Jack talks about why ‘next-gen’ isn’t living up to his wild imaginings and whether or not there’s hope for the future.
I’d like to preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that I purchased a PlayStation 4 at 12:18 AM on November 15th and I am very, very happy with my decision. I also haven’t gotten a chance to play around with the Xbox One yet so I’ve tried to keep it general but used some examples from the Sony side of things. All of that said, it could be (and hopefully will be) much better.
I have not been blown away by “next-gen”…not yet anyway.As most of you know, last Friday marked the launch of the PlayStation 4 in North America. Due mostly to the fact that I love video games to an almost unhealthy extent, I was in line at midnight to pick up my console. While I’m still ridiculously enamored by the newest Sony system, it is difficult for my childlike wonder to keep the cynical critic in me subdued.
Put simply, I have not been blown away by ‘next-gen’ …not yet anyway. There are a few possible reasons for this:
My Expectations Were Way Too High
I couldn’t help it! There will forever be a part of me that believes that everything is going to turn out perfectly and will absolutely blow my mind. I usually try to be as realistic with my expectation as possible, especially with regards to video games as it is very easy to be let down.
At the end of the day though, I’m secretly an optimist. I don’t regret it, it makes it all the sweeter when I’m right because then I get to be both pleasantly surprised and still feel like my dreams came true. Needless to say, the initial launch of any console could not possibly live up to my secret expectations.
I wanted the PS4 to be so jam-packed with incredible features, that it would come out, drop the proverbial mic and walk off stage with its hands raised. The PlayStation has some great stuff going on but nothing to that degree.
The new UI is sexy and sleek and, once you get used to it, easier and faster to use than anything on the current (last?) generation of consoles. A quick romp through the menus and settings led to some exciting discoveries of new features that I didn’t realize I had any intention of utilizing.
[T]he initial launch of any console could not possibly live up to my secret expectations.Second screen functionality on my Vita and iPhone (and Remote Play on the Vita in particular) were not features I thought I’d ever use but I’m happy to have access to them now. However, while these things are impressive, they are not the mind-obliterating next-gen experience I was secretly expecting.
Those Damn Dual-Generation Releases
The second and probably most important reason I haven’t been blown away by next-gen is the current lack of software exclusive to the next generation consoles. This is likely due to most third-party studios (studios not created or owned by Sony or Microsoft) are unwilling to create content that would not be playable by the largest possible group of players.
The last time I checked, sales estimates for the PS3 and Xbox 360 were just about the same, clocking in at around 80 million units each. On launch day, the PS4 sold just over 1 million units. If a studio was hoping to make back the investment on a certain title, the odds are significantly greater that they will need to release this title on multiple generations of consoles when the disparity between the two generations is this massive.
As such, we are finding titles that are great, like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, that perhaps could have been even larger, could have looked better, or simply done more if that same experience did not also need to function on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. It’s a shame but it’s the reality of the transition between consoles and their successors.[T]hese consoles are an investment in future gaming experiences and I want to be in on the ground floor.
As a final point about the quality of the games on these consoles, the full power of consoles is never able to be fully utilized until a few years into their existence. The games we get towards the end of a generation are usually far greater than those released at the beginning.
All of these things are the curse of the early adopter but when it comes down to it, these consoles are an investment in future gaming experiences and I want to be in on the ground floor. I want to be there for every success or failure, every rise and fall of the generation.
I’m a gamer, this is what I love and I would be remiss if I didn’t experience it all. I believe my mind will eventually be blown (I’m looking at you Second Son) but I’ll just have to be patient in the meantime.