A couple of months back I looked at my home set up and I realised I had a difficult choice to make. Too many consoles, not enough HDMI ports. Not enough physical space. I looked at my Xbox 360. Nestled in the nook where it had lived for years. I looked at my Xbox One. New, shiny, sexy. Ludicrously big. Sat in a clearly temporary spot next to the TV, cables spread everywhere.
There was only room for one. I had to make a choice: go through the hassle of removing the 360 and placing the Xbox One in its spot, or move the Xbox One. It was okay for a couple of weeks, but I couldn't just leave it lying there looking like the proverbial dog's breakfast. My wife wouldn't have it. 360 or Xbox One?
Insert hyperbolic headline here: WHAT I DID NEXT WILL SHOCK YOU.
Here's what I did next: I packed up my Xbox One and I took it into the spare room where it has remained to this day.
Late last week Kotaku US writer Patricia Hernandez discussed how she was enjoying next-gen gaming so much that she had completely abandoned her old consoles. Me? I'm having the opposite problem. I'm still so hopelessly connected to my old consoles that I'm struggling to find time to turn on my Xbox One and PlayStation 4. What the hell is wrong with me?
Or, more precisely, what the hell is wrong with the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One?
Well, problem number one: ease of use. I use my last gen consoles to stream video content from my laptop to my television via the PS3 media center. The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 does not allow me to do this. This is a deal breaker. It's probably the major reason my Xbox One gathers dust in the spare room while the Xbox 360 still gets used. And the PlayStation 4? It survived the cull, but only because I lent my PlayStation 3 to a friend. And despite being granted the privilege of an all-too rare HDMI port in my home set-up, my PlayStation 4 has not been used at all during the last month. I estimate I may have turned it on twice, and that was to check out InFamous: Second Son for about five minutes.
Problem number two: the games. Even now, post the release of Titanfall/Second Son, I am far more likely to turn on my Xbox 360 to play video games. For the most part this is the result of my Dark Souls II obsession, but it's also testament to the fact that neither next-gen console has provided me with a compelling enough experience to drag me away from Dark Souls II even for a second. Luftrausers, Fez, OlliOlli — these three games alone have been enough to distract me away from Dark Souls II. Hell, I've spent more time playing Pikmin 3 with my wife on the Wii U than I have with anything on my Xbox One and PlayStation 4 combined.
And in terms of the feature set of the consoles, there is nothing on either that augments my experience to the point where I feel compelled to play games on those consoles specifically. In her article, Patricia mentioned the ability to share: to stream on twitch, to share screenshots on Facebook or Twitter — I love these advances and plan to use them in the future but they are not a game changer, definitely not a good enough reason to stop playing a superior game on my Xbox 360.
And the crazy thing? I love both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. I love the design of the PlayStation 4, I love its controller, I love the UI, I love it all. As for the Xbox One? Titanfall is probably my favourite online shooter since, man... Halo 3 maybe? That's how good it is.
But it's not good enough.
Both consoles have shifted a mammoth amount of units since launch, way more that I expected they would, but I have noticed something: the friends who are a little stingier with their dollars, the folks who are more sensible in their spending? They're waiting. They're holding back. There is nothing, they tell me, that warrants the $500-600 spend. Not yet. Not quite.
And who am I — the man who continues to play his Xbox 360, the man whose Xbox One isn't even plugged into a power point — to tell them otherwise.