With the next generation of consoles landing within the next two weeks, there’s no better time to reflect on the generation that passed, and the new machines that will soon find themselves beside our TVs.
In the US, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S will launch on November 10th. The Playstation 5, Sony’s next-generation iteration, will release in the US on November 12th.
In the Middle East, the Xbox Series X and S will also release on November 10th, whereas the PS5 will launch on November 19th.
These latest machines are part of the 9th generation of consoles, whereas the PS4/Xbox One were part of the 8th. However, take these with a grain of salt as this generational terminology, at least for the latest machines, has been undergoing some transformation as of late.
In the West, both companies have been overwhelmed with preorders, as the hype builds towards gaming’s next generation. Regionally, many of the biggest retailers also opened pre-orders to massive demand.
Still, will this generation deliver? Looking back to 2013 when the current generation dropped, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had somewhat fumbled their landing. The PS2, still the most sold console in the world, brought revolutionary advances to the medium. The PS3, which followed in late 2006, brought us HD gaming and unprecedented graphics and massive gaming experiences like nothing before.
The PS4 and Xbox One? Well, they just sort of dropped into stores. For the first few months, the best games on these consoles were mere remasters of past generation titles. For quite a while, the highest rated new gen game on review aggregator site Metacritic was the remastered version of the PS3 exclusive The Last of Us. It took a while for worthy games to finally warrant a purchase of the new consoles.
The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that the PS4/Xbox One were released with less than stellar specs, feeling like a half step towards a new generation instead of a full fledged leap. This was made more obvious when halfway through the generation cycle both Sony and Microsoft decided to release upgraded versions of their supposedly ‘next-gen’ consoles: the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. This was partially done to allow these devices to output games in 4K resolution, at a time when 4K TVs were gaining popularity and becoming cheaper. Still, the move felt very suspect, as if these companies knew they had released supposedly next-gen consoles that were not up to par.
For now, it seems like both companies have learned from their mistake. While still not quite the PS2-to-PS3 leap, the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S look like formidable next-gen entries. To make the deal even sweeter, the two consoles will offer backwards compatibility for many of last generation’s biggest and most popular titles, like Bloodborne, Red Dead Redemption, and others.
However, things won’t end at mere compatibility. In fact, many of these older games will be able to run at improved frame rates and have improved loading times. Some will even get upgrades in the form of a patch that allows older titles to be played at upgraded settings like better lighting, improved textures and more. These upgrades are often free, but some will be available for a fee.
As for PS5/Xbox Series X launch titles, which are often what attracts customers to buy in the first place, there are some big names to tide people over this generation. Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, God of War Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and others.
Plenty of reviews have already gone live and most seem positive. PlayStation 5 reviews in particular have highlighted the new DualSense controller as the star of the show.
Unlike the DualShock controllers that PlayStation players are accustomed to, the DualSense offers some truly innovative new features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Haptic feedback makes it possible for the controller to simulate what it feels like when you drive a car on mud, for example, and the adaptive triggers are able to replicate the tension you feel when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow. The possibilities are truly endless, and the DualSense controller will add an entirely new dimension to video game immersion.
So, will you be picking up one of the new consoles when they launch? Or have you already preordered one?