Through the first third of the year, gamers have been faithfully waiting for pertinent news of their favorite consoles next release. Rampant questions and rumors have filled blogs and forums alike, while patience gets short and threats get long. The majority of the questions that have been running around the Internet remain: “How will used games be handled, and how will DRM be managed?”
I understand I am not a stereotypical gamer, I am an adult with a full time job, I’ve worked with the same company for nearly 20 years, I make a decent living, and I virtually spend all of my disposable income on Video Games. I am, also a father of three teenage children, all of whom are gamers, and we spend a lot of time, together, playing. We have 3 gaming stations, 3 Xbox 360′s, a Playstation 3, a Wii U, a gaming PC, a Vita, and 10-15 retro consoles as well. We also, regularly purchase up to 3 copies of a game, so we can play online together. We do plan on getting each of the systems, but we will most likely look to have up to 3 of one of the consoles, so we can continue as always have. So, the questions that remain are important, and we’re waiting anxiously for them to be answered.
The problem that Microsoft and Sony are facing is that they’re both releasing systems at virtually the same time. This gives me, and gamers like me, and opportunity to change my “core” system based on the release specifications. If I think that a system is going to cost more to operate, due to console-specific games, where a game will only work on the first console that it plays on, it would make no sense for me to purchase multiple systems. Also, for the past week, or so, there has been speculation that turned into pseudo-fact regarding the online status of the next generation Xbox, codenamed Durango. It was first rumored, then Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth started tweeting an “unofficial” response to the Internet backlash, which pretty much confirmed that Microsoft was, in the least, considering an “always on” the Internet approach.
This would basically mean that the Xbox 720/Durango would require Internet access to work, and if the Internet “browns out” during gaming, the player would have about 3 minutes to fix the situation before the Xbox would shut down. Here’s the problem, I live in the real world. I have moved before, and it took a couple of weeks for my Internet to get hooked up, and I’ve also experienced my modem dying on a Friday, at 5:10pm, and all the trouble shooting with my Internet Service Provider could not fix it, and I had to wait until Monday to replace it. In both of these cases, I would have been without my gaming system, which I paid good money for, until these situations were rectified. To me, this is unacceptable, and irresponsible for Microsoft. I am sure Sony is sitting back, and making note of the response from gamers.
I am sure that both companies, in fact, are taking note. I am almost convinced that, as these consoles are being fretted out, there are boardrooms filled with people coming up with ideas to save money, both for software manufacturers, and for themselves. Whenever they come up with an idea, like no used games, they leak it to the media and watch the backlash. Too intense? “So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?” Which was Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida’s response to the repeated question. It is also obvious that both companies are taking their time actually releasing the information we, the consumers, want to hear.
I have thought, for some time, that I am not ready for the next generation of consoles. I am still content to continue playing on my Xbox and PS3, the graphic remain clear, and the features of the consoles meet my needs, for the most part, and my problems with the PS3/Xbox are minor annoyances, at best. Perhaps the most surprising thing, is that it’s possible my next “base” console may not be the 720/Durango, or Playstation 4, it might just be the Wii U. Sure, Nintendo needs to step the software end of the bargain, and they also have other issues they need to sort out as well, but they system is solid, and it is a lot of fun to use and play. I can deal with long load times and external hard drives, for the peace of mind that I can purchase a copy of a game and not have to pay extra for one of my kids to play it, and if my Internet is down, I’ll have something to do. So, it looks like Sony and Microsoft have some explaining to do, and Nintendo needs to capitalize on this opportunity.