Top 6.5 Reasons Why the Xbox 360 is the Best Console of this Generation
For years, virtual armies have waged war on forums and comment sections across the internet in a desperate struggle for console superiority. After half a decade of hurt feelings, insulted intelligences, offensive mother comments, and general meanness, the battle is finally over. Despite the stiff competition, the dust has settled and a clear winner has victoriously emerged from the message board flames, dancing on the graves of its competitors via Kinect.
6.5. Parental Controls
It’s true that parental controls are not new to this generation of consoles. It’s also true that all three consoles of this generation feature parental controls. However, the Wii and the PS3 only allow parents to block access to the internet, and restrict media based on content rating. The Xbox 360 parental controls not only block online usage and restrict content based on rating, but can also set an allotted playtime limit per day for each user. The recent update to the dashboard has also given parents more options then ever before. The Xbox 360 can now be programmed to force-feed children their vegetables, zap them into unconsciousness at bedtime, and act disappointed when kids receive bad grades in school. Parents with Xbox Kinect can use the latest laser scanning technology to covertly search through their children’s rooms in order to uncover drugs and pr0nography. Kinect voice recognition technology also allows parents to audibly record their children while playing videogames in order to punish them if they happen to swear. Basically, the Xbox 360 makes parenting a breeze. If you break it down, $250.00 is a small price to pay for a 24-hour childcare service that will inevitably accept the blame for your child’s future problems due to a lack of proper parenting.
Downloadable titles are the cat's pajamas.
6. Xbox Live Arcade
Originally launched in May of 2004 on the original Xbox, the Xbox Live Arcade couldn’t begin to reach its potential until it was relaunched on the Xbox 360 the following year. Although slow to start, the XBLA has exponentially grown in quality and variety since its integration into the dashboard. Today, XBLA is the best online marketplace for new and original downloadable titles across any of the current three consoles. Thanks to XBLA, the Xbox 360 is the only console where you can play titles such as Shadow Complex, Super Meat Boy, Torchlight, The Dishwasher Series, Doom II, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, TMNT2: The Arcade Game, and Orcs Must Die. Even downloadable titles that aren’t exclusive to XBLA are typically available on the Xbox 360 long before any other console. Hits like Limbo, Braid, and Worms 2: Armageddon were available on XBLA a year before they saw the light of day in the Playstation Store. Castle Crashers, one of the most well received downloadable titles on any console, wasn’t available on the PS3 for a full 2 years until after its initial XBLA release! If downloadable titles are your bag, the Xbox 360 has the competition beat. If downloadable titles aren’t something you are interested in, you are missing out on some great games.
Kinect the dots. La, La, La, La.
There is no denying that the Xbox Kinect is Microsoft’s blatant attempt to get a piece of the casual gamer audience cultivated by Nintendo. However, although it may not be the first console of this generation to use motion control, it should be noted that initial Xbox 360 sales were not marketed solely on a motion controlled gimmick. Also, the motion control of the Kinect is vastly different than that of the Playstation Move or Nintendo Wii. Instead of waving around two s3xually suggestive controllers full of accelerometers and optical sensors, the Kinect requires no controller at all. Developed by Rare, the Kinect merges an infrared projector, a camera, and a microchip tracking system to create what is known as Light Coding. This, combined with an RGB camera, a depth sensor, and a multi-array microphone allow the Kinect to provide full-body 3D motion capture, voice recognition, and facial recognition. Although it may be true that currently a majority of the games using Kinect technology are reminiscent of Wii Sports, the potential Kinect’s future application is enormous. Games such Dance Central use the Kinect to track players in such a precise manner equivocated by no other console. Kinect’s motion control and voice recognition software allow for easy menu navigation and video control. Kinect Fun Labs is also a great place to get a small preview of what Kinect’s future applications may be in areas other than gaming. Developers are currently using Kinect technology in the field of robotics, 3D video conferencing, 3D user interfacing, and even medicine. Microsoft’s Kinect is clearly ahead of it’s time and is definitely something to keep your eye.
Can't you just hear that unlock noise?
They won’t get you laid. They won’t make you popular. They won’t make you a better person in anyway. Arguing that Achievements and Gamerscore are anything other than arbitrary numbers is a moot point. However, the same can be said for just about any hobby in which people invest their time and emotion. Owning a complete collection of Beanie Babies, or having your favorite sports team win a championship is no more important to the universe than a Gamerscore. Achievements, like anything else, are only important because of the meaning we input into them. Although I admit that initially I doubted the value I would place on Achievements, I now find myself devoting hours of time simply to hear that beautiful “unlock” noise to creep my Gamerscore up just a little bit higher. Even the brilliantly chosen name “Achievements” provides a sense of accomplishment for the player. Although some may argue that this sense of accomplishment is false, it’s really not. Unlocking 100% of the Achievements in a game may not be as productive to society as building a house, but it is still important in its own context. I have quite a few specific Achievements (such as the Mass Effect 2 Insanity Achievement) that I am proud of. These feelings harken back to the early days of videogames when your initials next to a high score proved your skill as a gamer. Achievements and Gamerscore provide something tangible in a hobby where everything else is virtual.
The easiest way to play games with friends, minus the annoying split screen.
3. Xbox Live
There is no shying away from the fact that Xbox Live is the most expensive online service among the three consoles. However, this statement is deceiving. It’s technically the most expensive because the PS3 and Wii online services are free! $4.00 a month is not a lot of cash. It’s equivalent to the cost of 1 meal at a fast food restaurant, or 1 large cup of coffee. For the cost of a movie ticket you can buy yourself 3 full months of Xbox Live for Christ’s sake! Thanks to the ever-evolving and user friendly Xbox 360 dashboard, finding people, chatting, and connecting with friends is far more convenient than on PSN. Comparing Xbox Live to the Wii’s online experience can be summed up in three words: no friend codes. Aside from convenience, Xbox Live also offers demos for every game on XBLA, as well as many demos for full priced titles. Games aren’t everything though. Not only does Xbox Live also currently offer access to Last.FM, Netflix, Hulu, Zune, Epix, and ESPN, but companies such as Bravo, Crackle, Dailymotion, Youtube, HBO Go, iHeartRadio, Manga Entertainment, Syfy, TMZ, UFC, VEVO, and Verizon FiOs TV are coming soon. Xbox Live may be the only online service that you have to pay for, but arguing that it is too expensive only shows a clear misunderstanding of value.
Devin' like a mofo.
2. The Ease of Game Development
According to numerous sources, developing software for the Xbox 360 is far easier than the competition. Id’s technical director John Carmack stated on his Twitter account that “PS3 has more raw CPU power, but 360 has more GPU, available memory, and is easier to develop for.” He’s not the only major developer who feels this way. According to Craig Alexander, Vice President of Turbine, the Xbox 360 is far more conducive to the development of console MMOs, on which his company is currently known to be working. Although the PS3’s highly flaunted Blu-Ray drive may be able to handle large amounts of data, it’s actually slower in seek and access time than the Xbox 360’s DVD drive. Also, when dealing with main memory, the PS3 only allows access to around 256 MB in comparison to 512 MB on the Xbox 360. These issues, coupled with the fact that the performance and debugger tools on the Xbox 360 are more user friendly, makes the Xbox 360 the preferred console when it comes to MMOs. So why should the average consumer care about the ease of development on a console to console basis? The fact of the matter is that more developers will be drawn to making the Xbox 360 their lead SKU when creating a game in order to avoid jumping these technical hurdles. Therefore, by owning an Xbox 360 you increase your odds of owning the system with better exclusive titles from great developers. Although a majority of today’s great titles are multi-platform, that does not change the fact that many of them are initially developed for the Xbox 360 and then migrated to other consoles, risking the possibility of quality depreciation in terms of graphical capability and game play. Despite Sony’s claims of superior console hardware, games such as BioShock and Skyrim not only play smoother on the Xbox 360, but experience far less screen tearing and frame rate issues. This leads us to my next and final point…
Halo, and Gears, and Forza, oh my!
1. Some of The Best Exclusive Titles
Coming out and saying that the Xbox 360 has the best exclusive games is obviously unprofessional and biased, hence why the above caption reads “some of the best”. How enjoyable a particular game may be is completely subjective. However, there is no denying that Microsoft has its fair share of amazing exclusive titles. Halo, Gears of War, Fable, Alan Wake, Forza, and Left 4 Dead are just some of the franchises that are only available on Microsoft’s console. Many fanboys out there may hate these games with a passion, but to negatively stigmatize them with a sort of “hipster condescension” does not give one the moral high ground. Instead, it just makes one seem silly and purposely antithetical in hopes of getting attention. A majority of Xbox 360 exclusive titles are fun, well made games that appeal to a massive gamer audience. Aside from exclusives, Microfost often wins out when it comes to DLC for multi-platform games. Xbox 360 owners were playing Grand Theft Auto IV DLC The Lost and Damned, and The Ballad of Gay Tony a year before PS3 owners. Gamers slaying dragons in Skyrim via Microsoft’s console will gain access to new DLC a full month before their PS3 brethren. It’s true that recent blockbuster games such as Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are available on both consoles. However, whereas both games rely heavily on multiplayer, buying the version available on the console that doesn’t regularly experience online technical issues is clearly the better decision. If you want to experience dependable, consistent, and fun gaming, the Xbox 360 is the way to go.
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