A tale of two next-gen console launch events

next gen consoles

Before buying both new gaming consoles, I had the chance to play with the PS4 and the Xbox One just in time for their respective launches. The PS4 event took place on November 14th in San Francisco, and it was more of a social gathering, with free food, prize giveaways, a chance to play games, and cool surprise announcements.

Sony- what I liked

I got to the event an hour earlier, and I was amazed I was able to wait in line and buy a PS4 that night! It was also extra awesome to pre-purchase the system early and have the option to come back at midnight to buy it. The event lasted around six hours, and Sony plus the GameStop staff did a great job of keeping the 1,000 plus people entertained.

Sony gave away some really cool prize packs during raffles like a PlayStation Vita with 12 games, a special Naughty Dog game collector’s package, a PS4, and some other neat items. I also got plenty of free swag like”Greatness Awaits” t-shirts, Tearaway key chains, blue glowing necklaces, and free gourmet sandwiches from the food trucks.

It was great to see all the passion among the fans and I met a lot of cool people to talk about games all night. There were also some noticeable appearances by developers like Sucker Punch, Bungie, and Madden NFL Sideline Commentator Danielle Bellini. Also, while waiting outside I watched the Spike TV live broadcast and saw trailers for Uncharted 4, an exclusive MGSV mission, and others.

Sony- what I didn’t like

The area was crowded, so it was a bit difficult to navigate the venue, but I expected this with over a 1,000 people. Also, there were only about 10 or so kiosks to play PS4 games, so the line to get in was pretty long. Nowhere near as bad as PAX Prime, but still frustrating. I enjoyed the demo’s and my only criticism like the Microsoft event was it was difficult to get a grasp of each game with only 10 minutes of play.

Microsoft Event

Microsoft had an Area One Tour in San Francisco, and the event took place on Broadway Street in a club lounge area. The focus was more on playing games versus a celebration of the launch of a new console like Sony’s. Microsoft had a similar midnight launch event at their Microsoft Store’s, but I order my Xbox One from Amazon, so I didn’t go to it.

Microsoft- what I liked

I got way more hands-on time with the Xbox One than the PS4 because there were three times as many kiosks and only around 100 people at the event. I was able to play 10 games total, and many titles had more than one station, so my wait time was minimal. Some of my favorite titles were Dead Rising 3, Crimson Dragon, and Killer Instinct. Unfortunately, Titanfall wasn’t there, but it was okay since I already played it at PAX.

Microsoft- what I didn’t like

I liked that I got to play a lot of games, but I was confused about how to play many to them. With 10 short minutes to play and many games lacking tutorial sections, I didn’t get a grasp of the game until it was over. It was only a problem with certain titles though. For example, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, and Forza I picked up easily, but Kinect Sports, Lococycle, and Crimson Dragon I felt overwhelmed at what to do. The staff was friendly and there to help me if I ran into any trouble though.

However, the big thing for me that was most disappointing was outside of Kinect Sports no game there utilized the camera or any kiosk dedicated to showing off the unique features of the Xbox One. I understand the value of Kinect, but the average consumer doesn’t and nothing at the event justified why anyone should pay a $100 more for the Xbox One versus the PS4.

Which system should you buy?

I already bought a PS4 and an Xbox One, so I don’t have to choose, but I’d recommend either one if you don’t have a high-end PC. Games like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag looks more detailed compared to the 360 and PS3 versions so if you want to play the best version you’ll want the new hardware.

That said there is no killer app for either system until March, and there are plenty of games on older consoles to keep you entertained through the holidays. Deciding on which console for you really comes down to what first-party franchises are more important to you. Is it Uncharted, Killzone and God of War? Or Halo, Forza, and Gears of War? Each system will have exclusives the other doesn’t so if you want to play everything you need both.

So my recommendation is to get the PS4 if cash is tight and you just want a great gaming machine. Get Xbox One if all the media services and Kinect functionality is something you see yourself using,

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