It’s November, so there are quite a lot of important things happening this month. Graduate Jobs are going online, Movember is taking place and everyone is already starting to stress out about exams. There is one thing that tops them all, an event that hasn’t taken place since 2007; that’s right, the next generation of consoles will be upon us. This isn’t your traditional preview either, anyone can just whack out a load of GPU specs and claim one console is better, this isn’t a dick-measuring preview, this is a preview with personality! Maybe dating references aren’t the best source of humour in an engineering magazine, unless you count your left hand as a date? Anyway, on to the preview:
The price is always an important point, it’s a vital part of your annual budget that you need to take in to account and work out how much money you will have left over for pints of beer. The Xbox is priced at £429 with the PS4 priced at £350. You’re probably wondering why the Xbox is a significant £80/36.36 Pints of Blackthorns more expensive than the PS4. There’s a simple explanation for this, every Xbox One will come with a Kinect 2.0 sensor, more on that later. The previous generation of Kinect costs £100 standalone, so it makes sense that the Xbox One is more expensive; the Kinect isn’t everyone’s cup of ea but it will be pretty damn cool walking in to your room and commanding “Xbox On” and your whole room coming to life, any women in close proximity will go weak at the knees for sure. There’s a little difference in size between the two consoles but to be honest where it goes in your room and how much space it takes up doesn’t really matter, because you’ll find a way around it anyway.
Without boring you with two long lists of specifications I will tell you straight up that the PS4 is technically more powerful, but what does this actually mean? Firstly, it can handle more commands simultaneously than the Xbox One and the games have the capacity to produce better graphics. However, while it has the capacity to do that does that mean that games will actually look better on PS4? When developers go to make a game there’s no benefit to them in making one version look a lot better than the other, it will cost more and it will take longer produce. That’s why these AAA titles are almost identical on both consoles and this will continue in to the next generation; there are developers who will utilise those who produce the exclusives, think of Last of Us and Unchartered on the PS3 (which were beautiful games), but that doesn’t mean Xbox One games will be pixelated blocks of crap. Lastly, it will take a few years before the developers are able to unlock the true potential of the consoles, so the games will continue to keep looking better and better.
The online portion of the console is probably one of the most important features; it will be the part you use almost every time you play. Sony have introduced PlayStation + as it’s rival to Xbox Live, now in the current PS3s online is nowhere near as good as Xbox’s. It’s going to be the same story on the next gen consoles, just because Sony has started charging for their online services doesn’t mean it will automatically change overnight. Xbox Live has the foundation (as civil engineers you know the foundations are god damn important!) of a whole generation of online services on its side, where it has been able to develop and on it’s own pretty much define how the online services should be. Sony are therefore playing catch up to Microsoft, who show no sign of slowing down. There’s the whole free games debate, but the majority of games Sony and Microsoft give away are the big titles that most people have, so it doesn’t really come in to account.
Motion (in the ocean)
As I said earlier the Xbox One comes with a Kinect, therefore when developers go to make an Xbox One game they instantly know that they integrate movement or spoken commands, how well they do this remains to be seen but I think it’s an exciting possibility. It has a 1080p camera, perfect for Skype and an IR sensor that allows a greater depth perception. It breaks down all of your joints individually, differentiating your fingers from your hand, so it’s a pretty damn powerful piece of hardware. The PS4 on the other hand does have the move built in to their controllers now, but the use of a camera will cost an extra £50, so developers are less likely to focus on features that utilise the camera. I’m not the biggest fan of motion gaming but I think that some developers will be able to subtly introduce it in to their games where it’s not forced.
PS4’s controller has the built in move and the new share button added to it with a track pad on the front of the controller. My biggest problem with the PS3 controllers were how light they were and how rubbish the analogues became when the controller wore out; perhaps with the move inside the weight won’t be such an issue. The Xbox controller on the other hand remains largely the same, sticking with the 360 design and improving small features. Why change a winning formula? Xbox controllers always feel so natural to hold and I’m sure the Xbox One controllers won’t change that. They have changed the D-Pad and the battery pack sits flush inside the controller and doesn’t stick out like a huge ass.
So there you have it, a little preview in to the generation of gaming; at the end of the day it all comes down to preference and what is important to you. When I decided last generation to upgrade my PS2 I looked at both consoles and saw GTA had exclusive content on the 360 so I was sold, and I have never once looked back. I myself am getting the Xbox One so rest assured there will be a cracking review coming in the December issue of LIVIC. If you want to get spanked at FIFA, let me know, but I do not take responsibility for any butt cramps you suffer after I destroy your ass.