slide1 slide2 slide3 slide4 slide5

A Journey Through the Seventh Generation Video Game Consoles

By Alexander D Martinez

I've been playing video games my whole life. It all started with a Commodore 64 when I was just 3 years old, when my parents saw my love for games and fed my ambitions. So here we are in the new year (2014) and the Eighth Generation consoles are out: Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita. They are exciting. They are sleek. They are impressive. But are they worth getting as soon as they come out?

I'm not going to argue with those who want to get them on Launch Day, but the recent launches of the PS4 and Xbox One made me start to believe it might be best to wait until the NEXT next gen consoles come out before purchasing THESE next gen consoles. Reasons? I've got a few.

The first one is obvious: the price tag. While it's not going to cost you an arm & a leg to get one, the price isn't exactly on the cheap side. I remember paying $500 (minus tax) for one of the first PS3's. They were big and bulky but that meant they had super power! It was fun and cool to have one, but it didn't feel more than a year later they were thinner and cheaper. If I could have waited a year, I could of had one for $200 cheaper. Now it's not a big deal to some people, but upon retrospect, I could do some things with that $200. Most likely I would of lost it betting on long shots at the track but still, I missed out on adding another memory to my life! It may not sound like a big deal, but quickly these reasons start to snow ball.

Like the next reason: options for games. When you buy a next gen console on or close to launch day, you don't have many titles to select from. And I certainly can't think of any breakthrough games that came out specifically for that system on launch day. Take the Wii for example. When it came out, you got to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess right off the bat. But the difference between the game on the GameCube and the Wii? You got to swing & point your remote on the Wii and the maps were completely opposite. That's it. The graphics were the same, the enemies were the same, Link yelling when swinging his sword was the same. The reason? The game was originally made for the GameCube. When the Wii was coming out, they just added two weak features and that was that. You could make the argument that it was still cool, but when Skyward Sword came out, you could see the capabilities of the Wii come out in full force. Twilight Princess looked like child's play in terms of maximizing the Wii's controls (the game itself actually kicks ass and rivals Ocarina of Time & A Link to the Past in terms of best Zelda games ever in my opinion).

Okay, back to the topic. This is just one of many examples of the types of games coming out on launch day. They mostly are games that are ports from the last generation of systems or games that haven't maximized the new system capabilities. And you don't have that many to choose from. And as you know, video games can sometimes be a dime a dozen and finding gems can take time. You generally have to wait months for a good selection of games to come out and wait even longer to have a good collection of top-notch games to choose from.

Going back to when the Wii came out, I was excited about Metroid Prime 3, but after that, what were my choices? Not much. After awhile I just stopped looking and focused only on names I recognized (Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda, etc.) About 2 weeks ago I went through the titles just for the Wii system and couldn't believe the bevy of games I missed out on! Now it's my fault I didn't pay more attention, but it goes to show how much first impressions can make.

Now let me ask you, are you better at playing games the first time through or the second time? How about the third time? I already know the answer, the more you play, the better you get. This applies to almost everything in life. So why do we expect so much flawlessness on launch day? There were lots of reports of PS4's and Xbox One's not working right out of the box. In terms of percentages it's low you are going to have problems. But what if you do have a problem? Ask all the people who got PS4's on launch day and they didn't work. They had to call Sony, be put on hold because many others are calling on launch day with "issues" such as not being technologically savvy to sync their controller to their console. Then they had to spend an hour going through every possible way to get the PS4 to work. When it doesn't work, they then had to wait for Sony to ship them a box to get it fixed or get a new one, which could take weeks. It was a hassle. So while the odds are you're going to have a good system, this is still a possibility. To me, it feels like it's better to wait it out as the console makers figure out how to perfect getting the console from the factory to your hands with as little issues as possible.

Last but not least, as technology improves, so does the console. But now you have to pay extra, rather than getting it in updated bundles. PlayStation 3 came out with Move. Xbox 360 came out with Kinect. The Wii came out with Motion Plus Controllers. The Nintendo DS came out with a larger screen, 2 cameras and an Online Store. The PSP came out with bigger storage and a microphone. Some things could be added on, some you had to buy a brand new system. The point is, if I would of waited, I wouldn't of had to spend all that money to get all the cool features. Instead, I've just donated tons of money to Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony while I'm salivating and crying at all the new features I can't have unless I want to spend more money.

The bottom line is this: to me, it's better to wait than to buy right away. If I wait for a generation to run it's course, I'll have a ton of great games to play, I can get consoles with all the best features, I can get games and consoles at great prices, to me it's win-win-win. I'm not going to argue with those who want to be on the cutting edge, but for me that time has passed. I've spent too much money being on the cutting edge only to see today's technology get passed by tomorrow's in the blink of the eye. I'm okay with letting new technology get perfected over time, at which point I can enjoy at a cheaper cost.

In the meantime, let's enjoy the great games I, and possibly you, missed out on during the Seventh Generation of consoles! Feel free to come along for the ride!

PS4 Vs Xbox One - Which to Buy?

By Benjamin Hopes

With the initial frenzy and hype for the launch of these two consoles now died down and being widely available to buy once more, the big question put in front of you is, which do I buy? We aim to take a look at the pros and cons for both and give you an idea of where to put your money for the best gaming experience.

Sales to Date
Both consoles launched with all the usual hype, leading to demand much out weighing supply. This led to most people not being able to get their hands on a console until January 2014, which is now common place in tech launch days. Both Sony and Microsoft reported over one million units of their console being sold on launch day. This doesn't give much insight into who is doing best. If you look at the latest sales figures released, Microsoft say the Xbox One has sold 3.9 million units. This compares to Sony, who released sales figures on 4.2 million units. That's a difference of only 300,000, so not a lot to compare here. Both companies, unsurprisingly, are predicting increased sales will continue for a time to come.

The basic Xbox One unit has been priced at £429 and the PlayStation 4 at £349. That's quite a difference in starting prices, but what do you actually get for your money? Both come with the basics to get you started - console, power cable, HDMI cable, controller and a headset. The Xbox comes with the Kinect 2 bar; the PlayStation's alternative Camera is going to cost around £55. The question over both of these additional devices is will I use them? Only time will tell, but at least there is an option to buy at a later date with the PS4, whereas you have to pay the extra regardless with the Xbox.

Click here for free trial!

Both machines launched with a poor variety of games. Since the launch the games released have been very similar. This does not look likely to change at the moment, with only the Xbox being able to boast Halo above anything the PlayStation will release.
A big problem with the PlayStation 3 was the price of the software needed to develop games for the machine. This meant that games were proving costly to develop compared to the Xbox 360. Sony has identified this as an issue and has been affectively lending out the software to developers in the hope of more games being developed for their machine. Microsoft has not changed their policy on this and do not divulge the cost of their software. Sony's approach may prove a long term winner, but we will have to wait and see.

Neither machine is backward compatible, so you cannot play your old favourites whilst waiting for the big game launch. However, Sony did reveal at launch a cloud gaming facility streaming older games, called PlayStation Now. With the release in the US expected in the summer, everyone will have to wait and see how this will work.

The Console Itself
Both machines are of higher spec than their predecessors, as you would expect. Side by side they look familiar - same storage, both have Blu-Ray drives, both have Wi-Fi. However, the raw power of the PlayStation, combined with its superior graphics capabilities, put the Xbox behind the PlayStation. The big question is whether developers will take advantage of this extra power and release superior games on the PlayStation. Only time will tell, but history does show that developers do not always take advantage of extra power.

Online Service
Microsoft established with the Xbox 360 their online service known as Xbox Live. This required a monthly subscription and proved fairly successful. Sony, on the other hand offered this service free with the PlayStation 3. Microsoft will continue to provide the Xbox Live service with the Xbox One. Sony has introduced PlayStation Plus, which has an annual cost of £39.99 to match that of Xbox Live.

Computers, Tablet PCs, Laptops, Headphones, Software, Gaming, Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, Mobile Phones and much from Alegol more

User Interface
Both have their own unique setup and PlayStation users will argue they prefer their system and Xbox users will argue they prefer theirs. It really comes down to what the user prefers. The addition of Social Media uploading will appeal to some, but gamers will want to play the games and not necessarily want to post on their Social Media account about progress. Therefore, many people see this as a useless gimmick.

The Kinect 2 does give the Xbox an advantage here. The hands free and voice activation system are a large plus and it appears this is the way the technology is going. However, this is a games machine and modern televisions come with these types of features anyway. A games machine is what most people will want, so the additions will be seen as a gimmick, especially after the initial usage has worn off.

The Verdict
You have to say both machines are very evenly matched and both look excellent. Sony appears to have gone down the more direct gaming route and Microsoft have gone out to produce an all round machine. The initial teething problems of the Xbox may well have put some off, especially taking sales figures into account - albeit not by much.

All that said a gamer will want a games machine. This seems to be what Sony, with the PlayStation 4, has produced. The power, the thought behind development, the simplicity, it all gives the PlayStation 4 the advantage. That is not to take anything away from the Xbox One, which is shaping up to be an excellent machine, but there are too many "fussy" items which would put many off. With this in mind the PlayStation 4 comes out just on top