So, one of my “things” besides being a ‘foodie’ is gaming consoles. I like to look at the gaming ecosystem as a whole and see where it’s evolving and what directions it is headed in. I ultimately do believe that things like the Oculous rift and other augmentation devices (like google glass) will fill this void in some manner, but until then there are gaming consoles to be contented with.
As a complete disclosure, I’ve owned at least 10 gaming systems in my life not including pc systems set up for gaming. I’m going to stop trolling PC users in their tracks right now – YES – your PC you spent 2 grand on is better than any console system. Stop trying to make other people feel awed at your outlay on a gaming rig. For the last two releases of consoles, I had both an xbox 360 and a PS4. If I had to choose where I tend to be more “fanboy” it would be Microsoft, because the last generation of controllers for PS3 felt cheap and too light. They also tended to have items break off and rattle around inside them (I experienced this with both PS3 controllers). Graphics performance – at least IMHO tended to be a little bit better on PS4, but for the large majority of my PS4 viewing I was looking at 1080i on a 38″ screen, versus 120″ 1080i for the xbox360.
As I tend to do, I went into OCD mode and started planning on what system I was going to get. As a I had recently finished my undergrad, I had all but abstained from gaming for half of 2012 and all of 2013 to keep myself motivated. And it had worked, but I was ready to get some new gaming rig. When I finally had decided to make the purchase, my immediate thought was the Xbox One. However, the deeper I dug, the more I realized Xbox was playing for the long game with this console. What I mean by that is that XBO is a console that wants to not be a console, but a media platform that happens to play amazing video games. Which is super cool. I was stoked.
Then, I realized two major deal killers. Number 1 – XBO doesn’t really like 720p and WON’T to 1080i. The place where I would use it (because of the Kinect2) would be my basement. With a projector. That doesn’t do 1080P – just i. In addition, neither console would do component video out, requiring a handy but expensive adapter called HD Fury, which was ~$250. Or I would need to buy a new projector for HDMI, requiring a new reciever to take the sound to my speakers. I had decided while I “liked” the idea of the XBO, I didn’t $2,000 “like” said idea. In addition, the Kinect2 requires a proprietary cable. Therefore, it can only be ~6 feet away from the Xbox One. This is unlike the Kinect v1, which is extended in my basement 35 feet from the xb360. Aesthetically and monetarily the Xbox one was chucked out leaving the PS4. Or conceivably the Wii-U but I acutally want a system I think people will make games for, so no Wii-U for me, thanks.
I figured I might wait a bit for prices to come down, but Gamestop had (and still has) a pretty decent deal for trade-in systems towards either a PS4 or XBO. It gives you an extra 50% trade-in towards the system price, which for me knocked off $175, and allowed me to pick up the PS4, extra controller, warranty and two games for ~$500.
I must say though, that the PS4 graphics and the new dual-shock 4 controller are way cool. Much nicer feeling than the DS3, and it has a lot of neat features built directly into it. The first “new” that I immediately noticed was the obvious upstep in graphics power. The first game I played, “Knack” was very cartoony (it’s a kid-friendly game) – and I was struck at just how “round” everything that was round looked and “angular” the angular stuff looked. Again – this is on the same TV I played the PS3 on so it’s a fairly even comparrison. Secondly, I noticed how the controllers with the built in speakers really augmented the game. I know that sounds a little bit lame, but I really thought it was a nice touch.
I got around to playing the highly recommended Lara Croft / Tomb Raider reboot. Wow is it phenomenal. I didn’t think it was possible to like a piece of IP more than Mass Effect or Uncharted. I was wrong. This version of Tomb Raider is like the creepier side of Uncharted, but with amazingly upgraded graphics and augmented feedback.
I imagine that I will eventually upgrade the projector and reciever – it’s been on my list for a while, but never a huge priority. It would be nice to be able to use the 128″ screen for kinect without having shadow heads! But for now, I’m very happy with the PS4 purchase.