During last week’s E3 convention, Microsoft and Sony have fully unveiled the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, which will be competing with each other in the holiday season, and numerous developers have revealed games for both of them. Nintendo, however, has remained invisible, with the exception of Nintendo Direct.
With all this, the eight generation of gaming is about go into full swing, and it’s going to suck ass!
Why? Well, that’s what the topic of today’s post is. I’ve already talked about all three consoles individually, so I want to talk about the current generation holistically. I think that the current generation will be a period of decline for games consoles, and I have five reasons why.
1. PS4 and Xbox One lack backward compatibility
Everyone knows about backward compatibility. It’s a feature in more recent games consoles that allows you to play older games on newer systems. For instance, the PS2 is backward compatible with PS1 games, and the Game Boy Player peripheral for the Gamecube is backward compatible with games from the Game Boy (and Game Boy Color).
What I want to know is why the PS4 and Xbox One don’t have this, even though:
- The PS3 and Xbox 360 have it
- The Wii U, their competitor, also has this feature
I actually think this will drive people away from the new consoles, because it means that they can’t play their old games on the new system. The Wii U, however, can play most Wii games, and you can move all your downloaded software and save files from the Wii to the Wii U, effectively making the Wii useless.
Why aren’t Nintendo’s competitors following the same route?
2. The emphasis of non-gaming media
A big thing I noticed was going on over the past few years was the growing integration of TV and movies into gaming. The PS3 can let you watch movies, and Netflix is now available on all 7th gen home consoles, along with the 8th gen handhelds.
You can now also use the internet on gaming consoles, but it’s really not worth it. I’ve tried using the Internet on my 3DS, and it slows down whenever it tries to load this site. Go ahead, try reading this website on the 3DS and see what happens.
I’ve always found this to be nothing more than a gimmick, but it’s even more worrying when the initial reveal for the Xbox One focused more on TV than actual games. For Christ’s sake, this is a video game console, not cable TV! And anyways, games were supposed to replace TV years ago. If it did, then we’d no longer be slaves to TV’s hypnotic stereotypes. But now it seems that Microsoft is siding with the faceless TV companies.
What the hell?
3. The Internet is more important to games companies
Let’s look back for a moment. When I was born, none of the big games consoles had online play. Now, in the year 2013, all three consoles on the market incorporate online play of some kind. The problem, of course is that now every game company thinks that Internet features are more important than the games themselves, and it’s ruining the games.
For the eighth generation, the worst offender is the Xbox One, which won’t let you play any game without successfully connecting to the Internet once every 24 hours. If any other console did that, we’d ignore it straight away.
Also, the Call of Duty franchise only survives because each one has online multiplayer, which is sickeningly common among the first-person shooter genre (which has had this feature since Halo: Combat Evolved). If it didn’t have this feature, then it would have died faster than Mega Man.
4. The price tag
I’ll admit that the Wii U’s price has been dropping since its initial release, but the other two games consoles are beastly with regards to the price tag. The PS4 costs $399 (£349), and the Xbox One costs around $499 (£429). Literally, the Xbox One is more expensive than the PS3 used to be.
Keep in mind that here in the UK, things are still pretty bad (it’s tough to even find a job). So when a games console comes around at £429, who’s going to buy it? The only people I imagine would buy the Xbox One are those arrogant rich families with nothing inside.
And then there’s the issue of the Wii U being increasingly more cheap as a result of Nintendo wanting to get rid off as many units as possible. Some people have gone out of their way to brand the Wii U as “a slower version of what the PS3 and Xbox 360 can do, with a little Fisher Price tag on it”.
5. Consumer apathy
The Wii U is being killed as we speak. Being that the PS4 and Xbox One haven’t exactly come out yet, the Wii U’s biggest threat at the moment is consumer apathy, as indicated by low sales.
When the Wii U’s competitors were being revealed, they both got some degree of hate. The Xbox One was the biggest target of all, with most of the criticism aimed at its policy with used games, and the Kinect sensor being on all the time.
Considering the lack of backwards compatibility, I doubt that the PS4 and Xbox One will be any more successful than the Wii U, especially considering that now, more worthwhile games are heading for the Wii U, and lots of people will probably be drawn to Super Mario 3D World when it comes out in about six months.
In conclusion, I think that we’re about to head into a dark age in gaming history, where the games don’t matter anymore, to the point that there will be a worrying fusion of the games industry and Hollywood film-making. At this rate, I’d prefer it if we were flung back to the 8-bit era, and we work our way back up, and at this point, I must ask, what is the future of Nintendo? Will the fate of Nintendo lie in the hands of the army of hardcore fans that roam the Internet?