Are We Ready for All Digital Consoles? January 30th, 2014

There are reports that Microsoft is going to be releasing a $399 1TB all digital version of their latest console, Xbox One. Apple has already phased out optical drives in their computers, but are we ready to go fully digital on a console? Microsoft announced the Xbox One with a lot of unpopular features which were later changed, but if you look at those unpopular features and the fact that the Xbox One was originally not going to have a disc drive at all, you can see where Microsoft was headed.

An all digital console would mean that used games would no longer be possible. It would also mean that there would no longer be services like Gamefly. You could probably still buy games from stores like Walmart via a QR code, but then you would also be able to get it from Amazon and enter the code, it wouldn’t make sense to do it that way. You would no longer be able pick up games that are on sale on Amazon or during a Black Friday sale either. Unless of course, Microsoft positioned themselves in a way that gave Amazon and other retailers the ability to make their own Marketplace.

We all know games that weeks after its releases, while Gamestop, Microsoft, and Sony still list a game at $60, Amazon has it around $40. Imagine if Microsoft gave Sony codes for games that you could go on your Xbox and choose to buy it from Microsoft directly, or look on Amazon and download it right from an Amazon app to your Xbox. Imagine if you paid $8.95 a month and you got 1 game a month on Gamefly through an online rental app. Sound far fetched? Maybe, but it is what Sony and Microsoft would have to do if they were to go all digital to prevent a significant crash in the video game industry.

Gamestop couldn’t/wouldn’t stay open if all they sold were consoles and accessories, games are their bread and butter. How many people would be repeat customers there if all they sold was consoles? Close to none. Bring them to the digital age and give them a game store similar to the Microsoft Store and you’d be able to buy a code in a physical store then take it home and download the game. You could even give Gamestop the power to buy game codes back and deactivate the code under your account and resell it. Microsoft could then make money off of used games.

With Microsoft making money off used games and developers not having to manufacture discs or packaging, then the price of games could be driven down. If game prices drop then players will be able to buy more games and that is a win for everyone involved. Cheaper manufacturing would also mean Steam like sales on consoles.

Are we ready for all digital game consoles? Right now, absolutely not. If Microsoft launched with an all digital console in November without any of this prep work in place it would have been disastrous. If the reports are true and Microsoft is releasing a digital only version of the Xbox One, then we should be seeing some of this come to fruition. Amazon already offers digital game downloads for Sony, so if Microsoft is serious about pushing us to the next level, they will need to get to the same point with Amazon as Amazon is at with Sony, if not closer to the perfect digital partnership.

In any case this is most likely the last generation of consoles with an optical drive, so it is hard to imagine that ideas aren’t being thrown around by department heads about the best way to approach an all digital system and which partnerships to make. Only time will tell if it will pan out, though.

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Will There Be A Next Gen GTA5? January 14th, 2014

The internet is swirling with rumors that the PC release of GTA5 will be delayed due to updates being made to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. There’s only one problem with that, the PC version hasn’t even been announced yet, so how can they delay something with no release date? In short, they can’t, however what they can do is hold off on announcing a release date until the game is almost ready to ship.

Both Grand Theft Auto 4 and Grand Theft Auto 5 were pushed back, the former was supposed to be released in the holiday season, with it then being pushed to the Spring and the latter was supposed to be released in the Spring and was pushed to Fall. Even with the delay of GTA5 there were still numerous problems with the online portion of the game. It was hard to connect to GTA Online for almost a week for me and then even after I was able to finish the first race, there have been numerous problems reported. People having unlimited funds is a huge problem in the game right now. With all these problems it would make sense that Rockstar would hold off on releasing any other versions of the game until they were just right, whether that means that the online portion is working flawlessly, or just means that the textures don’t disappear when you are driving at about a hundred miles an hour or so.

The biggest question is does Rockstar need to worry about putting GTA5 on PS4 and Xbox One? The newly announced Playstation Now will allow gamers to stream games to their PS4, so even gamers who got rid of their PS3s will be able to play the game and any DLC that comes out for it. Xbox gamers won’t be so lucky as they haven’t, as of yet, announced anything to rival the service. If you traded in your Xbox 360 for a PS4 you will be fine, but if you traded it in for an Xbox One, you’d be out of luck. Would Rockstar release DLC for a last generation game if the game’s population decreased not because of people playing other games, but people getting rid of their consoles?

Grand Theft Auto 5’s DLC has been a little slow. Since launch we were promised content creator, capture the flag, and heists. Content creator and capture the flag were released months after they were promised, with heists coming sometime in 2014. Also coming in 2014 is a stock market, which now seems pretty useless since everyone has pretty deep pockets due to hacks and exploits found, along with story based DLC.

Overall it seems that Rockstar made a huge gamble releasing GTA5 so close to the console launches, but in the end the move paid off. If they don’t release GTA5 on the PS4 and Xbox One then there multiplayer presence is going to continue to dwindle down to the point where GTA4’s DLC (Lost and Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony) will have sold more copies than the story based DLC for GTA5 and considering the game’s beaten numerous records, it’s pretty sad.

Update: This image started circulating, I am not sure where it came from, but it appears that at some point it was listed on Amazon for PS4. Could this mean we are definitely getting GTA5 for next gen?GTA5 on PS4

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PS4 vs. Xbox One vs. Wii U Comparison Chart September 18th, 2013

Hardware Comparison Chart

Feature PlayStation 4 Xbox One Wii U
Price $399.99 $499.99 $349.99 / 299.99
Release Date US: 11.15.2013 EU: 11.29.2013 11.22.2013 11.18.2012
Optical Drive Blu-ray/DVD Blu-ray/DVD 25GB Optical Disc (Proprietary)
Game DVR Yes, PS+ subscription not required Yes, with subscription to Xbox Live Gold No
CPU Single-chip x86 AMD “Jaguar” processor, 8 cores 8 Core Microsoft custom CPU Tri-Core PowerPC “Espresso” CPU
GPU AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine w/ 1152 shaders 853 MHz AMD Radeon GPU w/ 768 shaders AMD “Latte” 550 MHz GPU w/ 320 shaders
Peak GPU Shader Throughput 1.84 TeraFLOPS/s 1.31 TeraFLOPS/s (estimate) 0.352 TeraFLOPS/s
Storage 500 GB Hard Drive (user removeable) 500 GB Hard Drive (non-removeable) 8GB or 32GB Flash
External Storage TBA Yes, USB Yes, USB
Cloud Storage Yes Yes No
Play As You Download Yes Yes No
Remote Download Yes Yes No
Account Access from Multiple Consoles Yes Yes No
Mandatory Game Installs No Yes No
Required Internet Connection No No, but required for mandatory day one update. No
Used Game Fee No No No
Digital game sharing or gifting No No No
Feature PlayStation 4 Xbox One Wii U
Backwards Compatibility None None Yes, Wii
Cross Game Chat Yes Yes No
Controllers PS4 Dual Shock (1 included) Xbox One Wireless Controller (1 included) Wii U GamePad (included), Wii Remote + Nunchuk (sold separately), Pro Controller (sold separately)
Controller Batteries Rechargable (built-in) AA (2). Rechargable battery packs (sold separately) GP & Pro: Rechargable (built-in). Wii Remote: AA (2).
Motion Control DualShock 4, PlayStation 4 Eye (not included), PlayStation Move (not included) Kinect 2 Wii Remote (sold separately), Wii U GamePad (included)
Second Screen Vita (not included) Playstation App SmartGlass (devices not included) Wii U GamePad (included)
Voice Commands Yes (scope, TBA) Yes No
Subscription Service PlayStation Plus Xbox Live No
USB USB 3.0 (2 ports) USB 3.0 (3 ports) USB 2.0 (4 ports)
Live Streaming Yes Yes No
Reputation Preservation Trophies will be ported Achievements will be ported N/A
Web Connection Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5Ghz) Gigabit IEEE 802.11 b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5Ghz, LAN via USB dongle
BlueTooth Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR) No Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi Direct (for Device Connection) No Yes Yes (for GamePad video streaming)
A/V Hookups HDMI output (4K Support) Optical output HDMI input and output (4K support), Optical output HDMI out, Component/ Composite out
IR No IR out, IR Blaster (Kinect) IR Transceiver (GamePad)
Power Supply (PSU) Internal External (power brick) External (power bricks)
Near Field Communication (NFC) No No Yes (GamePad)
Region Locked No No Yes


Online Feature Comparison Chart

Online Services PlayStation 4 Xbox One Wii U
Online Game Play Paid Access Via PS+ Subscription Paid Access Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription Free
Netflix Free Access to Application Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription Free Access to Application
HBO Go None TBA None
Skype Possible Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription None
ESPN None TBA None
Hulu Plus Free Access to Application Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription Free Access to Application
Game DVR Free Access to Application Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription None
Streaming Game Video Free Access to Application TBA None
Web Browser Yes Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription Free Access to Application
NFL Application None Paid Access to Application Via Xbox Live Gold Subscription None


Console Bundle Comparison Chart

This chart compares the physical contents of the launch day bundles of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. Other console comparison features are outlined above.

Feature PlayStation 4 Xbox One Wii U
Pack-In Game Playroom (Requires PlayStation Eye, sold seperately) None Nintendo Land (included in Deluxe bundle)
Controllers DualShock 4 Wireless Controller Xbox One Controller, Kinect Wii U GamePad
Headset Wired Mono Earbud Wired Mono Headset Not included
AV Cables HDMI Cable HDMI Cable (Cat2) HDMI Cable
Charging Cables USB Charging Cable Not included Wii U GamePad Charging Cable
Camera Not included Kinect Wii U GamePad Camera
Trial Subscription All PS4 owners get 14 days of PS+ All Xbox One owners get 14 days of free Xbox Live N/A
Colors Black Black Black, White

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