Console Temptation

I’m being drawn into the world of console gaming, which will impact the MMOs I play going forward.

I’ve played a few MMOs over the years, most of them weren’t available on consoles at all (Asherons Call, Guild Wars, LoTRO, WoW, EVE, Guild Wars 2, Secret World/Secret World Legends, dabbling in DDO and AoC). But things are different now, two current MMOs I’ve recently played (FF14, ESO) are available on console and I’m tempted to try them out on the PS4.

There are several factors contributing to this.

First is the social aspect: Recently, I’ve been co-op gaming with friends, and that has been a ton of fun. I go over to visit, we grab lunch/dinner, and play Lego Marvel Avengers or something else (at my friend who owns a PS3 and PS4). Yes, you can play a MMO with friends, set up voice chat and wear a headset, but being in the same room playing co-op mode is more fun, more social, and more enjoyable for me.

After playing Snipper Clips and a bit of Splatoon2 with another friend (who owns a Nintendo Switch), I decided to a buy one and a few games including Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2. Since the Switch is portable we can easily bring the system around to each other’s homes and have a fun time. I’m looking forward to Lego Marvel Superheroes 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, etc.

What solidified my desire to get a Switch was the live tech demo my friend did while I was playing hers – I was in handheld mode and mumbled something about the larger TV, and she grabbed it out of my hands, dropped it in the dock… and boom seconds later I was playing on the TV. It was seamless and amazing switching from handheld screen to TV without disrupting gameplay! All I had to do is sync the Pro Controller (from the Joy Cons I was using in handheld mode) and I continued on with no issues. It was nearly magical.

Second is comfort: maybe I’m getting old and crufty, but holding a controller is more comfortable than grasping a mouse, especially for an extended period of time. I do have a controller for my PC and use it when the game supports it (Shadow of Mordor, Arkham Asylum).

It’s also more comfy to sit on my couch and game on a console/TV, rather than lean over a keyboard with my face in the monitor. I do that all day at work. Meanwhile I have a 4K TV and can put my feet up when I relax on my couch.

Third is cost: OK this is somewhat optional but I’ve been eyeing a new computer. My gaming PC is ~4.5 years old, still doing well, especially after some upgrades (added a 1 TB SSD, replaced GeForce 650 with a GeForce 970) over the time I’ve owned it. I ran the numbers for a new PC and decided not to spend that much. My other computer is a Mac and that’s the computer I use for non-gaming stuff, so a PC upgrade would literally just be for gaming. And for the games I want to play, the $400 PS4 Pro looks very tempting. I could spend that $400 on a newer graphics card, but thinking over the social aspect and the comfort/aesthetics are powerful enticements.

There are other conveniences, such as easily loaning/borrowing games to/from friends, and selling used ones. My local grocery store has a RedBox that rents games, which would let me try out a game for cheap before purchasing it.

Consoles integrate into a living room entertainment space better, being smaller and QUIETER than a typical PC. Mine is OK, I don’t really notice it on but all the same, the room is quieter when it is off. I’ve got a friend with a PC so loud we need subtitles on TV shows or movies if we’re watching at her place.

Console games are pricier since more companies (hardware vendor, retailer, dev studio) want a slice of the revenue. But prices drop there too, and the bargains are in the GoTY editions if I can exercise a bit of restraint and wait before buying. Admittedly, it is tough to beat the sales on Steam.

Anyway, as far as MMOs go, if when I get a PS4, I’ll set up ESO and FF14and see what the play experience is like on console vs pc. I could tell both those games designed UI interactions with consoles in mind, so it should be fun to sit back on my couch and see these games on the big screen.

The bottom line is getting a console would broaden my gaming options, simply due to exclusives. The fact that ESO and FF14 are available on a console platform is gravy. I’ve already got my eye on the Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, Horizon Zero Dawn for the PS4 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Switch. And there is the curiosity factor – I wonder what the gaming experience is like for an MMO on a console. If it is terrible… well I can still play a zillion games on the console anyway. The comfort of a wireless controller and my couch mean a lot too.

I’m not chunking my PC or anything, how else will I continue in LoTRO?? 😉 But I can see a future where I divide time between a PC and console/PS4 evenly.

If I hold out until Black Friday I might get a good bundle… and said bundle might even include a game I want. But I might be too eager to wait 4 more weeks!




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