Having the latest and greatest technology is an impulse that most of us addicted to the benefits of new tech cannot refuse. Continually, we feel the need to “keep up with the Jones’s” so we aren’t without the ability to toast bread with the newest phone or some such nonsense. However, whether or not it’s an addiction or a contest is irrelevant, what is relevant is that the impulse exists and tech companies know it.
As we charge headlong into the future of consumer electronics, Sony and Microsoft have positioned themselves at the forefront with the PS4 and Xbox One. Not just as gaming platforms, but as entertainment platforms capable of delivering all forms of media.
And now, I arrive at the point. I just don’t care.
This “next-gen” console launch has been wholly underwhelming for me. Not because the platforms aren’t what they should be or because of a lack of launch titles, but mostly because this particular launch came and went with little more than a ripple in the industry. It just wasn’t exciting. The tremendous build-up continued throughout the year in preparation for a crescendo that never happened, and it left me feeling a little disappointed that this evolutionary advancement in console gaming didn’t have a bigger effect on my gaming life.
My Editor-in-Chief summed it up like this, “It was kind of like the ending of the Mayan long-count calendar.” So many expectations, questions, and possibilities were on the minds of gamers the world over, but “nothing happened.” The launch came and went without incident, kind of like December 21st, 2012. After the longest console cycle in the history of the industry, you would think that these platforms would be revolutionary pieces of machinery that would perform amazing feats of gaming bliss that its predecessors could only dream of.
But you would be wrong. The sad truth is, while these next-gen consoles are easily far superior to their older counterparts in terms of computing ability and raw power, the experience they provide (at least currently) just isn’t a far enough leap forward to warrant the drooling and excitement that I was fully prepared to display when they recently arrived in my living room. I feel like these consoles are the culmination of a journey these companies have been on since the beginning of console gaming, a compilation of lessons learned from previous platforms combined with the ability to become the console we all want, without the seemingly enormous technology gap between generations.
Now, I’m sure there will be those that will rush to the defense of their favorite brand--citing the resolution capabilities, future game lineups, and new control functionalities of their brand of choice. That’s fine, knock yourself out. If you are truly elated by your newest toy, by all means enjoy it. Hell, you can even tell me why if you like. Yet I can’t help but feel that something that I spent a ton of time preparing for in 2013 should have had a larger impact on the way I enjoy this hobby that we all know and love--gaming.
Despite what you may think, I’m not stupid. I know that more and more functionality will open up for the systems as they mature, and I look forward to this with wanton anticipation. But ask yourself these questions – Is next-gen console gaming really that different right now? Did it truly blow your mind from day one? Or are you making excuses for “next-gen” because you know better things are coming down the road?
By the way, my answers to those questions were as follows: No, No, and not anymore. Think about it, your answers might surprise you. I know they surprised me.