No more than a month ago, the entire gaming community was still buzzing with the anticipation of the “next-generation”, myself included. Some of this anticipation was good; people being excited about new gaming experiences they would soon be sharing and talking about. Though, some of this anticipation was bad; people were skeptical and concerned with the direction that this generation of gaming was headed. Either way, the next-generation of gaming is now upon us. And I have to say that, while I am content with how the next-generation has gone so far, I am also slightly underwhelmed.
My Playstation 4 arrived on release date from Amazon, and I will say that it was one of the more exciting days of my year. Hell, I stopped colleging for the day just so I could jump into the future of gaming without any distractions. I unpacked the system from it’s prison and set it neatly upon my shelf. I booted the system up and absolutely loved the UI, the controller, and the aesthetics; I was pleased beyond belief with my new console. That happiness, however, swiftly changed to frustration when I attempted to set up my shitty college campus Internet connection. This, of course, wasn’t the PS4’s fault, but it was aggravating nonetheless. Oh well, I digress. After I resolved the Internet debacle, I proceeded to the main course: video games.
The first game I put into the PS4 was Battlefield 4, and I remember thinking to myself that the visuals were obviously very nice, but the gameplay was essentially Battlefield 3. I switched over to Assassin’s Creed IV, then to Killzone, then to Knack, and so on. All of these games had the same thing in common: gorgeous graphics, but the usual gameplay. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy these game because, believe me, I did. Other than the new console and controller, the allure of the “future of gaming” quickly began to wear off.
At first, I couldn’t accept this. I was angry that the next-generation of gaming was letting me down. Why wasn’t I in tears of happiness from how great the games were? How come these new ‘social features’ didn’t excite me like they seemed to excite everyone else? Why can’t I hold all these limes? Was I gaming wrong?! Then it hit me… I had set myself these unrealistically high expectations of what I thought the next-generation would be at its’ very beginning. I thought that it would be everything that E3 had made it out to be. I would have a plethora of games to play, software to use, and social features to enhance these things. Everything would be seamless, immediate, and entertaining. It’s because of these unbelievable expectations that I felt unsatisfied with the next-generation.
After all of this though, I am still excited about this, and the now previous, generations of gaming. For the most part, games that are in development for both generations of consoles look phenomenal. Features like live streaming directly from the consoles are great and actually quite useful. And features like Gaikai and “Command” -- the thing on the PS4 that lets another user take over someone’s PS4 for a limited time through live streaming -- that are just around the corner are innovative and where, I believe, the actual future of gaming lies. So, while I still stand relatively underwhelmed, I do think that there is huge potential for this generation, and it’s just a matter of time before we see whether that potential is reached.