In the next few weeks, us gamers will entertain a new generation of hardware in the form of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series S/X and a start to a new direction and chapter in the history of video games as a medium. Whilst we’ve had iterations of the current consoles with the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X since the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One all the way back in 2013, by the end of November 2020, the original hardware will be 7 years old.
The current generation of consoles has seen some absolutely fantastic games hit both the PS4 and Xbox One over the past 7 years, and some of the greatest I’ve ever played. On both consoles we’ve seen the likes of God of War, The Last of Us Part II, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, Forza Horizon 4, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Cuphead, Ghost of Tsushima and Doom to name a few. Alongside a plethora of new titles, we’ve also seen some fantastic old games given a remake lick of paint with Resident Evil 2 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 being the standouts. The current generation really did produce a fantastic library of titles and the ones I’ve listed above are just a small percentage of the amazing work we’ve seen developers all around the world craft for us gamers to enjoy daily.
So, here we are and about to dive head-first into a new and exciting chapter in gaming. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first regarding how the pre-order shenanigans went down. I was lucky to have my name down on a ‘interest list’ very early on at the start of the year and I snagged a PS5 for launch day thankfully, but not everyone was as lucky as I was and I’m extremely grateful and privileged to be in this position when I know so many aren’t as lucky as me. The pre-ordering was frankly a disaster for many people. Sony said that the PS5 pre-orders would go live the morning after the PS5 Showcase Event, but they went live the night before because Walmart thought it would be a good idea to hit the ‘go live button’ live instantly and everyone else followed suit causing an internet meltdown of sorts. Websites were crashing, baskets not loading and people clambering on social media trying to secure a PS5 before all the bots sucked them up like an industrial cleaning unit. It was absolute chaos in all honesty. On the Xbox side, they thought that by having an exact time and date when pre-orders went live would improve it, but it didn’t. The trouble is that because they had a set time and date, bots were ready and waiting. Also, here in the UK some sites didn’t even have their stock on their website until a lot later in the day *cough Smyths cough*. I like the way Xbox was thinking with their strategy, but it was just as bad, unfortunately. Hopefully by the time we get to the PS6 and Xbox Series XX (?), someone in ecommerce has come up with a better pre-ordering system. I won’t hold my breath though.
One thing is for certain is that us gamers clamber all over a new console release because it’s something that doesn’t happen too often like say a new phone release does for example and a new piece of console hardware is like an ‘event’ for us. You want to be a part of something that is exciting and that millions of like-minded gamers are also involved with. Also, that ‘FOMO’ is a powerful thing, right?. Whilst I agree that this new generation is slightly different to what we usually have in the way each company (Sony and Microsoft) is strategising their brand spanking new box (PlayStation with the way they’re half in and half out with current and new hardware and Xbox not having any dedicated Series S/X titles for a while), it’s not about what is happening in the short term that is exciting, but what the future holds for both consoles. It’s totally understandable why both PlayStation and Xbox are (and will do that moving forward) still supporting the current systems as both the PS4 and Xbox One (whichever way we look at it) were ridiculously successful and for drop them and move on would be business suicide. Some may not agree with their decision to do this, but it’s not surprising they went down this route with the current-gen systems having such huge install bases.
No new console has ever nailed the games, hardware and experiences from the day one and it’s an developing process that happens not over the upcoming months, but over years once developers get accustomed to the ins and outs of the hardware. Look at the launch titles of the PS4 and/or the Xbox One, for example. Whilst we had a few “good” games, none of them hold up to what we have now to push the hardware to the limit and if we went back to them now, I’m sure we’d be extremely shocked to see how far things have come over the course of those 7 years. Gaming is and has strengthened massively over the years, and with every new hardware this is only going to get better. More powerful hardware alongside more adapted development teams that want to create interesting and mature visual and interactive stories through gaming is something that we should all be excited about soon. I’ll be honest and say that I’m personally more of a PlayStation gamer than I am a Xbox one (no pun intended!), but I’m still super excited to see what Microsoft and the Xbox brand bring to the table with the likes of the Series X and the future for the brand with Phil Spencer at the helm is a super exciting prospect for not only Xbox gamers, but anyone interested in gaming. Add Game Pass to the mix (the best deal in not just gaming, but entertainment I must add) and it’s an exciting time to be a gamer regardless of where your allegiances lie. Competition is a good thing, and it’s what pushes the likes of PlayStation and Xbox to do more, and we the consumers end up becoming the real winners.
Whilst I know that I won’t be getting the best experience I will over the course of the life-cycle of the new console/s at the beginning per se, I know that this will come over time and those of us that have pre-ordered the new hardware know this and expect it. There is a lot to love with what is about to hit our doors from November 10th with not only the sheer power and speed of these new consoles, but other factors. The new DualSense controller for the PS5 with its immersive haptic triggers and adaptive triggers is an extremely exciting prospect and one I’m intrigued to try out. The reception it’s received from the press is extremely positive and many are calling it a game changer and hopefully with the support of developers (outside of Sony’s first party studios), it’s an extremely exciting development of something that hasn’t really changed much over the console generations. It’s the same with Xbox and albeit slightly different, what they’re doing with Gamepass. With the acquisition of Bethesda for example, adding EA Play to the service and what they have already added to the service alongside the vast amount of new studios creating titles only for the Series S/X, it’s super exciting for anyone that is a subscriber to their service. Like I briefly mentioned above, Gamepass is the best deal in entertainment and the scary thing is that it’s only going to get better if the recent deals are anything to go by. That’s a scary thought if you really think about it. Whether it’s sustainable moving forward with 3rd party publishers getting twitchy and wanting a bigger cut of the pie is a story for another day, but right now and moving forward in the near future, it’s a service that offers so much to gamers all over the world and that can only be a positive.
Whichever way we look at it, the new hardware is super exciting for what is about to come into our lives soon and something that is going to affect us in a positive way. Whichever way we look at it, the future is super bright. Also, another big positive is that we can now move on from our PS4 Pro’s that sound like a Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off during hurricane season. When the current-gen hardware was originally released, I was so excited to see what the future would look like in the gaming world, and I wasn’t disappointed with what dropped over that 7-year period. I have exactly the same passion I had way back in 2013 now, and that’s something to grab hold of and run with. We know that it’s going to be an exciting ride over the course of the life-cycle for the PS5 and Xbox Series hardware and with 2020 being such an absolute shit show for other reasons, having something like what is about to drop at our addresses soon is frankly a blessing in disguise.