The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Xbox One vs. PS4: Games Galore

Juan Ramon Cancio Vela | Wednesday, November 13, 2013

For those of us who did not receive a next-generation gaming console from Target before launch day due to distributor error, the wait will soon be over. The Play Station 4 and the Xbox One are set to release on November 15 and 22nd, respectively. In a previous article, I attempted to summarize the very few hardware differences that these two consoles will have; however, now we will concentrate on what will truly differentiate these two systems: the GAMES!
With this new generation of gaming consoles, Sony and Microsoft are squaring off head-to-head on a level playing field for the first time. The new systems have essentially identical hardware, unlike the last generation. Therefore, what will probably make or break these consoles will be the exclusive content they offer and the ability to attract consumers with distinct, interesting games that distinguish themselves from their competitor’s content.
This means games offered at launch or within the “launch window”, from November to around April or May of next year, will be particularly important to these two companies. Interestingly, as evidenced by the list of confirmed titles that will be launching alongside the new systems as well as the list of games that will be released within the launch window, the two companies clearly have unique ideological approaches with which they hope to drive their sales.
Microsoft is seemingly concentrating on releasing fewer exclusives overall than Sony, announcing that around fifteen exclusive games will be coming out between launch day and the supposed launch window. Although there may not be too many games coming out within the launch window, most of the already announced games seem to be franchise worthy heavy-hitting blockbusters assuming they aren’t already part of a successful franchise, such as “Forza 5.”
Sony is employing the opposite approach by choosing to concentrate on releasing many exclusives within the launch window, as many as thirty-eight games, but with a focus on probably shorter Indie-style games. This has clearly been Sony’s plan since the Play Station 4’s inception, since they have been collaborating with many of the industry’s most important developers to design the console’s architecture from the ground up to facilitate the creation of these independent games.
Another interesting difference between the two companies’ focuses is that Sony will be releasing five different Massive Multiplayer Online games, but Microsoft has not announced that they will be releasing any games for this genre. This seems like an interesting move, because the focus of these games is usually to create a self-contained world that fosters a strong feeling of community among the players within this world, but perhaps Microsoft is not releasing any such games because they feel their online Xbox Live community is a large enough source for this feeling of cohesion.
The one exclusive game coming out for the Xbox One that the public seems most excited for is “Titanfall.” The game centers around a future war in which soldiers are able to fight by using giant “Mechs” to command the battlefield, but who also have the option to use the jet packs strapped to their person as a tool to facilitate dynamic warfare and thereby enable the battle to be fought from above and below the enemy Mechs. This game took this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) by storm. It was the recipient of over sixty awards including a record-breaking six E3 Critics Awards. The future seems to hold a lot of promise for this game, and it will no doubt be one of the crowning jewels of this coming launch season that ensures the Xbox One sells very well. In the racing genre, Microsoft can surely expect heavy demand for “Forza 5,” which will be competing directly with Sony’s racer game “Driver Club.” Lastly, another great game that will surely drive sales for Microsoft is “Ryse: Son of Rome.” The game follows Marius Titus, a Roman general on a quest for revenge.
As for Sony’s most anticipated exclusive game, it depends on whom you ask, since their roster of games is so Indie heavy. Fans of Massive Multiplayer Online games may be most excited for “Warframe,” a game where you are a space ninja fighting against an oppressive force known as the “Grineer,” a constantly spreading force attempting to conquer your solar system. The interesting caveat about this game is that it will be offered free with a Playstation Plus subscription, which is equivalent to an Xbox Live subscription. Among the four blockbuster games that Sony has announced will be available before the launch window ends, the most anticipated game may very well be a tie between the two blockbuster exclusives available at launch, “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and “Knack.” Killzone is the next iteration in one of Playstation’s most important franchises and Knack is a brand new game that has struck a chord with the public. A close second to these two games would probably be “Drive Club,” which was supposed to be available at console launch but has unfortunately been delayed to early 2014.
In the end, it seems we will all definitely profit off from this recent console war no matter what system you end up buying. Prediction: Sony starts on top since it is being launched first and is coming in with good momentum, but in the long run Microsoft overtakes Sony for the number one spot.
Contact Juan Ramon Cancio Vela at
[email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.