Last installment, I gave a brief rundown of the technical side of the new 2013 gaming platforms. Read it HERE to get caught up.
So that all being said the decision comes down to the following criteria:
- Content desired
- Backwards Compatibility
So let’s start with content. PS4 will have the most content, I’m calling it. You will probably be able to download ps3, ps2, and ps1 games from their store, as well as others. Xbox will be in second place with lots of content and a few exclusive titles, and Steam will be in third with all the content on their store. PC will likely tie with steam or beat them by a little bit BUT Devs are NOT happy about Windows 8. Then again, PC can play almost every game from the past 20 years so … you know what, PC wins in first place if you want to get technical. The Wii U will only have a few games, but if you want those awesome Nintendo brands or classic games from your childhood, look here. Ouya will likely not have a TON of content making it around last. Android / iOS will have a few good games but you’re talking literally a few. It’s nothing for real gamers.
As far as price goes, using the devices you already have will be cheapest. Aside from that, Ouya will probably be cheapest of the lot at a mere 100 dollars. The steambox will probably run around 200 dollars putting it in second place. The Wii U is going for about 300 – 350 making it about on par with the Xbox 720 rumored prices. The PS4 will be estimated 400+ making it the most expensive. This is heavily based on rumors though and will likely change as the devices are actually released.
If you’re a person who clings to the past and really loves to replay your old games, you have a few options for backwards compatibility here. Obviously PC and SteamBox will let you play your old games forever until you decide to get rid of them. MOST old android and iOS games will play on newer devices. The Wii has an emulated console which will let you play Wii discs but download a wide variety of old games from consoles of the past. Xbox and Microsoft have typically been good about backwards compatibility. You can still play old xbox games on the 360. Unless they go with a download only approach, you can reasonably expect the same treatment. PS4, like the PS3 before it, will NOT support backwards compatibility.
Social is an interesting concept with gaming. Sony showed today that they are REALLY dedicated to social so if you like playing with friends this might be huge selling point. Xbox 360 was always really good with social on live. The new version promises to be more integrated when you combine it with the fact that Microsoft owns Skype now. You can bet you’ll see a lot more social integration in the 720. Steam has its own built in messaging service and stream type thing, but it really doesn’t extend outside their service. This might change in the next version but for now you’re limited to their messenger application and in game communication. Not bad, but could be better. The Wii U has some extremely limited social aspects that I’m not sure anybody uses. If they do, it’s probably just updating their facebook from their Wii pad. Yawn. The Ouya hasn’t announced any sort of social functionality yet, but pending any of the games support multiplayer you could probably guess that they would implement some sort of basic “hey I’m playing, join me” system. As for casual gamers, they usually just play by themselves. A few games, like words with friends, are built in to facebook and allow for that type of social experience, but it’s really on a per game basis. Last but certainly not least, PC gamers get the best of all worlds. There are limitless chat clients to choose from and limitless ways to connect with people. You don’t even have to be a gamer ;).
Integration is a big plus for many people these days. It’s 2013, this is the future. All of my devices should work together right? Well kind of. Some are better than others. One of Sony’s major selling points yesterday was how you could stream games from your PS4 to your Vita, or PlayStation Certified Android device. All of your gaming devices are connected anywhere you go. This is what SHOULD be happening. Microsoft is rumored to be really pushing for home integration so you may see something similar with this on the next xbox. I figure Microsoft will take it a step further and push PC, phone, tablet, and game system integration somehow. I figure if they pull it off, they would win this category FOR SURE. The steambox, as I said earlier, is rumored to have cross platform multiplayer which would be a solid gamer integration. Combine this with a windows 8 tablet running steam, you have some pretty solid gamer based integration. The Wii U has next to NO integration. The Wii U pad cannot be taken outside the home. It’s really integrated only with itself. There’s no word yet if there will be any sort of DS integration. Even if there is, it will probably be limited to very basic multiplayer or messaging. Ouya is based on Android so you can reasonably expect companion apps on all of your android devices. No word yet on that integration but the team at Ouya is dedicated to developers and that hacker nature. Casual gamers have a lot of trouble with this, especially on iOS or Windows Phone. You can have the same games on all devices but the data is never synced. Android doesn’t have this natively either, but apps such as Koush’s Carbon backup service make it easier than ever. Lastly, but not least again, is the PC. Integration is limitless but you usually have to acquire some technical knowhow about computing before you get things truly integrated. It IS possible though.
This post is already getting a bit lengthy so I’ll post my conclusions in the next installment. Stay Tuned.
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August 30, 2014
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