Ben's Week In Review: November 10
This time next week, I'll have my PlayStation 4 and so will many of you. Seems impossible, doesn't it? :)
PS4 needs to be outstripping Xbox One at GameStop because...
I know it's only one GameStop manager so maybe it doesn't even qualify as "news," but I have been hearing various reports from local stores that indeed, there are many more PlayStation 4 pre-orders than Xbox One pre-orders. And that's great. I've been saying this all along and I'll repeat it now because it's more relevant than ever: Microsoft owns the casual/mainstream market in this country. They just do. Now, that group doesn't really keep up with video game news; they don't care enough. They've really only known one console for years, and that's the Xbox. They don't pre-order new systems; they'll buy a new one when they get around to it. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me in the least that PS4 pre-orders are outpacing Xbox One pre-orders.
Many of the hardcore gamers are siding with the PS4, and I think the majority of people who want one already have it ordered. On the other hand, I strongly believe that far more Xbox One consoles will be bought off the shelf during the holiday season (provided they're available), because that's the casual market in action. Therefore, if this is even going to be a close race, Sony needs to have garnered more pre-orders. Lots more.
Disclaimer: I'm not saying there are no hardcore Xbox gamers. That's ridiculous. I'm saying that if you're a casual gamer, you will almost invariably choose Xbox because really, it's all you see in mainstream markets (ads, commercials, etc.) in this country.
Easier isn't always better
I was only a little surprised to learn that developing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for next-gen systems was actually easier than making the game for the PS3 and 360. I knew the new consoles were much more accessible for developers, but I didn't quite expect Ubisoft's comments. The "smoothest" development process ever? No one "getting burned by overtime?" This tells me two things: 1. The PS3 really was just way too difficult to work with, and 2. Don't expect drastic growth in terms of technological capability this generation. I just think it's a matter of logic and math. If game makers don't know a system very well, they'll struggle at first and that will be reflected in the products. That means, as they steadily get better, we see significant, even drastic improvement.
But if you're so comfortable with it right off the bat, how much further do you really have to go? What obstacles are you facing that you must overcome? I'm not saying games won't improve at all in the new generation, I'm just saying we probably won't see as big of a gap between launch titles and late-gen offerings. If we're not prisoners of the moment and we consider the near future, that's somewhat concerning.
Personal gaming update
As you might expect, things have been a little nuts. Call of Duty: Ghosts is fun but I don't like playing online, so I'm basically finished with it. It's an example of a tried-and-true formula that's obviously wearing thin, and I'll leave it at that. I don't want to keep playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag because I know I'll be playing it on the PS4. Very hard to stop, though...game is fuuuun. As for Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, I was entertained for a while, but there's no reason to go back to it. Gonna go back to GTAV before the PS4 hits the entertainment center.
Then it'll be all about PS4 games for a while, although there's no chance I'll be able to review them all. I'll have to prioritize, and I'm betting nobody cares much about seeing reviews for the sports games. I already analyzed most of them on the PS3, anyway. Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack and Contrast are tops on my list right now. Get ready, everyone!
11/9/2013 Ben Dutka