When the announcement of the next generation of consoles starting looming on the horizon, I was one of the many gamers excited for the next big step for gaming. The release of the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony is now quickly approaching. Many gamers will be eagerly waiting in long lines for hours when the consoles hit the street this fall. Even though I have the PlayStation 4 pre-ordered, I doubt that I will be one of those gamers. I have a confession: I’m not excited for the next generation.
Gaming has been a staple in my life since I got my first console when I was in the first grade. I was extremely excited for the release of the current generation back in the day. Sony and Microsoft had powerful new systems boasting online multiplayer and killer new franchises, and Nintendo had a brand new way to play games. For this next generation, the transition is going to be much less drastic. Sony and Microsoft are both making changes to improve over each company’s prior console, but the improvements resemble an upgrade more than they do new products. As for Nintendo, the Wii U’s gamepad promised new ways to play, but it has been turned into an expensive paperweight. There has yet to be a good game that properly takes advantage of the Wii U’s capabilities. I don’t feel very much inclination to spend $350-$500 on a system that fails to fully innovate over its predecessor. The next generation appears to lack the innovation in hardware that previous generations saw.
Although the hardware is certainly important, games ultimately make or break a system. The Xbox One’s supposed killer app, Titanfall, certainly looks interesting, but it doesn’t feel like a “true” next-gen game. After all, the game will also release for the Xbox 360. Don’t get me wrong, I think Titanfall looks fantastic and I’m really looking forward to it. My concern is that the game will fail to take advantage of the Xbox One’s technology. If the developers were actually going to take full advantage of the new technology, why is the game also being released for the old technology?
The PS4 doesn’t even have an obvious killer app. Both Killzone: Shadowfall and Infamous: Second Son look promising, but they don’t have the star-power that some of Sony’s other franchises contain. The Order: 1886 could easily be a game-changer, but it could also be a bust. Considering we still haven’t even seen actual gameplay, The Order is Sony’s wild card. I have no idea what to expect from it. Although these games aren’t bad, they lack the convincing value of a more popular franchise like Uncharted. Uncharted 4 would tempt me to get a PS4, but Killzone, Infamous, and a relatively unknown game? That’s a much harder sale.
The Wii U has gotten off to a truly horrendous start. Nine months into the system’s life, Nintendo still has failed to show the greatness of the gamepad. The games coming out in the next few months don’t look bad, but they don’t look like the kind of games that could convince me to buy a struggling system that is losing third-party support by the day. Nintendo needs at least one amazing game that takes full advantage of the gamepad’s unique features. Until that happens, Nintendo has given consumers little reason to show interest in the Wii U.
Third-party studios are making some interesting games for the first year of this next generation, but again, there aren’t any third-party games that make me want to drop a few hundred dollars on a console. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Watch Dogs, and Final Fantasy XV are all buzz-worthy games, but they aren’t system sellers.
With the next generation of consoles heading towards what appears to be a potentially disappointing first year, I feel little need to grab a PS4 or Xbox One at launch. This extended period of cross-generational gaming will probably lead me to spend some time with PC gaming until the wheels of the consoles get turning. I want to be excited for the next generation, but the lack of major innovation holds it back in my eyes.