The ‘Destiny 2’ Question: PS4 (Pro), Xbox (Scorpio) or PC? – Forbes
Marketing for Destiny 2 is rolling out in full force this week, with the initial announcement followed by a teaser trailer, which will then be followed by a full trailer tomorrow. All of this is going on during Bungie’s new Age of Triumph event which brings back old raids, gear and weapons as a final “victory lap” for Destiny 1 and its remaining players.
One aspect of Destiny 2 that’s been revealed in the last few weeks has been the fact that players will carry over essentially nothing from game to game, not their currencies, armor, weapons or skills/XP. While there may be some sort of “honors” bestowed on players for their Years 1-3 accomplishments, the only thing that’s definitely being carried over is the physical appearance of players’ characters, so as to fulfil Bungie’s “your Guardian will be with you for ten years” promise when Destiny was first conceived.
But being relatively untethered to Destiny 1 means that players may have a choice ahead of them, a choice about whether to stay with their current platform, or switch to an entirely new one.
For some, this will be an easy decision, as they simply do not own another platform besides the one they’ve played Destiny 1 on. Problem solved. But for others? Perhaps one that started on PS4 and 360, and/or have acquired another console since? There are pros and cons to each system, especially with new versions of consoles here/coming and the likely inclusion of PC as a new X-factor. Here’s what’s been going through my mind this week:
Sony has been essentially acting like Destiny is a PS-exclusive for years now, thanks to their deal with Activision that allows PlayStation to get timed exclusive content with essentially every new Destiny release. Now, it’s been revealed that Destiny 2 will continue this unfortunate practice, with a note in the new teaser that PS-exclusive content will remain that way until “Fall 2018,” which is the exact same language we hear now, even if that has ended up being untrue for some of the content, which remains inaccessible to Xbox players to this day.
I won’t go on another rant on how terrible this practice is, as it makes the game worse for everyone (PS-exclusive strikes can’t be the Nightfall, PS-exclusive guns can’t be sold by Xur, etc.), but it does remain a technical point in Sony’s favor. After years of getting less content than PlayStation players, many Xbox fans may be thinking “enough,” and just want to switch over to Sony’s system going forward to avoid the headache.
Again, this may be hampered by the fact that players may not own a PS4, or their entire clan is on Xbox, but it’s a consideration. Back when Destiny was released, the sales gulf was not as wide between Xbox One and PS4 as it is now, and I know some people that have made the switch since, particularly with the release of PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
Sony systems do feel like the “default” platforms for Destiny, and I am seriously considering making the transition from Xbox to PS4 myself. I bought it on Xbox originally because I liked the controller more and my friends owned it on that system. Well, now my friends don’t play, and I very well just might make the leap, recreate my characters on a new system, keep going on PS4 Pro. I’m tired of feeling left behind with each new content release when there’s some strike I can’t do or gun I can’t find.
The reasons to stay with Xbox are for me, mostly to not break continuity of platform, as I assume it will be easiest to transfer all my character data/achievements if I simply stay within the same console family. And like I said, I really do like the controller better. The problem is, outside of that, unlike the temptation to switch from Xbox One to PS4, I think there’s very little reason for anyone to go the other way, given everything I just mentioned. Except for one thing.
This is a big unknown moving forward, as the temptation to play “the best possible version of Destiny,” in theory, on the hugely powerful Xbox Scorpio could be enough to get die-hard players to switch over from PS4 to Xbox, or to stay with Xbox if they upgrade.
The problem? We still don’t know all that much about the system outside of vague specs, and it’s unclear if it will be that much different that the increases we’ve seen courtesy of PS4 Pro. Also, it’s likely that Xbox Scorpio will not come out until November, while Destiny 2 will launch in September. As such, the decision about which platform to play the game on will have already been made for many players at that point, and few are going to want to wait around for months just to see what the Scorpio version is like. That said, it could fantastic enough to be worth consideration. Problem is, we simply don’t know.
And now we arrive at PC, which has not been officially announced for Destiny 2 yet, but it’s more or less an open secret that the game will be on PC as well this time around. And the reasons to pick up Destiny 2 on PC are the reasons to pick up any game on PC over consoles, and you should be well familiar with them by now.
There’s the capability for better performance, if Bungie allows for that, which could easily pass up whatever PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio are capable of. And of course a large number of people just prefer to play shooters on PC with the precision of a mouse at hand. I know many players who are ready to make the leap from console Destiny to PC Destiny if given the chance, or to possibly pick up the game for the first time on PC if it comes to their favorite platform at last. This is no doubt why Bungie is probably going down this road.
When I spoke to Bungie about a PC release years ago, they relayed to me that their primary concern was security, which is much more of an issue on PC, as we see with games like The Division, which are constantly trying to push back a flood of hackers determined to ruin the game. Also, releasing on PC means a lot more work, as console and PC play often has to be balanced separately (something The Division is very bad at).
That said, the pros of releasing the game on PC probably outweigh the cons. I also have to believe that Bungie will have some system in place where they are able to port over your characters and achievements from console to PC, given that the game simply never existed on that platform before. So players might be able to make that transition somewhat seamlessly, even if they’ve invested years into the console version so far.
Ultimately, this is going to be a case-by-case basis. Destiny is such a team-based game that groups of friends will essentially have to band together and agree on a platform of choice. Solo players like me may have a tougher decision on their hands. I’m not enough of a PC junkie where I think I’m going to switch to PC completely, but I am considering making the leap from Xbox to PS4 Pro, given that I no longer have “friend tethers” to the old system, and I’m frankly tired of missing content because of this irritating exclusive deal. You win, Sony and Activision.
Still, I have a few months to decide, and we should know more about both the PC release and Xbox Scorpio by then, which are necessary decision-making factors. What about you? What platform are you leaning toward for Destiny 2?