E3 is long over and gone and the cards have been revealed for all the big 3 companies and what they have planned for their respective consoles for the next 2 years. This article may be a bit late for the post E3 party, but we can still look at what we got this year, can’t we :D?
Microsoft is trying to conquer the living room as well!
Xbox One had a decent conference by Microsoft where many different games were revealed while the display of other functionality was a at a minimum. The games were impressive and the lineup, nice enough to atleast be looked at once. The variety of the games shown On the other hand was not as varied with most games having a darker theme involving shooters, action-adventures and one racer. There was Titanfall, a shooter, Ryse: Son of Rome – an adventure and the highly awaited Halo 5, revealed as a cinematic trailer at the event. This does not cut the fact that a move to make games’ resale and lenting seriously limited was made by Microsoft along with a 24 check in. Microsoft also shocked many gamers and non-gamers alike by deciding a price point of $500, a whole $200 above the basic Wii U version!
This move may have come as a shot to the foot by Microsoft considering the fact that they are already facing considerable amount of backlash due to their DRM decisions and now they are the highest priced console in the market! Now Microsoft has finally done a 180 and declared that it is removing all the extra DRM from their console and removing the online sharing functionality.
This is finally gone (except the Kinect bit)!
The Sony conference can be considered as a bigger success. The PS4 was revealed to be like a thinner and cooler looking Xbox One. Looks like besides the internal hardware, their game systems designs are also pretty similar. The Sony conference was full of gameplay trailers and many other videos that showcased the ability of the PS4. Square Enix also made a big entry on the stage as it announced Final Fantasy XV (previously Final Fantasy Versus XIII) and the much awaited numbered title in the Kingdom Hearts series, KH 3. These titles were not revealed as exclusives and were later revealed by Square Enix to be also coming on the Xbox One (a baffling move considering the fact that the Xbox One is hardly interested in FF and KH).
Only $100 cheaper for a more capable hardware!
The intriguing part of this conference was that the main applause came for a move that has been expected in consoles since they were launched. The whole crowd went up in cheers went it was announced that the PS4 would not be having any sort of DRM implemented and gamers are free to lend, sell or rent their disks (the Wii also has this “function”)! Online connectivity is also not required for the PS4. Also, PS+ will now be required to play games online and this service is no longer free. Finally a price point of $400 was announced, a whole $100 above the Basic Wii U and a $100 less than the Xbox One. This puts Sony in a good position as it is cheaper than the Xbox One and boasts powerful hardware at a $100 cost more than the Wii U.
Funny how this announcement was the core of the Sony conference!
Nintendo on the other hand, avoided press conferences and relayed their game announcements through a Nintendo Direct, live streams that are becoming the wont of Nintendo these days. They avoided 3DS news and announced many different 1st party games for Wii U such as Super Mario 3D world, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, X, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and many more. Nintendo is boasting a great first party lineup by the end of this year with even more big hitters arriving in the year of 2014. The already announced Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 were also showcased. 3rd party titles were also shown as a amalgamation of videos. No price cut was announced.
Now this is what we call a fighting game!
One problem that the Wii U is facing currently is that it is lacking significant 3rd party support. Many publishes have discounted the Wii U as 7th gen or have left the Nintendo party citing low sales due to which not many 3rd party games are coming out on the Wii U. EA was one of the first companies to leave the Wii U despite announcing an “unprecedented partnership” with Nintendo around an year ago. EA is releasing its Fifa 14 on the Xbox One and on the PS4 along with the Wii but not on the Wii U. The game is also coming out on the Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PSP, PS2, iOS and Android (and they say Wii U is weak)! Ubisoft, a supporter of the Wii U has announced that it might scale back support till sales rise while Warner Bros. on a more positive note believes in the Wii U and will continue to bring its games to it.
As we can see, the Wii U is the cheapest of the 8th gen consoles at $300 while PS4 is at $400 and Xbox One is at $500. It is the best option if one is looking for a cheaper 8th gen console or a console that plays Nintendo games. Nintendo Wii U is the only home for Nintendo’s console exclusive games and if one loves games such as Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, etc. will probably buy the Wii U this holiday season. The Wii U has an advantage that it already has an install base of 4 – 5 million, a fact that will drive up game sales as the other consoles try to create a base.
Looks better and better as days go by, doesn’t it?
PS4 will also be a solid alternative considering the price is $400 and it is a very powerful console with a great lineup with games like Knack, Killzone and many more. PS4 will feature more 3rd party games than Wii U, good news who love their shooters and racers. Playstation 4 however is not sold with a PS Vita, a component required to use the 2nd screen features offered. The PS4 will be able to have slightly better graphics and physics as the PS4 is more powerful than the Wii U by a margin and than the Xbox One by a smaller margin. The PS4 is available for pre-order and will be released sometime in the end of the year.
The Xbox One, is the most expensive console which being offered. Microsoft has made purchasing a Kinect compulsory, driving up the cost of the console. Although the console will now not feature its controversial DRM policy, many gamers are miffed by the fact that Microsoft decided to ignore its fans till the sale period when its pre-orders are considerably lower than the PS4. Microsoft will face a tough challenge as it tries to regain the trust of old fans and make new fans as well. The hefty price tag comes with a promise of games on par with the PS4 along with popular franchises such as Forza Motorsports and Halo.
According to me, the PS4 and the Wii U will be popular choices this year achieving similar sales, followed by the Xbox One. The Xbox One may try to win back the gamers but many have already chosen the PS4. Evening the playing field has made MS to not have a total failure on their hands which was possible looking at the gaming community. It’s games look nice and it is the home of Halo, but such a huge backlash will not easily subside
The PS4 will attract the crowd with its cheaper price than Xbox One and a great upcoming library of games. Gamers will also be influenced with the hardware the PS4 showcases.
The Wii U albeit weaker, is a true 8th gen console and looks attractive due to its lowest price point at $300. It is also the home of great franchises like Mario, Zelda, etc. and the fact that Nintendo is known to produce quality games with great innovation is a huge plus point. The Wii U E3 games displayed were definitively impressive and will sway many parents as well as adult gamers to purchase the Wii U as well.
Now it will definitively be remain to seen how the things truly come up. Sony has stated that demand may exceed supply and pre-orders for Xbox One and PS4 are filling fast. Nintendo can also expect a rush of console purchases in the holidays due to its great games.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.