Lucky individuals grew up with the PlayStation 2 when video games were, in my opinion, in their prime.
Then the first Xbox was released in November 2001, which was a result of Microsoft purchasing the video game company Bungie to brand the Halo franchise in 2000. With that purchase they knew they bought their trump card, pitting Microsoft against Sony in a legendary battle for your wallets.
There are not many differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Call of Duty games come out every year on both consoles, looking the same, even playing the same. Both the consoles have Netflix, Hulu and other multimedia applications. Really the only options setting these two hardware giants apart was the console exclusives like the Halo franchise for the Xbox or The Last of Us for the PlayStation. Most people who consider themselves gamers had both consoles by the announcement of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and even before the official announcements of the next generation consoles the hype over the next generation consoles was through the roof.
Unlike their big brothers, there was one major difference between the recently announced consoles according to the original announcement at the Microsoft Conference May 31, 2013, the Xbox One would not let the user to borrow games, needed a Kinect to operate and cost $100 more than the competition. Leading many PlayStation fans to rejoice at the recently unlocked achievement of taking down the powerhouse that is Xbox and its exclusives.
What should have indicated a happy ending for PlayStation fans did not in fact happen that way. Microsoft saw that the preorder sales did not reach their predicted marks, resulting from the backlash of Xbox fans ricocheting through Microsoft’s bank account.
Microsoft, a little under a month of hearing from their customers, stated that they changed the Xbox One to operate like the newly nostalgic last-generation Xbox 360.
“Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback,” Don Mattrick president Interactive Entertainment Business, posted June 19, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at Microsoft’s official reversal on their website.
Their recent claims of not allowing your friends to borrow your games, publishers may not allow you to trade in those games into retailers, and the 24 hour online check to make sure you are connected to the internet were abruptly taken back and suddenly Microsoft was back in the familiar console war.
However, about a year later, the thought of what could have been is still disturbing. Even Sony has stated it had planned to ship the PlayStation 4 with the PS Eye, at a similar $499 price point and used game restrictions but changed its mind after the Xbox One announcement backfired.
A console is a modified computer, a cheap gaming computer with ease of use allowing children and older adults to operate the system, put the disc in and play, that much has always been clear. It has been modified to run Netflix, video games, internet and chat functions in an easy-to-use user interface. The Digital Rights Management features that would have been enabled if the reversal never occurred, changed the reason to get a console instead of a gaming PC in the first place.
Again, a gaming console is a cheap gaming PC, but once you make the decision about which console is right for you, you make a commitment to giving that company the profits for the rest of its hardware life span. If you bought a PlayStation 3, you would then need to buy a PlayStation 3 controller, games and other accessories all of which profits Sony.
If the direction consoles will inevitably be heading in is DRM, is it only a matter of time before we have to finally give in to the marketing schemes? Only time will tell if the market will head into PC Gaming and away from gaming consoles.