Titanfall screenshot
Titanfall screenshot

While there are no actual 'winners' or 'losers' really - both consoles will go on to find huge and successful fan bases - it seems to me Microsoft has come out of GamesCom in a far greater, and stronger, position than what it had before it went into it.

Bundling FIFA 14 with every Xbox One in Europe was a stroke of genius - even if it'll be available on the current-generation before then - and the console's showcase of games are all more impressive than they were at E3 (as you may expect). Forza remains the jewel in the launch window's crown, Titanfall, although out next year, is positioning itself to be a critical and commerical darling, whereas Dead Rising 3 (frame rate aside), and even Kinect Sports: Rivals are all making very good cases as to why Microsoft's new machine is a worthy investment. Even those not at blockbuster level are still solid, and, seemingly, improving as the days count down to release. Could the Xbox One use a couple more triple-A titles for day one? Most definitely, but the seeds are slowly being planted as to what the future holds.

It's not that Sony had a bad show, either. Its conference, while slow, underlined its dedication to the indie scene, and it remains the cheaper of the two. The games, however, still don't carry any weight of excitement with me. Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous are more of the same (no bad thing if the franchises have won you over), DriveClub hasn't found its feet yet, and Knack... well... screw Knack*.

Obviously if the back and forth dance Microsoft has been doing since the Xbox One's announcement has left you baffled or cold to the console, I doubt there's anything that happened over the last week that altered such a stance, and why should it? For those on the fence, though, or those who were happy to wait and see where the company would finally lay its foundations, the Xbox One is a much more attractive package than it was a few months ago (even if I still stand by my opinion that its original form would've benefited us a lot more).

There's more to the 360's successor now, too, most notably its ability to be used as a development tool for would-be and current designers. While the past is enough to make you question how Microsoft will see this through (it would not surprise me if some people never discovered the Indie Store on 360), and there is a registration process to get accepted into the ID@Xbox programme, it's a far cry from E3 where the message to many was 'Sony cares about the independent scene. Microsoft doesn't'.

Even the addition of Kinect doesn't seem as heinous as it did to some back in May. Games like Kinect Sports: Rivals prove that the new sensor is a class apart from what came before it. The idea of motion control may still be an iffy one, but if you're going to do it, I don't think it's been done better than what was being showcased at GamesCom 2013.

The battle lines will continue to be drawn well into November, and ultimately there is no right or wrong choice. Most people's guts will have already told them which console to lean towards and why. In terms of public perception, however, Microsoft has spent the last 5 days doing a great job in winning a lot of people back.

*This is a joke. While I'm sure Knack is a very good game, it's not for me.

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KamSage's Avatar

KamSage

I think I'm the only one that would buy the XboxO for the Kinect possibilities. It seems to have made up for the problems of the first, by reports I've read, and I think MS are trying to make it an industry standard with the amount of money they've put into it, that the Kinect will be what separates their console from the rest. And to me at least, it's looking desirable.
Still getting a PS4, it's more me.
Posted 21:58 on 23 August 2013
pblive's Avatar

pblive

An I the only one looking forward to Knack? Looks like a Nintendo game with a Sony body.

Microsoft certainly made a big comeback at Gamescom, not just damage limitation, more a complete turnaround (ironic considering the '180' jibes)

Both consoles are now in a very strong position for launch and I'm really looking forward to both of these this November.
Posted 19:07 on 23 August 2013
Sheza's Avatar

Sheza@ FantasyMeister

Well at least now you've made your true intentions clear :) I'm personally really excited for Microsoft's innovations with Kinect and the powerful cloud gaming services. The Playstation 4 is looking more and more like a box that plays graphically-enhanced games, and little else. I probably won't get either though since I'm a PC gamer and thus can't justify spending an extra £600+ to get started with console games but it's fun to speculate.
Posted 17:45 on 23 August 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ Sheza

It's really a personal decision, everyone will be different. If I was a FIFA fan I think having it bundled would have swayed me easily, it's a brilliant move by Microsoft, but unfortunately I'm not.

But the main factor is the games, I've been with Microsoft since the XBox, 8 years of Live, I'm all Forza/Crackdown/Fabled/Halod/Geared out. I want to try new franchises and really, really want to play Level-5's games again, so PS4 is an obvious alternative. I think I use Kinect as an easy one-word excuse when it's really more complicated, but I just hate the tech because it doesn't enhance my gaming personally.
Posted 17:42 on 23 August 2013
Sheza's Avatar

Sheza@ FantasyMeister

And why not? If you're a FIFA fan, you're paying just £25 more for Kinect. And it's not just Kinect - it's the far, far improved version. It's an effortless 1080p webcam and microphone setup for Skye calls as you game. It enables voice and gesture controls, even if you won't use them that much. And one day when there's a killer game that uses Kinect and you really want it, you'll thank Microsoft for including it in the package.
Posted 17:36 on 23 August 2013
BombaLuigi's Avatar

BombaLuigi

I Pre-Ordered Knack :P

But real excitement don't give me any Game for PS4 or Xbox One. But there are two Games I want to play because they look like I will have fun with it (Knack and InFamous) but excitement is something diffrent.

There really is nothing that gets me pumped up in a Super Mario 64 Way. You know, turning crazy, jumping around naked on the Street and stuff.
Posted 17:33 on 23 August 2013
redish's Avatar

redish

X1 is looking more attractive day by day, so glad I've not pre-ordered a console yet because I'm still on the fence.
Posted 16:55 on 23 August 2013
Mr_Arrogant_95's Avatar

Mr_Arrogant_95@ SimonMiller

Fair enough, thanks for responding :L
Posted 16:03 on 23 August 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

Microsoft lost me at "You will buy Kinect whether you want it or not."
Posted 15:59 on 23 August 2013
Moothead2's Avatar

Moothead2

Neither console really looks that great to me right now, the games you mentioned on Xbox that have won you over really don't appeal to me at all and although FIFA being bundled with the console is a good move, it's not exactly free when you take into account the price difference of the consoles. I'll probably cancel my PS4 preorder and wait to see what else comes along before taking the plunge.
Posted 15:58 on 23 August 2013
LikeAWass's Avatar

LikeAWass

I totally agree. The news stories coming from Microsoft recently make me think they're striving to make up lost ground whereas my current perception of Sony is that they're happy where they are.

Sony obviously put forward a great showing but with Sony's UK managing director Fergal Gara saying things such as "It's nice to feel you're ahead" my impression is that they think they've done enough. Being naturally greedy I don't want them to feel that way, I want them under pressure so they give us more reasons to buy their product - which is exactly what Microsoft is doing.
Posted 15:54 on 23 August 2013
Baconchin's Avatar

Baconchin@ SimonMiller

I played Knack a month or so back and yeah, i'm with you here Simon. I'm usually a fan of these sort of games as well, it's just that something just doesn't hold with me regarding it .Not sure what it is yet though.
Posted 15:53 on 23 August 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ Mr_Arrogant_95

Ha! To be fair, I'm being mean to Knack. Was only written in jest. I need to sit down and play the whole thing. Just as of writing, I'm not sure about it.
Posted 15:47 on 23 August 2013
Mr_Arrogant_95's Avatar

Mr_Arrogant_95

I still find it odd that Simon doesn't like the look of Knack. I thought it'd be right up his alley with his love for Nintendo games. I'm personally interested in it but I have a feeling it'll be a PSN+ freebie eventually.
But on point, I agree that Microsoft came out stronger from Gamescom. Despite not caring about FIFA, I'm sure that matters to the huge audience that game has, though I wonder how many of those are people who go out and pre-order video game consoles (as that's the only way to get the game to my knowledge). They seem to have finally got rid of that horrid reveal reputation and can finally compete for consumers hearts.
I still enjoyed Sony's offerings, and those games personally appealed to me more. Titanfall looks great and all, but it's just not for me. That's not a bad thing however, Microsoft target the shooter/sports demographic, and I'm just not part of it, which is why I'm glad I have to chose to buy other systems.
That said, Microsoft finally seem to have found their footing and their audience, so things should start to get interesting from here on in. Sony need to step it up and bring out the AAA games (Uncharted 4 at the VGAs?)
Posted 15:43 on 23 August 2013

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