Feature: Why Competition Is Good - PodcastvsPlayer.com

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Feature: Why Competition Is Good

Console wars have been a major thing since the (some might say) golden age of SNES vs Sega Megadrive (Sega Genesis in the grand old USA), but by today's 'standards', that glorious battle was rather tame, maybe even lacking in dramatics; with the exception of the infamous "Genesis does what Nintendon't!" commercial:

But, regardless of whether or not the Mega Drive/Genesis or SNES actually delivered in terms of what SEGA and Nintendo claimed, the entire battlefield was divided. Most parents wouldn't put up the money to ensure their children had each console (and why should they, they were expensive, man!) meaning that when you were in the playground, you were either with Sega or with Nintendo.

This kind of mentality carried on through the generations, only as we got bigger; so did our wallets. Since the Playstation era, I've had all consoles, so if a game came out on the Nintendo 64, no biggie, I'll get that, Metal Gear Solid is out on PSone? That's cool, I'll get that. Burning Rangers on the Saturn? You know what -- I'll get that too! Owning all consoles of the generation means you never miss out on any of the AAA exclusive titles that you'd otherwise have to skip if you didn't own the respected platform -- but, this comes at a price (and not just figuratively speaking either).

Personally, and it's no secret, I much prefer the exclusives that Nintendo and Sony have to offer to those that Microsoft push out on the Xbox, and the last half of the Xbox 360's (generation) lifespan, there was next to no exclusives, with the exceptions being extremely bad Kinect titles. Thinking about it, I think the last 360 exclusive I was excited for was Alan Wake; whereas I had the likes of Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, Killzone 3, littleBIGplanet 2, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Uncharted 3 wetting my appetite with teasers, plus (much later on) my favourite game of the generation: The Last of Us.

So in keeping with the "buy everything" mentality, that totally works, I mean, if I hadn't got all three consoles, then I'd have surely missed out on something, even if it was just Alan Wake -- the fact was, I didn't want to miss out. And I didn't so it's all good.

Or is it?

Imagine if every gamer had all the consoles of the generation, including handhelds. Sounds pretty good right? Well, yeah, because at least we'd maybe get rid of "Xbox is better than Playstation, coz yo mom sucks dicks and shit on a Wii to get a goat to sing".

But, if companies didn't need to impress you with exclusives to bait you into buying their console, then what reason would they have to come up with interesting and innovative new titles? Would Uncharted become the new Call of Duty? Would Master Chief end up in Super Smash Bros. 61? Would Sonic and Mario enter the Olympics? Ok, maybe that one actually already happened...but still, there's no reason to innovate if, well, there's no reason to.

I wrote an article on the recent Xbox One 'exclusive' The Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I called out on being a timed exclusive, which, it's now been revealed indeed as a timed exclusive, so calm down. But, these are the kind of tactics that I love, it causes flair between the rivals. Now, I think Tomb Raider wasn't the best choice to do this with, as personally, as much as I loved the last new Tomb Raider game/reboot, it doesn't make it a system seller. And all the Sony and PC fans crying out just seems to be under the fact that they can't play the next part of a story; even though they were able to play the first part. It's clever from Microsofts part, not so much from Square Enix, who are alienating their fans who don't own an Xbox One (for an undisclosed limited time at least).

But since the Xbox 360, Microsoft are pulling out the 'exclusive cards', with the aforementioned Tomb Raider deal, but also with titles like Forza 5, Sunset Overdrive, Halo 5, and Quantum Break. I didn't include Ryse, Titanfall and Dead Rising 3 as they aren't Xbox One exclusive, get over it cry babies.

Are these titles enough? Obviously not, Playstation 4 has it's own brands of exclusives, Uncharted 4, The Order 1886, Bloodbourne, Silent Hills, Ryme, Wild, inFamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadowfall, and littleBIGplanet 3 to name a few, but, at least both companies are gunning for your money, which is a very good thing.
Making amends for the last year or so, Nintendo are also aiming for your wallets, with Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8, three of the best games I've played in a long time, plus fantastic upcoming titles such as Super Smash Bros. U, the phenomally gorgeous new Legend of Zelda, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Yoshi's Woolly World all make for a potentially amazing line up ahead for Wii U owners.

It's stuff like this that makes me glad to be a gamer, and whilst I've had to alter my gaming standards this generation, opting for the PC, PS4 and Wii U lineup (and a Vita too), all those exclusives that come out for the Xbox One need to be impressive, because if they don't scream "LOOK AT ME! I'M AMAZING AND YOU'LL NEVER PLAY ME IF YOU DON'T GET ONE" then I'll do just that; 

I won't get one.

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