I have been a gamer all my life. I have fond memories of getting my Nintendo and playing Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda after school. I grew up on Nintendo. Once I became a teenager, I switched to PC gaming. It offered graphics that neither Nintendo or Sega were able to accomplish. I didn’t come back to console gaming until the Dreamcast was launched. I still remember looking forward to picking it up on 9/9/99. From there, I was excited by the Xbox and its ability to connect to my friends easily through Xbox Live. This is where I stayed, happy with what Xbox was offering until recently. I reassessed why I was gaming on Xbox instead of Playstation and ended up switching to PS3, PS4, and PS Vita as my primary consoles and these are the reasons why:
1) Exclusives – With the consoles offering close to the same experience, there is very little that separates them. Exclusive games are one of the main ways that Microsoft and Playstation differentiate themselves. When looking at the catalogs; Xbox had Halo, Gears of War, Forza, Fable, and little else. Playstation has God of War, Uncharted, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear, Resistance, MLB: The Show, Wipeout, Killzone, Gran Turismo, SOCOM, Racket & Clank, Little Big Planet, inFamous, Journey, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls…you get the point. Sony has 13 first party studios creating games only for Playstation. I realized I was missing too many games I wanted to play by only playing Xbox and Microsoft wasn’t offering very many exclusives to stay.
2) Price – I didn’t buy a Playstation 3 when it came out because it was $600 at launch. I didn’t buy a PS3 until it dropped its price down to $250. It was always more expensive than Xbox until late in the console cycle. With the launch of the new generation of systems, Sony is the one that is cheaper this time. It made my decision that much easier when a PS4 is 20% cheaper than a Xbox One.
3) Remote Play – As someone that lives with a non-gamer, this feature is priceless. I’m able to play my PS4 on my PS Vita while my spouse watches TV. The PS Vita is my favorite handheld I’ve ever owned. The screen is absolutely gorgeous and with the dual analog sticks, finally able to play games like on a console. Sony is also offering many games via cross-buy and cross-save to be able to buy once and transfer saves between the handheld and console. Without a handheld, Microsoft isn’t offering anything like this feature.
4) Community – Most of my friends are on Xbox Live and this was the one reason I would stay on Xbox. However, the rest of the community on Xbox Live is mostly hateful, which creates a negative experience. I can’t tell you how many times I heard people called names, girls insulted as non-gamers, and racist, bigoted statements from players. I noticed on Playstation Network, while I do run into that behavior occasionally, most of the people are not only friendly, but welcoming to their community. There seems to be more adult gamers on PSN then Xbox Live which I believe helps with better behavior online. Specifically, the Beyond! community (a Playstation community based around the same named Playstation podcast) is the best I’ve ever been a part of.
5) Gaming focused – As Xbox ventures into offering ways to control your DVR and television, Playstation has remained focused on the gamer. They want to be the system for gamers by gamers. Xbox feels more corporate, more driven by the bottom line. Sony seems to take more risk, giving developers money and time to create their vision. They are also reaching out and bringing more indie developers to the Playstation platforms.
Before the torches and pitchforks come out from the Xbox fanboys, let me say that I will go wherever the games are. Whichever company I feel is focused on what I want out of a gaming console gets my money and business and right now, I feel that company is Sony. I can see myself getting an Xbox One eventually but at $500, there just isn’t enough of a reason at this time. I hope Microsoft gives me that reason because that would mean the gamer is benefiting, which is all I’m concerned about. Until then, see you on Playstation Network.