Gaming

A long-time PlayStation fanboy switches to the Xbox Series X

Everything is much greener on the other side

Illustration by Migs Buera

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Since the start of 2021, I’ve been eyeing a PlayStation 5 because I had hoped that more units would be available this time. Honestly, it made the most sense to get one considering I currently own a PlayStation 4 with a huge game library to boot. Along the way, though, I realized that maybe it was time for a shift.

One afternoon in May, I decided to order an Xbox Series X from an official online retailer. At the time, it was the most I had spent getting everything together. For a good two weeks, I kept mulling it over, especially since I’ve never owned an Xbox in my entire life. Why make the switch now, when I could just wait for a PS5 like everyone else?

The important factors to consider

In those two weeks, I did some of my own research and reflection on why I would choose an Xbox Series X over a PlayStation 5. At first glance, you wouldn’t really think about it too much considering they offer the same thing: next-gen console gaming. Although, if you have a PS4 or an Xbox One and you’re contemplating a switch, here’s how I thought about it.

Xbox Series X

How much you’re actually spending

I know what you’re thinking, “don’t they cost the same at US$ 499.99? Why is it a factor in the process?” If you live in any of the major markets, this isn’t an entirely big issue; here in the Philippines, however, pricing is a bit different.

See, official retailers initially sold the PlayStation 5 at PhP 27,995, and the Xbox Series X at PhP 35,995. If you did the math, that’s a difference of a whopping PhP 8,000, literally the price of two controllers for either console. From the price alone, you will go for the more “budget-friendly” option, especially if you factor in everything else you’re spending for.

However, at the time I placed the order for my Xbox Series X, it was on sale for PhP 31,995. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bit pricier than the disc version of the PlayStation 5, but it was enticing enough to consider. Also, this is particularly important considering:

What you’re actually getting from the console

Before you decide on which console to get, you have to consider what you’re getting out of each. This entails looking at the specifications for each console, game libraries, accessories, and even the online subscription services. Obviously, it’s a lot to take in so let me break down the key components: 

Storage: The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB SSD, with 802GB usable storage for games, applications, and media. If you want more space, Xbox has a pricey 1TB storage expansion card available. In comparison, the PlayStation 5 comes with a 825GB SSD, but only 667GB is usable and has no support for storage expansion (not yet, anyway). Given the size of the games you’ll be playing, the Series X looks like a no-brainer.

Fortnite Battle Royale, optimized for the Xbox Series X; 120 FPS mode turned on

Next-gen Game Library: At launch, the PlayStation 5 already had several console exclusives that fully take advantage of the next-gen features. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X didn’t have a console exclusive at all; instead, they opted to optimize titles to run on their console. However, this year’s E3 showcase changes all of that.

Online Subscriptions: The Xbox Game Pass provides you with a massive game library spanning generations of Xbox consoles and even recent releases. I wish I could say the same for my current PlayStation Plus subscription, because it’s not the same at all. Although, both subscriptions aren’t available if you set your account region to the Philippines.

How easy you could “legitimately” get one

This was, in my opinion, the ultimate reason why I eventually decided to go for an Xbox Series X. I emphasized the word “legitimately” because I only wanted to buy from an official retailer after an incident with a scalper earlier this year. The thing is, scalpers will supply you a PlayStation 5 but for a head-scratching price that even building a gaming PC is a better deal.

SEE: I’ve lost hope in getting a next-gen console for the foreseeable future

At the time of writing, the PlayStation 5 is currently on a pre-order selling model due to limited supply. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense for Sony to do this considering the circumstances. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t that easy to get one. On the other hand, the Xbox Series X was as simple as placing an order, and it will arrive a few days later.

See, the same official retailers handling pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 are also selling the Xbox Series X. You can practically get one from their official e-commerce websites, or either from their Lazada or Shopee pages if they have one. For this console, there are no pre-orders so there’s a good chance you’ll snag one when it’s available.

Xbox Series X

Was it all worth it in the end?

My short answer to this is a 100 percent yes. The long answer: switching to the Xbox Series X as a PlayStation player for years was money well spent. I’ve been using it for a month, and I could honestly recommend others doing this if you’ve saved up enough. Although, I felt that you would need a bit more to fully maximize its power.

For starters, for full immersion, a 4K TV or gaming monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate feels like a must. I mean, you can plug any monitor or TV to your next-gen console and it won’t necessarily dampen graphical performance. However, I noticed that on a 4K TV, in-game details are more complete compared to a FHD TV. Of course, it’s going to cost you more money to get one.

Also, if you’re a first time Xbox owner like I am, Xbox Game Pass is a must-have. Honestly, it saved me a ton of money I would have spent getting some of the games I have on the PS4, but for the Xbox. Plus, if you go for Game Pass Ultimate, you also get an EA Play subscription that offers you games like FIFA 21 or Madden NFL 21 for free. Just note, however, that it isn’t available here in the Philippines but there are ways to get it.

Madden NFL 21, optimized for the Xbox Series X; available on Game Pass Ultimate through EA Play

Are you contemplating a switch, too?

One month in, and I could definitely say that it’s a good choice to make a switch from the PlayStation to the Xbox. Don’t get me wrong, both consoles provide the next-level console gaming experience as advertised. In choosing one over the other, you won’t really miss out on much.

Xbox Series X

Everything I pointed out also makes sense if you’re contemplating on buying your first PlayStation console after owning an Xbox. From the spec sheet to the hardware and game library, both Sony and Microsoft gave us major improvements over the current generation.

Should the circumstances of getting the next-gen console you wanted persuade you to switch up when it’s possible? Honestly, it depends on which factors I mentioned matter to you the most. I mean if you want both consoles, why not, right?

Features

How to git gud at Mobile Legends from Blacklist International

Bring out your notepads…

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School is in session. If you’re into Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, you know Blacklist International. The recent MPL PH Season 7 champion team has a decent rep in the mobile gaming world. So, if you want to get good, you’ll definitely get good-good. And, who better to give us the best tips than the QueenVee, Ohmy.v33nus, himself?

TIP #1 – Start small

When asked how to hit it right with the basics, Ohmy.v33nus answered with pretty solid advice saying: “When it comes to improving your gameplay, do it one step at a time. Players can try mastering one hero or one role at a time first. From there, you can best strategize how you plan to win your game better.”

TIP #2 – Know you to do you

Beginners are faced with almost as many daunting questions as ordering sugar and ice levels for boba when it comes to who to play. From characters’ skills, roles, and abilities in the grander scheme of the team game, it can get overwhelming.

So the best way to get better is to know who you want to play and what role suits your preferences. And like Ohmy.v33nus said, “Knowing the role that suits you is important, some players love playing heroes in melee combat, some in long-range or using magical powers.

TIP #3 – If you want to go pro, you’ve got to play harder

We asked what advice the team had for people who are starting out and want to maybe go pro in the future. He answered by saying, “what separates casual players from those wanting to take it seriously is ranking, so if players want to be noticed they can try to achieve a top global ranking.” And, while that’s a technical target goal you can work towards, Blacklist gave sage advice on how to get there.

TIP #4 – The grind

Ranking up to where you’ve proven you take the game seriously to be pro comes with time and effort. So, it’s no surprise when Blacklist followed up TIP #3 with this: “before you achieve that desired ranking, practice makes perfect. When there’s an opportunity to practice, do it. Never stop learning and discovering your battling strategy so you’ll be able to champion your way to the global competitions.”

When asked how often and for how long the team grinds to get to be as good as they are, they practice a minimum of 8 hours per day, extending to up to 10 hours. “This helps us build team dynamics better and strengthen our strategy,” Ohmy.v33nus said.

TIP #5 – Know the meta

If you’ve got all 5 down so far, you’re up for more technical know-how. So, given the ever-changing game meta it can be challenging to keep up. This is where noting patches and updates can be helpful. Keeping track of who has been nerfed, buffed, and adjusted. And, knowing little tweaks Moonton has made in-game can help players adjust and adapt.

It’s also good to note that this is where you’ll be returning to TIPS #1 – #5, where it rides on comfort and familiarity. So, whether you fully grasp the meta or not, you can play however you feel outside the world of going pro.

So, with the current meta, we had to ask Blacklist for their whitelist. Jokes aside, we had them recommend heroes for each role and they said, “Marksman: Granger, Tank: Tigreal, Support: Rafaela, Angela, Assassin: Ling, Fighter: X-Borg, Mage: Nana.” When asked about the top meta hero picks for ranked, they said that they weren’t quite sure with the recent patch. But, they think some of the best heroes last season kept their placement. “Like Mathilda, Yve, Granger, and Harith,” Blacklist said.

TIP #6 — Play on a gaming-capable smartphone

You know that highly-contested-on-who-said-it quote about how when you give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime? Well, think of getting the perfect gaming smartphone as equal to getting yourself a fishing rod to get started on learning how to fish. But, enough silly metaphors.

Ohmy.v33nus aptly said, “it goes without saying that your tools can make or break your game. You need a phone that has the processing power, battery life, storage space, and stunning display to give you long-lasting, smooth, and precise gameplay.”

When asked about particular phones and features the team liked, he said they loved OPPO’s A94 and its AI gaming features. Adding, “our favorite is the Gamer Mode which lets you block off interruptions and notifications so you can focus more on your battle.” Plus, when waiting on important messages, the phone features a Bullet Screen Message that allows users to instantly receive messages without blocking or interrupting the game.

TIP #7 – A gaming phone, stripped

Not all gaming features need to be game-centric. At the end of the day, it’s night. No, kidding aside, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a fun team game and if you’re stripping the game of its fun and the team, you’ve got no one to be or get good with. A gaming phone, stripped without games, are phones, and as good as the OPPO A94’s 48MP AI rear quad-cam matrix and 32MP ultra-clear front camera set-up was, we needed to know if Blacklist had much use for it.

So, we asked how important camera specs and features were to team members when picking out a gaming phone. Ohmy.v33nus replied saying, “a lot. We don’t only focus on gaming, as professional players; we also create content and stay active on social media for fans, family, and friends.”

The OPPO A94 Features:

Display — 6.43-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED display, 90 Hz refresh rate, 409 PPI

Processor — MediaTek Helio P95 octa-core processor

Storage — 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage

Camera — Quad rear cameras: 48MP F1.7 (primary), 8MP F2.2 (ultra-wide), 2MP F2.4 (macro), and 2MP F2.4 (portrait); Selfie camera: 32MP

Operating System — ColorOS 11.1

Battery – 4310mAh, 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0

Price and availability

OPPO A94 comes in Fantastic Purple, Crystal Silver, and Fluid Black. It has a price tag of PhP 13, 999 and can be purchased via OPPO Brand Stores nationwide, Shopee, and Lazada.

TIP #8 – Lastly, soft skills and heart

When asked for advice for aspiring pros on what they can work on, Ohmy.v33nus said, “since ML:BB is a team game, a crucial soft skill you can develop is communication. Being clear and precise with teammates not only helps in-game strategies but also helps strengthen the synergy between them and their teammates.” Going on to say, “keep your heart in the game. Keep practicing and play regularly to boost your skills to achieve top leaderboard spots.”


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and OPPO Philippines

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Gaming

PlayStation 5 is Sony’s fastest-selling console ever

Surpasses 10 million units sold

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Given how scarce the console is right now, it doesn’t feel like the PlayStation 5 is selling like hotcakes. Regardless, it’s still going really well for Sony. Despite seeming (and announced) shortages, the new console has already reached a milestone for the company, making the PlayStation 5 its fastest-selling console in history.

In an official release, Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 5 has surpassed 10 million units sold all over the globe. Since the console was released less than a year ago (November 2020), the PS5 has already set the record as Sony’s fastest-selling console. It is currently on pace to outsell the previous generation, the PlayStation 4.

To further increase the hype for the console, Sony has also reiterated the list of exclusive titles that it is anticipating for the PS5: God of War Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7. Besides this impressive roster, the console will also get a number of anticipated titles on the platform: Deathloop, Battlefield 2042, and Far Cry 6.

However, despite the push for a thriving PlayStation 5 ecosystem, the console is still a rare sight today. For one, the launch (and potentially even today) was plagued with an endless drove of scalpers sucking the well dry from eager gamers. Similarly, Sony has forecasted that an ongoing chip shortage might extend well into 2022.

Though the console’s performance is truly impressive, it might take a while before it reaches every willing buyer’s living room.

SEE ALSO: Why you should buy the PlayStation 5!

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Gaming

Long-teased cat game Stray finally gets a release date

Plus a gameplay trailer

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For most followers of the industry, the gaming world often has holy grails, or games that have long been promised but haven’t seen the light of day yet. In recent history, the world’s most renowned holy grails are the doomed P.T. from Hideo Kojima, the mysterious GTA 6, and Elder Scrolls 6. However, in a smaller scale, an enigmatic cat game has enamored cat-loving gamers for years. Finally, Stray, after being announced in last year’s PlayStation 5 showcase, has a release date.

Last year, Annapurna Interactive shared a cinematic trailer for the upcoming game, teasing its arrival for the PlayStation 5. However, the game fell to silence for months. Finally, the publisher revealed a gameplay trailer for the cat simulator game.

As expected, Stray will be an action puzzle game, helping the main cat-tagonist survive an unfamiliar sci-fi world. At the start, the game shares the same mood as the Little Nightmares series: an oft-powerless character relying on their puzzle-solving skills to advance. However, the trailer reveals more progression coming in the form of cybernetic attachments which will give the cat more abilities.

At the end of the trailer, Blue Twelve, the game’s developers, confirmed that the game is coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC sometime in early 2022.

Stray remains one of the more anticipated small games of recent history. For years, the developer teased the upcoming cat simulator game through a short, short trailer. Hype has persistently seesawed back and forth from the same trailer without an update from the developer. Thankfully, that has now changed.

SEE ALSO: Death Stranding Director’s Cut set to arrive on the PlayStation 5

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