When I was gearing up for the seventh generation consoles and Blu Ray, I bought a top of the line 1080p television in early 2007 to experience all the Playstation 3 and what the HD graphics of the Xbox 360 I already owned had to offer.
Before the seventh generation, I knew little to nothing about resolution. When the sixth generation consoles came, I was very impressed with the graphics of the Xbox, Gamecube, and Playstation 2. I couldn’t imagine how much better it could get. So I wanted to go full blast with the seventh generation in full high definition.
The quality of Blu Ray blew me away. It was worth it simply for that. And the games on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 looked spectacular. I knew it could get better, but I just couldn’t imagine back then what the eighth generation consoles would be like, but I assumed that if I were to see a glimpse of what 2015 would have to offer, I would be wholly impressed. I even thought that my television, even being top of the line in 2007, might need to be upgraded for the eighth.
Another thing that I assumed – being that many PS3 and 360 games were only around 720p – is that the games of the eight generation would be full 1080p at a minimum, no questions asked. I accepted that only a few games of the seventh generation offered full 1080p. And I also accepted that, because these consoles were touted as being incredibly powerful, not seeing the eighth generation start until at least 2015.
My friends and I wouldn’t have minded the wait because we were enjoying the seventh generation games. And we were PC gamers, too. On top of this, Sony kept hyping the superior power that was yet to be unlocked for the Playstation 3. That was a big reason why I thought that it would keep until this year. I thought to myself that maybe developers would be able to unlock the power of the PS3 early this decade, allowing for even more impressive graphics. And I thought that Microsoft would be the first to release its next console in 2014 or 2015 because Sony would still be able to ride on the supposed power of the PS3 for just a little long and then release its Playstation 4 in 2016.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. My expectations were deflated. If I was told back in the late 2000s that the new consoles would be released in 2013, I would have protested that idea because I considered it too early.
Perhaps I was right.
I don’t dislike the eighth generation consoles, but they did not at all live up to the grand expectations I had for them. The one expectation that should have been non-controversial is that the games would all be natively 1080p. Especially for the Xbox One, many games are not. And that is probably the biggest let-down, because it seems to be the minimum quality to ask for and expect in consoles released about eight years after Full HD televisions hit the market.
Sony and Microsoft released consoles that were far too underpowered for this era. 4K (2160p) televisions are already out with 4K Blu Rays on their way later this year. The current highest end PCs can run some games in that Ultra HD resolution, while it’s often heard that games on the Xbox One have trouble going above 900p.
On release, the consoles were not overly expensive, especially for all that they do offer ($400 US for the PS4 and $500 US for the Xbox One). The Playstation 3 was around $500 US, while the 3D0 was $700 US on release in 1993 (more than $1000 US in today’s currency).
Perhaps Sony and Microsoft could have waited a year and released relatively more powerful consoles at the same price points. And, considering the One was $100 US more than the PS4 because of the Kinect, it’s easy to imagine that the company could have instead focused on better hardware for the console and still stick to that price. On a side note, it’s a wonder why Microsoft tried to push for the Kinect even after the 360s version was not to well received.
Of course, those that consider themselves part of the “PC Gamer Master Race” might just argue that consoles are useless anyway when you have the freedom of upgrading your own PC. For people with the money, know-how, and patience, it’s a great alternative. But the good thing about consoles is that you can buy a platform for a decent price and not have to worry about all the different components with their specific drivers and compatibility issues. Consoles (for the most part, at least) are plug and play. You can go to the store and buy a game you like for your console and play it easily. Plus, many games are made to utilize the specific console’s hardware and play without issue. That’s the convenience of a console. And it’s especially convenient for kids.
If they really needed to release these consoles in 2013, it’s too bad that they didn’t take a cue from what Nintendo did back with their N64 and have a pending upgrade peripheral for when the consoles were at least a couple of years old. But, since I’m not a developer and don’t have to take the financial risk, I can assume and complain from comfort.
Also, speaking of Nintendo, at least they are finally making a “true” next generation console with the “NX.” They kept themselves a generation behind in performance with both the Wii and the Wii U. Although I have nothing against the Wii U, I think it’s about time Nintendo catches up.
Overall, I just hope that the hardware developers are financially sound enough to have the next generation of consoles, whenever they are released, live up to reasonable expectations.