Musings on Console Upgrades

With the announcements of the Xbox One S, the PS4 Slim, and the PS4 Pro, gamers should have plenty to be excited about in the coming months. They should, but I don’t think that’s really the case. Instead, I think their existence has just raised questions. Of those questions, the ones that I’ve been asking myself the most are: “How long will it be before the upgraded version becomes mandatory?” and “If I’m going to have to upgrade more often, then why don’t I just make the jump to PC?” It’s not that the future looks bleak for consoles, but we are entering uncharted waters of a sort.

What I’m most concerned about right now is a recent quote from Aaron Greenberg, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox marketing department. During an interview with Engadget, Greenberg made it sound like even Microsoft was unsure of what they wanted to do in the future. In the interview, Greenberg expanded on the idea that the future of Xbox was going to resemble PC gaming:

“For us, we think the future is without console generations…we’re basically saying, ‘this isn’t a new generation; everything you have continues forward and works.’ We think of this as a family of devices.”

Now a future without console generations doesn’t actually sound that bad to be honest. I think it would be great if I could simply upgrade a single machine every few years instead of having to buy a new one. However, it doesn’t look like this is the case since both Microsoft and Sony are already launching upgraded machines. Even that is okay in theory, but I can’t help but wonder how many upgrades have to be launched before older versions become obsolete. Also, if they do become obsolete, would their games still be playable on the newest version of the hardware? I suppose it’ll all come down to the frequency of the mandatory upgrades.

Then there’s the question of whether or not to jump to PC gaming. On one hand, upgrading a PC every few years would certainly be cheaper than buying a brand new system. On the other hand, PC has kind of been getting the short end of the stick in terms of console ports. It seems like every other week we’re hearing about yet another terrible PC port for an otherwise good game. In fact, I’d say that that’s the primary thing holding me back from jumping to PC right now. It may be more cost-effective in the long term, but there’s no point if I can’t play the games I want to play. Still, with Microsoft’s plan to make all their Xbox One games available on PC, perhaps the days of awful PC ports will soon be coming to an end. If that ends up being the case, then PC gaming might just be the way to go after all.

What do you think of these upgraded consoles? Are you in favor of doing away with console generations or do you have some concerns like I do?

Image by Flickr user mauricio giraldo (CC)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    I am not sure what to think, honestly, and I wonder how the NX will fit into that scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. I hear that Breath of the Wild will be available on both the Wii U and NX, but what about future Nintendo games? It would be rather bothersome if my fairly new Wii U will already be outdated soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. duckofindeed says:

    I guess, like you said, it all depends on the frequency of these updates whether or not we’ll be forced to buy new consoles more or less often than we used to. Companies can’t tell us games will always be compatible with these upgraded systems because that surely won’t be the case. Windows Operating Systems function in a manner similar to console updates, but eventually a day comes when an old OS no longer works with the new software, even if the hardware is still good. I have a Windows XP laptop that works great, but I can’t update any Internet browser any more because it’s too old, so it has no Internet access, making it almost useless.

    I kind of think these console upgrades will likely be the same. If it cuts back on how often we must upgrade our consoles, I guess that’s good. Though, I have a feeling it will not be helping us in the long run. Eventually, more powerful games will simply not be able to run on an older version of a console, regardless of any reassurances Microsoft or Sony or whoever gives us.

    Liked by 1 person

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