An Xbox gamer and a PlayStation gamer walk into a bar. The place immediately burns down due to a flame war.
Think about it: what really makes you happy in the world of gaming? Is it a satisfying kill in a first person shooter or the thrill of finally garnering that unattainable achievement or trophy you’ve worked tirelessly to acquire for days and months on end? While I garner enjoyment from a wide array of gaming experiences, I do find that my interests have changed over the years. What used to thrill me before is quite different now. In my old age, I can tell you that beating a game or successfully completing a challenge doesn’t hold the same appeal to me unless I know there is a significant payoff. Otherwise, I just see it as a waste of time these days. Is it because I’m jaded? Have I been around the industry so many decades that I’m like a vampire whose lost interest in the world because I’ve existed in it for so long?
I wouldn’t go that far just yet. I can still point to one aspect of the gaming industry that still gives me shivers down the spine: a new console launch!
Now, I’ve advocated in the past that (with hardware like the PS3 and Xbox 360 on the market) blowing $400-$500 on next-gen consoles at this juncture may not be all that necessary. I still stand by that statement, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less stoked about the new tech that continues to push our industry forward. For me, Christmas comes early during a launch year like this one, as I just love the spectacle and excitement surrounding it.
Does that excitement last? How long before the new wears off and we brush the ordinary aside?
I think a recent survey taken among both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 users clearly illustrates just how temperamental our gaming brothers and sisters can be. The data was collected just a few weeks after the launch of both consoles and asked gamers to rate their satisfaction on scale of 1-10. While a good majority (about 2/3rds) rated there experience in the 8-10 range, a significant portion of the survey did highlight a group of those who would simply not go above a 7 (and some even less). Now, I’ve spent the last several months neck deep in data regarding both systems, consuming every last morsel of info I could. Since their launches, I feel I’ve had the opportunity to mold a fairly informed opinion regarding both. As a result, I have arrived at one simple question I must now direct at those low-scoring individuals of the survey: “WHAT THE F*CK else could you possibly want from your game console you miserable pricks?!”
OK, Sorry. Lost my cool there for a second.
While I regain my composure a bit, I still leave the question on the table. While they both have their flaws (minor as they might be), these consoles are solid steps in the right direction. Granted, there are exciting new innovations on the horizon (like break-throughs in the VR market for example). However, for two companies to encompass the best of what the tech market has to offer currently, I can’t really see what stones they’ve left unturned up to this point. If they were determined to bring these consoles to market now, at least you can say that both do a pretty good job of encompassing the best in show of 2013 and beyond. The problem is, as I outlined above, the blasé attitude that is so common place now. People don’t stop to admire the wonders of what the market currently has to offer before their off to the next thing (and this attention span is ever-shrinking among consumers).
Another main point worth noting from the survey is that PS4 fans seemed typically more satisfied overall than Xbox One users. Frankly, this speaks to a serious character defect in both camps. I find that (typically) Xbox users are much more difficult to please. I mainly contribute this to Xbox fans coming from more of a tech oriented and PC based background. This naturally lends itself to a “connoisseur” attitude, where they find themselves more “in the know” than your average gamer. At times, they can set the bar so high, not even Superman himself could vault it. On the flipside of that coin is the uninformed Sony Fanboy. I find the Sony/PlayStation brand itself to be typically the most popular in a crowded room (mainly because it appeals to the lowest common denominator). I’m not calling Sony fans stupid, mind-you (send your flame mail to P.O. Box: Calm-the-F*ck Down). What I’m saying is that not everyone takes the time to make informed decisions regarding their game purchases. The result of the Sony brand itself being so powerful, people end up leaning in their direction as kind of a default position. They may not even realize that the competitor’s product is more suited for them, and vice-versa.
Personally, I wish CheatCC would hold a focus group containing the handful of people who scored both their Xbox and PlayStation systems in the sixes and below. I'm truly at a loss as to what a game company could possibly do in order to satisfy them by this point. Aside from their consoles transforming into a combination grilled-cheese/peanut butter fudge maker (who would then “service” them in ways you don't even wanna' know about), what else would it take to bring them around?
In 2014, I’d truly love to see those gamers unlock the ultimate achievement. It’s the one that Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson would call being “happy, happy, happy” in the next-gen.
Yeah, and I’m sure it’ll come right after they all finish feeding their unicorns.