SIE’s PlayStation 4 Pro hits retail this week with a consumer proposition that is as confusing as it was two months ago when I first posted the article below. With PlayStation’s latest overly-reliant on 4K TV ownership, which has yet to achieve any significant level of penetration into American homes, and confusing jargon like “HDR” that takes hardware marketing to a new level of minutia, it seems like the Pro will be appealing to a VERY small audience – possibly smaller than that of PlayStation VR (which looks to have sold, LTD, roughly 250,000 units on a global basis.) In any event, get ready for a bunch of software patches and warm market media debate/side-by-side comparisons on a pixel-by-pixel basis as the week unfolds…
About two months ago, I replaced my aging GTX 660 GPU in My Alienware X1/R2 with the new GTX 1060 from NVIDIA. The 660 had done an admirable job over the four years that I had it, even… just barely… handling VR through my Oculus Rift DK2. The 1060 was a game changer and prepared my PC, with the 391 games that currently rest on its HDD, for the next few years of high-resolution and VR gameplay. It also took me about 15 minutes to install and get it up and running without a single issue or glitch.
Two days ago, Sony Interactive Entertainment officially announced the price and availability of the ‘PlayStation 4 Pro” – the company’s attempt to boost the PS4’s spec’s while maintaining compatibility with the 43 million PS4’s that are currently out in the wild. You know… like replacing the GPU on your PC. The Pro is set to hit the market on November 10th – just a few weeks after PSVR starts making its way into early-adopters’ hands – at a price of $399 – the same price the base PS4 launched at in November, 2013.
So, riddle me this, Batman – with day one patches, HDD swaps, DLC and now platform life-cycles that are being dramatically shortened, what is the difference between consoles and PC’s? The answer? Over the course of the next few years… almost nothing. With the announcement of PS4 Pro, the well-etched line in the sand that divided console owners from the “PC Master Race” has been obliterated. In reality, this has been coming on for some time. PC’s have become easier to use, upgrade and modify, while consoles and their ecosystems have become more complex.
And, I just upgraded my PC to a spec similar to what is going to be offered with PS4 Pro for significantly less money than the cost of Sony’s platform evolution. The times, they are a-changin’.
I am one of a small group that is fortunate enough to be able to own all major consoles, a decent gaming PC and VR and, for the first time since I started playing my Amiga 500 more than my SEGA Genesis, I am spending the majority of my gaming time on PC – and I am not the [...]
For the week ending 10/1/16, two more sports have made their way up the rankings in the latest VGChartz Top 10 list (USA.) 2K Sports’ latest NBA game and EA’s latest version of European football have combined with the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Madden to claim seven of the ten slots for sports titles (eight if you include “Forza Horizon 3.”) Although, from my POV, what makes the week special is the inclusion of a game with the words “Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls” as part of the title… pure genius.
Best-Selling Games (USA) for the Week Ending 10/1/161. (PS4) FIFA 17 2. (Xbox One) FIFA 17 3. (PS4) NBA 2K17 4. (Xbox One) Forza Horizon 3 5. (Xbox One) NBA 2K17 6. (Xbox One) Madden NFL 17 7. (PS4) Madden NFL 17 8. (3DS) Yokai Watch 2: Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls 9. (Xbox 360) FIFA 17 10. (PS4) Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
It’s All Just SO Intense! And The Microphone Holding Dudes Are Just SO Cool… I Think I Need Artisan Facial Hair and a Tat!
In a word…
Yes, it does look like Nintendo did enough with their new console/handheld hybrid to ensure that third-party software is not an issue – mainstream GPU, and a fairly “normal” controller (well… Nintendo Normal.) But, let’s face it – at this point in time in video game history, your average gaming enthusiast is not going to purchase Nintendo hardware to play what we can safely assume will be slightly watered down versions of CoD, GTA, Dishonored, Madden, etc. (when compared to their PlayStation, Xbox and/or PC brethren.)
So, leaving their main gaming platforms and making the switch to Switch is not going to be within the realm of probability for most gamers. Once again, and without any compelling reason for mass-man to join in on the fun (as they did with the original Wii), my belief is that the Switch will be (if Nintendo is lucky/smart) relegated to “second system” status and that its relative success will be almost entirely dependent on the quality and quantity of first-party software.
The new Zelda is already a foregone conclusion. The Switch teaser trailer offered a short, generic Mario game and not a whole lot else. How willing is Nintendo going to be to dip into their bag of under-utilized IP’S (here’s looking at you “Metroid Prime” series) and to nurture new IP’s more befitting an adult gamer demographic (if they can even remember how to do that?) And, can they put a new face/spin on those series’ that they have gone back to time and again to give them a reboot (here’s looking at you “Mario Kart” series?)
No, I think it is safe to say that there is not enough in what we have seen of Switch to make gamers switch. And, only time will tell if Nintendo’s first-party software development studios are up to the task this time around. They failed miserably with the Wii U and that wasn’t too long ago – their customers are still feeling the sting of that purchase decision. A strong offering out of the gate, with a clear road map of year one releases, could make their path to second system success a little easier to navigate and make Wii U consumers a little more forgiving/excited. But, without a strong lineup and a lack of vision on the software side of things?…
… consumers might just flip this particular Switch off.
Did Nintendo Learn Their Lesson? Will New IP Be a Priority? Will They Give Gamers ANY Reason to Make the “Switch?”
I used to be a big-time sports video game player. Hell, back in the day, I even contributed to the design of SCEA’s original “MLB Pennant Race” on the first PlayStation, the NFL GameDay franchise (same publisher/same platform) and a few others. Sports and racing games were my two biggest passions in gaming. But, that was some time ago, and I honestly have to say that, in 2016, I can’t be bothered to play the latest and greatest that the genre has to offer. I mean, the games don’t really change much, do they? With graphics display technology leveling and robust features lists negating the need to upgrade every year because there is something employed that makes you want to jump back in, I simply have grown tired and bored by the latest Madden, MLB: The Show and NBA 2K. Truth be told, the only sports game that I actually do play (and absolutely LOVE) in 2016 is “Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings” on PC. But, I also realize, in the US at least, that these games still push a decent number of units every late Summer/Fall and that consumers seem content to pay 60 bucks for the latest rosters. The latest VGChartz Top 10 list (USA) is verification of this. The 2016 versions of Madden, NHL and NBA 2K comprise six of the ten spots for the week ending 9/17/16 and manage to do what hasn’t been done (at least to my recollection) in a very long time – knock Grand Theft Auto V off the list (don’t worry… it will be back!)
Best-Selling Games (USA) for the Week Ending 9/17/161. (PS4) NBA 2K 17 2. (Xbox One) NBA 2K 17 3. (PS4) Madden NFL 17 4. (PS4) NHL 17 5. (Xbox One) Madden NFL 17 6. (Xbox One) NHL 17 7. (3DS) Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past 8. (Xbox One) ReCore 9. (PS4) The Bioshock Collection 10. (PS4) Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
The Cav’s With Rings… LOL – Jewelery Should Have Gone to the NBA’s NYC Executive Team – #DubsGotScrewed