairs, in which both sides hit a snag or two, but largely, nothing seems to have imploded just yet and you all seem to be having fun with your shiny new toys. For many people, I imagine there to be a sense of relief that the new generation is finally here at long last.

PS4′s Twitch streaming is a revelation, even if you choose to ignore it. It’s absence is abundant on Xbox One. Microsoft really needs to get that in place, stat. I’ve also noticed that Sony has released new games since its console launched. Sure they’re self-published indie affairs, but the Xbox One slate remains static. That ID@Xbox thing also needs to happen soon. I know, it sounds like I’m totally wanking over PS4 right now, but know this, my favourite next-gen title so far is confidently Dead Rising 3, an Xbox One exclusive, on Xbox One. Ooh, controversy.

But really, from this side of the fence I’ve never once in all my seven years of writing words about games seen such a new-found enthusiasm from the console hobby. Gone is the incessant pissing and moaning about how old console games were looking, or how ‘sequelitis’ was in danger of becoming a real, airborne virus. All I see now is passion, even if that passion is being used to keep flame-wars burning well into the night. It’s passion nonetheless, and at a time where financials were dropping like those frames you love to argue about so much, that’s definitely a good thing.

We moan about money, and monetisation often. It has caused Microsoft a deal of backlash since Xbox One launched. Forza Motorsport 5 wears cash on its sleeve, while the Ryse: Son of Rome model seems largely rug-swept. Money – as they say – makes the world go round, and without us pumping coins into the industry’s glowing red slot, we wouldn’t have games to play. Well to be fair, if that happened we’d probably just start makng them ourselves, self-publish through Unity and growing fat, corrupt and enter into annual sequel cycles, but you know what I mean.

PS4′s biggest gripe seems to be the lack of first-party titles compared to Xbox One’s slate. I’m pretty certain that no PlayStation 4 owner is losing sleep over the reportedly wank Fighter Within mind you, but still, exclusives are exclusives on a press release. The delay of Driveclub did give us Resogun and Contrast for free at launch however, and they seem to be going down well. Pat’s even writing a blog on the former. Stay tuned for that one soon.

Still, doesn’t Driveclub look lovely? Maybe the delay isn’t all that bad after all? It’s a common ‘thing’ in this industry. Do you want it now, or do you want it done right? If the internet had its way we’d all be playing broken, unfinished games – aside from of Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas I mean. That’s what 2014 is all about really, the software. Both sides have compelling prospects such as inFamous: Second Son, Halo 5, Titanfall, Quantum Break and more. In fact, Microsoft seems to be holding most of the cards. Titanfall’s card is 30 feet tall and has a picture of a robot on it. Seriously. It’s good.

A lot can happen in a year though, so to call out a winning format now would be tantamount to being an antagonistic prick. What I see now is less of that bullish aggro, and those redundant schoolyard scraps behind the internet’s sports shed. People are actually excited to see what happens down the line, and many gamers are holding off from their next-gen purchase until this time next year. That’s a great thing, it really is.

It means many people feel there’s no clear winner yet. That suggests we have two strong new consoles on our hands capable of enthusing and entertaining us for the next seven years. Meanwhile Nivdia says that the PC format is “far superior to any console,” so who the buggery knows what’s going on. Maybe we’re all just inherently wrong, deeply flawed people?

Who knows?

Bye.

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42 Comments

  1. Gigabomber

    ” PS4′s Twitch streaming is a revelation, even if you choose to ignore it. It’s absence is abundant on Xbox One. ”

    This along with the brilliant ending:

    “Who knows?

    Bye.”

    Inspire. Seldom have I seen such well crafted prose. Thank you for the article.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. dsr

    I still think what video recording, streaming and screenshots are THE next gen. Not pixels and flops, but those features.

    Sure, you can argue what you are able to do all this on PC(Though it was never as streamlined as a console experience).

    The ability to catch the moment 10 minutes ago in a multiplayer match when you did something crazy and share it with friends or just take a picture of your new character in Elder Scrolls N+1 or whatever. This feels right. As in “how in hell we were gaming without it before?” right.

    Steam is making right steps in that direction with community pages and screenshots but its still few steps behind without hardware and OS support for those features.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. mistermogul

    @1 – Agreed. The ending is inspired Dave, well done.

    Made me laugh :)

    #3 1 year ago
  4. game_on

    @2
    Yes, that’s truly next gen. Not gaming itself, but game recording and sharing and looking at other peoples game experiences. *sigh*

    #4 1 year ago
  5. dsr

    @4
    Are you arguing that sharing game experience is a bad thing? Really now?
    Sure, I can see the downsides like spoilers and “watching the whole game instead of playing” but fuck that.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. game_on

    @5
    No I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I couldn’t care less about it. And I think it’s a damn shame that this is it that defines ‘next gen’. This and some slightly improved graphics.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Hirmetrium

    I do wonder what sort of state PC gaming is in – just yesterday there were fresh reports of PC sales dropping, and not one outlet talked about that impact, the sale of components, the PC master race in its black box tower stronghold…

    #7 1 year ago
  8. pukem0n

    am i the only one who thinks all this streaming crap and recording your gameplay is useless?

    why the hell would i watch other people play a game and not do it on my own?

    if i want to see gameplay of games before buying it i go on youtube without the hassle of a console interface.

    as i said, useless.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 Absolutely not useless at all.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. fengato

    You’ve summed up the mood, Dave. It’s great to have some excitement back in the industry after what seemed like an endless cycle. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings. Rockin a PS4 at present, though the ‘bone is going to be too hard to resist come Titanfall.

    Bye

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Djoenz

    Its not useless but also not next gen.
    Next gen is definitely Oculus rift with all the accessories. The walking pad from kickstarter (virtuix) razer hydro motion mouse and binaural audio.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. IrrationalGamer

    For those of you who are new to gaming, you might’ve missed out on the arcade experience. This might be a great substitute.

    Reasons this feature is useful:

    1) You can hang out with friends online, hand off the controller (even if you don’t own the game, I believe).
    2) People in minor tournaments (or just “for fun” impromptu tournaments) can stream and hang out with random observers.

    I only know the minimal amount of info regarding this new service, but who knows what uses people will come up with?

    #12 1 year ago
  13. gomersoul

    Microsoft holds the cards for first party… Really? Did uncharted 4 the last of us 2 littlebigplanet ps4 not cross your mind at all? Considering titanfall is pc aswell it’s not looking that good. I’m sure it will be on ps4 eventually too… Really is too much fuss considering its just mechwarrior of duty

    #13 1 year ago
  14. polygem

    i enjoy my ps4 a lot but…fuck me, the social aspect, the like feature, the ui in general feels unbelieveably outdated and superlazy. they had 7 years for this ffs. the games look like sharper versions of lastgen games. they are still the same game experiences. hey, i’m all over new tech and i cannot wait for all those fun games to come but the wiiu with it’s remote play feature, youtube and browser on the pad, innovative game design, miiverse integration with it’s drawing feature, multitasking, feels so much more new, fresh and nextgen to me. shame that so many cannot see that because they are falling for PR.
    it really is a shame. people are calling nintendo slow, outdated but at the same time praise the ‘innovation’ (look, i’m a pc) in these nextgen machines. funny or sad. depends. probably both.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. OwnedWhenStoned

    @8 No, you’re not. I have absolutely no interest in it either.

    But then, I don’t get Twitter either, so there you go.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. Dave Cook

    @13 Remind me again when The Last of Us 2 and LittleBigPlanet 4 were officially announced?

    Source?

    Links?

    Anything?

    This is a blog about reality. Things that have literally happened and are confirmed to have happened.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. locus2k1

    Well, my replacement Xbox arrived yesterday… No faulty power this time but the drive is fucked, so it’s going back as well. It’s certainly living up to its “Day One” name, I’ve only played it on day of release before it all went to hell. Fortunately the PS4 arrived in one piece and I’m enjoying resogun and BF4 just be nice to enjoy Forza 5 again as well :(

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Djoenz

    @13
    LMAO you pulled titles out of your ass and Dave even bothered to reply. Failness.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. game_on

    @14
    Couldn’t agree more. People say Wii U is current gen en PS4/X1 the next, but actually it’s the other way round. Next gen should not be about teraflops.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. IrrationalGamer

    @#14 The problem is that Nintendo set itself up to be doomed regarding third-party support because of their weaker hardware.

    The Wii U will get, what, perhaps two to three notable releases per year? That’s not enough for me, and I presume it’s not enough for most enthusiast gamers.

    I’ll be getting the PS4 next year, and the Wii U maybe a few years down the line.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Djoenz

    Nintendo targeted the wrong audience with the WiiU. Families and casual players have tablets and phones now.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. polygem

    @19: nice to see someone on the internet sometimes who’s willing to dig a way through all those pr bubbles everywhere.

    @20: yep, they underestimated the (lack of) third party support and that was a huge mistake. it will probably break wiiu’s neck in a few years but overall nintendo have been pretty innovative and they have created a service on which they can build upon. miiverse is pretty solid and a huge step forward for them. i can see ms copying it first on xbox one :)

    #22 1 year ago
  23. gomersoul

    Ok, let’s all be naive and say that fifa 15 won’t exist and call of duty 2015 isn’t happening. This industry is so obvious, those games will arrive. Mark my words

    #23 1 year ago
  24. dsr

    @11
    “Next gen is definitely Oculus rift with all the accessories. The walking pad from kickstarter (virtuix) razer hydro motion mouse and binaural audio.”

    Yeah, because most gamers have the cash for $1000+ PC what can handle VR and $2000+(Random number) on top of that for stuff like Hydra and walking thing.

    Call me when we are driving flying cars in cities, buddy.

    VR is not going to be a widespread thing. Not for this console generation at least. Best I can see is some ~3mil odd Oculuses(?) sold during its lifetime and then forgotten with little to none support besides indie games.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Djoenz

    @23
    Those are annual games. . talking about naivety. . .
    @24
    Well no one said it would be cheapo? :P well hopefully Steambox will do the trick. Think about it it doesnt have to be that high priced. I do agree it will take a while before it goes mainstream, but you cant deny its definitely next gen!

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Dave Cook

    @23 FIFA is an annualised franchise you plum.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Gekidami

    @22
    I’m surprised you havent suffocated to death considering all of the Nintendo PR bubbles you’re drowning in.

    @19
    Problem with your logic there is that both the XB1 & PS4 out-feature the Wii U. So if its not about the teraflops, and it sure as hell cant be about the features, what is it about? Gaming innovation? What like another Mario game? Another Pikmin game? Another Smash Bros? Another Mario Kart? Re releasing an old NGC game but in HD? Another “insert next old Nintendo franchise they’re bound to make another one of (Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, more fucking Mario and more and more and more Mario…)’?

    What exactly is ‘next gen’? I’ll tell you want it aint; the Wii U.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. G1GAHURTZ

    They’ve both been rubbish!

    No really.

    PS4 is just a slightly better PS3, with absolutely NOTHING new about it. No USP. Slightly better visuals. Online gameplay features that the 360 had since years ago,

    The X1 isn’t even finished! Half of the basic features from the 360 are “coming soon”. None of the games have online features that couldn’t or aren’t already being done on 360. Promise, promise, promise, but zero delivery.

    All of the exclusives are super BORING and there isn’t the slightest whiff of a system seller in there.

    Stupid prices. Broken consoles. Online systems failing.

    All for extra lighting effects and a few more pixels.

    Well jog on MS and Sony.

    Jog on.

    Only thing I’m interested in is Titanfall, and I might well end up just getting in on 360.

    ‘Next gen’?

    More like ‘MASSIVE FLOP’.

    Pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. G1GAHURTZ

    Got zero hype for your Emperor’s clothes.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. absolutezero

    The difference from what I can tell between Twitch integration is the Twitch app on the Xbox lets me look at every stream they have going, just like the website.

    Whats live or whatever its called on the PS4 just shows you PS4 gameplay and nothing else and all of it has that horrible overlay. I guess Ill check and see if theres an actual Twitch app on the PS4 but when I was installing all my stuff on launch day I never saw one.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. Lv01

    @14… i really like the UI of the PS4… just sayin.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. monkeygourmet

    Not feeling these consoles atall.

    For the amount of time they have had planning (longest generation yet), they seem half baked and poorly implemented in many ways.

    I think the Wii U / PC combo has been perfect for me, and def can’t see me getting either of these consoles anytime soon.

    My PC (while more expensive initially), has already started saving me money. I’ve picked up 30 games already in the STEAM sale and have been enjoying AC4 (@1080p & 60FPS ULTRA settings), BF4 ((@1080p & 60FPS ULTRA settings, no problems with bugs or matchmaking here) alongside amazing unique titles like:

    BROFORCE (Anyone with even a modest PC should try this, amazing game)
    http://www.freelives.net/broforce-game

    Surgeon Simulator
    Eurotruck Simulator
    Project Zomboid

    Then the icing on the cake is revisiting games like Dark Souls & Skyrim running with full mods. Everything looks amazing and plays silky smooth using a 360 wireless pad on my TV.

    For about £120 I have all the multiplatform AAA Christmas releases and about 20 other classic titles. Amazing value and more than I would be able to play in a year.

    Coupled with the Wii U (Have Mario ready for Xmas), it’s been a great combo.

    With the PC, I can use Nvidia Shadowplay to record at the press of a button. It’s been so easy to set up and use everything with STEAM doing all the patching and update nonsense. I really hope the new STEAM machines show these 2 consoles up for what they are;

    2 devices stuck between worlds.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Legendaryboss

    @32
    Dat Zelda reference at the end ;)
    Looks like you fully embraced PC, like Erth would say welcome to “the true next gen”.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. monkeygourmet

    @33

    Don’t you dare tranish Zelda’s good name by mentioning it in the same sentence as those 2 ‘next gen’ paper weights! :)

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Panthro

    @24

    I think that guy has just as much of a right to call the Rift next gen as the rest of you do with your new consoles…

    After all it looks to be the beginning of a new generation of VR tech since there has been report of massive companies like SONY noticing and beginning work on there own, maybe when they come out you will call them ‘next gen’ eh.

    Not to be a dick here but there isn’t anything you can do with your next gen consoles that I cant do with my PC’s, so I take it the way you are referring to something being ‘next gen’ as just exclusively meaning ‘new hardware from SONY and MS’? and if so, that’s terribly ignorant man.

    Next gen for me isn’t dictated by ‘price’, ‘who makes it’ or by ‘how many other people have them’ its about something new and different after all its a ‘next generation’/'new generation’ of gaming I don’t expect more of the same.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. polygem

    @geki: there’s a difference between empty pr bubbles and delivering in reality. nintendo do deliver atm, no bubbles at all, just a great system that does not sell.maybe not enough lies to back it up. that’s all i am saying. i have a 3ds, vita, ps4 and wiiu. i judge things by playing them. if nintendo fuck up i turn my back and leave. i’m not loyal to a brand…..i know, you are :)

    #36 1 year ago
  37. polygem

    well, if you don’t have a pc these machines are promising. not sexy, not innovative, not hot, not special, not next gen but they will be getting good games. in the case of the ps4 you really get a decent machine for a fair price. i don’t think a 399€ pc could handle bf4 that well…only problem is that bf4 is a broken mess of a pr bubble (hi geki). but these systems will both see some great games. i do not regret the purchase. fun times will come and i think 399€ was a fair trade.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Joe Musashi

    It’s good to see that, whilst there’s so much sand being turned into silicon for these new machines, there’s still plenty to go around for people to bury their heads in.

    Excuse me whilst I go and recalibrate my bullshit dectector.

    JM

    #38 1 year ago
  39. StijinLens

    my Aunty Kylie got a fantastic white Mitsubishi by working parttime off of a macbook. site here http://goo.gl/bkVCUg

    #39 1 year ago
  40. Ilovesony

    And now its time for “A Chat With Penello”

    Me: How are you today Mr. Penello?

    Penello: I am great and you?

    Me: Im good… you seem much better since the last time I was here and you had me thrown out the building

    Penello: Yeah… Sorry about that.. It was a really sensitive day.

    Me: I understand… So… Sony dropped their numbers… how do you feel about that?

    Penello: Numbers? Really? I wasnt aware they released them…

    Me: I heard Microsoft has some figures of their own?

    Penello: Why yes we do… Since our launch we have sold “Millions” of items?

    Me: Items? Is that specific to Xbox One?

    Penello: Huh? Well.. Yes and no… we still sell windows…

    Me: Im aware… But speaking to Xbox One…. Sony has sold 2.1 million units worldwide…

    Penello: So?…

    Me: So? thats all you have to say?

    Penello: Well let me run down our figures… Since the Xbox One launch..Over 3 Billion Zombies were killed in dead rising 3!

    Me: Sir… that is not a number we would consider for sales…

    Penello: Sales?… 3 billion… thats like one zombie per system!!

    Me: Are you implying you sold 3 billion systems?

    Penello: Um… Yeah.

    Me: So I can go on record with you stating you have sold 3 billion systems?

    Penello: OH NO!.. we cant release those figures yet…

    Me: But you just said…

    Penello: Since the launch of our system.. Over 90 Million Miles have been driven on Forza 5.. thats like one system per mile!!!

    Me: Now your saying you sold 90 Million systems?!

    Penello: Phenomenal isnt it?

    Me: But sir you just stated you sold 3 billion systems!! now its 90 Million?

    Penello: Which number is higher?

    Me: sir can you tell me exactly how many Xbox ones were sold worldwide?

    Penello: 3 Billion, 90 Million systems!!!

    Me: Sir thank you for your time… and might I add you need to see a Therapist and a Math Teacher…

    Penello: We sold more than Nintendo!! thats our main competition…

    Me: Really sir? Nintendo?.. thats your threat right now?

    Penello: We also sold so many windows 8 we can’t even count!! we are gonna bundle windows 8 with every Xbox!!

    Me: Sir… Take your pills…

    Penello: I need to…

    #40 1 year ago
  41. The_Red

    @40
    The Nintendo part at the end was rather cruel. Same for Penello who is really just a employee doing his job. That said, this is pretty much exactly how MS as a whole is behaving:

    Their numbers weren’t as impressive as Sony’s so they decided to release a pointless and different set of numbers.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. XanderZane

    @40 & @41
    Microsoft will announce their numbers when they are good and ready to. No different then Sony not announcing their NPD numbers every month because they know XBox 360 sales have beat the PS3 sales for 32 weeks in a row. The only time they actually announced their numbers is the one week when the PS3 actually outsold the 360 in the U.S. LOL!! It’s obvious the XBox One haven’t outsold the PS4 worldwide. The PS4 had a week head start for one and the XB1 has only launched in 13 countries, while the PS4 has already launched in about 35 countries. lol!! Why would M$ post their numbers now? They still have about 20-25 countries to launch the XB1 in. I’m sure they will announce their NPD numbers in a couple weeks, since both systems have launched in the U.S. now. I think M$ announced those “pointless numbers (as you put it)” as a joke to idiots who think they would provide their sales numbers when they haven’t launched worldwide yet. The only numbers that should even be compared is US & UK at this point.

    #42 1 year ago

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