As you sure well know now there is a new generation of consoles coming over the hill like an unstoppable bout of constipation, now seems a good time to look back on the 8th generation of consoles and see what was learnt from all this.
Sony exploits Microsoft’s massive cock-ups
Now, like all stories it begins back In the year 2013, where the world wasn’t fucked over a dustbin lid behind Tescos, and to that years E3 where both Sony and Microsoft showed off their new consoles. The Playstation 4 from Sony, and the Xbox One from Microsoft and behold the shittest game of high stakes poker commenced. Microsoft royally put their foot in it with a whole host of shit decisions and as many U-turns as it takes to navigate Birmingham’s one way systems. From being ridiculously high priced, there were rumours that if you brought a used game that you would have to pay a fee to use it again, and that it required a constant internet connection otherwise it would kill your kids. It came with a Kinect with it as standard, which is great because who wants a Kinect these days? A bit like being asked would you like a dead puppy for Xmas? So Microsoft fucked it royally.
Microsoft leaving the simplest of open goals and Sony didn’t do back then would have dubbed the “Fernando Torres” with setting the price $100 less than Xbox at $399. And that it didn’t need a constant internet connection so your kids were safe and that you wouldn’t be charged for a game that you bought it from CEX. Sony took a big lead and come the launch days at the end of the year till now and the PS4 has royally outsold the Xbox One, even if the PS4 sounded like a Rolls Royce Trent at full chat (that one is for my aviation brethren, peace.)
Playstation exclusives turn out to be very good, and VR could be a future?
That wasn’t the only area where Sony outperformed the Xbox. As the exclusive titles that Sony pumped out were great games and some are in the bracket of the all-time greats. Xbox did have some great games like Forza series, the latest offerings from Gears of War, and also Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay. Sony came out with more of them with the likes of Uncharted 4, God of War, Last of Us, Bloodborne and Spiderman, and timed exclusives like Yakuza and Kingdom hearts. They did have their utter turds like The Order 1886. But for the most part and hard to argue against that Sony outdid Xbox on the exclusives front.
Also to note that Sony also entered the VR scene with Playstation VR. Which is a first for the big 3 console manufacturers, and the beauty of it is that It didn’t need a Hal-9000 to run it, just a Japanese black box that also had a jet engine. And given that Microsoft and Nintendo haven’t seriously considered this venture, PlayStation does have an ace in the hole for the future.
Microsoft comes back with 4k and Game Pass and backwards compatibility
Microsoft didn’t roll over and die from E3 2013 and made some clever moves to try and close the gap, chief among which was native backwards compatibility meaning you can bung in your old Xbox 360 and even original Xbox disc and play them. It was a handful of games mind but still, those old games now have a reason to stay in your library of games. Playstation had something similar but only digital copies meaning buying them again.
When both Sony and Microsoft created 4K versions of their consoles, Xbox came out with the more powerful version. The one area where Microsoft nailed was the addition of Xbox game pass, with a curated collection of games readily available to play for a subscription fee that’s regularly updated with new games. With a package deal where it throws in the online service as well does make it well thought out and executed. Playstation does have its version but as mentioned it’s one of the main ways to access the backwards compatibility.
A keen gaming historian will note that the 8th generation started way back in 2012 with the launch of the Nintendo Wii U which the main feature was the GamePad which worked as a second auxiliary screen and on certain games can be played without the need of the TV. Launched towards the latter end of 2012 and frankly was a sales failure. The gamepad controller while an interesting idea was flawed when it turned out it had the battery life of a pothead during the aftermath of fighting a fire in their local greenhouse. That motion control gimmicks of the Wii carried on, and that 3rd party developers didn’t bother with the Wii U much, and the Wii U failure did hurt Nintendo financially.
Fast forward to 2017, when the world was in the midst of how it got pumped over a dustbin lid behind Tescos. Nintendo launched the Switch where it seems to have learned from its mistakes, take some of the good ideas from the Wii and WiiU and became the lovechild of home and handheld consoles and behold the Nintendo Switch. A console for both home and on your travels, and 3rd party games came flocking back and has been the home to utter gems of the game like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Untitled Goose Game.
Thanks to using standard industry components making porting and developing for 3rd party and indie devs much easier. Yes, it didn’t have the graphical powers of the other two., but with the best of both worlds with home and portable gaming. Nintendo is on the up and up, and personally, the Switch is the most significant console to have come out in this generation.
Now, in years gone past E3 has always been the headline act when it comes to launching new games or consoles and talk nonsense. Towards the end of the decade, all of the main console players have been doing their own shows. Playstations State of Play, Nintendo Direct and This week on Xbox. And the rise of social media where devs can just announce their game at the snap of the fingers on social media. It’s changed dramatically since the turn of the century in the way we hear about game announcements.
While E3 is still a platform to make these announcements. With the fact that Playstation skipped last year and planned this year as well before that guy who ate a dodgy Bat and lockdowned the world.
Thanks to social media that leaks once that were hard to find and contain, and it just spread like wildfire. It’s on the decline and doesn’t have that significance it had come 20 years ago.
Who best placed for the future? And who’s joining the party?
As the 8th gen of consoles is coming to a close and the 9th gen consoles come ever closer. Who there best placed out of the players to come out on top in the 9th generations of consoles. Well, Sony has the most to lose. Given that Playstation VR is coming over to PS5 and with the likes of Last of Us 2 confirmed for PS5, and that they’ve shown off the new controller which now looks like a shite stormtrooper. For someone who went from PlayStation 3 to Xbox one, that analogue stick layout is archaic. While it’s good news that the PS5 will be backwards compatible but only on a good chunk of PS4 titles
Microsoft has work to do given the fact that exclusive 1st party games won’t be coming to the Series X. As they will be producing titles that are compatible on both the Series X and the One. So it doesn’t really help to sell the newer console, doesn’t it? It will be backwards compatible on all the Xbox consoles from the original to the 360 that’s already been done for the Xbox One. Hopefully, once the Series X it’s out in the wild. The backwards compatible program will start up again and continue to add games, and keep the Xbox Game Pass going strong.
Then we come to old man Nintendo and they are looking pretty rosy it must be said and has a bit of a groove on at the moment with the Switch with good games, 3rd party and indie developers making themselves at home. And an ingenious console that’s the best of both worlds of home use and using on the go, and for me the dark horse out of all this.
What of the new players – Google has the Stadia, a cloud-based service which is angled towards being an alternative to PC gaming. There are notable issues to sort out like for the fact it really can’t do 4k graphics and even run at 60 fps without lagging. Epic store is now being a more viable alternative to Steam. Then we have Shadow which offers a fully-fledged cloud-based gaming PC, so lots of folks with their own ideas of the future of video games. It’ll be fun to find out.