eBay have been at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this month, the annual video game conference and show in Los Angeles and have some exclusive video reports from the top game manufactures. Of course eBay had to check out the two newest consoles – the Sony Playstation 4 and the Xbox One.
Which should you buy though? Neither console will play your old games so you’ll be dumping them and buying an entirely new set of games regardless which console you plump for. Ignoring personal preference, breadth of games available and quality of hardware there are two main differences between the manufacturers attitude to gamers which could affect your decision.
If you buy the XBox One, Microsoft originally intended that you would have to log on to the Internet each day for authentication. They also suggested that a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps is recommended so for those with 33G MiFi dongles would never be able to play games. Microsoft also intended only to allow used games to be played on the Xbox One by paying a fee determined by the game publisher. That would mean you couldn’t simply sell or buy a used game as the recipient would have to pay again to play it!
Having reversed their decision yesterday Microsoft have decided to allow games to play offline games without an Internet connection – you’ll now only have to connect to the Internet when you first set up your Xbox One. You’ll also be able to play used games without connecting to the Internet to authenticate nor will you have to connect daily.
Sony on the other hand drew cheers from the E3 audience when they announced that their games will be free to trade. Sony say that once you’ve purchased a game you have the rights to use that copy of the game. You can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend or keep it forever.
Unlike Microsoft who attempted to screw more money from used games for developers, Sony decided from the start that if you buy something you own it. That’s a marked difference between the companies and indicates their attitude to their customers. Microsoft only capitulated after a huge backlash from their customers who want vested value in games they’ve played and want to trade in.
Imagine an eBay with no video games category because used games couldn’t be traded. There would be no used titles on Play.com or Amazon. Every time you spent your £40 plus on a new game you’d never be able to trade it freely, not even at a car boot sale.
Do you want to buy a console from a company that wants to restrict you from reselling games and didn’t want to let you play them if your Internet was down? With Microsoft’s sea change yesterday I doubt it will stop hard core Xbox fans from buying the Xbox One. Personally though, Sony and the PS4 look a much more attractive option for those who value their freedom and more importantly value the inherent resale value in the products that they purchase.
Which console will you be buying? If it helps your decision the PS4 will be $100 cheaper than the $500 Xbox One. Doubtless however those dollar price will probably be hugely inflated for UK customers.