Blog Archives

On the Eve of the Next Generation

XBox-One Horizon 1000This has been an important week for the gaming world. The Sony Playstation 4 was released and despite some issues is being heralded as a success. Its rival, the Xbox One is being released on Friday and with it the next generation of gaming is upon us. The flow of new games has already started with many, many more queuing up behind them. Along with these releases and announcements, there are the obligatory worries, criticisms and panics concerning what might or might not be changed or removed. There certainly has been a lot of talk. It is to be expected as this is the first major update to the two leading consoles in many years. The Xbox 360 debuted in May of 2005 and the PS3 in November of 2006. That same November saw the release of the hugely successful Wii console. Its replacement, the Wii U debuted last December but has not sold well in the U.S.

green line

(Selected) Total Gaming Platform Sales | 11/20/13

Pos Platform North America Europe Japan Rest of World Global
1 PlayStation 2 53.65 55.28 23.18 25.57 157.68
4 PlayStation 38.94 36.91 19.36 9.04 104.25
5 Wii 44.95 33.47 12.75 9.28 100.45
7 PlayStation 3 27.45 32.26 9.6 11.24 80.55
9 Xbox 360 44.86 24.87 1.65 7.77 79.15
16 Xbox 15.77 7.17 0.53 1.18 24.65
23 Wii U 1.64 0.87 1.15 0.27 3.93
Source: VGChartz.com | For more poll details

Many predictions have been made about the success of the new consoles and polls have been taken to gauge public reaction. I have written about what I consider unexplainable biases present in some of these polls in earlier posts. Cast Your Vote: Consoles and Cast Your Vote: Xbox One Anger – Is it Genuine? While understand that some of the policies initially presented at the Xbox One’s launch were received badly and that the One costs $100 more than the PS4, I consider these fairly moot points as Microsoft has rescinded the most egregious of the policies and the cost difference is easily lost in the enormous expense of buying games and peripherals. In any case, I simply cannot understand why so many who responded to the surveys were turned off by buying any new console.

green line

Poll of the Day | 11/10/13

With the launch less than two weeks away, do you plan to buy an Xbox One?

Yes, I’ve got one pre-ordered from a local store 2.58% 907
Yes, I’ve got one pre-ordered online 2.17% 763
Yes, I haven’t pre-ordered, but I plan to find one on launch day 0.56% 196
Not at launch, but I expect to have one by the end of the year 5.4% 1901
No, I don’t have any plans to get one yet 89.3% 31428
TOTAL VOTES 35195
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day | 11/09/13

With the launch just a week away, do you plan to buy a PlayStation 4?

Yes, I’ve got one pre-ordered from a local store 7.36% 2372
Yes, I’ve got one pre-ordered online 5.94% 1914
Yes, I haven’t pre-ordered, but I plan to find one on launch day 2.28% 735
Not at launch, but I expect to have one by the end of the year 23% 7417
No, I don’t have any plans to get one yet 61.42% 19805
TOTAL VOTES 32243
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

If these numbers accurately represent the gaming public, then I feel badly for Sony and Microsoft and for the industry as a whole.

Despite the GameFaqs polls, the industry is doing well. A recent report aired on NPR’s “All Tech Considered” stated that the gaming industry has grown to $20 billion a year – that is twice what Hollywood brings in. Some close to the industry expect this total to rise to $70 billion by 2015.

I for one am looking forward to the new games and new capabilities, but I can’t escape the feeling that the general gaming public is spoiled and jaded and expects that everything will be perfect at launch. They are ignorant of the fact that the consoles are not the money makers (as it was released this week that Sony spends $381 manufacturing each PS4 which they sell for $399) and that many of the new games do not fully take advantage of the power of the new systems.

For me, the Xbox 360 was a significant milestone for many reasons. It was my return to gaming after a long absence. It was my first gaming console since I was a teenager and most importantly, it is the console that my children are growing up using. When we purchased our first 360, back in 2006, my eldest son was five years old and my twins were three. My eldest took to it like water and I tend to forget just how well he did playing games, some of which are still challenging for adults today. I think of all three of them playing MotoGP 2006 with me. It is still a beautiful and excellent, but very demanding game and I doubt that they would put up with it today. As new games came out and the boys grew, they each found games that appealed to them personally and today they all have their specialties. There are still many new games that they all play together such as Minecraft and BattleBlock Theatre.

My first post, in fact dealt with this feeling related to Pixar’s ”Cars” games (Nostalgic for Cars) and I can easily think of several times when the boys and I all focused on a single game together. Past favorites included Castle Crashers, various Halo iterations as well as the music games, Rock Band and Guitar Hero

But the point is, I have literally watched my boys develop and grow using the 360. They have become better players and in many cases learned valuable lessons about how to interact with those sitting next to you as well as those with whom they play remotely. (My twelve year old now spends most of his time playing with friends on Xbox Live.)

So I am looking forward to the new generation and all that it its expanded technology can bring. The increased graphic capabilities, the levels of interactivity, the integration of the television all have potential to elevate the experience. It took six or seven years to get where we currently stand. I bet that looking back in 2020, when my boys are nearly independent adults, we will have a similarly nostalgic feeling for this time and this new generation of consoles.

Cast Your Vote: Xbox One Anger – Is it Genuine?

polls-cyan

I know that gamers are an emotional group with strong opinions but once again I just don’t believe the numbers. Spending some more time looking into what gamers plan to do concerning the upcoming new consoles I found more poll results that just do not add up in my head. The polls listed below are all found on gameFAQs.com, a site frequented by visitors with seemingly very negative views of the Xbox One and Microsoft in general. Perhaps it is only the PlayStation regulars that are voting. I simply cannot explain the results of the polls listed below and want to gauge in my own small way, whether this information truly reflects public opinion.

Beginning at the bottom of the page on 05/21/13 with the question “What are your first impressions of the Xbox One?” the audience seems vehemently anti-Xbox with nearly one-third voting “Just awful, it has nothing I’m interested in” and more than one-third more voting “Meh, I’m not that impressed with it”. Really? Two-thirds of the public vote negatively? Maybe my friends and colleagues are not representative of the rest of the gaming public. Fine, lets move on.

On 06/08/13 the question “Do you currently own an Xbox 360, and do you plan to buy an Xbox One?” is asked and once again the Xbox does not fare well. 35% of voters indicate that “Yes (they currently own a 360) and no, I don’t plan to stick around this time” and another 41% voting “No and no, Microsoft hasn’t won me over this round.” More than three-quarters of respondents count the new Xbox console out before it’s even on sale. Seems unusually high to me.

So maybe the voters are just negative about all of the consoles? Well, no not really. When asked on 06/09/13 “Do you currently own a PlayStation 3, and do you plan to buy a PlayStation 4?”, nearly a third voted “Yes and yes, I’ll be sticking with Sony in the next gen” with another 28% voting “Yes and maybe, I’m not sure I’ll move up to the PS4”. On 06/14/13 when asked “Have you pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One yet?” although the majority answered no about both consoles, the PS4 was the clear winner with respondents voting to buy one eventually 44% to 2%. Surprisingly, more than a third of voters stated that they would not be buying either at the moment.

Perhaps the issues were the connectivity and digital rights management (DRM) limitations that Microsoft first proposed at the reveal. These included a requirement that the Xbox go online every 24 hours and that users had to have an active network connection in order to play even offline games. Limitations in users’ abilities to share, sell and buy used games were also going to be imposed. On 06/14/13 the poll question was “After all of the outcry over the Xbox One’s online and used game rules, do you think Microsoft will back down before the system launches?” Again, its appears that Microsoft has a serious public relations problem with two-thirds of respondents selecting either “No, and it’s going to be a complete disaster” or “Probably not, because they’ll sell millions anyway.” Can you feel the negativity? Obviously Microsoft must have, because not long after that their (then) president of interactive entertainment Don Mattrick sent out the following:

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. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray…

So great, the users’ concerns were heard and changes were made. Problem solved, right? Apparently not even close. On 06/20/13 the question “How do you feel about Microsoft’s complete reversal on their online check-in and used game policies?” garnered another seemingly angry result with 41% responding “I’m amused, I’m amazed they tried such a dumb idea in the first place” and another nearly 30% voting “I’m suspicious, I still don’t trust them and won’t buy a One because of it.” Suspicious indeed. It seems as though Microsoft cannot win.

The next day on 06/21/13 the poll question “Has Microsoft’s reversal on the Xbox One’s DRM policies made you reconsider buying one?” received less than 10% positive feedback with 18% voting “A little, I’m not sold on it quite yet, but I’m warming up” and more than 55% voting “Not really, I’m still not planning to buy one”. To add insult injury apparently, nearly 17% responded “Not at all, I’m probably even less likely to buy one now.” “Even less likely”? How does that even make sense?

As I said, I understand that this is an emotional group and that there are strong allegiances to platforms and their related networks but where are the Xbox fans represented in these votes? Before you accuse me of being overly pro-Microsoft, please understand that at one time I was the first to accuse Microsoft of being the “Evil Empire” (a position apparently usurped by EA), but that was when Microsoft ruled the PC world with tactics that got them into trouble all over the globe. Things change. Markets change. Also, its not like Sony hasn’t had serious issues in the past as well. Maybe they were not of the same kind of problems, but has everyone forgotten the network hacking incident in 2011 when millions of accounts were compromised and the entire system was brought down? I am not here to knock either system, but to try to learn why there is such a strong anti-Xbox sentiment or really to determine whether it truly exists at all.

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/21/13

Has Microsoft’s reversal on the Xbox One’s DRM policies made you reconsider buying one?

I was planning to buy one anyway, so it didn’t change my mind 5.18% 1984
Yes, I was hesitant before, but I’m definitely getting one now 3.9% 1494
A little, I’m not sold on it quite yet, but I’m warming up 18.05% 6911
Not really, I’m still not planning to buy one 55.92% 21411
Not at all, I’m probably even less likely to buy one now 16.94% 6487
TOTAL VOTES 38287
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/20/13

How do you feel about Microsoft’s complete reversal on their online check-in and used game policies?

I’m thrilled, it’s good to hear they’re listening to gamers 10.46% 4736
I’m relieved, I couldn’t believe they were moving forward with this 12.28% 5562
I’m good either way, I was fine with the old policies before they changed them 4.44% 2009
I’m amused, I’m amazed they tried such a dumb idea in the first place 43.32% 19618
I’m suspicious, I still don’t trust them and won’t buy a One because of it 29.51% 13365
TOTAL VOTES 45290
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/14/13

After all of the outcry over the Xbox One’s online and used game rules, do you think Microsoft will back down before the system launches?

Yes, they’ll fold faster than Superman on laundry day 6.51% 2895
Very probably, they’ll back down sometime before launch 9.78% 4346
Maybe, but maybe they’ll just drop the launch price instead 15.82% 7028
Probably not, because they’ll sell millions anyway 33.84% 15036
No, and it’s going to be a complete disaster 34.05% 15131
TOTAL VOTES 44436
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/13/13

Have you pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One yet?

Yes, I’ve already got both of them pre-ordered 1.62% 776
Yes, I’ve pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 10.59% 5058
Yes, I’ve pre-ordered an Xbox One 1.39% 664
No, but I plan to buy both systems 2.22% 1061
No, but I plan to buy a PlayStation 4 44.24% 21137
No, but I plan to buy an Xbox One 2.25% 1077
No, I don’t plan to buy either console right now 37.69% 18006
TOTAL VOTES 47779
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/09/13

Do you currently own a PlayStation 3, and do you plan to buy a PlayStation 4?

Yes and yes, I’ll be sticking with Sony in the next gen 32.91% 15219
Yes and maybe, I’m not sure I’ll move up to the PS4 28.04% 12965
Yes and no, I don’t plan to stick around this time 4.99% 2309
No and yes, I’ll join Sony in the next gen 5.36% 2479
No and maybe, I haven’t decided anything yet 15.96% 7380
No and no, Sony hasn’t won me over this round 12.74% 5890
TOTAL VOTES 46242
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 06/08/13

Do you currently own an Xbox 360, and do you plan to buy an Xbox One?

Yes and yes, I’ll be sticking with Microsoft in the next gen 4.24% 1924
Yes and maybe, I’m not sure I’ll move up to the One 15.3% 6950
Yes and no, I don’t plan to stick around this time 35.52% 16138
No and yes, I’ll join Microsoft in the next gen 0.18% 81
No and maybe, I haven’t decided anything yet 3.42% 1555
No and no, Microsoft hasn’t won me over this round 41.34% 18780
TOTAL VOTES 45428
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

Poll of the Day  | 05/21/13

What are your first impressions of the Xbox One?

Just awful, it has nothing I’m interested in 31.19% 7656
Meh, I’m not that impressed with it 35.68% 8758
Interesting, but way too early to judge right now 22.52% 5528
Neat, I could definitely see myself playing one 7.88% 1934
Wow, just wow, it’s everything I hoped it could be 2.73% 669
TOTAL VOTES 24545
Source: GameFAQs.com | For more poll details

green line

%d bloggers like this: