Ahh yes, the end of the console generation again.

Posted: July 24, 2012 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

Well here we are.  Full circle for the seventh generation video game consoles.  I have to say it’s been a really good one.  We’ve seen some huge breakthroughs in online multiplayer and game engine design.  The ability of game developers to tell stories and communicate ideas has burgeoned with the leap in graphics and processing capability.  We saw motion detection and virtual interaction with onscreen objects become a reality.  Games even became fully 3D, sometimes without even the need for glasses.  I guess I would say it’s been a very good one.

Unfortunately every good thing must end and thus we have reached the most painful point in the cycle.  Every time a console generation ends, I almost convince myself I’m tired of playing videogames.  Things seem so stagnant and the novel games so infrequent, that I end up playing old Zelda games and PSO for months.  As you may have guessed, this is because the developers have turned that 2-4 year development period towards the next consoles.  For the last year or so, they’ve been moving more and more staff towards development of next-gen games.  This holiday season will see us with a bunch of final sequels for this cycle and some new sports games.

Unfortunately this also affects PC games.  Most PC games release in some form on Consoles, so PC devs follow the same patterns.  When a console cycle is winding down, they make everything very low-spec.  There’s a reason Skyrim didn’t feature a completely new engine; because the consoles would have struggled to keep up with their 6-7 year old GPUs.  The new game engines will start rolling out about the time the new consoles hit, you can bet your NES on it.  So this means that even if you have hardware better than what will be in the next systems, you probably aren’t getting much use out of it.  Even the most demanding games like Batman Arkham City and The Witcher 2 are just demanding because they aren’t optimized for high-end hardware.  Welcome to the end of the line compadres.

My recommendation to you is this: don’t even try to find much originality in the new games coming out.  Go back and play the great games you may have missed or are on your bucket list.  Dark Souls, L.A. Noire, Dead Island and Deus Ex: Human Revolution are all A+ games that many still haven’t gotten the chance to play.  The 3DS is also picking up steam and there are a host of new casual and online games that deserve your time.  Always good to check the new version of Minecraft every 6 months or so too.  Basically it’s a good time to reflect and wrap up, rather than drive yourself crazy looking for a next best thing that is a way off.

Another thing I like to do around this time is hack/modify the last generation of systems.  Since I’ve already bought most of the major games, I don’t feel much guilt putting them all on a hard drive so I can just play them from a menu.  Also fun to see what homebrew apps and games you can run if you have a spare console and don’t care about playing it on the legit servers.  A Jtagged 360 or a PS3 running Linux can do all kinds of fun things besides play games.  Even the Wii has a pretty good selection of homebrew apps and can be modified without even losing any official functionality.  You might find yourself playing some emulated Apple II game on your PS3 and be having a grand old time.

Whatever you do, don’t let any amount of marketing convince you the next Halo or Call of Duty is going to be “revolutionary.”  Usually the final games in each franchise for a console are completely polished, but you won’t find much innovation.  If anything, your best bet will be to wait for the price drops or inevitable Game of the Year editions to save yourself a buck.  Either way, don’t get your hopes too high.

Hopefully I’ll have something new to report in the near future, but for right now, I’m just playing the back-catalog and biding my time.

  1. Andy Kumar says:

    Hopefully, the PS4 is indeed released this year! I still remember how many times the PS3 launch date was pushed back in 2006-7…

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