Out of control
Consoles commence next gaming generation
Jay Benedict | reporter
Sony and Microsoft have unleashed their newest gaming consoles just in time for them to kill students’ productivity during the busiest time of the semester.
Sony’s Playstation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox One were released a week apart, with Sony striking first. Since then, PS4 sales have exceeded 2.1 million units as of Dec. 1. Microsoft has yet to release official numbers, but a spokesperson said it sold more than 1 million in the first week.
“What console you own has become a little like political parties,” said Anthony Marcano, master’s in communication. “We go back and forth over which one is better, but it all comes down to personal preference. I was raised on Playstation, so that’s what I bought, but there were other factors.”
Several PSU students contributed to those sales and factors like hardware, brand loyalty, price, console exclusives, social features and versatility were deciding factors.
Jeff Linville picked his Xbox One up at the midnight release.
“Both consoles sold more in 24 hours than previous generations did a month,” said Linville, master›s in business. “It’s a much bigger customer base now and this shows the power that the medium has gained.”
Linville says he went with Xbox for several reasons, but the versatility was one of the biggest.
“I’ve always had an Xbox, most of my friends play Xbox, but this console does so much more,” Linville said. “They’re reaching into the living room. This isn’t just a 10-year-old playing Mario. The whole family can use it.”
That’s where the difference between the consoles really is. Many of the specifications are similar. PS4 has a slight edge in processing power, graphics and Wi-Fi capabilities, and costs $100 less, but Microsoft tried to make a machine that could rule your living room.
Michael McFarland, freshman in political science, echoed Linville’s brand loyalty, but to Sony.
“I’ve always had a Playstation, and it was cheaper,” McFarland said. “The hardware capabilities and the controller were a real selling point. It feels amazing and it has a touch pad.”
The hardware advantages are important to Jordan Bailey. He says the current games don’t fully showcase the potential the PS4 has, but looks forward to seeing it.
“The increased fidelity of the games is instantly noticeable and the fluid gameplay feels amazing,” Bailey said. “Battlefield 4 has so far been the most impressive, with PC-sized 64-player matches and no hitch in the frame rate.”
Marcano agrees to an extent.
“‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’ is beautiful on the PS4,” Marcano said. “The hardware in the PS4 is better, so why would I pay more for an Xbox that isn’t as powerful?”
Linville says the graphics on his Xbox are fine.
“‘Ryse: Son of Rome’ really showcased what it can do and it was gorgeous and immersive,” Linville said.
Both systems come with a Blu-ray player and have online services that allow access to services like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The Xbox One goes beyond this, though. Every new console comes with a new generation of Microsoft’s Kinect that enables user recognition and voice command. It also allows the user to run its cable box through it. Linville says this is the Xbox’s coolest feature.
“I can say ‘Xbox, watch Comedy Central’ and it switches to that channel. If you are playing a game, you can watch TV at the same time in a smaller screen on the side,” Linville said. “If you play fantasy football, Microsoft made a deal with the NFL. You can watch football, and have browser window open on the side with your team and live updates.»
The bottom line here is that video games have become a huge cultural and economic force. The most recent Call of Duty game sold more than $1 billion in the first 24 hours. No other title in any other medium can boast anything close to that.
These early adopters at PSU will be joined by countless others, and slowly, but surely, video game consoles are expanding beyond being just the box the “10-year-old playing Mario” that Linville mentioned. They’re multimedia social devices entire households invest time in.
“I’ve been playing games all my life, and it’s insane what’s going on now,” Linville said. “Each console has its strengths, but both are huge steps forward.”