Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Next Gen or No Gen?

I have been a Playstation gal for as long as I have played games, mostly because it was better than the NES systems and it wasn't Microsoft. That being said, I have no special allegiance to Sony itself, or even to the Playstation as a platform.

Lately, a lot of interesting new possibilities have been arising on the horizon. The two that have caught my attention are both, coincidentally, pretty damn portable. And, also coincidentally, based on fvcking Linux, which is pretty freakin' awesome since Linux is my platform of choice for everything and it is the one platform (I would say "company" except it's not a company) that I do have a special allegiance to.


When I first heard about the Ouya console, I was, to be honest, not impressed. I never saw Android as a gaming platform and I'd never seen a proper immersive RPG or FPS or anything available for Android. All the games for Android tend(ed) to be aimed at the time-killer market. Games on mobile operating systems are always very very aware that they have to be games that people can drop in and out of at any time, and they are careful never to have long sections of gameplay where interruption would be damaging to your success. This means short and simple storylines, short and simple tasks or quests, few or very brief cut scenes. They are also all built for mobile platforms, so the control scheme is usually horrible, since they have to allow for the idea that people are poking and stroking the touchscreens of their phones and do not have the luxury of having multiple buttons or even a good d-pad.

I looked at the game listing for Ouya recently, though, and it really has boosted my interest. Obviously I have not actually played any of the games that are listed as Ouya titles because I do not (yet?) own an Ouya, but the list looks very promising! Titles like Bard's Tale, Ravensword, Final Fantasy 3 (yes, that Final Fantasy), Legends of Aethereus, and a hell of a lot more, I can actually see the Ouya as being at least a semi-serious console. Almost a cross between a casual gamer's console like the Wii (yeah you heard me) and a "real" console. PLUS it has the obligatory media center tools like XBMC, Plex, and even VLC.

At $100, I don't really see a good reason not to get it. At worse, it would be a casual gaming box that sits next to my monitor that gets used for light gaming, media streaming. But that's not all!  It's also a tiny little cube that I could literally throw into my bag when I'm going over to a friend's place or to visit my parents, or whatever.


I don't think Ouya is prepped to be my only gaming console, at least not any time soon. But what is poised to be that for me is Valve's Steam console. I'd buy one of those at pretty much any cost (I mean any competitive cost compared to the PS4) in part because I love the idea of Steam, and in part just to get more Linux into my home!

Steam as a platform is great because it is portable. I can play a game on my SteamBox, or if I'm out with just a laptop, I could play the game on that. That's leveraging a cloud in a way I can actually live with.

Steam as a platform on Linux is just too amazing to even describe. So, yes, I want SteamOS, I want SteamBox, I want it all. Give it to me, Gabe!

Next Gen or No Gen?

I can't say I'm ready to give up the idea of the next generation of consoles. PS4 looks amazing and the games are looking beautiful and exciting. But let me put it this way...if SteamOS/Box starts getting most of the AAA titles that PS4 and Xbox are getting, and Ouya keeps getting more serious about gaming, I don't see why I would want to bother with a PS4.

And hey, if all of that fails, at least I can still get a PS4 and be happy knowing it is running BSD underneath!

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