When we buy a next gen system, we expect at least a game or two to stand out and scream next gen. To make us stand up and say, "wow, I cant believe this is a game!" or "This couldnt have been done last gen". Not just visually, but with gameplay also. I can remember, the entire way back to the Atari 2600, each system launch having at least one or two of those games that made you gasp in amazement and yearn for the day you could play.
With the PS4 and Xbox One... There wasnt that one title at launch that stood out and made you know that next gen was here. While the Xbox 360 launch had great games like Call Of Duty 2, Condemned, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo and Most Wanted... This Next Gen launch had mostly cross gen titles that didnt show much, if any, of the power of next gen gaming. Even to this day, there have only been a few stand out titles and they were just pretty rehashes of franchise sequels. Watchdogs was supposed to be the first game to usher in the next generation of gaming and turned out to be just slightly above average in execution. More hype than substance.
Infamous is gorgeous, but lacks soul. Same with Destiny. I imagine the first glimpse at next gen gaming is going to be a last gen title in GTA V. At least, visually. Though, Shadows Of Mordor looks to add that next gen feel to gameplay by including adaptive AI that remembers the player and his actions and recalls past interactions. Far Cry 4 may look good, but is really just another of the same game for the series. Still to this day, we have yet to see proper physics simulation. Allowing the player to use the environment against enemies, instead of just shooting them in the face. Only one game last gen allowed it, which was Red Faction Guerilla. Which I thought was the genesis of last gen as far as showing how a next gen game can play.
I guess my biggest issue, is we are still playing the same games we were 15 years ago... With a new coat of paint. Still the same gameplay, no true interaction with NPCs, just a color by numbers... Point A to B, shoot your enemy in the face affair. That never effects the story or world around you. Radial AI that still resembles the brain function of a caveman. Eat, sleep, hunt, eat... Or in a games case: get shot, return fire, live or die.
Game developers choosing repetition for quick compensation, over evolution. Copy and paste from the last hit title, with new textures and story.
We need one developer to step up and make something revolutionary. Something that combines real world physics with fantastical gameplay, that looks and feels next gen. Not just graphically superior, but something that screams "I couldnt have been done last gen". Otherwise, why did we buy new systems? To play last gen remakes with better textures, higher resolution and more of everything on screen? I appreciate those efforts, because at least we are getting the best of last gen in true next gen fashion... But we arent getting true next gen gameplay. Something that seems to elude even the best of developers, generation after generation.
All of the best ideas come from Indie studios who make games they want to make and play. Developers who arent afraid to try new ideas and dont have to answer to investors. I just wish some, or at least one, of these major studios would do the same.
So, when does next gen start? Is it the day of launch for a new system... Or when a game launches that in no, way, shape or form could have been done the generation before?
No matter how powerful a game system is, it is the software that makes use of that power that truly makes it next gen and not the hardware itself.
Have to ask yourself what are the standards and goals of "Next Gen"?
Looking at the PS4 and XB1, especially the latter, it was online required, DRM, and pretty much little else. A token push towards improving graphics, cloud distribution handling some of the XB1's load, but that's it. All else was about improving the economics of gaming, not any actual mechanics, which if anything backslid to what the Xbox 360 and PS3 later became.
I mean look back at the 7th console gen. It started off with trailers and tech demos promising cross country chases and shootouts in title like Eight Days to Vegas, but wound up cutting features and content from sequels from prior titles, selling only some of it back DLC.
And now there's something like Destiny which promised great things, yet with a supposed ten year plan has been release feeling rather skimpy. With many a hopeful gamer willing to wait for update and future content rather than ask if not demand why such a title was delivered in such a state.
Interesting question and a good read. I believe Virtual Reality could be something that will change things a bit. Oculus Rift holds great promise and I for one can't wait to try it.
As a side note, it seems that this generation has a much more pronounced focus on financial gain rather than innovation and that regretful.
This console generation will be very short lived IMO and will be replaced by cloud gaming sooner than expected. This will be a transitional generation and I think both Sony and Microsoft know this.
Not until a true Gears of War 4 comes out.
I think this is a pretty easy question to answer. The Western world of gaming has become obsessed with graphics. This obsession started in the 7th-gen. And now continues full force into "Next-gen". I think the first thing gamers need to do is stop putting all the blame on developers. First let's define what "Next-gen" actually is.
The 8th-generation of main consoles consists of, 3DS, Ps Vita, Wii U, Ps4 and Xbox One. That Is the true "Next-Gen" gaming. Unfortunately, gamers have defined "Next-Gen" on hardware power alone.
When I say gamers to look at themselves, here is what I mean. Instead of getting on developers about gameplay. Gamers argued over which console between the Ps4 and Xbox One could output 1080p and 60 frames-per second. This meant that the main goal of developers moving forward, was to make sure the games they made could do this. Gamers seemed to care about resolution and frames-per second, more then the actual games themselves. And now we are paying for it. I think there is something gamers should look at.
Developers tend to not take chances in innovation because of key reasons. AAA development cost is through the roof, Gamers keep asking for more and more. But many seem to fail at realizing these companies can and will go bankrupt if a big game does not profit. I like many, would love for developers to use each of the Next-gen systems to there full potential, but I also realize that cost insane amounts of money.
That leap from 6th to 7th generation is not going to happen this time. Graphics wise I don't see games going much further (if any). So Developers do need to put focus gameplay. I think all of the underwhelming "Next-gen" games might be the best thing to happen in gaming. Gamers and Developers alike need to realize Graphics and Story are not all that matters. Gameplay has taken a horrible backseat to pretty graphics and deep stories. To the point where games don't even play like games. Juat slightly interactive movies. Gameplay has almost been entirely forgotten at this point.
Gamers themselves need to be more open to change. I have seen many innovative games get ignored simply because they tried something new. People complain all day about Call Of Duty, but then go out and buy the newest version. As long as gamers and developers keep sending mixed messages to each other. This problem of "When does the Next Gen truly start?", will continue on without a end in sight.