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.