Are We All Ready for the Next Gen?

The next generation of videogame consoles is here with the release of the PS4 and the Xbox One, each with their own launch titles that will make any gamer salivate. Some will get a console at midnight releases, some will purchase both, and others will wait for the first batch inevitably containing bugs to be fixed. After attending Sony’s E3 conference at the LA Sports Arena this past June, my choice was the PS4. I was ecstatic about its possibilities, games, and price. I even knew my first game would be Assassin’s Creed 4, since Watch Dogs was delayed. However, I had the depressing realization that these consoles aren’t must-own yet. I noticed that a lot of the launch games look like their current-gen counter parts, though not all. I picked up AC4 for my PS3 and enjoyed it, saving myself $400. I’m certain that the PS4 price point is fantastic, but I’d rather use that money to buy my family and friends some nice Xmas gifts, and hold off my purchase until the first Metal Gear Solid title drops.

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The lineup for any console launch is rarely stellar, and people usually buy consoles early as an investment, knowing that they’re going to get what they want out of the system. I understand because I buy launch Nintendo consoles each generation. I can’t help it. It’s exciting to have it first. My sad epiphany came because I haven’t even scratched the surface with the current gen. Frankly, I don’t think anyone I know has, even if they believe otherwise.

I have a little more than twenty PS3 games, but I’ve played many more. That’s nothing in comparison to what is actually out there. I have only one friend in Los Angeles who plays every major title on the 360 and PS3. He trades in those games as soon as he completes them for whatever new title releases. He probably owns less than a dozen games and he has completely missed out on handheld games, indie games, PC games, and sleeper hits. I don’t know anyone who’s played more videogames than him, yet he only scratched the surface, too. How many of us completed the Mass Effect Trilogy, The Bioshock Trilogy, the Assassin’s Creed saga, the Gears of War series, the Halo series, and every Final Fantasy released this generation? If your answer is “yes,” did you also manage to play games like Spelunky, FTS, Splosion Man, The Walking Dead, Journey, Braid, Fez, Super Meat Boy, Gone Home, Dear Esther, Bastion, or anything by Double Fine? I haven’t played all of those and I don’t feel like I’ve earned my ticket to board the Next Gen Train until I experience them.

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When I look at my collection, I notice that some games aren’t even open, and I know very close friends who play games religiously and have the same issue. I’d love to play all my games, but there isn’t enough time with school, work, friends, family, girlfriend, etc. Not being able to play it all has been a problem for every generation, so why is what I’m saying important? I think that hundreds of worthwhile games have been overlooked and more and more games are released more often, making it impossible to keep up. The industry is flooding, but not in the sense that it’ll crash like it did in 1983 when there was an ocean of piece of shit games like ET. There’s an overflow of great stuff right now, but many people are only looking at what the next generation brings. As gamers, we are excited for the new horizon and better looking games, but when we refuse to be superficial, we can recognize all we want are good games.

The true “next gen” component to these upcoming consoles isn’t that they’re incredibly advanced graphically, or that they’ll load faster. No! This time “next gen” is a term only valuable to developers. The new technologies will help them develop titles at a faster rate, meaning we’ll see more and more games release sooner. While this will generate more dollars for the big companies out there and we’ll have more games to play, we’ll still have a stack of games that we will never experience. The “next gen” that was made with gamers in mind is cloud gaming, faster and more powerful technology, and with Sony, crossplay with the Vita.

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It always broke my heart working in retail when I met customers that only knew of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo. Maybe this problem will be fixed, or maybe it’ll worsen. We’ll see. I’m still unsure how long I’ll wait for my purchase of a PS4. It could be tonight. One thing for certain is that on November 22nd, I won’t be tossing $500 in Microsoft’s direction, I’ll be picking up my new Zelda and 3D Mario games.

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