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Editorial   

Sony Declares War

Fire up the blogs, forums, and comments, people--the Console Wars are back!

On February 20th, Sony unleashed the opening volley in what could very well be the next generation of the fabled Console Wars with the introduction of the PlayStation 4. The message was clear: “We messed up with the PS3 and let our ego get the better of us. But we’re learning from our mistakes, and we’re taking the fight to our competitors.” From the opening song “Monster Hospital” by Metric to the strategic use of classic PlayStation cues for speakers at the conference, it seems like Sony is embracing the now storied history of the PlayStation brand and is ready for a hell of a battle with Microsoft and Nintendo.

Not many details on what’s under the hood of the new machine were revealed, but that was by design. This event wasn’t about how many polygons the PS4 can push (although that was part of it), but rather the focus was on ease of use. The PS3 wasn’t exactly a user friendly console, and developers will chime in and say that the system wasn’t the simplest machine to create games on, either. With a processor and GPU pulled right out of high end PCs and a solid amount of RAM, the PS4 should be much easier to develop exclusive games for, but should also facilitate ports from other machines.

On the consumer end, the PS4 sounds like a dream. Anyone who’s experienced the frequent and exceedingly slow system updates of the PS3 should be ecstatic to hear that the PS4 has a secondary processor that handles updates and downloads in the background. Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to pop in a game and play right away, the system also allows for digital titles to be played as they download. When you’re done for the night but find yourself in a spot between checkpoints the system can be suspended, allowing for play to resume with the push of a button later. Sony promises immediacy to all aspects of their new machine, and in an age where Xbox Live friend lists can take up to a minute to populate and the Wii U spends too long thinking between applications, this is great news for users.

The Sony announcement event showed more than you should have expected, but less than you probably wanted. No, the console wasn’t shown and a price point wasn’t given, but did you really think that they would have been? More games were shown than I expected; PlayStation announcements are usually accompanied by tech demos and a couple target renders that look far beyond what seems possible. The games unveiled at this event looked great, but not so amazing that anyone wouldn’t believe that they were running on a PS4. But I’ll repeat that this was an opening salvo, and games weren’t the focus, even though a lot was shown. Sony pulled out their rocket launcher first, but they’ll be holding the nuke back for later.

With all signs pointing to the next Xbox getting a release this year, I’m excited at the prospect of a long and bloody battle between console manufacturers. Sony and Microsoft have never gone head to head at launch, and in actuality, a PlayStation console hasn’t launched alongside a competitor since the Sega Saturn. Back then, Sony was the scrappy underdog, and did everything in its power to crush the competition. Getting exclusives like Tekken and Mortal Kombat 3 was a huge boon, and the company came out swinging against Nintendo not too long after, thanks to a man in a bandicoot costume.

I, for one, welcome the prospect of another console war. Competition brings the best out of everyone, and this time around the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s time for Microsoft and Sony to take the kid gloves off. During the 16 bit years, Sega was aggressive in its sortie against Nintendo. The result can only be described as a smear campaign—if you were edgy and cool you owned a Sega Genesis, but if you were a nerdy momma’s boy you played Nintendo. Was it dirty? Absolutely. Did it hold any water? Not really, but the perception worked. I would like to say that history shows that Nintendo came out on top in the end, but don’t tell that to Sega fans—they’re delusional and can’t be reasoned with.

Sony lost a lot of steam this generation, what with its 599 price point and the assertion that “people will get a second job to buy a PS3.” Fantastic exclusives couldn’t hide the fact that third party ports suffered in quality, or that the system interface was convoluted at best. This time around, Sony needs to trumpet all of the strengths of its new system, while simultaneously exposing the weaknesses in its competition.

I’m sure that Microsoft will respond to the PS4, changing plans based on Sony showing its hand early. But just because the Xbox 360 is the dominant HD console doesn’t mean that Microsoft can afford to rest on its laurels—that’s how Sony was taken off guard, after all. Whatever form the new Xbox takes, MS needs to get ready to dig in and fight dirty every step of the way. We’ve already seen the once well-respected Xbox Live service start to lose mindshare compared to the impressive improvements Sony has added to PlayStation Plus; a service that will only look better once the Gaikai-powered streaming on the PS4 is rolled out.

Nintendo needs to get in on this, as well. While the Big N was content to let the Wii speak for itself, that’s not going to work this time around. The fact is that people have less money to play with these days, and it’s entirely possible that more households will only have one console in this upcoming generation. Nintendo has some powerful weapons in its arsenal, thanks to the Miiverse, the GamePad, and media features like TVii. Nintendo also has some of the most creative game designers in the world under its roof, and the company needs to exploit that fact. There are few franchises that can tussle with Mario and Link when they’re on their “A” game, and I’m sure that Nintendo has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Nintendo needs to take steps to remind consumers--hardcore and casual--that it has amazing games that can only be found on the Wii U.

For the record, I don’t have a horse in this race. I used to be that guy—the guy who propped up the Super Nintendo as the greatest thing ever. But then I got older and it became about the games. I’ll follow the system that has the most interesting library and user interface, and I really couldn’t care less who “wins” or “loses”. But I want a messy, bloody console war. I want people like you—yes, you, the one who’s getting angry reading this—to get really invested in your console of choice. I want developers pushing the envelope of creativity and design to make sure consumers feel satisfied in their choice of console. It’s when the stakes are this high and someone has to come out on top that innovation happens. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what happened to Madden and WWE Smackdown once they didn’t have to worry about competition.


 

Comments

GrayHaired

02/23/2013 at 12:14 PM

Streaming Downloads:  Playing as you download, I hope that works. I went to Playstation Home to watch a Live Stream of the conference and it never did work. I hope Sony can deliver, I really do.

Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

02/23/2013 at 12:57 PM

Console wars of stupid and don't get anyone anywhere. Why can't we all just enjoy games on various systems and leave it at that?

 

Oh right, I forgot, playing video games supposedly now has to make you look cool. Can't be playing them Nintendo games or else you like a like a momma's boy playing nerd.

I think the stereotype for "gamers" now are whiny man-children who threaten to commit suicide or pose death threats if a certain game (coughbayonetta2cough) doesn't go on their systems despite first entry in game only selling a million copies compared to... countless triple A dube-bro shooters.

And people wonder why I never make a peep I play games or go to Gamestop anymore.

Ranger1

02/23/2013 at 02:07 PM

Never cared about the console wars. It's all about the games. I never have the money to plunk down on a newly released system, anyway, so I get to sit back and decide based on other peoples' frustration or pleasure.

If Sony really does make the PS4 more user-friendly, that can only be a good thing. I bought my PS3 for the exclusives, because, let's face it, the 360 is a much more user-friendly console. I had my 360 up and running and was playing a game within 20 minutes of unpacking it. Two and a half hours after unboxing my PS3, I was still swearing a blue streak and tempted to pack it back up and get my money back. I'm glad I didn't, though.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

02/23/2013 at 08:35 PM

"I want people like you—yes, you, the one who’s getting angry reading this—to get really invested in your console of choice."

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

Nah, just messin' with you.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/23/2013 at 09:28 PM

It's been a long time since I really was passionate about a console. I preferred the PSX over the Saturn and N64 but I never wasted any energy bashing them. I liked the PS2 over the Xbox, but I also owned a Dreamcast and a Gamecube. I own all three current gen systems, but prefer my 360 most of the time.

But I do believe that competition brings the best out of everybody. A lot of Sega's big moves stemmed from the company having a goal of selling one million consoles in the West. And I think Nintendo rose to the challenge and not only pumped out some amazing games, but did some agressive moves with pricing. I got my SNES in 1994 and it came with Super Mario World, All-Stars, and Kart, which convinced my mom that it was a good value.

Consumers need to feel like they've made a good decision in the purchase of a console, and I don't know if people feel like that these days. Microsoft has been lax with exclusives and Nintendo let the Wii kind of peter out. I like what Sony has done with PS Plus, and I don't think that would have come along if there hadn't been so much sentiment that the 360 had a better online service (at least for a long while).

I'm very excited for the PS4. I may even buy it at launch. But of course I need to see what Microsoft is offering up, which should be pretty soon.

Anonymous

02/24/2013 at 11:19 PM

in the past 2 years, Microsoft has become pretty lame.  I just dont see any reason to own an Xbox anymore.  I'm Halo and Geared out (after Gears 2 and Halo:reach) and they don't really have any other exclsuives that intrested me.  Plus paying for online seems kind of stupid now and buying new batters for the controllers was annoying.  If MS conintues this route I dont think Iw will even buy a Durango

GamerGirlBritt

02/23/2013 at 11:39 PM

Console wars never really meant much to me considering I always end up owning all the consoles in competition with one another. But even so, in the case of Playstation vs. Xbox, I always have to go with Playstation. It was a subconsious decision of preference. Over time I realized whenever a game went multiplatform I would ALWAYS go for the Playstation version.

I do believe that competition brings out the best in everyone though. When Sony was resting on their laurels thinking everyone would automatically want the PS3 for the sole reason that it was a followup to the PS2, Microsoft was hard at work crafting a console that would take them out of Sony's shadow. Cockiness is how Sony screwed themselves in the first place, so it's nice to see them hard at work trying to deliver a great experience for not only the consumers, but the developers as well.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/24/2013 at 02:33 AM

Console wars are stupid, I agree, but the simple fact is that not everybody can afford multiple consoles, so they have to choose, and thus: the war.  I am enough of a geek that I make sacrifices in my life to own all consoles, but not everyone chooses or is capable of doing that. Brands do battle, like Coke and Pepsi, and that's just how our capitalist system works -- not that there's anything wrong with that.  ;)

HaonEtat01

02/24/2013 at 03:03 AM

I always buy all of the consoles for the exclusives, but I'm a Sega/Xbox guy (I'm pretty sure they go hand-in-hand lol). I prefer gaming on my 360 because of Xbox Live, the controller, and the interface, but that doesn't mean that MS can do no wrong. If Sony brings their A game this time around and MS makes some royal blunders, then  I might find myself spending more time on my PS4, but we'll see. Either way I definitely agree that a long and bloody console war is good for the consumer.

Anonymous

02/24/2013 at 11:15 PM

Can't do xbox anymore becuase they dont care about core gamers.  Recenlty its all about Kinect and the Xbox as a family freindly media center.  Kind of lame so I'm going back to Playstation next gen

asrealasitgets

02/24/2013 at 01:28 PM

The future is on the 3DS as far as I'm concerned. I can already stream to WiiU gamepad and PSVITA. Isn't the GAIKAI stuff supposed to be paid services like PSN and Live? It's too soon to tell.

mothman

02/24/2013 at 01:32 PM

I'm still uncertain how Sony managed a PS4 "reveal" without actually revealling a PS4. Yes we heard how good it's going to be when it gets here but c'mon Sony, couldn't you at least have displayed a plastic shell. For all I know everything was running on a PC behind the scenes. It's not like they've never done that before.

All in all I was a bit disappointed. Does this mean I'm not interested in a PS4? No it doesn't. Hell, if it's not $600 and I have some disposable income by then I'll be all over it like stink on a pig. 

I'm not big on console wars. I still have a working Xbox, PS2 and GC as well as all the current generation boxes. I have yet to purchase a Wii U but that's because I'm unemployed and broke, not because I don't want one. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/24/2013 at 03:15 PM

It's interesting how many people keep bringing up the console not being there. Nintendo didn't explicitly show the Wii U console when the system was announced. I was under the impression that the GamePad was just a Wii add-on at first.

The look of the console ultimately doesn't matter. Oh, I want to see it, but game consoles by and large look clunky. I never liked the PS2 monolith or the Xbox crate design. The Wii looks so unassuming as to be forgotten right away. I will say that my Xbox 360 slim is pretty sexy, but at the end of the day it's the games and the features inside the system that count.

mothman

02/24/2013 at 03:29 PM

I know what you mean, but it just smacked of shenanigans to me. As for the Wii U I could have sworn Nintendo had the console part of the Wii U sitting there somewhere on stage when they announced it. 

I thought that the absence was a little more conspicuous for the PS4. It screamed vapourware to me. Sort of "We haven't actually put all these components in a box yet but we've gotta draw blood before Microsoft."

Maybe it's just because I've been in the IT business for over 28 years now and I've become extremely jaded. Selling me the sizzle without the steak just doesn't whet my appetite. 

Anonymous

02/24/2013 at 02:00 PM

I'll wait a couple of months to see how the PS4 fares as I was burn pretty bad with the PS2 launch, I remember that the first two weeks were awesome, I was a fan of Tekken Tag Tournament and really enjoyed my time with SSX and then there was nothing, I knew there were some interesting games, I rented a few like madden and kessen, I tried summoner but couldn't get inside the story, nothing caught my attention, time went by and no MGS, FF, GT, Crash showed up, NOTHING!! and worse, my system scratched my copies of TTT and second disc of FFIX to the death...that was it for my glorified PS1, I sold it and waited for something else, when Nintendo GameCube arrived and only after I saw super smash bros, melee I went back to console gaming (I had my game boy color with me those days) I'm not a Nintendo fanboy but I truly enjoyed my time with the GameCube, some years later I gave the ps2 a second chance, just  when it really matured (sometime after Shadow of the colossus, that game brought me back, and MGS 3), Thanks to that experience, I've never bought a console at launch again although I fell for the 3ds launch trap but that is a different story as I never had a DS before (I was a psp guy) so that worked out for me until the 3ds became alive :P

P.S. I’m really glad to see the 1up community gathering here, that’s why I’m here, thanks for sticking up together ^____^ and also thanks to the Pixlbitians for opening your door to us!

Blage

02/24/2013 at 02:03 PM

THAT'S MY POST, sorry guys, I didn't noticed that I wasn't logged ¬_¬

V4Viewtiful

02/24/2013 at 02:17 PM

I'll stick with Nintendo, Thanks.

To be honest the lack of backwards compatibility, not enough interesting games, not being able to transfer old PSN games and the blatant but forgivable copying of the Wii U idea of playing the game on the handheld PSVita i'm out,

Still i'll see how they play things when the create a "slim" version of the PS4 :)

asrealasitgets

02/24/2013 at 02:21 PM

and WiiU gives you a vita. LOL. PS4 should also give you a PSVITA witha purchase. But they won't.

angelfaceband42

02/24/2013 at 04:22 PM

I am excited about the upcoming console War, so yes I hope it's a WAR.  This time I will wait to see how the systems perform before deciding on one, if any.  Although I love the PS3 exclusisves:  God of War, Infamous, and Ni No Kuni, that does not push me for an automatic PS4. 

I bought my PS3 because I wanted more mature games than what I enjoyed with Nintendo and the PS2 was Awesome.  I didn't realize the long install/load times for games and the user interface was as cumbersome as it was until I bought a 360 on a whim.  Now I rarely play my PS3 and give most of my love to the xbox.

This time around I actually know what I am looking for and will only purchase a system with those characteristics.  I am doing the same thing for new Video games too.

Let the games begin

GrayHaired

02/24/2013 at 09:39 PM

I only buy one console because it has gotten too exspensive to buy mulitple consoles so if I do buy a next-gen console Im sure it will be the PS4.

Anonymous

02/24/2013 at 11:13 PM

I can't support MS anymore becuase of their newly found focus twoards the casusal gamer.  Most Def will be getting PS4

Coolsetzer

02/25/2013 at 04:50 AM

Great article. Good points all around. Gaming has become too redundant and Dull this generation. After the show, I too, felt that the first shot of the new console war was fired. Can Sony make amends with their hubris of the past? If anything, I felt a little disappointed with the information I heard. I will debate why in my blog before the end of the week. ;)

Anonymous

02/25/2013 at 06:59 AM

system wars Are for losers

Bmuzyn

02/25/2013 at 12:46 PM

I loved my PS3, but watching the release info for the PS4...I'm not a happy customer. I don't want people watching me game, or sharing info all over different social websites. I feel like they focused way too much on the social media trend that's going on right now. I want a gaming system not a social media hub and It's not backwards compatible?! WTF? If Xbox comes out with something more gamer, I'll keep my PS3 with all my games that go back to PS1 and jump over to the xbox. "The architect" they picked looks like a creepy combination of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka and Sheldon Cooper... I'm just not enthuised at all about the info I received and I have been a Sony Man for quite sometime and will be waiting to see what Microsoft will be revealing.

Bmuzyn

02/25/2013 at 12:47 PM

not backwards compatible*

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

02/25/2013 at 01:13 PM

I'm sure you will be able to turn off the sharing features of the PS4. I think the BC issue will stop some people in their tracks for now, and it's just a matter of Sony eventually clearing it up for the people that are interested on a PS4. There's still a long ways to go until the system is released.

By the way, you can edit your comments by double-clicking the text. It's that simple.

Anonymous

02/25/2013 at 11:35 PM

Hey thanks for the tips :P I'm sure I can get passed the social media stuff. I just wish it wasn't such a big focus during the whole shabang.

TruEagle

02/25/2013 at 09:37 PM

Sad that I use to be a Sony kid and now I can't stand them.

DarthViking

02/25/2013 at 10:09 PM

 I'll probably end up getting a PS4 just based on how well Sony did (In my opinion) this gen. They recovered nicely from that hacking thing, they've had more exclusives I'm interested in, and PlayStation Plus has been just fantastic. Halo and Gears of War we're great games, but after I traded away my 360 and all of it's games, I haven't missed them (Yet their are many PS3 and Wii games I traded in/had to sell and miss i.e Xenoblade Chronicles :(.....I was let down with the Vita (Although with Plus on that now, I may invest in getting mine back....eventually), but my first gen PSP is still kicking and no portable system has matched the system for it's sexiness in my opinion (I love my 3DS, but theres nothing like pulling out my PSP in it's leather Pelican case ;)

The_last_Mandalore

02/25/2013 at 11:21 PM

We shall go on to the end kupo, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans kupo, we shall fight with growing confidence kupo and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island kupo, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches kupo , we shall fight on the landing grounds kupo, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets kupo , we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender kupo,''

 

Commander Moogle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rayzear

02/26/2013 at 02:41 PM

I have not had a console since my wife and I bought a wii. We bought it so that we can play together, and for that purpose it filled the role quite well. For hard core gaming I relly on my trusty PC. With that said I will be very interested to see what developers and what games end up in each system.

grimcanuck

02/27/2013 at 01:06 AM

I wish SEGA was still in the fight even just for the Sonic commercials...SEGA! My brother-in-law's first word. True story

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