Monday, January 13, 2014

Thoughts on the current Console War at this early stage

It's good to see a lot of ads for Playstation in Metro Manila. There's this gigantic streamer over at Glorietta today with details on their upcoming PS4 launch tomorrow. I guess if you're a big Sony fan here in the Philippines, times are good. Almost every bit of news out of the gaming press and forums is positive for the Playstation brand, but most of it is positive because of its potential for great games. Great games have not YET arrived for the PS4 but because of things like theoretical perfomance measurements, and comparisons between multiplatform games, it seems the Playstation 4 is winning.

But until we actually see more 'must-play' games, the PS4's success isn't guaranteed yet. At least, in my humble opinion.

On the Xbox front, locally it looks tough for them because of the higher price tag, but out of the gate they have some games considered as 'AAA' by most gamers. Games such as Forza 5 and the latest Dead Rising are pretty high profile in the sense that their past iterations did very well with both game reviews and sales. In the Philippines, though, i think the Xbox is gaining a little traction not because of those games but because of Kinect games like Dance Central. This is purely anecdotal, but mostly I see people here buying Xboxes for games like Dance Central which have a lot of family appeal. It's hard for me to tell if people see the Xbox as the console for FPS games, considering that the same FPSes are on the PS3 already. But then again, it's hard to conclude without any numbers on this.

The Wii U might not be doing very well, at least from my observation, simply because the stores here don't even stock the latest major Wii U releases. I purchased Assassin's Creed 4 a few weeks ago for the Wii U. Thing is, the local shops didn't even stock the Wii U version even if they import from the USA and the game has been out for the Wii U in the US for a long time since then. They only stocked it around after December 25 which is a bit strange, considering that if they want to sell the Wii U hardware units they have in stock, they OUGHT to have had AC4 stocked as well, if only to give people a good reason to even buy it. A lot of people say that Nintendo players only buy Nintendo games on Nintendo platforms, and maybe that is true, which is why Wii U is not doing very well everywhere; the third party support just isn't there. But first party releases from Nintendo for Wii U continue to show that the system is worth buying, because Nintendo games provide an experience you just can't get anywhere else.

The console wars are underway, though there's just too few 'next gen' games on all the new platforms to decide any real winner. You will see a lot of people rooting for one side or another, and that's just the way these things start out. The best part is only probably going to happen after one or two years, when we finally see a more solid lineup out of all three platforms.

I'm severely tempted to buy an Xbox One because of Forza 5 but part of me doesn't want to get it yet because it's so expensive, and there are really just a few games for it. And being a family man doesn't make it any easier to find time to play more games. I guess we'll have to wait and see, then.