OPINION: Are You Ready for Next Gen? – Part 2

Monday, October 1st, 2012

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In a previous article, the staff of Operation Rainfall got together to discuss their opinion on the next generation of consoles. We then asked you, the reader, to chime in with your opinions. It appears that our readers are just as mixed. In this article we’ll be featuring a select few of what we felt were the most well thought out answers to the question “Are you ready for Next Gen?”:

NO:

Ryan M: I’ve been researching the video game markets and observing trends, as i’m an aspiring game developer myself , and am eager to jump into the industry (RPGs and JRPGs are by far my favorite) and i have to disapprove on the next generation right now.  While the newest, prettiest, and gorgeous graphics are always lovely, people are already having trouble making the current generation graphics (how long since Final Fantasy Versus XIII announcement?).  From a developer’s point of view, we are spending 500+ people on perfecting current gen games in around a 2-3 year span.  This itself is really inefficient, and extremely expensive. so much so, major games aren’t really receiving the profits people expect they would have.  In my opinion, we should find ways of making current graphics much more faster and efficient before moving on to even MORE detailed and expensive artwork.  I just bought Skyrim at Gamestop and nearly whaled at the prices ($56 for a used game, and $70 new).  If next generation comes, and companies try to expand graphics even further, games will become much more expensive, like $100 per game, and since rumors are afloat of a possibility of next gen consoles not supporting used games, consumers will NOT be happy, leaving the market to slowly collapse on itself.  I say to wait until developers can find a better system of making current generation games with less people before we move on. This would make that step to the next generation a little less stressful on everyone’s part (including everyone’s wallets). Oh, and just as a reminder, capability is different than production. Better graphics capabilities is useless if no one can utilize it correctly.

 

ScienceNonfiction: My answer is no. Why is that? Well, if Sony and Microsoft do indeed release their next consoles within the next year or two, I can only see two scenarios playing out. In scenario 1, the “PS4” and “Xbox 720” (as I’ll be calling them from here on out) present a graphical leap similar to that of the leap last generation (PS2–>PS3, Xbox–>Xbox 360). This would obviously result in the next generation of consoles costing a whole ton of money. While I’m sure there are some people who would willingly pay a lot of dough for the upgrade, I think there comes a point where the average consumer has to decide between paying x amount of money for something like the Wii U or PS3 and getting x graphics, or paying 3x for a “PS4” or “720” and getting 3x graphics. As it stands now, I think most consumers are content with what we have, so making a huge upgrade now just wouldn’t really make sense. Also, keep in mind that many a developer has just recently begun to utilize/embrace the current generation in the last two years or so. This is, in part, because of the increased development costs that are needed to make a game on PS3 or 360 (as opposed to the previous generation). Vastly enhancing graphics now would be very off-putting to an entire slew of devs who just got onto PS3 or 360 since it would cause development costs to skyrocket. In scenario 2, the “PS4” and “720” do not bring a huge graphical leap to the table. This scenario also doesn’t play out well because, while I did state that most consumers wouldn’t be willing to shell out for vastly improved graphics, I also think that if the graphics of next gen consoles aren’t vastly improved, many a consumer will opt to stick with their PS3 or 360. Someone who is just getting into games in this situation may also go with the PS3 or 360 cause of the lower cost/already large number of games. And I can certainly see developers sticking with the current gen in this scenario as well cause they’d be all like “We just started on PS3/360 and we aren’t going anywhere now!” So really, it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, a double edged sword, if you will, in which the best option (from my point of view) would be to wait several more years before releasing the next generation of consoles. Also, I feel sort of bad for going on and on about graphics this whole time, but I really do think they’ll play an important role for Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles!  

 

RichieBerry: I’d probably say no. Really, the only difference between consoles is their graphical capabilities and the controller. Addressing graphics first, I’m sort of reminded of this old ad:www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV5iTA… Ha ha, they’re all incompetent jerks. More to the point, do we really want to buy a new console just to have a million 80p? Once you cram in a certain number of pixels, adding extra zeroes begins to be irrelevant. It’s only used to brag on a PowerPoint slide at E3. And, if I may be bold, I would posit that noticeably better graphics might actually be a bad thing. I haven’t seen anyone else say this, so I might be alone in thinking it, but when I saw Beyond: Two Souls at E3, I thought it was treading dangerously close to the uncanny valley. (I noticed it mainly in the close-up picture they released of the main character’s face.) Also, when I watched the video of her being questioned at the police station, I thought it was pretty impressive, until that coffee cup flew up against that wall. It didn’t fly anything like a real object: in an arc and somewhat chaotically. The cup flew in a perfect line and barely a drop was spilled. Maybe they were trying to make in look unearthly since it’s being tossed by a ghost, but it totally broke the illusion for me. Getting to the controller side of consoles, I’m not just talking about wiggle-waggle stuff. To use Nintendo’s history as an example, the SNES tripled the number of buttons the NES had, and the N64 added the control stick. The GameCube didn’t really add anything (a second control stick. Woo.) It’s really the only Nintendo console to improve only graphically. Back to the present, you’ll notice that both Sony and Microsoft have added new controllers (Move, Kinect, and now tablet additions) to their already existing consoles. They no longer need to make a new console to make a new controller; they can just do it via a firmware update, or whatever. Indeed, some less tuned in people thought the Wii U tablet was just an add on to the Wii (which Nintendo might have even have done this if the Wii had been of comparable power to the Xbox 360/PS3.) So given that, since the only thing a new console can offer is increased graphics, I can’t really see the point for a “next generation” for a good few years.

MAYBE:

Alex Martinez: Personally, I’m ready for the next gen as far as the Wii U goes, but not for Sony’s console or even the next Xbox. The Wii U is a pretty neat machine and it has several games on it within the launch window that I would definitely buy. I’m also curious as to whether or not there’s going to be a No More Heroes 3 since Suda said he’d want it to be on the next generation of Nintendo console since he felt they had done all they wanted to on the Wii. Whatever happens, I’d probably end up getting a Wii U at some point just because I know I’ll find games I’ll enjoy on it. As for why I’m not ready for the PS4 and Xbox 720/Durango, its because their current iterations still have life in them. The PS3 has just hit its stride with a ton of exclusives with even more on the way. We would probably just see a repeat of what happened last time Sony pushed out a new console: its super expensive and they’ll continue supporting the PS3 for a few years until the PS4 is able to stand on its legs, at which point its time for a new console. Then you have the stuff with the Move controllers, which to me seems pretty underused despite them supposedly working on it before Nintendo did theirs. Then you have the 360… Microsoft *could* move onto the next console if they wanted to, but they’re probably going to wait another year or so. While it lacks the number of notable exclusives that the other consoles have, the 360 has a strong following behind it since it seems to be the go-to console in many places. Then there’s the fact that the 360 got a relatively new model at a fair price: if Microsoft pushes out a new console too soon, there’s always the possibility that many people looking to buy a new console would just reach for the 360 Slim since its decently priced and has a sizable library of games on it. Heck, it could also go the PS2/3 route and be supported simultaneously with its predecessor. A lot of the people saying that the graphics on the next consoles won’t be that much different than what we have now and, from what I’ve heard, that seems true enough. However, I’m pretty sure the inner workings of a console goes beyond just making a game look pretty. I’d mumble technical jargon about why that’s the case, but my friend is the one who knows all that stuff. From what he figures, the next Xbox is supposed to be packing some serious power in it; the *major* downside is that it would be very expensive and Microsoft would be losing even more money selling it since they have to sell at a loss. Of course, that’s just speculation on his part; Microsoft could find a way to get out a more powerful system without overdoing it. They might as well make do with what they have now to make money until they’re ready to release the next big thing. Whatever happens for the next generation, I’ll be ready for it (unless I’m a hobo on the streets by then, at which point I won’t have the time or money for games). I’m not one for sticking to one side and blindly supporting them; I go where the games are at.

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  • bulletproof3DS

     Wow, I realized that I made myself sound like a Nintendo fangirl in mine. I sort of am one, but I didn’t mean to talk like one lol.

  • Very good opinions! Loved the last one! “next gen, last gen crap” hahahahahaha

    For me, the Wii U will be together with PS3 and XBOX360 for a long time, people don’t want to buy a PS4 just because it can support 4k resolution for example, they’re happy with their PS3s. And imagine developing games to this new consoles! A lot of money + time

  • I’m ready for next gen.  If only I could find someplace that still has Wii Us up for preorder…

  • Hey, I’m on there! I kind of wish I didn’t write the hobo comment now, but whatever.

  • dbclick

    My biggest gripe about the next (or even current generation) is that the focus is almost exclusively on graphics. I think it would be beneficial to focus more on what types of gameplay become possible with consoles with higher specs. Think about it: the majority of 360/PS3 games could have their gameplay computed on a PS2 or sometimes even PS1 (albeit with lower fidelity graphics). I want to see gameplay elements that utilize this new (and current) hardware for something other than just more polygons and shaders.  I want new gameplay algorithms and systems that utilize the gigabytes of RAM and hard-drive available, that push the CPU/GPU for something other than polygon shuffling or ancillary effects (e.g. PhysX). This leads to new genres or a least less repetition. I love great graphics just as much as the next guy, but not at the expense of progress in gameplay. I also love good iterations on a known formula, but when a genre is stale, it’s time to move on (FPS and third-person cover shooters, anyone?).
    If we can have the next gen committed to making better games with the hardware, and not just better graphics, then I’m ready for next-gen. Otherwise it’s going to be more of the same and we probably shouldn’t bother.

    I’ll try and give some examples of notable games that broke the mold with their gameplay that was possible with improved technical specs so you have a better idea of what I am talking about (by zero means a comprehensive list):

    Super Mario Bros (used increased hardware for smooth side-scrolling and momentum for tight platforming)
    Sonic the Hedgehog (used smart algorithms to allow for large, fast scrolling level)
    F-Zero (Mode-7 rendering on SNES used to create angled racing tracks)
    Star Fox (SuperFX chip inside the cartridge allowed full 3D gameplay with polygonal rendering)
    Doom (used smart algorithms and available RAM for creating a large 3D space for an FPS)
    X-COM: UFO Defense (Used available RAM and CPU to compute enemy AI and track turn-based, tactical 3D battlefield with positional lighting and occlusion as well as track global war theater)
    Super Mario 64 (Used 3D tech in console to render full 3D environments with a good deal of detail and interactivity)
    Total Annihilation (Used high CPU and RAM for simulating individual bullets, unit momentum, and higher number of units in an RTS)
    Pikmin (Used higher CPU and GPU to enable all the Pikmin to be computed)
    Luigi’s Mansion (Used graphics and rendering tech on console as integral to gameplay for environmental and lighting effects)
    Halo: Combat Evolved (Used larger, expansive environments in an FPS for elements like vehicles and used multi-console network multiplayer)
    Katamari Damacy (More RAM and CPU allowed for the rolling physics and object collection – unique algorithms for level-of-detail)
    Half-Life 2 (Gravity Gun and physics as a gameplay element)
    LittleBigPlanet (Physics as a gameplay element in a 2D platformer with expansive levels)
    Minecraft (PC version: used relatively copious amounts of HDD space to store an infinite, random world and all changes to that world)

  • Sniper D. Luffy

    Gonna stick with this gen…then i think i’m done… PS3 and 360 along with Wii got enough to last me for a good while… maybe handhelds i’ll play, but that’s about it.