Sunday, October 26, 2014

PS4 versus Xbox One

While I firmly believe in the power of social endorsements, and the role of word of mouth in the decision-making process, I've always been rather sceptical of my own influence in regards to most things online (I actually state that I am not an influencer in my twitter bio, which probably explains why I don't get invited to product launches). 

I get asked a lot about PS4 vs Xbox One and although I am often very diplomatic, I feel myself being drawn to one camp. I've been a passionate Xbox 360 advocate since getting the console 8 years ago, and I expected the allegiance to extend to this generation... but it hasn't. Here's why I think you should consider the PS4 this time around.

*Before I go into my list, I need to state that multiplatform games sometimes perform marginally better on PS4, but since this is only noticeable if you really look for it (and have both versions running side by side), I am excluding it as a factor. Also - tech specs don't mean much if it doesn't translate into great gameplay experiences.

Also - this is a lot like the Islamic concept of Istikharah - if you lean a certain way, then it doesn't matter what I say, you should get the console you want.. this is more for the neutrals.

1) The PS4 has been around for longer.
You could argue that the Xbox One and PS4 have had similar launch dates overseas, but the PS4 launched locally within weeks of its other launches and this endeared it to me. It also means that we've had a year to build a... 

2) Thriving second hand market 
I refuse to pay 800 rand for a video game. Luckily, the PS4 has had enough time to build a decent user base, and with this, comes a ton of second hand titles for people like me. This is an important point if you're happy to wait a little before getting a game. There is a thriving swapping community on Gumtree too.

3) Less dependence on internet access 
I was at BT Games last week and overheard a parent telling their child that they can't get the Xbox One as it needs to be online all the time. Microsoft have retracted that decision, but clearly they haven't done a good enough job telling people (especially since the BT Games chap was like 'yeah, you have to be online). I'm assuming most people who buy a next gen console have internet access, but surely this access differs (not all of us have uncapped broadband). I use mobile data so there's no way i'm getting a console with a 40gb game download, or a mandatory install before you can even play a game. 

4) Better exclusives
This is very subjective as different franchises appeal to different people, but I've found  that the PS4 has better exclusives (from a review perspective). With Uncharted, Little Big Planet 3 and The Order around the corner, it seems to be winning (but again, this is subjective). Here's hoping for a 'Ratchet and Clank' and 'God of War' title. I do think Ori and the blind forest will be amazing (that is an Xbox One exclusive).

5) Better Marketing/ positioning

I'm not too big on the Xbox One being touted as a media centre. I want a gaming console that can do media, and not a media centre that can also play games (if that makes any sense). The media features feel US centric, and while I'm hoping that changes (

It would be unfair to exclude the areas where the Xbox One shines, so let's cover them:

1) The controller
The Xbox One controller is a thing of beauty, and while the Dual shock 4 isn't as bad as the Dual Shock 3, Microsoft's controller wins hands down. Also, a second controller doesn't cost the same as 3 months installment on a Tata Indica so that's a plus. A major problem with the PS4 is that the analogue sticks' peels (Ster Kinekor is aware of this and I think they sort it out - probably with replacement grips). 

2) The Xbox One interface is better
It feels modern and bursting with options. The PS feels simple and uneventful in comparison.

3)  Xbox in SA is still a little rebellious and against the norm, which means it is slightly elitist and cool.

4) Digital Games are cheaper on Xbox One
While we all hope Playstation reconsiders the price of digital downloads, this is less of an issue for me as I prefer physical copies of a game (due to limited mobile data... and because I want to sell it after I'm done!).

5) Xbox Live is also a superior offering
Something to consider if you are big into multiplayer. 

In a perfect world you would own one of them as your primary console, have a Wii U as your second (because Nintendo actually have the best exclusives) and get the other after a few years, instead of having a child. But if you were really stuck, and my points resonate with you, then get a PS4.

I find both the Playstation Eye as well as the Kinect to be gimmicky at best, and while I always have fun using these peripherals when my niblings come over, it is at its best, a party trick. 


Whenever I write about stuff that has fanboys, I have to state the obvious.. this is my opinion. Mine alone. You're welcome to challenge me on any point I have made and I will listen, I am very open to unlearning / changing my mind, but do respect that this is my opinion. 

btw - If you can get a Wii U at a great price (second hand), then consider it because the exclusives are fantastic (Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart etc are all great fun. Don't touch Zombi U - it's a piece of shit).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Concerning Chicky Lamba

With a police investigation underway and one person arrested, the #chickylamba incident has taken a serious turn. The viral video and it’s accompanying meme may have provided many laughs for South Africa in general and Muslim Twitter in particular but there are some serious lessons to be learned from this.

1. The assault on Aadil ‘Braazo’ Cassim needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. Also, while it is a serious offence to threaten someone with a weapon, our criticism should also include the slaps. Perhaps we are conditioned to believe that a few smacks here and there are part and parcel of the status quo or that it can be written-off as a business expense claim for communicating with someone, but it isn’t. I fear that in all the parody, we have lost sight of the fact that we have witnessed an assault.

2. We should be making a bigger deal about Shakeel Cassim (aka Chicky Lamba) claiming that his fiancé is his property. Is she like an expensive watch you remove to eliminate wind-drag from the forward momentum of a slap? Two grown men fighting over a grown woman this way is a bit last century. Can we please confront people who have this type of mentality? Without throwing them in the bush that is.

3. The name-dropping employed here harkens to an earlier era and reminded me of the idea of a ‘back-stop’. I didn’t know it was still a thing to prop yourself up by who you know with an “I am because he is” sort of vibe. It’s a very twisted sense of ubuntu, really. I imagine there’s a thug-like equivalent of LinkedIn where Ahmed Amiski endorses Ziyaad Janoo for being a desperado.

4. The ubiquity of connected devices, instant messaging services and social sharing platforms will continue to lead the way in which we consume content. FOMO is increasingly becoming a key driver for this consumption.
The most interesting about the Chicky Lamba incident is that we are sharing it in an almost rebellious fashion, as if to say, “We aren’t bothered by your status, title and long list of supposedly shady associates.” But infamy comes at a price. Chicky Lamba and his band of desperados, with their newfound cult-status, now have permanent online tattoos that can never be retracted, covered-up or removed. Their SEO rankings have been severely compromised (just try hiding this from Google). Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to other aspiring delinquents that this sort of behaviour isn’t cool or laudable.


p.s I have not checked with Keds or Memon before publishing this piece. 
p.p.s I don't know whether Amiski actually endorses any of this behaviour