NextGenBestofBoth_fbcover

First things first here, these are my opinions and thoughts on the Next Gen consoles and mine alone. As a gamer on both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, I will share my initial thoughts and experiences in using both systems. I state for the record now, this is my first time to own and really use a PlayStation console as well. Yes I have used a PlayStation controller a couple of times in my life before at friends houses.

So I’ve been an Xbox 360 user for many years and I’m very familiar with the Xbox platform. I don’t want to come off as being a Fanboy here just the same and will do my best to give my opinions in a fair manner. I don’t think I’ve ever come out and slammed other products over the years. The only real authority I think I have on the subject in the end, is the fact that I own both and use both of the Next Gen consoles.

What I hope to present here is what I think is the best of both worlds for Next Gen gaming. Its up to you in the end as to which consoles you want to play on and support. If you can and feel the need, perhaps you’ll give both consoles a shot even.

The Best of Both Worlds
Next Gen gaming, its easy to call this one out as a positive for both systems. Anytime you have improvements in the games is going to be a plus. The features both systems plan to bring to upcoming games is sure to please gamers on either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4. Exclusive titles for each console will be a key deciding factor for most gamers in the end. It’s the games one system offers over the other that will cause your to part with your hard earned cash for this entertainment in the end.

Blu-Ray for All
Yes, one thing as an Xbox user I’ve wished for has finally arrived. The Xbox One now can play Blu-Ray movies along with the normally DVDs now. The PlayStation 4 plays them as well, of course they always will play them. So when you want to switch from a game and watch a movie, at least for Xbox One, you can finally retire those stand alone Blu-Ray Players.

Sharing what your doing
This years past E3 was impressive in what Sony brought to the table. The ability to live Stream your gameplay for one was a home run and it didn’t stop there, the ability to actually pass control of my game play over to a friend when I’m stuck is a huge plus. Microsoft has plans to at least allow the ability to live Stream gameplay in the future as well. These are all in partnerships with UStream and Twitch on the Next Gen consoles.

Free Games on Next Gen
The PlayStation 4 with PlayStation Plus brings you a collection of free games to play, granted this collection is not as big as the PS3 collection, but the console has only been out for a little over a month as well. Xbox One has plans in the future to bring its Games For Gold offerings to its users as well. It’s always good to get some free games at times when all is said and done.

In closing or just the beginning
I’m looking forward to the exclusives each system has to offer gamers in the end. I’ll more and likely purchase most of my non exclusive titles on the Xbox One, I just have way more friends on that system for now. I don’t think I can really afford to buy a game on both platforms, but that is just me and what I plan on spending in the end. Next I plan on giving a review on each console with the Xbox One coming up first. No favorites, I just recently added the PlayStation 4 to my setup and want to really play it for a couple of weeks to give it a fair review.

My 60 Day Challenge

Posted: December 15, 2013 in Music
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Thanks to my Xbox 360 and the all new Rocksmith 2014 from Ubisoft, I’m going to take the challenge and attempt to learn how to play guitar in 60 days. This could very well be one of the smartest things someone could actually do with a gaming console.

You might think, is this just another Rockband or Guitar Hero game? The answer, or so they claim is its not a game. This will actually teach you how to play a guitar, in fact you play a real guitar or bass guitar with this product. So don’t even think of it as a game. So this does not work with the game controllers for Rockband or Guitar Hero here.

Rocksmith 2014 is the sequel to the first Rocksmith game and its been redesigned and built from the ground up and plans to deliver the same ending results. If you play this and stick to it, you’ll learn how to really play a guitar in the end.

Step One – Pick up that Axe
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Like I said, if you really would like to learn how to play a guitar for real, then your going to need an actual guitar to perform the lessons in Rocksmith 2014. Along with the guitar and special cable that comes with Rocksmith 2014, you’ll be able to plug this into your Xbox 360 and start down the road of learning how to become a guitar player.

Step Two – Do the work
It’s not going to be an easy process, they claim that 95% of the people who work through this, really learn how to play guitar. That’s some impressive numbers to claim and after watching some of the testimonial videos. I feel it’s worth the undertaking.

So for 60 days straight, I’ll be taking virtual lessons of sorts as I pledge to play at least one hour a day and work through all that Rocksmith 2014 has to offer here. I expect it to be a challenge and the first few days will be hard, but I’m going to keep at it and expect to make progress with this.

Step Three – Have fun
In the end, I want to have fun and feel I’ve accomplished something. That means taking the challenges that come up and working to get better each. When I get close to 60 days, somewhere around the end of February, I want to be able to really play full songs at a halfway decent level.

My goal is to not stop at 60 days, depending on how I do with Rocksmith 2014, I want to keep working at it and practicing every few days or at least weekly. Sure I’d like to play daily, but for now, I’ll stick to playing at least one hour each day for sixty days straight and then I’ll decide where to take hopefully my new skill of being a guitar player next.

Going big in Grand Theft Auto V

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Games
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My first exposure to the Grand Theft Auto series came with the release of GTA IV and I have to admit I was leery of what might be in store with the gameplay in this series. As a gamer and a fan of shooters and action adventure games in general, I’m not against the violence that comes with these types of games. Just like I’m fine with most Books, TV shows, and Movies that tell similar stories to these games that I like to play from time to time.

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What I learned from playing GTA IV, is you control what you do in the game and take part in the story to complete the required missions and progress the story along, but you can elect to do what is required or take the path of full auto and be as bad as you like, if that is what you want to do. In other words, you don’t have to kill every AI walking around to play the game.

That being said, your not going to be a good guy, but you can be the lesser of many evils, at least that is how I looked at it with GTA IV. What I found really fun in the end, was simply exploring and driving around a lot of times. In fact I more an likely have been side tracked by just exploring and playing around in multiplayer at times to the point I still haven’t finished the game.

I’m looking forward to the new game and experiences and from what I’ve seen, its going to be a massive playground to explore from the story mode and then later with the release of Grand Theft Auto Online on October 1st, which will open up and allow up to 16 players to roam the streets and work on missions together or simply hang out.

Grand Theft Auto V is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, which is modeled after Southern California and the scale of the game is larger than GTA IV, GTA: San Andreas and 2010’s Western adventure Red Dead Redemption combined. With this much room, gamers should never be bored or run out of things to do.

This game is on course to be the big title release of 2013 and kicking things off a couple months before the launch of new consoles, the video game business is looking to do really well in Q4 I imagine. The midnight launches all over will take place tomorrow with the launch of GTA V and simply watch as your friends list changes with everyone playing the latest and greatest from Rockstar Games. GTA V will be available in stores for everyone starting on September 17th, 2013.

Xbox360-2Microsoft has revealed that the Xbox 360 has plenty of life left in their console and that it will be supported up until 2016. They also plan for at the very least 100 new games to help support this effort and the loyal gamers who still use their Xbox 360 on a daily basis.

During this three years of transition and provided fans of the Xbox 360 will make a switch over to Xbox One, by adding the new console to their entertainment line up down the road, gamers will still be able to keep their old library of games going and continue to play on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360.

Xbox Live will be segmented though once the Xbox One releases and games that release for both consoles will not work together because of their differences. So if some of your friends plan to purchase Call of Duty Ghosts for Xbox One and you only get it for the Xbox 360, your not going to get into matchmaking together. In fact your not able to even communicate via voice really between the two systems once Xbox One launches.

So what happens when the magic date finally arrives in 2016 and Microsoft calls for an end to the production of the Xbox 360 and games? Well if they follow along the lines of the original Xbox that ended its sales in 2008 and then cutting off Xbox Live Access in 2010 for the original console and games, we could see the same with the Xbox 360 and expect to still play the existing games up until around 2018 perhaps.

That allows for a transition of about 5 years at the most to move everyone from the existing Xbox Live over to Xbox One and Live on the new console. The hope for Microsoft is that people make this move as soon as possible and start enjoying and playing the newer Xbox One games.

What will make gamers switch faster is once the publishers and game creators stop releasing any new versions of favorite games for the Xbox 360, such as Call of Duty and Gears of War. This has already started with the latest versions of Forza and Halo only coming out for Xbox One. Fans of these games will want to pick up an Xbox One sooner than later if they plan to enjoy the latest and greatest these games offer.

The planned 100 news games does not reveal what these titles will actually be and Arcade Live games could very well make up a nice portion of those games as well. If Call of Duty Ghosts is the last version Infinity Ward releases for the Xbox 360 or say Madden 25 from EA Sports, then your sure to see gamers making a switch or at least the very hard core fans of those games making the move.

Halo 5 is set to release in 2014 and in the past this is normally around August to November and in time for the Holiday season, this means that the Xbox One could very well have been out for just about a year at this point when Halo 5 releases. If Infinity Ward is planning on another Call of Duty game after Ghosts, it will not hit until around November 2015, this will be in the 2nd year of Xbox One being out on the market and I’d expect that it will not be one of the 100 games slated for the Xbox 360.

Some of the big games are still set to release and will be coming out on the Xbox 360 and because of this, I think it could be a slow switch in converting over to Xbox One. If your fine with the existing graphics and game play of the Xbox 360 and waiting until the release of those titles planned on going only to Xbox One, you’ll be fine then holding out and just sticking with your existing Xbox 360.

When you do make the move, you can still keep the existing game collection going and simply switch between the two systems or at least until they finally cut the cord for the existing Xbox Live, say around three to five years from now.

The CONS of Xbox One

Posted: May 24, 2013 in Xbox News
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Yesterdays approach to Xbox One was similar to how Microsoft revealed things and it only talked about the good things the new console hopes to bring. In a perfect world and if money was not a problem for me, then I’d expect this console would be excellent all around.

We don’t live in a perfect world really and rarely do we find something that is 100 percent perfect for everyone. So my list of CONS against the Xbox One might not effect everyone, but I do feel these can be the very CONS most users will have to think about before making a decision on purchasing or not.

NO BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY
Oh no, say its not so, but it is so. Only afterwards Microsoft was forced to reveal that the Xbox One will not play any of the current game catalog. That means it will not play any of your Xbox 360 games or even the Xbox Live Arcade games. That means no original Xbox games as well, if anyone plays those still too.

Now I can see perhaps letting go of all the original Xbox titles with this new console, but telling your user base we’ve got a great new gaming console for you and it will launch with just 15 games this year, but you’ll have to keep your existing Xbox 360 if you want to continue to play those games in the future is a very hard line for Microsoft to draw here.

Pretty much, Microsoft is going to be focused on new games and services for Xbox One. They don’t plan on cutting Xbox 360 users off, at least not in the very near future here. A pipeline of new games and updates will continue to come for the current Xbox 360 is what they still have for those of us who don’t plan to upgrade at least just yet.

YOU CAN WATCH TV
I lost count how many times the word TV or Television was used, but a major feature involves the ability to switch from gaming to TV or other streaming sources and back as quickly. In addition partnerships with NFL will bring you the ability to have better interaction with Fantasy Football leagues if your into that sort of thing.

Specifics have not come out as to how all of this will work just yet, but I have a strong feeling to really take advantage of Xbox One, you’ll need a Cable subscription or a Satellite service provider. I might be in a minority here, but I only have OTA (Over The Air) service and use Netflix and Hulu for my entertainment needs. So if I say Xbox TV, it might ask me to subscribe to a service to use these features. That is an additional expensive I’m not looking to add back anytime soon. More details will come out during E3 and later, but if this is a major feature and void with out theses extra services, that leaves me with just gaming pretty much and is it worth the cost on such a new console that can’t even play my existing games.

IMPROVED XBOX LIVE FOR ONE OR SOME
Microsoft is set to spin up a vast number of server for Xbox One users, but I’m hearing that gamers on this network will not have access to gamers on the other segment of Xbox Live. So if you have a version of Call of Duty Ghosts for Xbox One, you can not play in match making with friends that have same game on the Xbox 360. More and likely this goes back to the games not being compatible.

If Xbox One has a very slow adoption rate, you will find a very select few of gamers to play matches with here. More will be said about game titles and how they will be released for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One at E3 and hopefully solid answers will come in regards to this point.

WHATS THE BOTTOM DOLLAR
Keeping a tight lip on the release date and the cost just makes peoples minds wander and guess what might happen. Its been said that Microsoft will not take a loss as they’ve done in the past. With the Xbox and the Xbox 360, taking a slight hit was ok and they made up on profits from game sales. With all the features planned and the power of this console and making sure it has a Blu-ray player in it, the cost could very well be close to around $600 and way out of the range of most gamers. We haven’t even guessed the cost of owning an Xbox One game just yet.

Microsoft has drawn a hard line here it seems and this could be a very slow adoption rate for existing hard core gamers with this new console. I don’t plan on pre-ordering or jumping on board just yet. Cost will be a major factor here and how the other services come into play. It would be an easy sell, if all my current games simply worked on the new box.

Maybe I can tell Xbox One to wake up my Xbox 360 to play games and they can become friends some day even.

Xbox One is coming

Posted: May 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Next Gen of console gaming and entertainment providing arrives later this year and Microsoft has revealed their plans for the future. More information and details on the actual specific games and their Xbox Live services should come out at this years E3 event.

For now lets just focus on what this new console is and the features Microsoft has chosen to tell us at this time. I can think of no better way than to show the videos Microsoft has provided during their reveal event this past Tuesday.

They’ve set some lofty goals and plan to do some different things with the next console and their services on Xbox Live. Good things to hear and it’s a well crafted message to match their vision. What gamers or loyal fans of the Xbox 360 want to really see is the details on the console and no better way again than direct from Microsoft on the details.

Impressive console and some great features for the future of gaming on Xbox Live to say the least. The console comes with lots of power and potential. It looks different and aims to catch more than the average gamers eye. This device looks more like a piece of audio/video equipment and designed to look nice with your normal Home Stereo system.

With entertainment as a key factor here in this All in one device. Microsoft wants to transition itself at the center of your choices in entertainment. Making sure this console comes with a Blu-ray player was the first step. Replacing the existing Blu-ray player in your collection keeps you closer to their other services and offerings. It makes sense, I’ve perhaps used my Xbox 360 only once to play an actual DVD movie and always gone to my stand alone player for things like this and other services such as Netflix or Hulu.

With Xbox One the ability to switch from Television to streaming movies and shows, music services, or your collection of DVDs and Blu-Ray movies will be simple and just a voice command away now. Let us not forget its also a gaming device and you’ll have easy access to get into your gaming action as well with Xbox One.

In short, this device is bigger and packs more power than anything they have brought to us before. Its familiar to those of us who use Xbox Live and Microsoft has also positioned themselves to capture more of the casual gamer or perhaps someone who is looking for a nice All in One entertainment device with lots of features and services.

Think about someone who perhaps doesn’t have a console and just a Blu-ray player. Can they simply speak and tell their player to switch to live TV, then music and back or onto something else. I don’t know of any other device that will do this. Granted you have remote controls to do a lot of this. We are talking simple and cool here and closer to the house of the future in a lot of ways here.

It is impressive what they plan to bring and I’ve outlined just about all of the PROS in this device. One device to control it all and make things simple, fun, and entertaining in the home. I’ll have my list of CONS in this bold move in my next article as I continue my thoughts on the Xbox One device.

Microsoft kicked off their 2012 E3 Press Conference with a trailer and some gameplay footage this after for their upcoming release of Halo 4. The opening cinematography in the trailer was great to say the least and will have Halo fans around the globe wishing for a full feature film as always. It’s just what fans of the game need to get inspired and excited about the new release coming this fall on the Xbox 360. Take a look at the trailer posted here on the Xbox YouTube Channel and then the following gameplay footage that followed.

So far it’s looking like 343 Industries and Microsoft are remaining very true to the franchise Bungie has created over the years and fans of the game will still have a few years more of gaming with Master Chief by the looks of things.