The next generation of consoles is here at last, well at least it is the US with the PlayStation 4 going on sale yesterday. Over the next few weeks, us lucky Brits will see Sony’s machine and the Xbox One from Microsoft launch. I was in Game in Cardiff a few nights past and saw the new look shelves heralding the imminent arrival of the new machines.
It made me think about the generation which is now the old-gen. The humble Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are but things of a bygone era now. In reality they will still be fairly important to gamers and the industry for a year or so yet as people wait for the inevitable price cuts or a wider range of titles to launch.
The new generation is an exciting time in the industry, but as I have commented a few times, it isn’t one that I will be joining just yet. On a personal level, I look at the launch titles and I’m not overly enthused. That may have something to do with the fact that the next AAA title that I am really looking forward to, Watch Dogs, will be coming to the PC as well. The exclusives just don’t do it for me right now, though I am sure that in six months or a year there will be some that I really feel like I need to check out.
That is the story of the last generation as well for me, I stuck with my PC for the first few years, not entering the last generation (Wii apart) until 2010 when I picked up one of those fancy slim line Xbox 360s. A year later my PlayStation 3 followed. While I have bought and played many games on these two machines, they never quite caught my attention in the same way as the PlayStation 1 and 2.
I have played some great games on them, I can’t deny that. Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto V and Forza spring to mind instantly, but the consoles themselves have failed to become a major part of my gaming life as I thought they would. My gaming life has largely lain on the PC.
If I look back to 2005 and the launch of the Xbox 360, my gaming life revolved around Battlefield 2, a game I spent a massive amount of time playing. Across my two accounts on ranked games (where play time was tracked) and private clan games I must have racked up over 600 hours of game time. I would hazard a guess that my combined game time on my 360 and PS3 comes in at 500 hours tops.
That isn’t to say I haven’t had fun with these machines, I don’t regret purchasing them one bit. Hell, in some ways I don’t know whether I would have even re-launched The Reticule back in 2011 if it wasn’t for those two machines reigniting my passions for gaming and writing.
You might wonder why I was in Game the other night. I wasn’t just checking out the new bunting, I was busy trading in my Wii and picking up the machine which has divided opinion since launch last year, the Wii U. Some might think I am mad to get a machine which many think will be made irrelevant with the launch of the new consoles. Maybe I am, but in a world where so many games get released on the PC along with the Sony and Microsoft consoles, I don’t mind spending my money on some Nintendo titles.
I do have one hope to spring from the next-gen launches though. I hope that we see developers start really pushing games forward again on the PC. Don’t get me wrong, I love indie games with their quirky graphics, but I love to see a title which really pushes my machine to the limits. DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine is getting there, but I look forward to nVidia and AMD getting their teeth stuck into the new technologies they revealed a few weeks ago.
Don’t be surprised if I upgrade my PC before entering the next-gen. I realise that I haven’t mentioned the elephant in the room, the Steam Box. That is something that might be a real game changer.