Why Haven’t We Moved On?

Image by Flickr User: Doug Kline (cc)

There’s something different about this generation of home consoles. Not so much in the power or what they can do, but rather in our perception of them. Here we are, almost 10 months since the PS4/Xbox One launched, almost 2 years since the Wii U launched, and we’re still referring to them as “next-gen”. They’re out. They’ve been out awhile. The PS4 has sold over 10 million units; these machines are not “next-gen” anymore, they’re most definitely “current-gen”.

We’ve got the hardware, we’ve got more than a few games, and yet we’re still treating these machines as though they’re still far off in the not-too-distant future. This is a far cry from the dawn of the last console cycle back in 2006. Back then we couldn’t adopt the new consoles fast enough! The future wasn’t far away, it was here! The Xbox 360, the PS3, the Wii, they became the current generation the instant they were launched, with their predecessors left firmly in the past. We were all too eager to move on back then, so why don’t we have that same enthusiasm now? What are we waiting for?

I believe we’re still waiting for the “real” launch; we’re waiting for the games to arrive that will convince us that the next wave has finally arrived. We’ve seen some of what the new consoles can do, but have only just now started to get into the real “meat”, and oddly enough it’s the Wii U leading the charge. With the release of Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, and a very promising new Smash Bros. on the horizon we’re finally being given an idea of what kind of experience Nintendo’s still-struggling console is offering. The PS4 and Xbox One have Destiny to dazzle their audience, but that dazzle is somewhat dampened by the game seeing a release on the last generation as well. So we’re left with what? Infamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Dead Rising 3? Sure they all had good visuals, but they were all fairly average games; hardly a convincing argument to make the jump. That killer-app, the game that will make the case for both the PS4 and the Xbox One still hasn’t arrived. Perhaps that will change with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Dragon Age: Inquisition later this year. Maybe it will change with Evolve and Sunset Overdrive next year. Either way, until we get a game that’s exclusive to these new consoles which really demonstrates that they have indeed taken the big step forward we were promised, I don’t think that we’ll truly accept that the “next-generation” has truly arrived.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. There are multiple factors that create this impression, which is undoubtedly there. Part of it I think has to do with large numbers of consumers being reluctant to move to a new hardware generation. There’s also the diminishing returns of new hardware. Metroid Prime came out one year after the Gamecube’s release, and compare it with even a late N64 game and it’s like night and day. And I’m not just talking about the graphics department alone. It’s been almost one year since the PS4’s launch, but I wonder if there is any game on the system that pulls as big a punch as Metroid Prime (compared to the previous generation). Increasingly, as Nintendo’s strategy these past two generations shows, new consoles have to find ways to innovate in areas like controls and interface, because increasing horsepower won’t cut it alone. Something else has to create those leaps, otherwise console makers will find it tougher and tougher to persuade anyone to splash out on expensive hardware.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I think Destiny could have been the game to make the case for the Xbox One and the PS4, but in order to do that it would have needed to run at 60fps instead of 30. It’s going to be a great game, but it’s nowhere near the night & day difference you mentioned. A better frame rate would have helped there.

      I wonder if it’s even possible to get that kind of visual difference anymore without making the console prohibitively expensive, not to mention the incredible cost of producing such visuals.

      You’re right…Nintendo is seeing the situation for what it is and bringing the games rather than relying on visuals.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mherrera697 says:

    This is one of the first generation of consoles that I haven’t been excited about, the new consoles just feel like the old ones just a shiny new body, its also due to the fact that I really haven’t seen a game that truly shows of the need for a next-gen console.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Yeah, that’s really the issue isn’t it? Like veryverygaming said, that “night-and-day” difference just isn’t there. New hardware just can’t get by on improved visuals anymore.

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  3. cary says:

    This is kind of like when Blu-Rays (and HD DVDs) first came out. I don’t know about you, but no one I knew was in any hurry to ditch their DVD players in favor of an getting an expensive machine, proprietary discs, and promises of *slightly* better visuals. (Sound familiar?) Here we are, some six, seven years later — DVDs are still selling (albeit, poorly in comparison), and Blu-Rays are finally the “it” technology.

    The point’s already been made in other comments, but right now, the Xbox One, PS4, and the Wii U just aren’t “it” enough. Despite the hype, they all really just side-stepped the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii technology-wise rather than grandiosely surpassed them. My guess is that it’ll still be a few years before the new consoles become “it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I plan on getting the Wii U soon-ish, but more because I have to if I want the new games I hope will come out someday, not so much because I want a Wii U. Because I don’t. I’m just waiting for those games. If they ever do arrive….

      I still don’t have a Blu-Ray player. In fact, I still have a good collection of VHS tapes and a working VCR. Some of my best movies are VHS, and it’s a waste to buy them over again on a disc when they work fine as they are. Like how some of my best games are cartridges….

      Liked by 1 person

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