PS4, Xbox One Launches Feel Rushed...But Why?
Considering the situation, there's no reason that these launches should feel rushed. And yet, that's exactly how it feels.
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are now available in North America and although both topped 1 million in sales in the first 24 hours, and millions more are waiting in the wings to grab one, many would argue that neither system is living up to its lofty expectations.
Sony's machine released to an instant assortment of complaints from users and although that has since quieted down, and it's likely that the problems aren't widespread, the negative headlines were everywhere. On top of which, the launch software earned merely above-average (and in some cases, downright mediocre) review scores. Killzone: Shadow Fall is a bit better game in our estimation than its 73 Metascore indicates, but it's still not the masterpiece many anticipated.
The Xbox One is debuting with similar problems: We're already starting to see reports of bricked consoles ("green screen of death" is making the rounds), some of those supposedly grand multimedia features aren't working 100% properly, and the launch lineup isn't much better than the PS4's. Forza 5 is a legitimate AAA title so that leads the charge, but the rest is decidedly unimpressive: Ryse: Son of Rome has a 60 Metascore, Dead Rising 3 isn't doing too badly at 78, Crimson Dragon is only at 55 (similar to Knack), and Killer Instinct is at a ho-hum 72.
The bottom line is that it really does feel as if both systems were rushed to market. But that doesn't really make any sense, does it? It has been over eight years since a new Xbox arrived, and seven years since we had a new PlayStation; that generation was essentially the longest in the history of the industry. Furthermore, both consoles are using straightforward, off-the-shelf components, so they're able to charge a little less and pump out the systems pretty quickly. Perhaps that's the problem; maybe we needed more cutting-edge tech. Or maybe for whatever reason, neither company was really ready to launch, but the industry was suffering from definite generational fatigue; gamers and developers were tired.
One might even argue that if the new consoles didn't launch this year, the industry could've been in serious trouble in 2014. Most months in 2013 posted year-over-year double-digit declines in the US market, for example, and analysts might've issued dire predictions for next year if these consoles didn't make it out. So, maybe that's it. But whatever the reason, I can't help but shake the "rushed" sensation on both fronts.
11/22/2013 Ben Dutka