PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? There hasn’t been a console debate like this since the days of the Super Nintendo and the Sega Megadrive. Both Sony and Microsoft launched their latest entries into the gaming world within several weeks of each other late last year. Both are powerhouses, feature packed and well designed, both have also sold in huge numbers. They have been marketed as the next generation of gaming consoles, but is that what they truly are? Are we actually on the forefront of next generation gaming or, has it already happened and are these merely an updated iteration of previous models? I would argue the latter.
It’s not that I dislike either console or am unimpressed by them. I actually think they are excellent, I even own a PS4. I just don’t think they deserve to be described as next generation consoles. Their predecessors deserved and earned their next gen reputation for their time. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 added a whole new dimension to games consoles. They offered their owners a home entertainment system in one device.
At the time, that was amazing. However, now it’s nothing new and that is all the latest versions of these devices are offering. They are more refined and have more gaming power but they bring nothing ground breaking to the market to define them as next generation. I believe, the next generation of games console was in fact launched at the end of 2006, the Nintendo Wii.
Nintendo caught the gaming world off guard with their clever little console. Instead of competing on the usual fronts of graphics and processing power. They decided to introduce a natural interactivity to gaming. It meant games became simple and fun using intuitive controls. It also created a new genre of active, fitness games. This proved hugely popular, parents were enticed by a console that all ages could play and that contained an active side to gaming. They’ve recently launched the Wii U, an updated version of the Wii addressing many of the missing features of the original and adding an immersive second screen to the new controller.
So, if I think the Wii and consequentially the Wii U represent the next generation of gaming console, surely I think that they are the best consoles available? Nope, sorry I don’t and there is one simple reason why; I’m an old(ish) gamer. I play games to sit down and relax. Call it be lazy if you will. I don’t want to jump around in front of my television.
That doesn’t mean you can’t if you want to with another console, both Sony and Microsoft caught up as quickly as they could to the Wii with accessories that created a similar experience. They now offer the PS Camera and theKinect respectively as recommended additional hardware for their latest consoles.
All in all, each console has strengths and weaknesses and what your next console should be is really down to what type of gamer you are. The Wii created a new generation of gamers; you could call them the next gen gamers. Watch a kid play a regular game, like Knack on the PS4, then take a look at a kid jumping around playing Mario Party on the Wii, who is having more fun? It’s pretty obvious.
I think that for my type, or generation of gamer, we will never have a next generation console. We will stick to what we know and like, and buy the latest and greatest offering of that form factor. For me, that was the PS4. For many others it could be the Xbox One or it may be the same. Either way, you are buying familiarity and guaranteed entertainment.
The next generation of gamers are the lucky ones. They will see innovation and advancement in how they play games and enjoy themselves while doing so. If I’m honest, although it’s not for me, I think that interactivity in gaming is a good thing. Sitting in front of a TV for hours on end only moving your hands is not healthy. Movement is a huge benefit to health and is a real selling point for Nintendo. Maybe the next generation of gamers will help shift the stereotype of what we all look like!
This piece was written for TheEffect.Net by Joe Carlyle (@JoeCarlyle)