Gaming and Multimedia Across all Platforms
By Josh Bucton
As with many a modern day gamer I have ventured across the good ol’ “VS” article’s more times than I care to remember, so I wanted to talk about something a little different, an appreciation for multiple systems and the benefits and some minor annoyances that go hand in hand with having access to them…
For many years I had played exclusively on the PlayStation side of the fence, however in the more recent year’s I have been casting my view further, and have found the offerings across Xbox, and PC to be very intriguing…
The Xbox 360 introduced me to the equally fun and utterly frustrating world of Online Gaming, and LAN, with my first house mate (the very reason I got the console in the first place) via the known to everyone Call Of Duty series’, my experience kicked off with Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and over a 2 year period (was late to the series), progressed onto Black Ops and Battlefield 3. All of which were great fun. When I was able to jump into the same map as my mates, but unfortunately with the release of Battlefield Premium, which I could not afford at that time, the experience soured, as I was no longer able to join said maps, and playing with total stranger’s lost appeal fairly quickly.
Some time passed and I found myself purchasing most AAA Titles for the following years on the 360. With a combination of the social aspect with party chat, controller configuration and my partner also finding the controller much easier to use, she played a handful of games with me regularly which has been really cool! Something I also seldom give credit to, is the whole interface of the 360 which has been a drawcard for a good few of my local gaming friends that were not particularly interested in first party titles, but loved the fresh and ever improving layout. That is also quiet user friendly, in comparison to the comparatively different user interface of the PlayStation 3, which is admittedly also a large enough factor in some of my purchases at the time, for the system.
On the other hand, my purist and perhaps loyal side does love the mostly advertisement free and simplistic nature of XMB on the PlayStation 3, which in itself has the benefit of being simpler to navigate, with the settings, photo’s, music, video’s, app’s, and PlayStation Network features all featuring their own drop down menu beneath the respective icon. In contrast to the tiled appearance of the 360, which places the contents of individual tab’s front and centre for the user, whilst using the controller’s shoulder buttons cycle in either direction for a smooth transition between sections/content. The major difference in my experience has been the smoother integration via appearance when it comes to advertisement, as each section has something relevant to the user’s recent and past purchases and titles played, which can help people who may have otherwise been unaware of the various things shown.
Adding to the mix is the PC platform, which I have been playing more of the last year; having moved from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment in the last year, and having to part with many of my DVD collection bar irreplaceable Collectors Editions, I have found embracing the “all digital” nature of Steam distribution to be far less painful than first thought, and the regular sales and numerous alternative discount key websites, are excellent for someone on a tight budget like myself, for example checking with steam on a regular basis, I have been able to pick up the entire Saints Row Collection, Metro Last Light Redux, Fallout 3 and New Vegas with all dlc, Skyrim, The Witcher collection, Deus ex, Far Cry 3 & 4 and many more. One of the other advantages to PC is being able to replace individual components with minimal fuss, as I have recently had to replace the Hard Disk Drive; but with careful shopping, I was able to replace the Hard Disk Drive and pick up an extra 4GB’s of ram for under $90 AUD, which is a bargain!
It has also been a pleasant surprise that with the addition of a cheap wireless receiver ($10-15 on eBay), I have been able to play most of the games that I had my eye on across the 360 & PS3, with the 360 controller, which for myself being fairly uncoordinated with the traditional keyboard and mouse arrangement, outside of first person shooters, is super comfortable from the couch, and very convenient overall. I am also currently researching the soon to be released Steam Controller, which is looking like a great option for the games released without controller support, as it is set to bridge the gap for user’s like myself, that from growing up playing on consoles, find it very difficult to play for decent time lengths on the traditional keyboard and mouse arrangement.
Alongside of these features, is the multimedia supported on the new and older consoles, in the form of Apps… Something I have only recently discovered, but am finding to be extremely handy and useful is the content available through the PlayStation Store with both current release and older films, and Season Passes available for the majority of popular television shows, and the access to the extensive library of US Netflix and Hulu, via a DNS service; all of which is above board, and has the handy use of the DualShock 4 for navigation. I must admit there have been a few moments of envy towards my American brethren whom are able to access these services with much broader content without having to use the geo-unblocking-services mentioned with the DNS, speaking of which, for any fellow Australian user’s that may be eager to try said services, but not aware of them; I am using getflix, check out their website (www.getflix.com.au) and see what you think, plans start at $3.95 per month for full access to International Television services across a range of devices.