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Second Look: How Xbox One Made Me Take a Hard Look at the PS4

Well then.

I had hoped for a decision like this, but somehow I didn't really expect it. This is good news, not just for Xbox fans sitting on the fence, but for consumers as a whole. Your voice was heard. Our voice was heard.

But that's not the topic of this blog post. If you've read one of my more recent blogs, you know I was conflicted about which next-gen console to purchase. I was hesitant to embrace Microsoft's anti-consumer policies, despite any possible benefits to performance power or new game features. Now that Microsoft has admitted their mistake and listened to gamer concerns, I am now seriously considering purchasing an Xbox One.

However, this whole controversy created an interesting side-effect: I might now buy a PlayStation 4.

You see, if Microsoft right out of the gate with the Xbox One revealed there was in fact no used game policy and no always-online, I would have been instantly sold on the console. Most likely I would have put in my pre-order the same week of the Xbox reveal, and that would have been the end of that. The PS4 would have not even been an option for me.

Instead something much more interesting happened. I was forced to examine my options, in this case Sony and the PS4.

I've always been a fan of both Xbox and PlayStation, but this last console generation I found myself firmly in the Xbox camp. Now with Microsoft seemingly betraying my trust, I gave Sony a hard second look. And what I found was an incredibly attractive and powerful console with a great lineup of games to boot.

I took the time to really identify the pros and cons of Xbox One and compare them to the PlayStation 4.

One of those pros was Microsoft's controller. The Xbox 360 controller hands down is my favorite gaming device. Ever. With the exception of the crappy D-pad, the thing is flawless. With Xbox no longer an option I was forced to examine Sony's new Dualshock 4 controller. I read article after article about the new controller, and slowly but surely I was becoming convinced this might be the controller for me, with its new concave joysticks, a slightly bulkier frame to accommodate large hands, and touch screen. All these features sounded great, and every hands-on preview I read said the same thing; the new controller might just dethrone the Xbox 360 controller.

Another positive falling in on Microsoft's side before my analysis were console exclusives. I'm a Halo fanboy. I love Gears of War. I'm super excited about a new Killer Instinct and about Quantum Break. Sunset Overdrive sounds like a blast. In my mind, Microsoft was looking hard to beat. But once again, when I actually took the time to seek out previews and learn more about upcoming PS4 exclusives, the more excited I became for a console I previously had completely disregarded. Within Infamous: Second Son I found a promising superhero tale that looked to be right up my alley, despite me having no history playing the franchise. In Knack I could see pure and simple fun that brought back great memories of playing Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot. Killzone: Liberation is quite possibly the most beautiful shooter I've ever seen, and its interesting Cold War inspired environment grabbed my attention. These were some impressive titles, just as impressive as anything Microsoft had coming down the pipe, and even maybe more so.

And then there was the brand loyalty. I've been a member of Xbox Live for almost 8 years. In that time, I've accumulated almost 80,000 gamerpoints. It sounds stupid, but I like to get achievements and up my gamerscore. I don't go too far out of my way to get ultimately meaningless points, but it provides me just enough incentive to play games over again on harder difficulties or to try different game strategies. The points, however, are pointless. They don't do anything. They are just a worthless status symbol that clings next to my name to show how much I have invested in gaming and Xbox. Not choosing an Xbox One would mean giving that up - 8 years of progress.

What I discovered was that I was OK with that. If it meant standing up for consumer rights and speaking with my dollars, I was willing to let go of my Xbox Live identity.

I was ready to buy a PS4.

And then this happened. Now, once again, I'm not so sure. At first I thought I would quickly run back to my former friend, who was now asking for forgiveness. All the positives I listed above still stood, and none of the negatives. The Xbox One was attractive again. But that isn't what is happening. Now I'm even more torn about which console I should buy. The bright side in all of this is that now I am a more educated game consumer than ever before. I've looked at the merits and flaws of both consoles and both companies, and my conclusion is this: they both look amazing. I ultimately don't know which side of the fence I will land on at launch, and I'm holding off on pre-ordering anything. What I do know is that thanks to this question of faith, I was forced to look at a competitor that I otherwise would have simply written off. And that, I think, is a great thing.

 

 

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