Friday, November 11, 2016

Q Attack, Round 31 - Are 0.5 Console Upgrades Desirable?
The PlayStation 4 Pro just recently launched and Xbox: Project Scorpio is still on its way. Tiger and Rabbit sit down to discuss these 0.5 console upgrades and whether they are really worth paying extra for.


Tiger: Hey Rabbit, why the glum face?

Rabbit: We’re obsolete, Tiger! What are we gonna do?

Tiger: What do you mean, it’s not like we’re the T-800. I mean, I know we’re a little older now and maybe not as hip as we used to be or as well informed with pop culture but-

Rabbit: ^throws up hands^ That’s not what I mean! And I’m still totally hip and groovin’, no what I mean is that we’re gaming on an obsolete console.

Tiger: Oh, not this. You always get sucked into buying the latest and the greatest tech. You’re lucky you haven’t been screwed over every single time.

Rabbit: Hey, you’re one to talk, you also do the same thing. After all, who was it that wanted to get the PS3 at launch with its lovely $600 price tag.

Tiger: *shakes finger* That’s different… I’m not sure how but I’ll tell you when I figure it out.

Rabbit: So what are we gonna do now? With the PS4 Pro out, our launch PS4 is like a dinosaur in comparison.

Tiger: We’re going to wait until our launch PS4 dies before we replace it with a PS4 Pro. C’mon, just look at it, there’s nothing really worth the extra $100 and we even have the 4K setup!

Rabbit: But having all our games run smoother and look better would be amazing!

Tiger: I’d rather have developers finally lock down 60fps than have games upscaled to 4K.

Rabbit: You don’t think we’ll have native 4K for games?

Tiger: I’ll believe it when I see it. But I think we should back up just a bit. We aren’t talking about the PS4 slim and Xbox One S, I have no problems with them. Of course we were going to see newer and smaller versions of the current gen consoles as they tweak the innards of these consoles and make it more efficient to produce.

Rabbit: Yup, Sony has always come out with a fitter version of every console, even its handhelds. We usually upgrade to these versions when our launch consoles start to give up the ghost.

Tiger: What we’re specifically talking about are these 0.5 console upgrades that aren’t full on new iterations but significant upgrades to the current consoles. It’s like the smartphone upgrade year after year except for gaming consoles.

Rabbit: That’s a scary thought, seeing these things upgrade every year.

Tiger: I’d be shocked if they did that. The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio, which isn’t out until 2017, are supposed to be the stepping stones before we leap to the next console cycle.

Rabbit: You can at least see their benefit, right? It’s not all fear and loathing with you.

Tiger: I resent that remark but yes, I totally understand the move I just don’t like it.

Rabbit: There are some great benefits to having these 0.5 upgrades. Newer tech and cheaper ways to produce it for one thing. We get better graphics with 4K being the real push. Each 0.5 console also touts better processing power which is a boon for developers.

Tiger: With VR being so important too, these new upgrades were designed to really support it. But c’mon, how much can the developers really utilize their new-found power when all games have to work on the standard PS4 and Xbox One? The benefits to me are merely cosmetic, which isn’t a bad thing, since gaming is very much a visual medium. Seriously though, how many people are going to be streaming 4K movies or can even do that? How many have 4K TVs? And with the PS4 Pro, it sounds like it’s just an upscaling console more than anything?

Rabbit: True, while Project Scorpio isn’t out yet, it definitely looks to be the more powerful console. If anything, I think Scorpio could be the one that’s really worth the investment.

Tiger: Yes, I think Sony hurt itself by doing two stupid things. One was pitting PSVR and PS4 Pro against each other this holiday season, because no normal person is going to drop $800 on new equipment. Then with the slim Xbox One $50 cheaper than the slim PS4, right there it feels like you get more for your buck with MS.

Rabbit: Wow, Tiger going all pro MS for a change.

Tiger: It’s true though, I’m not going to pick one up but for the parent or family member who is shopping for a Christmas gift, that pricing makes a big deal. Then you look at the Pro and it’s $100 on top of a standard PS4 but what’s the real benefit for your average consumer? I, personally, don’t feel it’s worth the extra money. If I need to replace my system, I’d buy a Pro but I’m not going to go out of my way for these 0.5 upgrades.
Rabbit: Well, I think we all know what Tiger’s answer to this Q Attack is.

Tiger: I don’t think 0.5 console upgrades are desirable because I feel it’s just the gaming industry trying to milk us for all we’re worth. They’re trying to get us to adopt VR which is already expensive no matter the way you look at it and now they offer these upgraded consoles with the promise of better graphics and processing power. It’s true that they give us that but when the developers still have to make sure games work on the standard consoles, how much better can they really be? I definitely think 4K is gorgeous and the way to go to play video games but for those who haven’t adopted this new tech, it’s not worth it. It bothers me too that they think we’re all made of money. It’s like the new iPhone, we know a couple of people who fork out $500 or more for the newest iPhone every time it freaking comes out. I don’t want to be put in the position that a similar business practice reaches gaming.

Rabbit: I understand your concern but think about how long these consoles life-cycles are. You’re looking at nearly 10 years that game developers have to use the exact same technology to produce games yet are still expected to make advancements in graphics and gameplay. That’s like asking a chef to use the same ingredients over and over again to make newer and better dishes. Giving the developers flexibility with more powerful consoles with these so-called 0.5 upgrades allows them to continue to push the medium forward. And the great thing is that you aren’t forced to upgrade if you don’t feel the need or don’t have the latest gadget to fully maximize these consoles. Unlike a new console generation, you won’t have to worry about not having new games developed for your platform. We were very excited for the PS4 but we also knew many who felt forced to pick it up because its launched signaled the death of the PS3. This isn’t true with the Pro, it’s a more powerful system for a specific consumer base. If it doesn’t fit your needs, you can stay with your standard PS4 and it won’t affect you. But if you happen to be hip on tech, you have the opportunity now to really utilize it with these upgraded systems. I think it’s a win/win for everyone.

Tiger: So are you going to get one?

Rabbit: Heck no, I don’t have the cash for that.

Tiger: I rest my case.

Rabbit: Hey, that’s not fair! You can’t just leave it like that! Come back here, Tiger!

Are 0.5 Console Upgrades Desirable?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

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