The future is whack
Always online? Game sharing? Free-to-play console MMOs? Backwards compatibility? Theres been plenty of news and announcements over the past few weeks concerning the next generation of consoles. It seems like there are just as many new features being announced as there are refuted, convoluted, or, as of a few days ago, completely renounced.
Despite the best efforts of PR representatives everywhere, theres still plenty of confusion about whats real and whats just another online rumor. Allow us to make things a bit more clear.
The new generation is a return to exclusives
The rumor: Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts looked great at Sonys E3 press conference, while Microsoft managed to nab Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Titanfall. It seems like third parties are finally back to picking sides and signing system exclusives this generation.
The truth: Many of the games shown off at this years press conferences were quietly confirmed to be multi-platform after the show. The big Square Enix announcements are following in the console-spanning footsteps of Final Fantasy XIII, Kojima hasnt totally abandoned his old home, and PS4 owners looking to scratch their mech-combat itch will be able to grab the PC version of Titanfall (assuming theyve got the specs to keep up). Likewise, plenty of the other big franchises, like Assassins Creed and Battlefield, will be just as widely available as ever.
As much as Microsoft and Sony would love you to believe that the games shown are theirs and theirs alone, the reality is that most next-gen games will be available, regardless of which system you choose. Still confused? Well, here's a full list of PS4, Xbox One, and PC exclusives, as far as we can tell...
Killer Instinct is strictly free-to-play
The rumor: Killer Instinct is back in HD--but only as a free-to-play, microtransaction-filled download? C-C-C-C-Combo Breaker!
The truth:Games like League of Legends have proven that the F2P model is a great way to draw in players, but it isnt the only option for those looking to fill out their roster. The game will launch as a free download packed with just a single character, allowing players to decide whether or not theyd be willing to buy their old favorites individually--but it's not the only way to get in on the a-a-a-a-a-a-a-action.
Meanwhile, those who would prefer a one-time, bulk purchase will be able to buy the season pass with all of the characters included. Although theres no word yet on the pricing, this optional approach should accommodate as many wallets as possible.
Xbox One online ban takes away all access to games
The rumor: If the Xbox One is looking to offload its processing and data storage to the cloud, wouldnt that mean getting banned from Xbox Live will lock us out from the games we purchased?
The truth: Much like on the 360, any disciplinary action from Microsoft will only affect your ability to play online multiplayer. We now know that the Xbox One wont be completely reliant on an online connection (among other things), but many games may still take advantage of the cloud. Regardless, there was plenty of concern and misinformation online until Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, officially put the rumors to rest. But then again, all of this could be avoided with some good online behavior.
Xbox One will only work in 21 countries at launch
The rumor: Vacationing in the Bahamas? Stationed in the Middle East? Living in Japan or Eastern Europe? Dont count on your Xbox One to be there with you.
The truth: Unlike the rest of these entries, this one was a reality until just a few days ago. The Xbox Ones old system of online check-ins would also check whether or not the console was connecting from the list of 21 approved countries. Anywhere else would be locked out--not only from Xbox Live, but single-player games and other services as well.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case. According to Microsoft's official statement, youll now be able to take and use your Xbox One anywhere around the world after a one-time update. Much like many of these other policy reversals, region-locking will now work just as it did for the Xbox 360.
Your online account will carry over
The rumor: The next generation is all about our online profiles, so theres no reason why all of our old information and purchases wouldnt follow us over. We think.
The truth: By and large, the majority of your information will be making the next-gen transition. Profile names, account details and achievements/trophies will all be saved, but the majority of game-related content wont be available on the new consoles.
Largely due to the Xbox One and PS4s lack of backwards compatibility, all of the downloadable games and full releases that youve been purchasing for the last few years will be exclusive to the last generation. Just another reason to think twice before packing up your old console for good.
Kinect 2.0 will always be watching
The rumor: Xbox One needs the new Kinect plugged in at all times, and the Kinect will always be active even when the system is off. Guess that means no more running naked through the living room...
The truth: This is one that we can only take on Microsofts good word. The Kinect cant be entirely turned off when plugged into the system, as it's constantly working in a dormant state that supposedly only listens for the phrase Xbox on. Additionally, Microsoft has said that no personal information collected through Kinect will ever leave your console without your explicit permission.
That being said, there are still a few ways to get around this for those unwilling to take the chance. Blocking your Kinect camera or fully unplugging the peripheral after gaming sessions is always an option, but now that the Xbox One no longer requires a daily online check-in, you could just stop connecting to the Internet completely. At the end of the day, those who are concerned have the ability to cover their bases.