Another generation is upon us. That time once every six or seven years when the wizards of black marketing shout things at the top of their lungs, encouraging us to replace the two black boxes in the corners of our living room with two slightly shinier ones. It’s NextGen™.
What are we to do with the old ones? My Xbox 360, the faithful bloodhound, barely able to stand up, solemnly rendering Los Santos with every once of its strength, is convinced it’s still up to the task. After all we’ve been through, am I supposed to put it out of its misery? Well, not just yet.
As obvious as it sounds, a games console is nothing without games, and the problem is that they’re not here yet. Your launch game is currently available in four unique flavours. You’ve got the bland, big-budget flashiness with nothing new to offer except the hollow promise of more polygons (e.g. Ryse, Killzone: Shadowfall).
Or you could try the half-arsed cross-generational port which functions identically to its cheaper Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version (e.g. Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV). We’ve also got some motion control nonsense (Fighter Within, Just Dance 2014), and Knack.
The problem with NextGen™ is these kind of releases are inevitable. The technology is, for the most part, brand new and development kits have only been available for around two years, even internally. So on top of simply making the game of your dreams in that time, there’s also the messy business of learning how to deal with the messy innards.
With all the will in the world, there’s barely been enough time to fart out a mediocre game, let alone a corker.
Just play the waiting game
So the games aren’t much cop, that’s fine. They’ll come eventually, and in the mean time at least there’s things to fiddle with. Apps! Glorious apps, turning your humble game box into a multidimensional media hub, harvesting all the fruits from the tree of entertainment.
Except that isn’t true. Of the major television broadcasters in the UK, only the iPlayer, 4OD and Demand 5 are popping their heads in to the PS4, with only 4OD bothering to show up on Xbox One. Sky isn’t appearing on either for the foreseeable future, both might have Netflix but so will my microwave soon.
There’s all this talk of NextGen™ being about more than just the games, yet the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, at least for the moment, also have much more to offer in that department.
No television and a limited games selection make Homer something, something. Come January you’ll have already got bored of shooting the men, kicking the ball or punching the thing. There’s also Knack, but why would you bother?
A standalone PlayStation 4 costs £349.00 ($399, AU $549), an Xbox One £429.00 ($499, AU $599) and it’ll only be a matter of months before the inevitably slimmed down and buffed up models start popping up like rabbit acne, with a larger capacity and milk teeth replaced with proper grown up ones.
There’s no way in hell you or I are even close to playing all the games from this generation that we know we should. Most of you haven’t even heard of Spec Ops: The Line, or a truckload of other hidden current-gen beauties (or are they last-gen now?).
With a library of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games that will still continue to grow, and the real next-gen stonkers like Titanfall, The Witcher 3 and Watch Dogs not here until March at the very earliest, ask yourself "why now?"
- Still tempted? See our rundown of the best bundles for Xbox One and the best bundles for PS4