Switching to a new generation, I was hoping for the kid at Christmas in me to be brought out again. And I'm happy to report, it has to a small extent. I feel reenergized, like I want to play again. After my three-year break at the end of last generation, I didn't think I was ever going to game again. Burn out from the me too and want to be triple a titles that were releasing.
For the first time in the history of me gaming, I actually went to a midnight release party to get my PS4. Surrounded by like-minded individuals, who wanted to experience the future of gaming the very second it was thrust upon us. Granted, my local GameStop didn't do a very good job in ramping up the excitement. It felt more like another day at work, with no real change from daily operation. Though, I knew the second I got home, plugged in my system, and experienced true hi def gaming for the first time… My excitement level would rise, once again.
The games, while just prettier versions of current gen... still felt more alive, more vibrant and more exciting. Probably just new toy syndrome setting in. But I still felt different from the way I felt three years ago, when I put the controller down for the very first time in the history of gaming, due to extreme burn out and boredom with what developers were putting out for us to play. I've been gaming, using a projector, for the past 15 years and anything under true 1080p resolution always looked blurry on my 120" screen. Now, everything is crisp and clear and aliasing seems to be a thing of the past. 60 frames per second makes all of the animation very smooth and lifelike and the colors are so vibrant, they pop off the screen and make the simplest of items look spectacular.
So it got me to thinking about the way we perceive games and what it is that actually makes one or the other more exciting than the last. Why do we buy new systems, when we are still playing the same games at a higher resolution? For me, I've always strived to see more and more realistic visuals in the games I play. Allowing me to feel like I'm doing something in reality, even though it is on my screen in fantasy. Let's face it, close to none of us are ever going to pick up a machine gun in a foreign country and plow down enemy after enemy and be the hero of the entire revolution against evil in the world. But, we can do it in our game worlds and the more realistic it looks and feels, the more it makes us feel as if we are there... Doing just that.
While thinking about all of this, it made me realize that it wasn't really the games last generation that I was bored of. It was the limitations of the systems themselves. Those limitations holding back that reality that makes me feel that the game I'm playing is more than just fantasy. That promise of physics affecting gameplay, that I talked about in previous articles… Missing altogether from the promises that were made from the start of that last generation. Games looking the same because developers were limited from their imaginations by the limitations set forth by the hardware manufacturers themselves.
Now, we have that brand-new start. Systems more powerful than we ever could've imagined. To make and play games that mimic our everyday lives, in a fantastical way. Developers no longer limited in what they can imagine and produce on screen. At least not for the foreseeable future. Gamers are more connected to each other and the games they play, systems allowing us to record our incredible moments to show to the rest of the world. We, as gamers, seemingly have it all. Now, it's up to developers to make it matter. To make us truly believe that the new systems were worth the effort and gaming couldn't have been the same without them.
We are but just pawns in this magical game of chess. Being fed by the kings and queens of the game world. I just hope that the decisions they make, don't let gamers starve for the entertainment they so happily long for. After all, it is the games that make the system. But without the powerful system to make the games, developers are limited in what they can feed us. A double edged sword that will probably continue throughout the future of gaming. But one that also provides the excitement for those new systems to be made. New games to be imagined.
To be honest, current gen has left me a little underwhelmed.
Not sure what I was expecting, but looking at the launch line-up on the PS4 it's hardly surprising. With that said, anything that's cross platform will undoubtedly look better on the new gen of consoles. If I had stuck with my PS3 I would always have the nagging feeling I was buying an inferior version when there is a 'better' version available.
Just a matter of waiting for platform specific titles to emerge now. :)
I was excited too but now it's faded a bit. I'm kind of looking forward to the new year for better games to come out and further system updates from both camps.
I don't own a PS4 or an X1 and I have no rush to buy one. The only system I would remotely have an impulse to get is WiiU, just because of how amazing Mario 3D World is (94% average rating), but even then I don't feel rushed.
A big reason I'm in no rush is there are hardly any games coming out solely for next/current gen that are must have. I own a Wii and a 360 and if I really had to buy a console it would be PS3. There is a huge library I have yet to touch, and the lack of any backwards compatibility with PS3 means buying a PS4 would only feel great for a few weeks (until new/exclusive games come out for it)
I'm a sucker for great deals, heck I waited several months to get Bioshock Infinite in order to get a good deal. Other than being able to say "I was one of the first 2 million to get X1/PS4" there's nothing inherently special about getting the systems early. Atm they're cool pieces of tech with things like direct streaming, Blu-ray, and internet, it will take time for their worth to grow into "must-haves"
We are stuck in a transition period where the current gen has yet to rise above the last gen. Companies are still rolling out cross gen titles and games to take advantage of the 150 million+ install base of last gen. 2014 is when the wheels will begin to turn, and I'm excited for that.
The current gen was/is doomed to be "more of the same".
Last generation saw the major, major revolution of programmable shaders (yes, I know the original XBox had them, albeit in a primitive form), and GPUs powerful enough to reasonably exceed 480i for the first time *ever*.
This gen.. is basically more of the same. Same tech, just faster. Barely capable of 1080p, if that (on some consoles, for some games), and CPUs hardly worthy of a generational jump over the last -- mainly so the new consoles could launch at what is perceived as an affordable price point, and remain reliable in the average joe's (who has no idea that PC towers need breathing room) livingroom.
The only real serious advancement we're seeing is a large memory improvement... but a good chunk of that memory is being used for social features rather than gaming, and things like storing uncompressed, or easily decompressed animation and texture data, so the barely passable CPUs can run at a decent framerate.
Semiconductor tech is slowing down (advancement) fast... we're likely not going to see another console gen that is as much of a jump over the last, as the PS3 (shaders) was over the PS2, or the PS2 (full 3D hardware) was over the PS1. Not that new machines can't be built, but rather that they will never be *affordable* and *maintainable* by the average console gamer, if they are made much more powerful than they are in the XB1 and PS4 form.
Those machines (XB1, PS4) will eventually drop in price to ~$300... and their tech will be ~14nm at that time. But then... how could a new console ever compete with that, if it was $500-600, with no hope of ever dropping in price, due to semiconductors reaching an affordable stopping point at 14-10nm? And it was only capable of 1440p to boot, without any serious other new gimmicks? The Neo Geo failed, if you remember that one.
Get used to it... and start looking for innovative game designs and art styles, rather than more and prettier pixel rendering tech. Physics, and economics, had to end the semiconductor era, and the eternal cycle of affordable hardware improvement sometime. Call it 2020 for physics. Economics will call it before then for affordable ("cheap") home consoles though.. like 2016-2017.