The "Meh" Generation
Random Thoughts #27
Ever since I was old enough to start working and buying my own video games, I've stood at the forefront of each new console generation. From the original Playstation to the PS4, I've been so excited for each new generation of hardware that I would make it a point of getting at least one of the new machines within a year of launch. In fact, the year the PS4 and Xbox One launched, Ally & I got both of them. Aside from the red rings from the initial run of Xbox 360's, I haven't regretted jumping onboard for new consoles immediately.
However, I'm in absolutely no hurry to get a Playstation 5 or an Xbox Series X. I'm not excited about them at all.
There are multiple reasons that I'm not inclined to jump in right now. The first is the cost. There's no denying that paying $500 for just one of the new consoles is pretty steep right now. Yeah, I know there are lower cost variants like the PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S, but they are inferior to the main versions. Period.
Of course, the costs don't stop at the consoles. Memory is a major problem with the new machines. Both consoles use solid-state drives (SSDs) for operation. The consoles say they have 1 terabyte of storage to start with on their boxes, but that's not quite true. Mandatory system data takes up almost half that space right from the outset, leaving less than 700 gigabytes of space. While that may seem like a lot of room still, keep in mind that, like the consoles from the previous generation, the games have to be installed in their entirety in order to be played, and the games are much larger this generation since they support 4K visual modes standard. Games regularly eat up 100 gigabytes even before updates and DLC. That space will disappear fast. Both consoles have SSDs that can be plugged in to increase the memory space, but just adding half a terabyte would cost at least $140. Add in that the games regularly cost $10 more than the versions on last-gen hardware, and starting the new generation requires a huge financial investment right from the start.
Those insane costs could be easier to stomach if there was anything exciting to play on the new machines, and there just isn't. Most of the games released on the PS5 and Series X are games also released on the prior consoles with 4K visual modes added. Very few games are exclusive to the new consoles, and they're largely uninteresting. Sure, PS5 owners who haven't gotten their asses kicked by SoulsBorne games enough can get Returnal or the Demon's Souls remake, but that's it as far as noteworthy games. The primary promotion for the new consoles is that they can run the last generation's games (and further back in the case of the Xbox Series X) at higher framerates and sharper resolutions. That also doesn't apply to me since my primary TV which I've had for four years tops out at 1080p. Perceptible differences between 4K and 1080p are negligible, even for someone like me who has perfect eyesight, and I'm not inclined to get a brand new TV just so I can spot wrinkles on the face of a Demon's Souls character.
Worst of all, the new generation is going all-in on the worst trends of the last console generation. Almost every major release is a live service which requires online connectivity, even when playing alone; tends to release in a broken state, requiring tons of patching after launch just to get to a playable state; and is stuffed with obnoxious microtransactions designed to squeeze every penny possible out of players. The games with those economies are deliberately designed to be as unfulfilling and grindy as possible to coax people into spending more. I have no tolerance for that crap. That's why my YouTube channel tends to focus on retro games.
Now, I'm not saying that I will never get the PS5 or Series X at some later point. I know that there will eventually be price drops on the consoles and memory units, and their libraries will undoubtedly improve. I just see absolutely no need to get either of them now.
Am I off-base here? Is there something with the new consoles that I'm missing? Let me know, and game on.
About the Creator
Twelve years writing about games, movies, music, etc. and counting! At least one new article every month! I'm also writing movies, writing a children's book & hosting the gaming channel "Cool Media" on YouTube! Enjoy & find me on Twitter!
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