Why I’m Sitting The Console Wars Out for Now


Hi, everyone. I like to play video games. Like, a lot. Like, in my mid-thirties and have played video games almost every day of my life for about as far back as I can remember a lot. Every single console generation beginning with the Atari 2600 has had a representative in my home during its heyday, and I see no reason that needs to stop.

Anyways, since nobody likes Nintendo anymore except for widdle diaper babies (note: I am joking) and people who want to play last-gen games this gen, the big fight is between two heavyweight contenders battling for the souls of hardcore gamers: Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One (not the first Xbox, but the third…I know). The claws are out, battle lines are drawn, South Park and George R.R. Martin are involved, and Black Friday is coming. Brace yourselves.


You’d think I’d be super-excited. These are several of my favorite things. I should be deciding what console I’m buying RIGHT NOW. But honestly, this is one battle I just don’t feel the need to fight. Maybe I’m too old or too broke, or perhaps it’s because I have a history of gaming bliss with both companies, but I don’t really feel like I have a stake in this. I am curiously apathetic towards this new generation of hardware. But why?

For one thing, it seems a lot like more of the same ol’ same ol’ with slightly better graphics and a few bells and whistles that aren’t really of practical value to me. They seem to have focused so much on console functionality in terms of consolidating television, DVD/blu-ray, internet, social media, and all that into one heap that they A) forgot to make any games and B) didn’t bother to make sure that the hardware consistently works. Isn’t it funny that the more technologically advanced we get, the less often stuff seems to function like it should?

Come on, Sony and Microsoft; it’s like you don’t even lift. In my day, you didn’t launch a console until you had enough great games on deck to justify the purchase and a timeless classic usually came bundled with it right off the bat. And it only cost a nickel. In addition to all that, they actually worked! No red rings, and no blue lights. After several years, the screen would occasionally flash blue upon startup, prompting you to blow into the game cartridge for some reason, but damn it, the thing worked when you got it!


Way better than mailing my Xbox 360 back for refurbishing THREE times.

Am I going to spend half a grand on a console whose most innovative functionality is a spycam that is designed to observe your behavior for the purpose of selling the information gathered to third parties? Prolly not. No tin foil hats here, either; Microsoft seriously patented this concept and is charging consumers $100 more than their competitor for the pleasure. And both consoles are leading the next-gen charge with mostly current gen games. So you’re saying I can pay hundreds of dollars more to play the same game with slightly shinier graphics? Really? Can I, please?

I guess what it really comes down to is I have an Xbox 360 and I have a PS3. Both have crazy deep libraries of brilliant games, multimedia functionality including Netflix, and look like a million bucks. I’ve still got lots of games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Wolf Among Us, Lightning Returns, Watch Dogs, Blazblue: Chronophantasma, and Destiny to look forward to, and even when the AAA titles stop coming, there are dozens of smaller XBL and PSN games that are screaming for attention and HD remastered versions of PS2 classics I missed out on.

Plain and simple: I am not in any rush. I think there is a legitimate case to be made that this has been the finest generation of gaming for all involved. Something for everybody and three excellent choices to deliver the goods to them, depending on personal preferences. This is the console generation that settled the “can games be art” question for good and games like Heavy Rain and Halo 4 delivered graphics that made you squint to see if you were looking at video of real people and not just collections of pixels.


I was actually compelled to hold an umbrella over my television at this point.

In short, I suppose I feel like gaming has gotten as good as it’s going to get for now. No, I’m not pledging never to purchase an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4, but I am declaring my present apathy towards either option. As much as folks with PC gaming rigs may scoff, I’m actually more interested in seeing more of Valve’s Steam Machine at this point. At least it’s something different, has backwards compatibility (in that it’s all digital), and will most likely have series like Portal, Half Life, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress behind it. Sony and Microsoft have barely as many exclusive series of that quality combined.

What I need to get behind a new generation of gaming is not more powerful hardware, but exceptional software. I don’t care about the brand, and I don’t care about superfluous multimedia features; what is going to sell me on any given console is the games. When the next Mass Effect title comes out or if something new comes along that looks truly mind-blowing, I’ll be forced to break the bank and choose a new console. But for now Sony and Microsoft can make due with all of my meh.


Sorry, guys, but I need serious bang for my bucks, and right now that doesn’t appear to be a part of the next-gen menu. So what I’m going to do is step aside and let you guys argue about true high definition and frame rates and theoretical future must-play titles while suffering through failing units and the absence of promised features among other typical early adoption risks.

For those of you who’ve had a great time with the new consoles, feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Any little anecdotes or observations regarding the next generation of gaming that may have escaped me would be welcome. It may not be soon, but at some point, I’m going to join you so I’d appreciate the sharing of first-hand knowledge from real gamers. Who do you think has the better console?

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  1. I bought a Wii last week. There, I said it. Feels good to get that off my chest. I’ve been playing The Last Story all week (in between Sports Resort table tennis matches). Next is Xenoblades Chronicles and then Zelda Skyward Swords. So far zero microtransactions and zero social media integrations. In fact I disconnected it from the internet after one system patch.

    1. Well a lot of gamers are looking at the Steam Machine and saying “what’s the point? You either buy a console or you buy a PC.” But I want the best of both worlds. I love the design of Valve’s controller, I love the Steam service, and I love the convenience of consoles. If they can make it all fit together and make a decently-priced PC/console hybrid work, I’m all for it.

  2. I think you’re a bit blinded by nostalgia. Consoles have never had good launch titles. Consoles are rarely quantum leaps ahead of their predecessors, they are usually iterations on a quality design. And while the endless argument over specs and performance seems inane, it really is important. Power always has been.

    1. Games like Super Mario Brothers/World/64, Duck Hunt, F-Zero, Virtua Fighter, Panzer Dragoon, Turok, Halo, CoD 2, and Twilight Princess might argue on the no good launch titles point. Historically there’s at least one killer app on any given console launch that isn’t a PlayStation.

      Like I said, I could care less about power. I want games. All of the horsepower in the world isn’t worth a thing to me if there’s nothing for me to do with it that I can’t already do on my current consoles other than flail my arms to browse my Netflix queue or get Skype calls while I’m trying to enjoy a game. I’m sure they’ll get to where I’d like them to be eventually, but for now they aren’t even close.

    2. I beg to differ strongly: Let’s see the launch linup of some of our favorite consoles:

      Wii: Wii Sports. That game alone did more for videogames than most other games combined, it opened them up to a COMPLETELY new audience. And it sold hardware like crack.

      PSX: Virtua Fighter. This showed everyone how awesome 3D fighters could be.

      Dreamcast: Soulcalibur. A the time it was an arcade-perfect port of one of the best fighting games to date, and it had a shitton of extra content.

      XBox: Halo. After GoldenEye opened consoles to shooters, this one cemented them as AAA console titles.

      N64: Super Mario 64. The first 2d platformer franchise to make the leap to 3D and a gloriour leap it was. It cemented most of the tropes of 3d platformers we still use today and take for granted, like camera controls.

      NES: Super Mario Bros. Just like Mario 64 defined 3D platformers, this one defined what 2D platformers would look like for the next decades.

      Gameboy: Tetris. Bundling this instead of Mario was probably the smartest move Nintendo ever made. They took the handhelt market with this and never let it go again. Plus it was an addictive game for all ages (as first party Nintendo games often are).

  3. I’ve been predicting another game industry collapse for about a year now. Why?

    Well, because I have 50 + games for my X360, and I think I’ve finished one of them. I have 30 more PC games that I haven’t finished either.

    The industry has been reliant on “The next” for too long. The next Halo, COD, Battlefield, etc…

    I think that consumers will wake up soon, and realize that they don’t need to buy a new game to continue to have fun. This shi(f)t is too expensive.

    1. The software is well within most of our price ranges, but that initial hardware investment is becoming a beast. I’m guilty of always looking for something new, but my view there is that if I haven’t played it, it’s new to me so I’m not necessarily driven to buy the hot new thing. The industry is doing too well for an imminent collapse, but I do think that success may breed poor business habits and eventually make it so topheavy that it may happen eventually. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  4. This is a pretty weak launch software wise for both sony and microsoft. There is a few titles that look pretty good but nothing that makes me want to pay 5 or 6 hundred dollars to play it. It’s amazing how long it’s been since the last gen systems came out and this is the best they can come out with. How can everything still feel rushed? I suppose there will never be a launch title like Super Mario 64 again.

  5. The funny thing is that is that if either machine was backwards compatible I probably would have bought it because even if there weren’t enough new games I could have played my existing library of games but because there’s no backwards compatibly there’s no point in buying it until there’s enough games to choose from and by then they’ll be cheaper.

  6. Hiya!

    My brother got a PS4 during launch so he gave me his PS3 since he was “not going to be needing it anymore.” Sucker!

    Then again, I’ve been playing too much Grand Theft Auto: Online and I think it’s warping my mind.


    1. You made out! Now you’ve got crazy amounts of games to play and your brother’s got…the new CoD, I guess? NBA Live and 2K14? There can never be such a thing as too much GTA and a warped mind is a beautiful thing.

      1. Hiya!

        I never really played video games this much until I got my own console! Nowadays, I can’t seem to get enough of GTA: Online.

        And I used to be a such a sweet and innocent girl! 🙂


  7. Here are my impressions from the sucker who bought both.

    Killzone is AWESOME graphically speaking but same ol` same ol` linear corridor shooter which I enjoyed nevertheless. I also picked up Knack but never played it. Ryse is awesome graphically but has the worst gameplay that I can remember… Dead Rising 3 is fun.

    I enjoy PS4 more because the interface is just smoother and the controller feels better (its also a bit more powerful).

    Ehmm. With that being said, I’ve been playing PS3, VITA, 3DS and Wii U FAR MORE than either of the next-gen systems and everyone probably knows why: GAMES!

    Zelda: Link Between Worlds, Wind Waker HD, Wonderful 101, Super Mario World 3D, Beyond and many others (including imported games such as God Eater 2).

    PS4 and Xbone are not backwards compatible and don’t even have half of these games on them so in terms of value, I would probably opt for the older systems for the time being if I was looking to purchase something.

    For those on the fence, STAY on the fence. There really is nothing to justify the purchase right now.

    I still play the Last of Us and Pandora’s Tower! Can’t find Xenoblade Chronicles anywhere!

  8. I have the wiiu ,360 and ps3 and I’m waiting it out. wiiu is getting better slowly but surely and psn has plenty with plus, Xbox is slowing becoming nothing but my 3ds picks up the slack of all the systems. What is a ps4 or xbox1 ? an extention of the ps3 and 360 lol.

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