Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My next gen platform preference...

The decision may surprise you, or it may not...

For a long time I was really leaning towards the PS4. Is that still my system of choice?

Maybe, kinda... I mean it's certainly a very strong contender, outperforming the Xbox One time and time again in both frame rate and resolution in 3rd party games. You can upgrade the HDD, I have a 1TB Hybrid HDD in mine and it loads really fast. It's also worth noting that even with the standard drive it comes with, the PS4 is much faster at loading games than the Xbox One. The controller is by the best controller I have ever used. Remote play with the Vita. PSN is now as good as Xbox Live (and better than XBL on Xbox One). The video/picture sharing feature is fantastic and PS+ is the dogs bollocks. And it's a $100 cheaper than an Xbox One!

And to be honest, Killzone Shadowfall is quite possible the best looking game on any system. For me it even beats out Crysis 3 on PC most of the time (unless you are running Crysis 3 with some insane graphics card and downsampling).

Everything really seemed to be lining up to make it by far my preferred platform for the next 5+ years, in the way the 360 was for the last 7 years. Which brings me to the Xbox One...

After a very unimpressive start the Xbox One has finally been stepping up of late, firmware updates have finally made the online party system serviceable. It's still not as good as on 360 but it is getting there. They patched out the awful over sharpness filter it was using on sub-1080 games (that's most of them!). Despite being very disappointed at first, the controller has grown on me a lot, now it's second only to the PS4's DualShock 4. It already has the gameplay suspend feature that PS4 is still waiting for. Meanign you can turn off the system and when you turn it back on in 2 days (or whenever) you can resume from where you last left off, as if you had left the console on the whole time. And maybe one day the Kinect will be useful for something other than frustratingly unreliable voice controls (although probably not). And Titanfall just came out, and it's awesome.

What about PC you may ask? Well if you have the money, the PC has always been the way to play the latest games with the best graphical settings and get the best gaming deals. But in the past it has lacked the best feature of the consoles. Easy multi-player, standard centralised hub for your games/friends. Things like that. Well over the last few years Steam has taken care of that, easily matching consoles now. And I can play Titanfall at 1080p60fps on it, Which destroys the rather unimpressive performance on the Xbox One, which only manages 792p and and very unstable 60fps.

And thanks to Nvidia, a PC with a high end graphics card now has all the very best features of the next gen consoles too. With a decent Nvidia card you can use Shadowplay to capture your gameplay videos, and the Nvidia Shield gives you the same remote play features as the PS Vita!

So with a combination of Pinnacle Game Profiler and the awesome DS4 tool, I can now use a DualShock 4 on my PC and use a simple button combination to capture my screenshots and gameplay videos even more easily than I can on the PS4 or Xbox One! And with other tools like the cloud file service Pogoplug, I can even have them auto upload to the cloud for easy sharing!

Maybe this has always been the case and only recently have I spent the time and money to get a good enough PC to handle my needs. But I have to say that the PC master race is where gaming is at.

Of course the two biggest drawbacks are those time and money requirements. Getting your PC setup in a way that simplifies your experience to the level of a console takes a little commitment and a few more hoops to jump through. Especially if you are going to do it right and build it yourself.

And more importantly as expensive as an Xbox One is, I would say you really need to be dropping at least $800 on a gaming PC. Sure you can build a budget PC that will outperform a next gen console for around $600 (that damn Windows License really adds to the cost), but you would be crazy not to spend that extra $200 to get the most bang for your buck and avoid needing to upgrade sooner.

My PC clocks in at around $2000, and it trounces my PS4 and Xbox One. Luckily I was able to spread the cost out over several months adding little upgrades here and there. My latest purchase is a 5.1 sound card to bring the sound quality up to snuff with my consoles and a Bluetooth dongle so I can play using the insanely awesome DualShock 4.

I am absolutely head over heels in love with my PC. By far my favourite gaming platform, and the fact that I can and will upgrade it a little every year, means it will be the king of my gaming life for the foreseeable future.

But as I said, it takes a commitment to be part of the PC gaming master race, and if I lacked that time and money then the PS4 is an outstanding alternative that comes incredible close to offering all the same benefits of experience that a PC does at a fraction of the cost. The Xbox One however really needs to step up its game.

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