There’s no denying it, I’ve stopped playing videogames as much as I used to. I still play though, and I love playing them. Getting caught up in it, whether it’s feeling as though it’s really you in the dark suit creeping about and getting huge frights when the alarm is raised, or just racing around a track against other cars, the feeling of escapism, relaxation and adrenaline is superb fun.
I’ve become really selective in what I play now though, I look for something with really good playability, usually very immersive, and it must have longevity too. That usually means I’m looking for the top games to go along with the consoles. Right now I have the Xbox and the PS2, and the kind of games I’m talking about are Splinter Cell, Halo, Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto, Project Gotham Racing, you get the idea, the killer titles.
So what am I going to do now as the Xbox 360 is due out one day before my birthday? Nothing. For the first time I’m not preordering and I’m not leaping to it as soon as it’s out. Why? Let me tell you…
It’s not that I’m happy with the consoles I have at the moment, well that’s wrong I actually am, but its not something that would stop me moving on, after all I still have my original grey chipped Playstation and tons of games.
It’s not that I want to wait for the PS3 either, I have both consoles already and they both have their merits and their killer titles. No, it’s not that. Perhaps then it’s cost?
Well let’s face it at £279.99 for the system with everything you need to get gaming it is expensive. Sure there’s the core system, that’ll be the system with no hard drive, AV connection pack, etc. you’ll spend as much upgrading. Then there’s the extra cost of the games, they’re going to be more expensive than ever as Developers pile more development time and cost into them (sure, that’ll be the top 2% of games). Yes, the cost is high, but that’s not what’s stopping me. What is stopping me is the cock-up that is being made of the release.
Firstly there’s the console itself. Already the stores are telling potential preorder customers that they may not get a console in time for Christmas. Now let’s think back a moment, that’s the console that’s due out on December 2nd, a full twenty three days before Christmas, over three weeks, and if it’s not arrived by then the postal service won’t be properly back up and running until after New Year. So that December 2nd preorder is looking more like January 5th or longer.
Why is this? Well Microsoft haven’t told the retailers how many units they will be releasing to them, and not just to the individual stores or chains, but even in the countries. There is no idea how many units will be available for Europe. The retailers already believe they won’t have enough to cover the orders.
There was some controversy about the first Xbox release and suggestions that Microsoft were throttling supply to create greater hype and therefore demand. True? I doubt we’ll know the truth about JFK first, but the same events seem to be happening again with this release. Not the shooting of Gates, I mean the release of the Xbox 360. This time though, it seems even worse.
I really don’t want to order a console for a day before my Birthday (hint everyone), twenty three days before Christmas, for all that money and find that I don’t receive it for weeks, if not over a month.
Surely that’s enough of a reason? No, there’s more, and I’ll rush over the the issue I’m having on connectability. I can’t find enough information on the specifications of the AV connections supplied to find out if they will even fit my system properly. I want S-Video or component connections with optical for audio, can I find out that basic information? No. The best I can do is see a thumbnail of a photograph and guess. Okay, so brush that aside. Let’s look at the big issue of games. After all, you need games to make a games console any use don’t you?
When a games console is released you’re usually looking for some games to play on it, and history has shown that the release games are slim on the ground. Not only that the games that are there are usually pretty dire, apart from one or two, the killer titles. Halo or GT are such titles, you want these games to “ooh” and “aah” at as you play them to death, never getting bored because they are so superb. Immersive, expansive, and so playable no one in your immediate family knows what you look like anymore, and suddenly Christmas has disappeared behind you in a blaze of tyre squeals and smoke or gunshots and dead bodies.
So what’s the killer title for the XBox 360? Looks like Project Gotham Racing 360, and so far it looks utterly stunning. A killer title should be enough to make you want to buy the console for the game. GTA does that for me with the Playstation, and the first Halo did that for me with the XBox. Now I really do believe that PGR3 is the game to do it for the XBox 360.
Wait though. The Developers have announced that they don’t think it’s going to be ready for the release date. In fact it looks doubtful for even January. Apparently they are facing a choice, hold back and give it everything to make a killer title, or release it early and coincide with the release of the console. Either way, it’s messed up the console release.
So on release day I may not get the XBox 360 I preordered, I may not get it for over a month. Then even if I do get it, it may have a very short list of uninspiring, middle of the road, preowned basket filler titles. However I can change my faceplate and use a wireless controller.
Still…both the XBox 360 Console set and PGR360 are on my Wishlist!
I’ve been reading some new stories, many from Eurogamer, and there’s more coming out already. One of the other Studios planning to release a leading game on launch day, Ghost Recon, are saying it’s looking like it’s going to run late. Add to that the fact that the Corporate VP of XBox is saying that there looks like there won’t be enough XBox’s to go round again, and it’s not a very rosy picture.