Multi-platform Game Comparisons - Console Wars Redux

I haven’t done a study on it, but just from casual observation, I’d say it can go either way. Sometimes I buy a game on the Xbox sale, and notice that it’s on sale on PSN the same week, but is much more expensive. But other times I’ve bought stuff on the Xbox sale and noticed it’s slightly cheaper on the subsequent PSN sale.

Mostly I stick to PS exclusives on the playstation, so it’s not really an issue for me either way.

Yeah, it was just a casual thing for me, too. And yup, mostly use the PS4 Pro for exclusives, too. In fact, this post was prompted by hearing Dreams was on sale, and that’s something I’d like to check out in VR. It was $15 ($10 with Plus), so I bit. But while browsing around I saw some stuff I’d noticed on the Xbox sale this week- Xcom 2 Collection and Borderlands 3, for example. And the non-Plus prices were crazy for being on sale, so I started doing comparisons using a non-logged-in browser on the Xbox site and confirmed it.

Yeah, when I’ve checked on a particular game I was interested in, it seems like the sale sticker price is the same on both platforms (which makes sense, since I assume it is set by the publisher). But the Xbox ecosystem winds up ahead on cost in at least three main ways for me (even aside from the value of Game Pass):

  • Constant trickle of rewards points building up in my account from searches, Game Pass quests, etc., automatically converting $10 worth of credit per month for “free”.
  • Rebates for major new releases and holiday sales that work out to ~10% back worth of points.
  • I wanted a full set of four controllers for couch multiplayer with the family. Doing that for PS5 would have been $210, since the controllers haven’t been on sale and you can’t use PS4 controllers on new games. XSX was $40 for a spare new controller during black friday sale, and then $0 to reuse two old-gen controllers that were lying around.

One thing I’ve noticed about both Xbox Live and PSN is that even though they have special sales for Gold Subscribers and PS+ subscribers only, those same games can be had for the same price or cheaper in other sales, and don’t require PS+ or Gold. For example, this week in the Games with Gold sale, you’ve got the Kingdom Hearts games for sale, and a bunch of others like Raji and Void Bastards and Warhammer: Martyr, but those same games were recently on sale as part of the Lunar sale just last week for the same amounts. Similarly, I was not a PS+ member for most of the life of the PS4, and I got games like God of War for $10, Uncharted Collection for $7, etc. Sure, those games were on sale at times for those prices only for PS+ members, but I got them when they were on sale for everyone, not just for PS+ members. So no biggie. No one should be getting these memberships just for sales. The sales come for these games all the time whether you’re a member or not. In fact, Uncharted Collection, I remember getting it for $7 in a general sale for everyone before it was on sale for PS+ members for $10. So I actually got a better deal than the PS+ deal that came later.

Indications of more Sony releases coming to PC.

This is about the PS4/One era of games but you’ll notice it’s a bit lopsided

The list

10 . Spider Man 2018
9 . Death Stranding
8 . Final Fantasy VII Remake
7 . Sekiro
6 . Resident Evil 2
5 . Horizon: Zero Dawn
4 . Ghosts of Tsushima
3 . God of War
2 . The Last of Us Part 2
1 . Red Dead Redemption 2

Honorable Mentions:

  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Arkham Knight
  • Witcher 3
  • AC Valhalla

A really great discussion about resolution on Digital Foundry. I queued it up to that discussion, it lasts about 15 minutes, and is worth listening to the whole thing.

For those unable to watch, to briefly touch upon some points, resolution was really important during the PS3/360 era because switching away from CRTs to LED screens, the difference between 600p or 720p was really big in terms of image clarity. Then in the next generation XB1/PS4, it became less important but it was still important. But now in the era of good anti-aliasing techniques, well handled dynamic resolutions, and the distance you sit away from your TV, resolution isn’t really all that important to image clarity anymore, but people still are used to focusing on it out of inertia from previous generations. They discuss that what they need is some other way now to measure image clarity.

(Though, obviously, it’s still an issue on the Switch, resolution is still important there for image clarity).

Yeah, it’s actually funny. The term “native resolution” was born as a term to define a rendering resolution that matched the physical resolution of the display device. That was a useful distinction, especially at the time, but it eventually morphed to a somewhat arbitrary distinction over whether the opaque geometry rendering resolution matched the framebuffer resolution irrespective of the display device. Given the quality achieved using reconstruction and temporal techniques like DLSS, temporal injection, etc, that has become a pretty pointless distinction.

It gets them good will but their catalog isn’t exactly the greatest for preserving. The reason people want Sony and Nintendo to just make every game they ever made available on current platforms is because many of those games are truly classic. Their scarcity is due to actual value of the originals.

Of course to do that takes money, a lot of it. And when they have made those games available whether through Virtual Consoles or re-releases, people also lost their fucking minds at having to pay $5 to play Super Mario Bros. or $8 to play Super Mario World.

So because their catalogs are so sought after, and it’s not as easy as just dropping them into emulators with no QC, they are in a no win situation and always will be.

I’d rather they push forward instead of look back. If Microsoft had new games to sell on Series X they wouldn’t be this focused on the past. Right now it’s all they have.

Holy shit. That is an absolutely amazing post.

Lol. There are zero negatives to this and yet somebody is still shitting on it in defense of their preferred system.

Too popular is the justification for not doing similar? Yet, not popular enough to shell out less than $10$?

You shoulda stopped at youd rather they look forward. Of course that has nothing todo with them working on new stuff as they wouldnt really be competing on resources but at least it is philosophically sound reasoning.

Everyone wants the true classics released on their platform.

No one will pay $5 to play true classics on their platform.

Exactly.

What people actually want is to play the classics for free or be tricked into thinking it was “free” by paying $15 a month for 12 months a year.

And to be clear, it is good PR, but the vast majority of system catalogs on all systems aren’t interesting to the vast majority of gamers, but because all of us, me included, are so deeply caught in the FOMO of gaming, it seems like a greater thing than it is.

If you have a disc or digital license Game Pass isn’t needed on Xbox. Game Pass is just needed to stream via Xcloud.

Yeah, I’m not asking for free, but “let me play the games I already gave you money for, especially given that you have the technology to let me do so” doesn’t seem like a particularly high bar. I’d be willing to excuse some issues with PS2 games and even give them a total pass on PS3 because of the Cell processor (though given that we have an amateur PS3 emulator that works pretty well on PC, even that shouldn’t be too much of an ask).

That’s actually very likely true. What I find to be a very pleasant feeling is that I can take my disc of Crimson Skies and Knights of the Old Republic that I’ve owned for decades now and just pop them in and play them. My back catalog is very interesting to me, and Xbox affords me this option. They didn’t try to resell my games to me, and even the additional frame rate and resolution upgrade cost me nothing, as in not tied to Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold or any other fees. That’s a value add and it counts for a lot with me.

Meanwhile, I really hope my PS2 doesn’t die on me any time soon because I do like to play Gradius V on it from time to time.

Also, here’s an interesting article -

And here’s your console warrior money shot:

’ The likes of Beyond Good & Evil HD, Rayman 3 HD, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD, SoulCalibur II HD Online, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and both Bionic Commando games will soon only be available to purchase on Microsoft‘s consoles.’

There are no guarantees though. Microsoft is interested right now, and they are also fortunate because their history is all on PC-like hardware. It’s “easy” for them to do this. For Nintendo and Sony the games were built on proprietary machines. It’s not trivial to make their stuff available.

Because of that it costs more money, a lot more, because if you do it, then people expect perfection. If you manage that, then people want it free or near free. “Why can’t I just put in the disc?” is a question you all know the answer to here. It’s not that simple, but it is easier for the company who started their gaming division with basically a PC, which is close to what today’s consoles are.

Sony hasn’t said they’re shutting down the downloads and you can still redownload on Wii many years later, but it all will end one day, for all of them. I’m sure of that. It’s the nature of tech.

This is why buying physical will always be the sole option for actual preservation, but now that consoles are PCs we have the patching problem making many physical discs obsolete too. It all reeks of the future, where everything is a service and you own nothing. Your kids will love it! The rest of us die miserable and set them up for the future with our collections sold at auction.

On a personal note, Backwards Compatibility gave me really amazing experiences on the Xbox One. Every time Microsoft added a multiplayer game to the program it was great to see the servers light up again and fill with thousands of players on decades-old games. When Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops 1, Black Ops 2, Battlefield 1943 (and others) rolled into Back-compat it felt like the games just released again. I jumped into each of those when they became available and played for months. Matchmaking was a breeze and was nice to see all the excited discussions online again.

I loved being transported back to different eras and reliving them again. Hit me right in the nostalgic feels. Have only had that experience a handful of other times in my gaming life and usually on PC.

That sort of exists on Nintendo or Playstation with remasters (think Demon Souls) but on those platforms the entry fee is $60-70 to get that nostalgic hit with lively servers again.

There is something about titles getting added to the Back-compat program that creates the excitement and genuine feeling of a second release. I am looking forward to when Microsoft gets the program rolling again (they paused it in the lead up to the Series release).

I actually get a sense that one reason you like the Switch is literally because of its cartridges.

Probably the best counter example of download only games so far is Steam. Be sure, Steam in 50 years seems like an impossible ask, but at least to date nothing has equalled Steam in PC game preservation.

Somewhat paradoxically what you’re advocating for is in part due to the inflexibility of Japanese game companies adapting to this cloud storage world, which they neither have experience nor expertise in. Japanese companies are dumping their digital version of games because they themselves can’t handle that sort of continuous digital cost. Yet clearly other companies can handle it and do so regularly.