Game Console Problems: Why I’m Leaning Toward Xbox One

microsoft-xbox-one-4842_610x407The internet is buzzing with next gen console talk after the Xbox Reveal today. I can’t outshout it, but I do have a few problems with today’s consoles that need fixing — not to mention some improvements I would like to see in my next gen console. The question is, will the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One solve more gaming problems?

Problem 1: Slow Downloads

I often feel like I spend way too much time waiting for games to download. First, I wait for a game demo to download. Then I play the demo. If I like it, I exit the demo, find the full game, purchase it… and wait for it to download. This process can take hours.

PS4’s Answer: Thanks to Gaikai’s streaming technology, the PS4 will let you start playing games even while they’re still downloading — meaning you don’t have to wait for it to download in full before you launch it. Success!

ps4 try it now
PS4 to feature “try it now” demos — no download necessary.

You’ll also be able to stream the demo — specifically, a certain portion of the game (probably the beginning) –and if you feel like purchasing the full game in the middle of the free demo, you can do so and continue playing. There’s no need to exit the demo and start over.

Xbox One’s Answer: Although the Xbox Reveal didn’t go into downloading/streaming technology, its cloud service will allow instant updating of games, according to its FAQ site. That means there shouldn’t be a need to wait for downloads if you’re using the cloud service — making it comparable to the PS4.

Problem 2: Turning on Consoles is a Chore

Maybe I’m spoiled here, but I always feel like turning on my Xbox 360 is something of a process. I have to get up, push that button, wait for the 360 to warm up and launch (very noisily, might I add), and finally scroll around to find the game I want to play and, you know, wait for it to launch. (Yeah, I’m definitely being spoiled about this.)

Xbox One’s Answer: The Xbox One and its Kinect sensor will let you use voice commands and motion controls to speed things along — and yes, things are going to move much faster than before. For instance, to turn on your Xbox, you can just say, “Xbox on,” and it will recognize your voice to bring up your profile. Next, you can scroll from one page to another just by waving your hand. Instant switching lets you switch between games, TV shows, and movies seamlessly (or so the staged demo showed).

PS4’s Answer: The PS4 didn’t show off this kind of technology. As long as it turns on and loads faster than previous consoles, I’ll be happy… but for how long?

The Xbox One definitely has an edge here when it comes to encouraging me to be a spoiled couch potato. And in the long run, its voice and motion commands could make it a revolutionary console. I’m not even into Kinect games, but I’m still loving the voice and motion controls.

Problem 3: No Multitasking Capabilities

Sometimes when I’m playing a video game, I want to instantly look up something about it, such as the name of a voice actor or how to get through a tricky puzzle. (Yeah, I cheat sometimes.) It’s frustrating to have to look up that information on another device — or, when playing on my PC, minimize the game screen to do an internet search separate from the game.

Xbox One, Snap mode.
Xbox One, Snap mode.

Xbox One’s Answer: the Xbox One has a fantastic multitasking feature called Snap mode, which is my favorite thing about the console so far. You can activate it with voice commands or use motion controls to physically “grab” the screen in the air and make it smaller, then do an internet search or take a Skype call in the side bar.

PS4’s Answer: The PS4 will also have a multitasking capability, but we haven’t seen much of it yet. It will have an easy Suspend/Resume feature, letting you pause at any part of the game, leave the screen, and come back — but I’m hoping it will also let you do activities in a side bar area, like the Xbox One, so I don’t have to minimize the game screen completely like I do on PC now.

Problem 4: Socializing is Difficult… Especially on Game Consoles

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most sociable gamer, but part of the problem is not being able to find friends easily on current gen consoles. And I’m sorry, I sort of hate gamertags. It’s like Myspace back in the day, before Facebook cleaned everything up by having people use their real names. (Wow, what a concept!)

PS4 Profile Page
PS4, profile page.

PS4’s Answer: The PS4 will let you make your own profile page with your real name and photo, helping you find real-world friends to add to your network. It sounds like a social network very much in the Facebook vein, but with an emphasis on what we all love in this corner of the world: games. Maybe it won’t be that different from what we already have, but here’s hoping real pictures and names are encouraged enough to make finding friends a breeze.

Next, the “Share” button will allow you to show screenshots and even gameplay footage to your network. (But don’t worry about spoilers; game developers can make certain parts of the game, such as those major boss fights, locked from sharing.) You can also share footage on networks like Facebook and Ustream, or do real-time streaming so your friends can watch you play — a very Twitch.tv move there.

Xbox One’s Answer: Xbox One also has a social aspect, but it seems to be about multiplayer matchmaking, creating a larger community, and helping you find recommendations — more like a Netflix service than a personal social network. Nancy Tellem, Microsoft entertainment and digital media president formerly with CBS, calls the Xbox One a “water cooler.”

xbox one
Xbox One, home page.

The Xbox One will have pages of what’s trending and personalized recommendations for games as well as TV shows and movies. It’ll keep track of all your favorites. Meanwhile, cloud technology and 300,000 servers — that’s 20 times more servers than the Xbox 360 has — will allow more participants in multiplayer matches and a better matchmaking system. You’ll also have a dedicated DVR to let you capture gameplay footage.

I like everything the Xbox One is offering — especially the personalized recommendations, etc. — but not being a multiplayer person, I’m more interested in the PS4’s more personal approach to socializing and sharing. The PS4 will also predict what game you’d like and load it for you the next time you turn on your console, so the Xbox One doesn’t necessarily have the advantage in the personalized games recommendations department.

The Bottom Line

The PS4 and Xbox One have a lot in common when it comes to the major gaming problems I have, and frankly, both consoles are going to offer incredible improvements over current gen consoles. I’d like to get both.

But for now, I’m leaning toward purchasing the Xbox One for these reasons:

— Voice and motion controls (fingers crossed that they work well!)

— Snap mode multitasking in the side bar

— Bringing all of our entertainment together for easy access

Now, I know some people are complaining about the Xbox One focusing too much on entertainment besides video games, but I don’t view this as a negative thing. I mean, one of the draws of the PS3 is its Blu-ray player, right? (And the Xbox One has caught up there; it will feature Blu-ray!) Sure, we already have TV and DVD players, but if Xbox One wants to bring all of our entertainment onto one piece of equipment for easy access, I’m all for that.

Graphics quality is another potential tie-breaker, but since I already play on PC a lot, I’m not overly concerned with that on my console. Of course, what we’ve seen from the PS4 in that department is gorgeous. I love it. But if Xbox One has more features I care about, then graphics will come in second for me. And just because Xbox One hasn’t revealed a lot about its graphics doesn’t mean it hasn’t improved them, too… It just means we need more information.

Now it’s time to see those exclusive games for each console. I’ve always been an Xbox gamer, but the number and quality of PlayStation exclusive games has often made me feel like I’m missing out. I want to play Journey, Uncharted, and Ni no Kuni whenever I want. So if the PS4 continues this tradition of excellent exclusive games, I might have to go with the PS4.

Otherwise, unless E3 reveals something major, Xbox One will be the next gen console I purchase… first.

— Ashley

14 thoughts on “Game Console Problems: Why I’m Leaning Toward Xbox One”

  1. Nice write-up. I was a Day 1 adopter of the Kinect so I’m really pumped to see what they’re doing with the next iteration. Has the PS4 mentioned anything along the lines of Xbox’s party system?

    1. I’m not sure about that with the PS4. I think they did it with Vita, so I bet they’d carry that over to the PS4… but I haven’t heard anything about it yet.

      Yeah, I’m really excited about the Kinect capabilities. I don’t use it with games much, but I think the idea is perfect for navigating on the Xbox. Super futuristic, too. =)

      1. Yeah, it definitely feels more futuristic. I’m curious what xbox changed about the social aspect. You’ll note that, in the demo and in all screenshots, the social tab is missing. There’s empty space to the right of the menu. They also glossed over how you will share what you DVRed. My gut tells me they’ve added some new features to Xbox Live’s social component and that we’ll be seeing that soon.

  2. I’ll be going with the PS4, for sure. It’s not that I think it’ll be significantly better than XB1, but I’m happy with Playstation. I’m invested with PS. I’ve got a Vita, Move, and those are both going to be a part of PS4. The games themselves won’t be compatible, but the series that I’m familiar with will likely continue on PS4. I think it really just comes down to preference and I prefer Playstation.

    1. Yeah, since I’ve always leaned toward Xbox, so far I haven’t seen anything about the PS4 that makes me want to switch from one side to the other in the console wars. Maybe a bit like you with PlayStation… so I agree that it does come down to preference! Also, I am excited to see what the PS4 ends up doing with Move.

      I’m pretty sure I’ll get the Xbox One first… and then if I feel tempted by all the PS4 games or awesome graphics or something (depending on how that all goes down), maybe I’ll get a PS4 as well. Bye bye, money. =)

  3. I came away the Xbox One’s press conference a lot differently than you. A lot of those features just didn’t do much for me. But really MS fights an uphill battle with me because they lag behind Sony’s internal studios from both a quality and quantity standpoint which means (in my opinion of course) Sony has been winning the exclusive games battle fairly easily for the past two generations (especially with devs like Bioware and Bungie being multiplatform now). I’m curious about those “15 first year exclusives including eight new IPs” Microsoft touted in the conference. I suppose Forza 5 and Remedy’s new game are two of those (I’m definitely interested in the latter as a fan of Alan Wake), but hopefully E3 will shed some light on the others.

    1. That’s so true, the PlayStation exclusive titles have been the biggest temptation for me to switch from Xbox to PS… but I just haven’t yet. After the PS4 reveal this year, I figured I’d go with PS4, but a lot of what was featured in the Xbox One conference won me over (surprisingly, considering most people were not impressed!).

      Definitely eager to see the exclusive titles for the Xbox One, like you said. I do think Microsoft really bombed the conference today and should have shown games more people were interested in… even if it was just a teaser here or there so they could save the best for E3.

  4. It’s a good read and I can see where you’re coming from. Ideally, I’d like to get both but that’s not going to happen this year for sure.

    Sony has built up a lot of goodwill with me. PSN is great as a free service, and I do subscribe to PS+ which has been a fantastic value. Sony has also randomly put funds in my PSN account outside of the “spend X amount and get $20 credit” specials they do. Not to mention the many exclusives that the PlayStation brand has.

    I’m definitely going PS4 day one. I wasn’t impressed at all by Xbox One reveal, but will withhold judgment until E3. It’s all about the games, and I want to see these 15 exclusives they have lined up for the first year. If it’s a lot of Kinect games, I’m not interested.

    Sony, at their conference, was more about the games and the people who make games. My take away from Xbox One is that Microsoft wants me to watch TV and wants me to think it’s innovative that I can talk to change channels or wave my hand around like its hard to use a remote. Thing is, there are Smart TV’s that are reasonably priced for the most part that already do all this. Samsung has great ones that Smart TV’s with plenty of apps (Skype, Twitter, Browsers, etc.) that is voice or motion controlled.

    Just seems a bit unnecessary to me in age where TV’s already do a lot of this stuff (and I know, most folks don’t have these smart TV’s yet and I don’t either), or phones and tablets that double as second screens.

  5. I think it will be interesting especially as we find out more about the two consoles. Personally I’ve always been a Playstation person, but since watching the Xbox One release, I’m definitely considering it. I think it will come down to pricing and what will perform best as a games console. I feel that perhaps the new Xbox is trying to do everything instead of focusing purely on the gaming aspect. But we will see.

    1. I agree. From the conference, all I got was, “Hey, we do tv now, fantasy football and movies” I don’t want any of that stuff. I hope they were just focusing on that in the conference to get non gamers interested in the games console, and perhaps we will hear more about what it does as an actual games console later on.

      I’ve always been an Xbox fan though, I own a PS3 and an Xbox, but my PS3 is now gathering dust. I like multiplayer though and most of my friends have an Xbox.
      Like you, cost and performance will be the thing that sways me, and I’m definitely not making up my mind until we have more details.

      1. Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what the Xbox One has to offer after we hear about the games at E3. And I agree that pricing will be a big factor.

        I kind of feel like if Microsoft has two places to talk about the Xbox One — the initial reveal and E3 — it makes sense that E3 is for games, and that leaves the initial reveal as the best time to talk about all the other features. So I’m crossing my fingers that E3 shows off the Xbox One as a gaming console first and foremost! Personally, I love the other features too, but I can totally understand some gamers not being interested in them.

        1. Yeah my xbox is set up to my laptop, and a monitor, not my main tv, so I couldnt use those services even if I wanted to. Although I hear Xbox one has it’s own DVR, if it does, and it’s good, that would negate the need for me to have it hooked up to my laptop. We’ll see :D In any case, I’m looking forward to the time we know a lot more.

  6. When comparing the two consoles you have to remember that one is a entertainment console (xbox) and one is just for gaming tbh (PS4) so when looking at the side of bringing entertainment together then xbox all the way. Personally myself I’m a PS4 girl and thats just because my brothers played it so I have, I do like the aspect of being on a game/ film and talking to a friend, but graphics is more important to me.

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