Yesterday was one of those odd days in tech news where so much was happening it was hard to keep up. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, both Microsoft and Sony held press conferences touting their new gaming consoles, while in San Francisco, Apple was kicking off its Worldwide Developer Conference with new OS announcements (both desktop and mobile) and some new gear as well. If you were a Twitter junkie, you must be exhausted this morning.
In terms of video from the gaming events, let's review two reports from Nick Barber at the IDG News Service, who is at E3. First is the report on Microsoft and the Xbox One console. Microsoft's event seemed to focus on Smart Glass integration, new ways to record/create games and show off new games for the system.
Later in the day, Nick covered the Sony press event, which gave us more details on the PS4 console (we finally got to see what it looked like), as well as some discussion about the console's ability to play used games and not require a consistent broadband connection.
Based on the news that came out yesterday, the clear winner seems to be Sony. Here's a bunch of reasons why I'm planning to get the PS4 rather than the Xbox One.
* Price: At $399, Sony has been able to undercut the Xbox One by $100. The extra money for Microsoft seems to be related to the Kinect camera device, which is required on the Xbox One. Sony's camera utility is also about $100, but it's optional. If you don't have any interest in playing camera-type games, you can pocket the extra $100 and get at least one new game.
* Used games: I generally buy one to two new games per year, and the rest of the time I'm heading to GameStop or other stores to buy used games that are $20 or $30, rather than the $60 or higher for new ones. Microsoft's weird obsession about making sure that people who buy a game only play it on their system, or requiring fees (although not confirmed, the rumors are still swirling), is irritating. A new game console system should be as inviting as possible to current gamers, rather than creating limits to fight an issue that affects only a small amount of users.
Sony knows this is a huge deal for its customers - it even mocked Microsoft in this video, currently the top video on Reddit's "/r/videos" location:
* Backwards compatibility: Both consoles fail on this point - neither the Xbox One or PS4 will be able to play games from the Xbox 360 or Sony PS3, which is a shame but understandable given the new architectures these consoles are created on. But this also makes it easier for me to switch from one console to the other. As an Xbox 360 owner, I'd be more likely to stay with Xbox One if I could play my existing library on the new system. Without that lure, it's easier for me to make the switch to the PS4 and make a new start with new games. Because the amount of exclusive games tied to a specific system are not as exclusive as they have in the past (really, I don't need to play another new Halo game), I don't feel like I'm losing that much by not going with the Xbox One.
* There seems to be a wider variety of games offered on the PS4 than Xbox One. Hardcore shoot-em-ups have always been an Xbox staple, and maybe because I'm older now (and with three kids around), I'm more likely to gravitate towards games that are more kid-friendly (but not enough so that I have to buy a Wii U). Again, Sony seems to have the edge here.
Your reasons on picking one system over the other may be different - if you love what Microsoft is offering, then by all means go ahead and pre-order the Xbox One. I won't shout you down in the street or call you names in the comments area. I just think that in my case, Sony has presented a better argument for the PS4 than Microsoft has with the Xbox One. If you've been irritated by a lot of the moves in the video game industry of late, Sony's answers seem to be geared more at alleviating those concerns rather than tacking on new problems for customers.
Let me know what you think - does Sony now have an edge in the next-generation console battle, or does the hubbub about used games and always-on connectivity just hot air from disgruntled people?
Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.