Community Answers: Which platform will serve gamers best?

4 Posted by - June 13, 2013 - Opinion, Player Insight

We asked. The community answered.

A new hardware generation always scores high on the excitement meter — new toys, new games, promises of entirely new (and better) experiences. But they’re also frequently a moment of confusion and chaos as information drips out at the speed of continental drift.

Now, in the wake of E3, we have a few more answers than we did before. Microsoft’s Xbox, though still leaving a lot of questions marks, will require an internet connect and restrict the use of borrowed games. Sony’s PlayStation 4 will do neither. Both have an intriguing set of features and exclusives, and those aren’t even the only choices out there. PC games and Nintendo make this a four-way horse race for consumer loyalty … and consumer dollars.

That made us wonder who you feel is earning your trust and money the most. So we put the question to the Raptr community;

 

The spread of answers we got back was fairly revealing, and possibly even predictive of how this next console generation might go. But first, here’s the lone Nintendo booster we had;

 

Nearly everyone else put the house of Mario at or near the bottom of the list. Nobody seems to dispute the Wii U is a great device in and of itself, but it lacks a robust catalog of games people want to play on it. Nintendo practically advertised its lack of content by abdicating its E3 press conference this year in favor of a 40-minute Nintendo Direct video. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spent a good deal of those 40 minutes admitting that several games still needed work and were not ready to show yet.

As for the rest, it often came down to something like this;

 

Taken together, PC and PlayStation 4 enjoyed an almost one-on-one, prize-fight status for the loyalty and affection of the Raptr community. People on the Sony side had plenty of features (and non-features) to crow about.

 

While the PC gamers in the audience could hold two very big torches very high.

Curiously, nearly every positive mentioned for the PS4 came out during Sony’s E3 press briefing last Monday, suggesting that the increased loyalty to Sony’s upcoming console is a fairly recent development.

Over on Facebook, the PC/PS4 debate traded shots over exclusives, compatibility, prices, and feature sets. Lydia Fenton went PC-first, arguing that all other platforms will eventually become obsolete while, “the PC will still be upgradable, current, and useful.” Darrin Crenshaw, however, saw advantages to the PS4. ” No one wants to deal with DRM,” he wrote. “PC gamers have been fighting for lesser restrictions for years.”

Several others split the difference. “PC. Better value for money and more options,” wrote Stewart Gibson, one of many referencing Steam sales and other low-cost options. “If we’re talking consoles, then PS4.” Darrin Crenshaw agreed, adding that he planned to hang on to his PS3, get a PS4 for its exclusives, and go PC for everything else.

Microsoft, by its own admission, still has a lot of educating and outreach to do. Still, that didn’t stop several people from trying to inject a sense of reality (true or not) into the proceedings.

 

And indeed, Microsoft has maintained its stance of building an always-online, “future proof” box as necessary to move the industry forward. “XBox is going to have the most stable online,” says Lonnie Ard on Facebook, “with larger lobbies gearing toward future MMO gameplay. Add in the entertainment factor, hands-free exercising, and voice commands: I’m sold. PCs cost too much to maintain, PSN will let hackers get your info and shut you out for weeks at a time, and I just laugh at the Wii.”

Brandon Coleman agreed in terms of the online experience. “Xbox One, ’cause they’re putting a stop to modders and hackers,” he wrote. “No more getting sniped with a shotgun.” Joshua Robertson actually liked the Xbox One’s television voice controls best and thought the PS4 looks “hideous.”

But Xbox One supporters are clearly in the minority, and Microsoft’s future-now philosophy hasn’t picked up much traction. Indeed, when Sony announced their console would take the opposite approach, the Xbox One’s policies started driving customers straight to their main competitor. “PS4…from a lifelong Xbox user,” wrote Chris Fehrenbacher on Facebook.

Paul Benjamin put it even more bluntly. “MS insists on taking away my rights as a consumer.”

 

Ruthie Duppass ranked the choices thusly: “PC, PS4, Wii U, and toss that XBox One in the trash. I will stick to my 360 and just not play Xbox One exclusives.”

If that strategy becomes representative, as it frequently did in the responses, then Microsoft faces a real problem. Even PC gamers — who have long lived with the restrictive, DRM-enabled nature of digitally downloaded games  — overwhelmingly rejected the Xbox One’s value proposition due in part to its DRM policies. Even its stellar line-up of games has been overshadowed by what many feel is a consumer-unfriendly approach.

That’s a perception Microsoft must somehow either change or overcome before the Xbox One hits store shelves this November.

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