GameCentral readers discuss the current state of the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch and how they stand up to previous generations.
The subject for this weeks Hot Topic was suggested by reader stanley71, and inspired the fact that both Microsoft and Sony seem to be gearing up to release new consoles in the next year or two. But what do you think of the ones so far, in terms of their games, the hardware, and the changes theyve brought to the industry?
Many people thought the quality of games has never been higher, but just as many felt the hardware had not been a step up and that new practices such as loot boxes and overreliance on patches were a negative trend.
The good, the bad, and the neutral
This is a complicated question for me because it takes in a lot of different aspects, some of which are good and some of which are awful. In general Id say the games have been very good. The general average quality of big budget titles has never been higher, but then theres fewer than ever and almost all of them are sequels. But generally its very positive in terms of the game.
The hardware though has just been whatever. I still have no idea what the point of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X were, considering they still dont produce games that are significantly better-looking than the last gen. Yes, if you analyse the pixels and all sorts of other nerdy things they are better but to the average person, at an average glance theres no real advancement at all.
So thats a positive and a neutral, but where Id say theres been a worrying negative is the utter contempt that publishers seem to treat their audience now. From the second the generation started with Microsofts always-online Xbox One to the horrors of loot boxes and the fact that it is now the norm for game not to work at launch, or to feature a reasonable amount of content.
There was a fight back against the loot boxes, but not the rest and I fear its only going to get worse in the next gen.
For me the most interesting thing by far this gen has been VR, specifically PlayStation VR. I know GameCentral is already very pro-VR, so Im preaching to the converted, but it really does feel like a milestone moment, similar to Super Mario 64. We havent had one of those for a long time and yet this is the real deal, the only problem being the price and the complete lack of support from big publishers.
The games are there though and this year has probably been the best so far, so theres lots to look forward to. By comparison the actual consoles have been completely unremarkable. Seemingly the most minor improvement possible from the last gen. And then on top of that the emperors new clothes that are the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro – the most shameless cons Ive ever seen the industry perpetuate.
But well, thats big business I guess. The good news is that innovation is happening and on that basis Id say its been a good gen.
Ups and down
As an admitted Nintendo fan this generation has certainly seen its ups and downs! The abject failure of the Wii U followed by the unprecedented success of the Switch is just the sort of turnaround Nintendo are famous for, and Im sure theyll be no more consistent in the future.
The year Switch came out seemed almost magical to me, with hit after hit and games consistently being better than expected – and not just for the Switch. I mean, how often does that ever happen? Obviously not this year, thats for sure.
Overall though Id say its been a good generation. Although the stuff with loot boxes was pretty sleezy, but publishers are always looking for a new way to scam people out of money and Im sure itll be something else next gen. Because, of course, just making a good game and selling it to people would never work. I mean, look at Nintendo…
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Its been a weird generation Id say. For a start I have no idea why its ending so quickly. The games look better than ever, I sincerely doubt theyre going to look that much better on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Two, and frankly I dont want to fork out another £400 for no good reason. I cant imagine the people behind Fortnite are too please either, what happens when suddenly their main platforms become obsolete?
But I cant complain about some of the recent games. This years been a bit of a let down, especially the second half, but God Of War and Red Dead Redemption II were epic and last year was probably the best yea of gaming Ive ever experienced.
The consistent quality of games has improved so much that getting a clunker like Fallout 76 is a real shock. Something that Bethesda probably shouldve realised themselves, before assuming they could just get by with the same old low production values. The fact that they got completely shot down is actually quite good for all concerned I think.
Generation of two halves
I think this generation has been a bit schizophrenic really. On the one hand the games have been really good but on the other the hardware has been extremely unimpressive. The worst thing for me is the absurd obsession with resolution. Things were already bad enough with 720p vs. 1080p, as if anyone could tell the difference, but the new 4K/upscaled 4K nonsense is even worse. Not only can you not see the difference but it doesnt even exist unless you have a 4K TV! And yet this is all companies can find to talk about.
I get that its a simple number that people can latch onto, but it adds almost nothing to the game experience and seems to be wasting processing power that could be put to much better use on frame rate, physics, and other thing that actually change how a game works.
Theres always a buzzword people are trying to taking advantage of, I know that, but this generation it all seemed so silly it almost felt like a parody. Like were all pretending we care but we secretly know we dont. Its so bad Im starting to feel paranoid!
If its good its good
Ive been happy with this current gen to be honest. I think the quality of games have bene really good and the consoles have added a lot of features and services that Id really miss now. Streaming is something Ive increasingly got into in the last couple of years and think it can really add to the gaming experience.
Im tempted to say theres been a lack of originality but Im not sure people dont say that every generation. It seems a bit worse this time, Im sure, but I bet someone could make a list of new games and itd still be pretty much the same. And besides, what does it matter if the games are good?
What do I think of this generation of consoles? Hmm…
Id call it the a little bit better generation.
Throughout my life, every time a new generation has come along it really has been a big leap.
I went from the ZX Spectrum to the Mega Drive – a quantum leap, then the Saturn, N64, and PS1 – once again, totally different.
Eventually we reach the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation, which leads to the PlayStation 4
and Xbox One.
Theres been some incredible games, which is what ultimately matters, but I struggle to think of a title on the PlayStation 4 that couldnt have been on the PlayStation 3, just at a lower resolution with a lower frame rate. This has been the austerity generation. Traditionally console companies have made a pact with gamers, they will spend oodles of cash to design something far more powerful than has gone before and will then make the money back on the games.
This time around they didnt bother, they just stuck some budget PC hardware in a custom case and called it a console. The PS1 was far more advanced in terms of what was possible than the equivalent home computers of the time, same for the PlayStation 2 and 3. The current generation was outgunned by a half decent PC from day one.
So, game wise, this generation has been great, hardware wise, a bit of a let down.
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