Thanks… But No Thanks Microsoft and Sony

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Kevin Ford

June 13th, 2013

I love technology, electronics, and gaming. It’s in my DNA… if it has a circuit board, chances are I like it! I’ve watched all the major keynotes (Apple, Microsoft, and Sony) and as it stands, I’m not going to purchase a console at or around launch. Granted this could all change in the months to come, at this point Microsoft and Sony have a hard sell ahead of them if they want my money this holiday season!

As a disclaimer, I make a living as a mobile games consultant on the NativeX Games Task Force. We collaborate with mobile game developers to increase the engagement, retention, and monetization of their freemium games. With that said, I am not biased toward mobile games, I’m simply not interested in the next generation consoles. Here’s why:

Xbox One

I really like my Xbox 360. I wouldn’t say I’m a fanboy, but I did initially buy an Xbox 360 over a PS3 because it was cheaper and available sooner. I’ve owned 6-8 Xboxes and we’ve had a great run together. Here are some reasons why this savvy consumer isn’t buying an Xbox One at launch.

Price: Sure it’s $100 more than the PS4, and I’d be willing to pay the extra amount IF it had features or games that I deemed worthy. The sad reality is that it does not.

Not Interested in Exclusives: I won’t buy a console for an exclusive title. I think that’s ridiculous. Maybe I’m just too practical, or maybe I’m not alone and more gamers/consumers are thinking like this?

Online Connection: While the internet is up 98% of the time at my house, I do feel a little anxious that it “requires” a connection at least once every 24 hours. What happens if I have an outage and want to play? I feel it’s unacceptable that Microsoft might dictate when I can play… or where since I want the option to take my Xbox somewhere that might not have an internet connect. Come on Microsoft! Really?

Kinect: Maybe kids enjoy playing it? Honestly I haven’t met someone who really, REALLY likes the Kinect. The most positive responses I get sound like “yeah it’s ok” or “it’s kind of cool.” I’ll spare you the slew of negative reactions. It has the same gimmicky feel that the Wii did, without stellar and/or nostalgic IPs.

Hardware: It’s early but I think benchmarks will be similar between the Xbox One and PS4. I certainly don’t think I would notice a difference between the two if I played them side by side. This would be acceptable IF I weren’t paying $100 more.

Skepticism of Microsoft First Gens: I got burned with my Xbox 360. I literally spent more time without an Xbox in the first year because of the dreaded red ring of death. And what did I get for compensation? Nothing. Sure they sent me “new” (more accurately “other”) Xboxes, but those broke too. I had 6-8 Xboxes before eventually buying a new one when the slimmer model came out but only because my 8th Xbox broke again. I was outside of my “warranty” and I wanted to play with my brother in Japan.

After what I’ve been through I have every right to be bitter. I’m over it now, but in the heat of the moment I might have yelled at phone representatives or lost my cool. Fool me once Microsoft? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Not a chance in hell.

PS4

I own a PS3 as well as an Xbox 360. I play my 360 much more than my PS3 mostly due to Halo and the fact that my brother has an Xbox and so we like to play together since we’re so far from each other geographically. There’s really only one reason why I won’t be buying a PS4 and that’s the lack of need. Let me explain in the following areas…

No Hardware Upgrade Needed: Obviously this is personal but it’s the major reason I won’t buy a PS4 at launch. I don’t “need” a new console. There’s a reason why my TV isn’t smart, 3D or 4k. I don’t need those features. I’m also not buying a low end piece of crap from Wal-Mart but I do my research, wait for the right deal and pull the trigger when it comes along. Sure the features mentioned might be nice to have but as a consumer I don’t buy nice to have features. I’m happy with my current generation consoles, their performance, and will continue to play on them until there are only games available for this generation and not my current 360/PS3.

No Vita: I, like most of you, don’t have a PS Vita so the streaming functionalities don’t matter to me. I also won’t be buying another handheld device because of the iPad and phones. In this day in age, with all our technological enhancements, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to play any game I like on the platform of my choice. Call me crazy, but I just want to play what I want, where I want.

Here’s an idea around streaming. Make an iOS & Android app that could stream content from my PS4 to my tablet. Join that with the ability to connect a PlayStation to Android devices and that iOS7 will have third party controller APIs. Console gaming + mobile capabilities = mind-blown!

Not Interested in Exclusives: Again, I won’t buy a console for an exclusive title.

The Evolving World

I feel like these consoles aren’t really listening to what’s been happening in the technological world. It’s a little old school to just “improve graphics” with a new generation of consoles. Sure they might’ve added TV/online capabilities, but I already have solutions in place to serve those needs so why would I need what they’re selling?

It’s true that my profession is within the mobile industry so you might be thinking “he’s just biased,” but I assure you, there are reports on how consoles and software sales are declining. Before you send me hate mail, or begin trolling with negative comments let me clarify something. I’m not saying consoles are doomed or dying! The NPD is primarily retail sales so it’s possible that online sales are making up for the decline but there’s no way to prove it since there’s no insight on digital sales. I’m just saying that we live in a more innovative and immersive world. Our games and how we digest them need to be too.

These keynotes have left me a little depressed as a gamer. I’ve had launch consoles with every system since the SNES (minus the Dreamcast, which I owned, but not at launch). I want to be excited about the next generation of gaming, I want to be excited about buying a new piece of technology but as it stands now I can’t get excited. Perhaps I’m the minority? Have I changed that much? Perhaps it’s not you Microsoft and Sony… it’s me? Things could change in the upcoming months before launch but I certainly need some incredible reasons to consider buying.

In the meantime I’ll be right here Microsoft and Sony, contently playing on my current generation of consoles… and of course on my iPad and iPhone.

What are your thoughts? Leave a note below or send me a Tweet on Twitter.

Kevin Ford

Marketing Manager

2013-06-13

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