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The curious case of Xbox

Master Chief

The link (above) is for Halo: Combat Evolved. This was one of the first things I saw at E3 2000. Me being a sports gamer my whole life with other genres sprinkled in, I never took a complete hold on FPS even with some Goldeneye 007 on my resume. Halo changed that and with this trailer my first “next gen” console was within reach! It had a story that was gripping and local multiplayer that still fuels my fire to this day. Microsoft’s console gave me the spark and love for consoles that I feel today. Being a Xbox exclusive player for over 10 years, some of you would wonder what made me switch to PlayStation.


Turning Point

YouTube gave us gamers the platform to see the gaming world in a different light. We went from waiting for conventions like E3 and PAX to announce upcoming titles and websites like IGN to cover such events, to having access through streaming on YouTube. It also gave the world a voice to share their opinions, and you started to notice a trend when they announced the Xbox One. Microsoft was trying to become more than a gaming machine, giving you the option to live through the Xbox. TV, Music, Video, all accessible at the palm of your hand with one major thing missing, games. Yes Microsoft has studios that are specific to Xbox as well as Microsoft Studios but they haven’t delivered anything other than their flagship franchises. (Halo, Gears of War) They have also had a number of cancelled games that were console exclusive, heavy blows that honestly Microsoft hasn’t recovered from.

https://gamerant.com/canceled-xbox-one-games/


POWER=PERFORMANCE?

When the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were announced we thought that would be it. Consoles that we would use for the next 5-7 years. However Sony and Microsoft had other plans and the media giants revealed console refreshes that would push the boundaries of what consoles are capable of. Introduced were the Xbox One X and PlayStation Pro, mid generation upgrades, a first of its kind. These would bring better graphics, load times, and performance upgrades, but something was still missing for Xbox. Games, where are the games? You can’t truly compete with your rival without games and for years Microsoft had been behind the 8 ball in that category. Sure they carry 3rd party titles, same as Sony but their first party offerings have been lacking. If you want to win the war you gonna being something to the table, it’s as simple as that.


The future is Perfect, Dark??

We now stand at a crossroads with Microsoft. Shiny new game systems and a platform to provide for gamers! No more connecting to the tv, this is promised to be a GAMING CONSOLE. So where are the games? Covid brought the world to its knees and gaming was no different. Once these consoles were announced you would of expected to see plenty of games to go along with them, but this is the ever growing problem with Xbox. The flagship which was slated to launch with the system had to be delayed after blacklash of their showcase in late July. So Xbox launched with virtually nothing in the form of console exclusive and PlayStation had Miles Morales and Demon’s Soul. Also had a preloaded game named Astro’s Playroom that ended up being pretty good.

I know this blog has been a verbal beat down of Microsoft and Xbox but the future is looking bright for the company. Their new console is an amazing piece of machine and although they aren’t consistently delivering of the promise of better performance compared to the competition currently, you have to assume the with time developers will figure out the logistics. Lack of games is still a challenge but with acquisition of Bethesda, they have a lot of big titles in limbo with some big decisions coming! In the words of Kanye “no one man should have all that power.” Do you make Bethesda console exclusive and build a powerful alliance with Xbox or do you allow them to provide for PlayStation and Nintendo consumers alike. Both have their positive and negative repercussions in the next 6-8 years. Either way I’m excited to see the future of Xbox!

EA Sports…ITS SUCH A SHAME

With the acquisition of the Masters tournament in the upcoming PGA Tour game, EA has seemingly put a stranglehold on the Grand Slam of golf for the foreseeable future. 2k has had golf since 2014, and EA has struggled to consistently produce a quality title since 2015 final installment . EA Sports is a powerhouse, let’s be clear there. They have 3 quality titles that have been able to produce games annually with Madden, FIFA, and NHL. However let’s break down exactly why EA is such a giant and a failure at the same time!


Corner the Market

December 13, 2004, the day that Madden took the choice out of the players hands. 2k with all intensive purposes we’re on the verge of pulling away from EA in the football franchise. NFL 2K had been gaining steam since its release in 1999 becoming a real challenge to Madden. NFL 2k5 would be the last interaction of the franchise and that wasn’t by choice. Not only was it the better of the games but too this day a real argument that it’s the best football game of all time. EA took that dream away from the fans by getting exclusive rights for the NFL. It was a blockbuster deal which gave them rights to the simulation experience and it’s taken away any way for other developers to create a true NFL experience. This has been the case since 2004 and is currently under contract until 2026. So for over 20 years no other company can give us, the players something different.


Burned Out

EA has had a plethora of problems within their companies over the years. From the on growing gaming problem of crunch. Working the employees too the bone to reach deadlines to get the games out to the consumer. This has been called out more and more over the years making it easier for programmers, developers, and others able to finish games when it’s finish. Although this creates delays more times than not, I’d prefer the employees not getting burned out for our selfish needs. Money is also a major problem for EA. What I mean is they are a money hungry company, like many companies now a days but EA is a different animal and the reason is loot crates

Pack your Poison

Loot Crates, VC, Madden Packs, Cosmetic Packs. Remember when you had to work for everything in games. There were no virtual currency, there was no cosmetic packs. There was hard work, racking up kill streaks and putting up triple doubles to get your upgrades. Then the loot crate came into play. Cosmetics, upgrades and game modes that required real life money to get certain items in games. I don’t know about some of the other games but with the inclusion of Ultimate Team in Madden we seem to have lost so much in the form of features, equipment in game and actual gameplay. It got so bad that this year, the fans were calling for Madden to make immediate changes to the franchise. Star Wars Battlefront 2 got so much backlash from their loot crates that they had to make changes to the entire system. Unfortunately I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Money is the root of all evil, and EA has signed a deal with the devil in the form of transactional gaming. To be honest it’s all companies now, but the sacrifice of things fans love in the games makes it almost not worth it.

No apologies

I’m not gonna summarize by saying that EA is a great company but has flaws. No by all accounts EA is like all companies. Trying to get money by any means necessary. Game modes like ultimate team and multiplayer means that no changes will come too the loot crate system and no real changes will come to the games. Exclusivity to franchises and specific courses in a golf game diminishes the experience for other titles. At the end of the day gamers purchase these franchises hell or high water because how else are they gonna play the sports games or franchises they love like Star Wars without dealing with the giant that is mighty EA Sports, and that is Such a shame..

Gamepassing the torch?

For all intensive purposes Game Pass has been what is keeping Xbox afloat. Changing up the model of current subscription based services by allowing you to play a multitude of games. The price point also makes it attractive at the base model coming in at $10 monthly and $15 dollars for the ultimate service. Ultimate comes with Xbox live included for the monthly service therefore decreasing the value of Xbox live and increasing your overall value. Gamepass has been a victory for Xbox since its debut.


Bang for your Buck

Gamepass made its debut on June 1st 2017 with over 100 games both current and former generation. Since it has continued to deliver on its promise of first party titles being added day 1. Games such as Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 were available with the rest of the world day 1 and the trend continues to this day. The fact that you are only paying 15 bucks monthly for said title is an advantage Xbox hopes to capitalize on. The biggest problem for Xbox is that there simply isn’t any games available for the system. Therefore are you really getting your money’s worth when you subscribe only for the newest titles? However, with the addition of PC to gamepass which also included EA play (another subscription) Xbox definitely has a punchers chance this console generation.


Bat flip?

April 2nd 2021 was a pretty big day for Xbox and Sony. With PlayStation losing their exclusivity to MLB the Show and for the first time the title would be coming to Xbox, some would call it a win for Sony who develops the game. Others would call it a loss for obvious reasons, but myself personally I don’t know what to call it. I will say this much, exclusivity in most circumstances suck! Whether it’s titles on certain consoles or companies having exclusive rights to liscenses, gamers feel the burden of theses transactions. Take for instance EA. They have killed the football market with their exclusivity to the NFL and doesn’t give other companies the opportunity to develop simulation football titles. This is a whole different discussion but my point is, having an amazing game on both consoles can only make both companies more money and that’s the name of the game! The only occasion exclusive titles should count is for first party story driven titles such as God of War, Halo, or Mario.


Is it enough?

Honestly Sony could only benefit from The Show being on Xbox. I’m sure they got a profit from whatever deal they signed with MLB in order to put it on the competitions console. Believe it or not, Gamepass is gonna move some units for Microsoft. It’s not gonna move the scale in Xbox’s favor unfortunately. I’m not super die hard about the console I prefer, I do want a Xbox eventually, but I am getting a PlayStation. If I could only choose one it would be PlayStation. I believe this is the sentiment of millions of gamers around the world. I don’t even believe it’s a thing of the better console. It’s just personal preference, it’s an amazing console and they haven’t done anything wrong. PlayStation Now can’t compete with Xbox Gamepass but it hasn’t stopped the company from leading the current console war. Gamepass is gonna be the reason why Xbox is super successful and it can only get better. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Xbox and Gamepass.

Zach Snyder’s JUSTICE to the Justice League

They going to do what??

When Justice League was announced, first thing many of us probably thought was, there’s nothing they do to improve on such a subpar movie. The original JL movie was not what us fans of comics and these characters wanted to see. It just didn’t have the chops to compete against the giant that was Marvel. They had established a 10-12 year relationship with its fan base that rarely had a bad movie. Yes they had a few duds but for the most part, a excellent example of a company taking a passion and making it into art. DC had the blueprint from Marvel down to a T! It didn’t have to follow it by the letter but they definitely had every opportunity to create a universe that would stand the test of time in Cinema.


His vision

Zack Snyder had a vision as he was directing Justice League. The DC universe seemed to be heading down a more gritty storyline as Superman, and Superman Dawn of Justice were darker than most Marvel movies. Although Dawn of Justice wasn’t great, it did set the tone for Justice League. The success of Wonder Woman and Later Aquaman should of set this company up for a 10 year run of its own but tragedy struck Snyder. I won’t get into the details of it, you can Google it if you want, but Snyder stepped away from JL and handed the mantle to Joss Weldon. Weldon had the experience doing the first two Avengers movies but he didn’t seem to bring the right focus to Justice League. This subsequently resulted in a movie with action galore but no real passion or direction other than bringing heroes together to defeat the bad guy. Sure most comic book shows and movies had that common goal but Marvel just does it better, investing in story and allowing you to connect with these characters in a way JL failed to really do. Weldon fumbled the project and now it was up to Snyder after taking time away to handle the most important stuff to finish what he started!


The Justice League

I kept my expectations low as I turned on Justice League at 10 pm. Knowing that if it wouldn’t hold my attention it would be reason for me to go to bed. The first thing you notice is the ratio in which the movie is presented, 4:3 which gives you a old school feel but shot in gorgeous 35mm film. This allowed Snyder to showcase his film the way he wanted, as if you were looking from a giant IMAX screen! This was an excellent decision as the movie came out looking fantastic! You also start to notice the reshoots right away, as this is basically a brand new movie. It tells stories of the heroes and really flushed out the details of who they are and why they do what they do in terms of being their heroes they’ve become. It was such a riveting watch that I hardly even touched my phone and only made me miss movie theaters more. This movie needs to be experienced in IMAX and it would be amazing it was possible. Snyder’s vision for Justice League back in 2017 would of given DC a chance to not only compete with Marvel but maybe even overtake them had he got a chance to finish up back then. For me this was a solid 8.5 or 9 out of 10. It’s also a movie I intend of watching again in the next few days because it was truly a movie to behold!


Thank you Zack Snyder

From the above picture you can see my enthusiasm. I just want to say thank you to Zack Snyder for showing us what Justice League really was meant to be. The passion you provided to this movie should not go unnoticed and if DC and Warner Brothers are smart, capitalize on the success of this movie and finish the trilogy of what could potentially be a groundbreaking story. Will we ever get it? None of us are really sure but I’m not giving up hope, hell I didn’t think I would ever see this version of the movie. One could only imagine!

COVID, MODEL T-101, SCALPERS. OH MY!


The bitter end!

The date is December 10th, 2021, my former employer (I’ll just call them spark) has gotten in 6 PlayStation 5s in store! I’m so excited because i know that I’m getting mine as soon as they are released to go out to the floor. I’ve been scoping these things out for days now as I know exactly what time they will be on the floor. I’m working but I have a friend whose gonna get in line for me to pick it up. Time passes and they still haven’t put them outs. I notice a guy, whose been standing by the display case for quite a while. Ok he has obviously heard we’re going have some in the store. No big deal I got my ace in the hole. Make a lap around the store, maybe 10 minutes and come back to electronics to find about 8 people over by the displays. Well fuck, I get in line for a couple minutes to cause initially I wasn’t sure if it was 6 but to my dismay, I was number 7 in line. I told my friend “don’t worry” because I was going to get it. Two days later Walmart along with pretty much all retailers decided they would no longer have Playstation 5s for sale in store. This decision would be my demise along with so many others as now we had to fight along the countless number of hopeful people and bots to try and secure the illusive PS5.


COVID CRISIS

This online only battle royal started well before December 12th when a little something called COVID 19 or Coronavirus shut down the world. We all know it’s impact, we all know the devastation it had on the world. The world of gaming is no different. The initial impact of the virus shut the world down for months as we tried to get a grasp of the situation. So with brand new game systems coming out and nobody to produce said consoles, the fate of these systems were seriously in doubt. Nevertheless hard work paid off and we were introduced to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. I’m not familiar with Microsoft’s initial numbers but I read an article where PS5 sold as many in the final 2 months of 2020 as the PS4 in 2013. Amazing accomplishment but to me, it’s a disappointment. These numbers are still staggering considering The current state of the world but what if the world wasn’t locked down? I could of easily seen Sony surpassing 6 million sold by the end of the year. Sony representatives already stating that 2021 is still gonna be slim pickings with new consoles because of processing chip shortages. You have to wonder if big name retailers are gonna be able to provide not only a safe way to sell in store but also meet the demand of the population.


This item is OUT OF STOCK

Which brings me to my next problem, big bad bots! We’ve all done it, sat in front of our cell phones or computers waiting to jump on the new hot item. Jordan’s, Concert tickets, Furby, all hot commodities, all sold out in minutes. This was never an issue with me. I preordered my games and picked them up at GameStop for midnight release. I also sat in line on a New Year’s Day to acquire an Xbox 360. This launch was different. Many of us ran into so many problems with the initial preorders of the PS5. Site crashes, getting all the way to checkout only to fall just short. With Covid rising quickly and winter steadily approaching, not many retailers were doing in store preorders. So not being able to get my hands on one in store was a major bummer and also brought us to our next problem. Bots have been a thorn in our side for as long as the internet has been available. Taking large quantities of product, before the consumer can even get to the check out screen. PlayStation 5s are no different, with bots literally selling out the consoles within seconds of them becoming available on numerous occasions. While companies have tried to put measures in place to stop these occurrences, bots and the people who control them have seemingly broken the numerous walls of resistance. All I can say is the fight between man and machine is a fierce battle I don’t see ending any time soon.


Mo money, mo problems

Scalpers after a hard day of Ebay!

Finally, this isn’t so much an informative as it is a rant (Parental advisory). How fucking stupid are people on the internet and beyond to be spending 1500 for a console??? Like seriously why are people spending 3 times the amount for PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? Is it because it’s the hot new thing, probably. Is it because they want to rub it in their friends faces, ehh maybe. Is it because their dumb fucks, Absolutely! Scalpers aren’t new to the world. It isn’t something that just appeared out of thin air, but the way that we’re allowing these bastards to get rich is ridiculous! Scalpers have made 43 million…43 MILLION DOLLARS from selling consoles and graphics cards. Reading this and your first thought is damn I’m in the wrong line of work, but it’s such a predatory business. Praying on the minds of parents who fear of disappointing their kids causes them to spend unnecessary amounts of money on the shiny new console. A console that may just have issues, resulting in you having to fight to get it fixed or replaced. Maybe I’m just hating because I don’t have one yet. I could never do it but hey, the rich continue to get richer.

PlayStation Love Story!

The Duke!

I once believed that Microsoft could do no wrong. Coming from the original Sony PlayStation, as most would assume I was headed for the PS2. However I kept my PlayStation for a long time and with family having Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation 2, I didn’t need to pursue a new console. Then Microsoft unveiled the og Xbox. What a machine, amazing games to play and the Duke! Well maybe not the Duke but this is the time I fell 100% in love with gaming. I kept on the Microsoft train thru the Xbox 360 and Xbox One until a friend made a suggestion….


I’m backkkkkk

My friends, avid PC gamers (Booo) which I’d been trying to pursued to come to the dark side brought to my attention that they had been contemplating buying a PS4. The game, Destiny, a multiplayer first person shooter made by the developers of consequently one of my favorite all time shooters Halo (Xbox exclusive). They were gonna make the move to console but it came with a catch, I had to buy a PlayStation as well. Without much deliberation I decided to get a PlayStation, but what is gonna keep me in this ecosystem?

https://youtube.com/watch


You wanna be exclusive?

What makes a gamer want to stay, what’s the one thing that gamers need to thrive in this wild world of entertainment? Games! And not just any games, EXCLUSIVES! From Halo to Gears of War to Fusion Frenzy, Xbox had everything I wanted. Games that I could brag to my friends about because they couldn’t play them. PS4 came with veteran series like Killzone and Uncharted which I played in the past but not on my own console. Now with my own PS4 I not only get to play these games to completion but I get to look forward to what they have to offer. Boy did they deliver, these last 8 years have been nothing short of breathtaking for anybody whose been a fan of PlayStation!

https://gamerant.com/ps4-exclusives-list-best/


A test run

Honestly I could go on and on about how last generation of PlayStation really set up the now current generation of consoles. I’m going to dig into that with my next blog but this one was really a test run. This is new for me and I wanted to get the writing experience under my belt. I’m interested to know how you as the consumer felt about this blog. Was it boring, what do I need to improve upon to really get this thing going? Leave your comments below or on my Twitter, I have tough skin so be as honest as possible!

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