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The Eighth Console Generation is Weird

So here we are, a little over a year into all of the eighth console generation platforms being available to the public. Though each of the platforms show promise and the games look to be getting better and better, there are some things about this console generation that seem, well, off. Here's a short list of why I think this generation is a bit wacky compared to last.

1. None of the consoles launched with sufficient Hard Drive space

This one depends on how much you game/download, of course. But last generation, when I got an XBOX 360, it took me quite a while to burn through 20GB, but I imagine that's because at the time of getting it, there were no installs and the only games you ever downloaded were XBLA games which were bite sized. Likewise, my Wii's space lasted me a good while too. Only my PS3 didn't cut it in terms of space when I got it because so much needed to be installed. When PS3 first came out though, there wasn't much of an offering, so...perhaps it evens out? This time around though, installs are massive (and mandatory). Installing the games don't take long, but yikes, 500GB will be nothing in about a year's time. I've already been forced to upgrade my PS4 to 2TB thanks to the massive installs, applications, and PlayStation Plus titles.

2. Physical Discs: Borrowing Vs. Bandwidth

I'm finding that the only discernible advantages to physical media this generation are the ability to exchange games with friends (or GameFly) and save bandwidth. Piggybacking on the last point, it's just hard to believe that we're at a point in gaming where physical media doesn't do much benefit otherwise. Last generation allowed you to install at most portions of the games. Now? Not so much. Following the install, the discs are only read to validate you having the game physically. That and, if you're like me, you love physical media and collector's editions/steel book cases. Granted, I'll still rip songs from my CDs and put them on my devices, but it's still interesting that physical media is rapidly being phased out. A cost cutting move to be sure. Speaking of cost cutting moves...

3. Instruction booklets? Never heard of her.

This was becoming a prevalent issue near the end of last generation, but now, they I went back through my PlayStation 2 game cases recently and picked up my Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Tekken 5 game cases. I opened them and found very well-maintained game discs and...instruction books loaded with colored pages, short comics, and character profiles. Last generation, if your games came with instruction books, they were very often (a) as black and white as the old Sega Genesis instruction books, (b) digital, or (c) easily mistaken for a tissue with words on it because it was so thin and unsubstantial. As of now, I don't think I own any PS4/XBOX One/Wii U games that have any real instruction books.

4. Remasters are a thing now.

Okay, this one's a bit debatable: yes, the remasters are of games that came out on PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360, but I think, if we HAD to do remasters from last generation, I feel that we should definitely have done it from PlayStation 2/XBOX era to the PlayStation 3/XBOX 360 era. The graphical difference between now and last generation is notable, but it feels much more substantial leaping from the sixth generation to the seventh. It's not a bad thing, but diminishing returns are noticed.

5. The Same Games from Gen Seven cost the same as Games from Gen Eight

When the XBOX 360 first came out, it had a lot of shared games between the XBOX, PS2, and GameCube. There was also a price difference of $10 unless it was first-party, if I recall. Feels weird paying the same price and wondering where developers would rather you lean. On one hand, you can get a superior version for the same price. On the other hand, since it's a bit more expensive to develop on the current generation, wouldn't they make more on last generation versions? I guess it depends on how much you care about the state of the industry. Personally, I'm a bit surprised prices haven't increased, but perhaps they don't need to because developers are making money back on remasters and definitive editions.

6. The Power Advantage Might Finally Pay Off

In the history of gaming, if I recall, the only console with more power than the competition that "won" the sales race was the Super Nintendo. After that, the Nintendo 64 was more powerful than the PSOne, yet it was Sony's machine that beat both Nintendo and Sega's Saturn (which was easy considering no one knew it was coming out until pretty much the week of). Next, The PlayStation 2, easily inferior to the GameCube and XBOX in terms of power (Dreamcast put up a good fight and it took PS2 a while to outclass Shenmue in scale and visuals), had the most support and sold a boat load. Then, the PS3/XBOX 360 fought it out for the title of most-powerful console--to this day, I consider this debatable, but most will say PS3 was more powerful, but for the point I'm making, it doesn't matter. Whether it was XBOX 360 or PS3, the Wii still beat both of them in terms of sales. Now, we have the Wii U, which is overpowered by the XBOX One which is overpowered by the PS4 with PS4 a great step ahead in sales. This is almost unheard of in gaming, but if past generations prove anything, it's that power IS a deciding factor, but not THE deciding factor.

7.The Eighth Console Generation Feels Supplementary Instead of Primary

As I mentioned before, cross-generation titles are a thing, but why? All of the current generation consoles are doing some awesome numbers. The sales of the XBOX 360 and PS3 are still unusually high considering their successors are out. You can still find them on store shelves new (Wii withstanding). Even though the eighth generation has started, the seventh hasn't ended. To me, it feels weird and while there are more game sales to be had where the install base is larger, developers would save money by making only one version instead of working around 4 platform architectures. It's a horse of a different color, that's for sure.

8. The Consoles are Quite Reliable

This is my personal favorite anomaly of the eighth generation. Very rarely, if ever, do you get a console where the launch of early models went pretty smoothly. If you had an early PSOne, you probably called Sony support when it started acting weird, so they told you to turn it upside down while it was running...okay? PS2 had some funny disc door problems at times which were actually frustrating until PS2 slim came out. Last generation, all 3 had some issue where (a) XBOX 360 had the red ring of death, (b) PS3 had the yellow light of death, and (c) When dual-layered games came out on Wii, some people's consoles couldn't read the discs. Now, we have some people with grinding XBOX Ones and jet loud PS4s. Those claims subsided pretty quickly, so I think the launches have gone fairly smoothly. And of course, Wii U doesn't seem to have any quality concerns, none that I'm familiar with anyway.

All things considered, gaming this time around has changed quite a bit since the old days. We must also consider that things have changed quite a bit from the beginning of last generation to the middle and end of it. I can't help but wonder if this generation will do something similar. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what next generation will be like compared to now as well and how unusual that might be.

Is there anything I missed that you find unusual about this console generation? Feel free to comment below and, as always, thanks for reading! :0)

SilentNegotiator3160d ago

1. I guess we had different experiences, but I ran out of HDD space quickly last gen. Also a 20GB 360.

2. They also have resale value, though.

4. There were a LOT of remasters last gen.

6. Yeah, that's definitely an odd change from the norm. But I guess a system in the middle in terms of price (now equal, I guess...I'm not sure if One is officially $400, but you can still EASILY find it for $400) but on top in terms of power is pretty rare.

7. That's not too unusual for being less than 2 years into the generation.

8. That seems true overall...too bad my ps4 broke, though :( It just froze up, had to be hard rebooted (unplugged - power button wouldn't react), and then I could only get to the safe menu (and the initialize/update functions won't work).

Concertoine3160d ago (Edited 3160d ago )

My ps4 broke too, only 2 weeks after i got it as well. Which is weird because a console has never broken for me and its definitely a reliable system.

SilentNegotiator3160d ago (Edited 3160d ago )

I guess someone has to be on the ass end of a low defect rate and we're two of those people.

SilentNegotiator3160d ago (Edited 3160d ago )

It was a bad HDD. Replaced it myself a few hours ago (why send the entire ps4 in just to have Sony cram another one of those exact same HDDs in and get it back to me as late as a month later?). I'm so glad the fix was that simple.

rainslacker3160d ago

1. Agree for the most part, but it was the right decision to keep costs down. I know it doesn't seem like much on paper to upgrade to 1TB over 500GB($15-20 at retail), but when companies are taking a loss at the current price, or barely breaking even, every penny counts. When you add up those pennies over millions of units, it becomes a rather significant number. 500GB may be plenty for a great number of people, particularly since you can delete and reinstall and get a game back up and running rather quickly for the most part.

2. I don't know about that. Physical has resale value, and the installs are certainly faster than downloading. I think the decision was made to reduce wear and tear on the laser assembly, as well as speed up access, but for the latter I would have preferred they left it up to the dev to decide what to install. Streamed videos don't need fast access after all, which could help minimize disc space usage. I find that for myself, having the physical copy also assures that I will be able to play my game again in 10-20 years time should I so choose. Otherwise, it's nice having a number of games that is actually worth something and I'm not just throwing my money into an account which can be stripped from me at any time for any number of reasons.

3. Agree 100%. I miss a good instruction manual. The digital ones provided aren't even that great most of the time.

4. They've always been a thing, just no one made a fuss about them before. Games were often ported in subsequent gens. People that wanted to play them for whatever reason did, those that didn't, didn't play them. nowadays it's seen as milking, which IMO it isn't. It's just a new offering, and sometimes I think people forget they have the power to choose what to do with their money. I have nothing against remakes myself, regardless of how old they are. I see things like TLOU:R more of a cross gen port than a remaster, kind of like how COD will come out for the PS3 and the PS4 at the same time, except there is a delay for the next gen version.

5. Not sure if that's a bad thing. Eventually prices will increase though, but there comes a point where the consumer won't bear more costs, and I think an initial $60 is that price point. It's led to DLC and microtransaction though, as games have become more expensive to produce.

6. The power advantage was always a fan boy fallacy. It existed, sure, but it's importance was rather moot to the average consumer. Games were what sold system, and the company that had the best support, or the best marketing, were the ones that sold the most. Wii was a bit of an anomoly in this regard, as I consider it's support lacking, but it sold because it created a new market within the gaming sphere. If it hadn't of done that, it would have sold horribly.

7. It's not uncommon at all for the prior generation to continue on after a new one starts. PS2 sold almost half it's lifetime sales after the PS3 released. The Genesis and NES still sells to this day through licensing. DC and until recently PS2 games are still being made and brought. The only time when the prior gen stops selling is when the company completely drops it, and it wasn't that successful to begin with.

8. I think last gen was the only gen where consoles had the tendency to be extremely faulty. The original PS1 maybe was, but the laser technology which was fairly new at the time was the cause for this. Before that, most consoles never saw any major issues, and the issues were related more to manufacturing defects rather than design flaws.

TWB3160d ago

Hmm, I find the game prices here in most places to be around 10€ cheaper for new gen games than PS3/XB360 games were last gen (from 69 or even the ridiculous 75€ that I think CODBLOPS2 was) and from there, current PS3/XB360 are another 10€ cheaper.

most PS4 games seem to hower between 60-65€

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