: Sunday Meditation: Will Console Generations Become Like This?

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Sunday Meditation: Will Console Generations Become Like This?

The first E3 of the new generation is upon us and I feel a little deflated.

Not that every E3 is a big wonderful fantasy camp where all our gaming wishes come true. Far from it, you only get a great one every now and then. You'd like to think that with these fancy new consoles we would see a lot of thrilling new pieces of software to keep us excited. I'm getting the feeling that won't be the case.

There's really no telling just yet but my leading indicators tell me we are in for another well-planned set of conferences that follow their itineraries and add little or nothing new for excitement by way of teasers and surprises. I hope I'm wrong, but this general impression has led me to think about the state of consoles. As I am frequently told for complaining about a lack of games, these are the normal states of things in a new generation. I know that full well but there are other considerations. The super HD updates of old titles, a lengthy cross platform period, a lack of anything that looks or feels truly next gen, and the ever present delays all mix with the lengthy period of the last generation to give me the impression that generational changeover as we know it could be changing.

I wondered what that might look like, all I had to do was look around me. With consoles now firmly planted in the realm of the specifically purposed PC there is no reason to believe that generational changeovers won't simply occur the way they do with most other hardware formats these days: basic spec upgrades with less fanfare and a few more capabilities. We do it with our phones, our computers, our tablets, our MP3 players and whatever else does digital things for you. We either line up to get our updated piece of hardware or wait until it costs less. In the mean time we just can't play with the newest software.

Console releases could strongly resemble this pattern eventually. There still isn't a big enough reason to go all digital so physical game discs probably aren't leaving any time soon, and that means consoles won't be absorbed into our TVs or whatever else is being predicted. The cost of the development will come down, people will subscribe to Platinum services that replace their hardware every time it becomes outdated, and the concept of large leaps in the gaming experience will give way to slower and more incremental steps than has been previously been the case.

This has been the pattern of many consumer electronics and gamer tradition may be the only thing stopping the gaming console from being the next piece of hardware to follow suit. Maybe I'm outdated but I like the traditions, and I like E3 in the year of a new generation to show off the big leaps rather than the incremental steps.

6/7/2014 David D. Nelson

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Comments (23 posts)

Temjin001
Saturday, June 07, 2014 @ 11:49:09 PM
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I feel the last gen lasted as long as it did largely because MS allowed it to carry on. They were comfortable and probably surprised by their own success. But now with the XO, I expect a different tone. I project that with MS being the way they are they will want to get themselves out of the underdog position quickly if things don't turn around for the XO. They dropped the Xbox in 4 years. I don't doubt they'd drop the XO, or offer a complete overhaul to it within 5 years, just to try to reset the landscape to their advantage. I hope Sony doesn't let them get away with it and is prepared for any sort of preemption on MS's part.

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Bonampak
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 11:53:17 AM

Another thing to consider, is that MS has yet to pull the plug on the 360.

Back with the original Xbox, they pulled the plug rather quickly, once the 360 was out and about. They made great efforts to move on to the 360 by 2007. They completely phased out that console by 2008. And the 360 thrived as a result.

Sony on the other hand, was still very content with selling PS2's when the PS3 was trying to establish itself among a lot of negativity from the media in 2006. Heck, in 2009 the PS2 was still outselling the PS3. The PS3 was still struggling in that same year. Not becoming profitable until a couple of years later.

There are millions of 360 users who have not made the jump to current gen consoles. When MS pulls the plug, they have to do when the X1 has something worth going for. If it has nothing to offer, then those millions of users will gravitate to the PS4. Which would seal the deal for Sony dominating this gen for good.

It's still to early in the game though. I think things will start getting interesting late this year and the next. After the X-mas season.

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souljah92
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 2:14:34 AM
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"Buy this chip for your console and get these new upgraded features", rinse and repeat this process every some-odd months or so... i fear that is what we have to look forward to soon.

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 4:28:59 AM
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i really do not want consoles to become like PC's in the sense that they're one platform, but you need to have upgraded tech t play the latest games. I much prefer having a set console which can play every game designed for the console. It's just less fussy.

The jump to PS4 is significantly less than before, I think we're all in agreement with that. For me, I reckon I would be content if we didn't keep hearing about games struggling to reach 1080p - This really should be the standard expectation of this gen, heck it should have been with the PS3 really.

However,I reckon that the consoles are just staggering in this transition period. I remember when the 360 first was released, all it has was hi-res ports of games on the PS2 like Call of Duty 2, Gun & Tony Hawk's: American Wasteland ect. but beyond the next year the console stood on its own two feet and you could really see the difference in how much more advanced the 360 was than the original Xbox - I reference the 360 and not the PS3 as the PS3 didn't have much in the lines of ports due to being released later.

So looking at that example of the 360, I am not concerned.... yet. Some games on the Playstation 4 are reaching 1080p & even 60 fps. If Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on the PS4 can pull that off when the Xbox One can't, then that is the console for me. Really cannot wait until E3 to see the next trailer, I really believe MGS5 has the potential to be the best in the series. Which I know is saying a lot but after the last e3 trailer... just wow.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 5:43:35 AM
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yeah i with you ben i needsto be more this year it is supposed to keep us excited isn't it??? well atleast i hope it does aye.... being hopefully here.

happy gaming =)

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Bio
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 8:58:57 AM
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Just yesterday you were wondering if the upcoming E3 would be the 'most anticipated in years'.

What changed in a day?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 12:12:42 PM

This is an article from me, Ben and I differ sometimes.

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Underdog15
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 8:32:22 PM

Different authors.

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matt99
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 9:11:28 AM
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It has always seemed odd to me that literally every other device gets upgraded every few years. I mean does anyone have an 8 year old desktop as their main computer?

As for the transition to this new generation I think the generally underwhelming feeling is because the last generation was the jump to HD and so it was a massive difference that could be seen immediately, and the length of the last gen has only fuelled people's anticipation for the new gen.

Another reason is because I think we are getting so close to photorealism that graphical progress is harder to notice and it's not progressing as rapidly as it did in the past. It's sort of like losing weight, when you start you can notice big differences right away but the last 10 pounds are much harder.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 12:14:06 PM

It definitely is more difficult to notice, though you can always tell the overall feel of an exclusive like Uncharted 3 plays much better than your average multiplat built on the Unreal 3 engine.

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Alejandro562
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 11:10:12 AM
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Hi Ben and all of the glorious psx community , I was just feeling like letting my thoughts out on something i have been dwelling upon the past few years , let's first start this off by saying , i was directed to this site may of 2007 , via a companion i had been chatting with through ps3 chat room,He had told me how awesome this site was because of the way the site was smaller than big sites like IGN or Gamespot because you could input your opinions here with the community and be heard and have intellectual discussions over the gaming community as a whole, but over the years i have stopped coming to this site because it feels like you Ben have killed it off slowly but surely ,how ?By making people that have opinions that are not bias toward the playstation brand feel like a jew living ing germany under hitlers regime,how ? By slamming every opinion that hurts the ps brand or is not in favor of it,look at that guy you and your ss army "the bias fanboys here that follow you like the sheep they are"you dismantled that poor guy that was defending the nintendo brand about the wii u when you were quick to respond to his OPINION about the nintendo brand you shit on him and shit on the nintendo brand, you only post playstation positive articles and only respect playstation positive community commentors , this is why now you lost at least 70% of your fan base and daily traffic to this once awesome site,you bashed too many people and why?Because their opinion toward some ps discussions were not on the same page as yours,never let personal bias affect the professionalism you are to have when you are in journalism, it is like espn showing only one team and one sport , they would die instantly , you have been like hitler , along with people like WordlEndsWithMe he has been your Mussolini , you ruined what was once an awesome place now i do not see anyone here like i use to , they are all on IGN.If you had a bit of respect and professionalism i am sure the site would have grown huge,but you let your emotions and personal views reject that from ever possibly happening , i am not writing this because i want likes or dislikes,your sheep surely will handle the dislikes very swell,i am writing this because this site is so dead now i do not think i see it coming back with you running it and i think it'd be in your best interest to end the misery ,this infected wound has gotten to severe it must be severed , and i think it's time to face the fact's Ben and start to think of something else you can set that great mind to.

Challenge Completed.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 12:16:14 PM

I only get to be Mussolini? I mean he's pretty evil but I demand higher status in this genocide!

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Alejandro562
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 12:37:27 PM

Yes World , your his right hand fanboy . your his Musssolini,perhaps maybe even his Stalin,you are his sheep and have helped him bash any and every person that opposes their views , only playstation friendly people are the ones Ben truly respects,like Hitler only preferring the Aryan race.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 12:42:41 PM

Let me get this straight.

Ben is Hitler, who is getting rid of the Jews by force. World is his best man and I'm just an SS ARMY Sheep who follows orders? What are you? The resistance around here?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 1:44:43 PM

Stalin did have a pretty good mustache, I'll accept that promotion.

In the mean time, you'd do well to separate the personal opinions/comments of the writers from the website content at least in your minds eye (if you have one). Any person who professes they have no personal preference or biases or disagreements with other points of view in the discussions of the day is being disingenuous.

Furthermore, in the internet environment where tones are often mistaken, it is sadly an artifact of online discourse that people will go too far, have bad days, get their feelings hurt, and everything else associated with passionate debates on beliefs concerning a topic of personal import: our main hobby. Think about the alternative though, straight news, press releases, and no useful or fun discussion.

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Banky A
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 5:01:29 PM

omg

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Underdog15
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 8:34:07 PM

That was way too easy and simple for World to prove Mr. Wallovtext to be a fool.

Trying too hard, maybe.... Wish I coulda been here sooner to snatch that one up before World got to it... ah well. Just as well. That was Grade A schooling I couldn't have competed with, anyways.

Bravo, World.

As for me being one of the Army Sheep, it's hard not to be... World's first two initials are "DD", and I love double D's every time.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/8/2014 8:36:28 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 8:51:41 PM

I appreciate the support Underdog, I just try to do what I can for the site and its people. If I can help smooth their journey toward understanding how open critical dialogue works then that's good too.

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Underdog15
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 10:36:31 PM

I love his Berlin text wall, myself. That certainly seemed formidable, in his defense.

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Alejandro562
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 11:57:41 PM

For the sheep ss army screaming victory in the name of stalin,thinking i got owned think again,i cannot reply all day as i do not negotiate with terrorists... i handled my last post , i do not intend on visiting or posting replies i only came because a fellow member told me to come look at the sheep screeching victor , goodbye nazis.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 8:28:01 AM

lates!

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Underdog15
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 9:52:40 AM

Also, "SS" can never stand for anything in relation to the army. It's abbreviation originally stands for "Steam Ship" and can only be applied to ships.

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Axe99
Sunday, June 08, 2014 @ 6:37:39 PM
Reply

I think part of the issue with the smaller steps is the diminishing 'perceptual' returns to extra processing power each gen, combined with the maturing of the medium.

Diminishing perceptual returns is that while the visuals have improved, technically, as much as they did from PS2 to PS3, in terms of what we actually see, the perceived difference isn't as big. It's the same deal with PC (you can pay through the nose for a card that gives you such a small leg-up on something half the price, you wonder why people do it). This will only continue.

The other thing is the maturing of the medium in terms of design. The longer gaming is around, the more designers know what does and doesn't work. While there's always room for innovation, at the end of the day there will be interface, UI and game design solutions that are generally better than others for a given type of game, and as these are refined, the advances will and should become less.

These are both not bad things - they are signs that gaming is better than ever before - but they also mean we need to start appreciating the (amazing) depth in our games, rather than just looking for the next 'surprise' to keep us interested. Hopefully the greater maturing of hardware and design will lead to a greater maturing of the audience alongside it :).

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