Why the PS4 is for stupid people and the Xbox One loves the NSA

Why the PS4 is for stupid people and the Xbox One loves the NSA
Let the games begin

Never again, they said, after the great home console war of 2005 and 2006, which saw hundreds upon thousands of innocent young men throwing their money at expensive new gaming machines with few original games to recommend them.

But here we are again. Microsoft and Sony are both mobilizing their new plastic tanks, with the PS4 and Xbox One set to go head-to-head at the end of the year and bring most of the same big-name franchises back again - but with better graphics and the occasional combat dog.

Last week saw the Gamescom event take place in Germany, where both companies attempted to win favor with gamers ahead of launch; Microsoft announced a free copy of FIFA 14 for every pre-order and came up with new initiatives to encourage "indie" developers, while Sony showed new franchises and moved first in announcing a November 29 UK PS4 release date.

But what did the men on the frontlines, the trench-dwelling hardcore internet warriors with avatars drawn on their helmets, make of the game giants' showings?

Turn-based combat

One of the key themes of recent months has been the flip-flopping of Microsoft, which has steadily been changing many Xbox One features after the public roundly poo-poohed the company's TV-themed launch back in May. At Gamescom, MS announced a new indie development scheme called ID@Xbox, promising to support maker of smaller titles with tech support access and free development hardware.

This prompted Eurogamer commenter Osahi to point out: "That's another 180 then after no self publishing on [at] E3, but a good one nonetheless. But wouldn't have been great if MS got it together from the get go instead of just scraping by 180 after 180?"

Indeed it would, but at least Microsoft's now performed so many 180s its staff are all dizzy and suggestible to literally anything.

Also looking on the positive side, commenter Widge claimed of the indie move: "That could actually turn Kinect from a bobbins attachment looking for an identity into something that has unique titles on it," something we've already seen happen with the mass hacking of Microsoft's previous-gen gaming webcam on PC.

Of course, MS flirted with indie titles on Xbox 360 as part of its XNA initiative, but as Blarty points out with great clarity: "They've been providing free tools for indie devs since 2007 and a marketplace since 2008. The marketplace left a lot to be desired, sure, but not as much as the content, which was a small handful of sort-of gems floating in a massive river of..." Well, you get the idea.

At all costs

Sony had plenty of weaponry of its own to unleash, most notably the announcement of a clever trade-up scheme that'll let buyers of this year's PS3 mega-franchises like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Watch Dogs trade them for a digital-download PS4 copy for a "significantly discounted price" once the PS4 versions appear.

This led IGN commenter StealthPeasant to ask: "What about just waiting until these games launch and save $10? I really don't see the logic behind this other than profiting from stupid people."

Which makes perfect sense. You could wait until 2017 to buy a PS4 for half the price, then save yourself bucketloads more cash by picking up the games from car boot sales and charity shops for next to nothing.

Studs showing

Also in terms of offering games at a discount, Microsoft lorded it up over Sony by announcing that every pre-ordered Xbox One sold in Europe would come with a free, full copy of footballing behemoth FIFA 14.

This once-in-a-lifetime discount threw everyone into a craze akin to what would happen were England to ever get into a major semi-final again, with Guardian reader Gaudie saying: "It's a clever move by Microsoft. It lowers the price difference plus it also gets people downloading digital copies who may not be in the habit of doing so."

Although news that it's a token for a digital download rather than a boxed disc didn't go down well with Telegraph reader Kakii, who moaned: "I hate footy games, I was hoping I could just trade it straight back in towards a game I actually wanted and now it's a digital copy! Bollocks."

None of that language please, Kakii. This isn't a Millwall terrace.

Back on the Guardian, Craig Forshaw voiced the bizarre paranoia and modern security fears that seem to pop up whenever anything more digital than a kitchen table is discussed, saying of Microsoft's free gift horse: "Still too expensive. Still needs me to give it credit card details they will hand to the NSA/GCHQ."

If you've got nothing to hide, Craig, you've got nothing to fear.

  • Check out our updated review of the PS4