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The Current Console Generation: How Will We Remember It?

 Home consoles have always worked on a generation cycle. A new shiny box comes out and ushers in a new flurry of technology, capabilities and hype. (Gamers old enough to remember when ‘bits’ were doubled each generation, know this trend backwards) New graphics, more dynamic range, better FPS and so on. Nowadays though, incremental improvements feel like they've gotten less and less, the seismic leap from the SNES to Nintendo 64 (2D to 3D) gaming is long gone. Don’t get me wrong, the leap from last gen to this gen was very noticeable, but it's just not as much of a game changer. What consoles do now is mind blowing compared to the early days. This gen has doubled down on all the features from last gen and made things more connected, easier and faster to use but what will it be known for?

 Ok so let’s break this down and take a look back…

8 bit = No way you can play arcade games at home!
16 bit = oh snap double the power, look at those colors dude (in a 90’s tone of voice)
32/64 bit = I am freaking out; I am freaking out! 3D fuck me!
PS2 Gen = I really can’t believe how good these games look now, and what is a DVD?
PS3 Gen = Jesus it’s like playing a movie, and I can play online? Shut the front door, SOLD!
This Gen = the graphics look better…I already could play online…Yea cool I can share shit in Facebook…err console looks nice.

Things have certainly come along way since the Nintendo NES!

It might seem like I'm being very negative towards this current generation of consoles, but in fact I I'd say this generation is my favourite, with manufacturers doubling down on their previous innovations ensuring these consoles and their features are much more realized and defined. Going back to my initial question though, what will this generation be known for? DLC? Delayed games? Remakes? I would argue with people that we have still not had that truly ‘next gen’ game experience yet, maybe it will come with Red Dead Redemption 2 or the Last of Us Part 2. I feel this generation got off to a very slow start and the transition took a lot longer. Simply put people were happy to wait this time around. I also feel that we're only just starting to hit the stride this gen, loads of games and some really excellent experiences are starting to surface. I no longer have to fight with my console over updates and bullshit, all the features added along the way keep refining the UI.

This brings me to my next point. This gen we have seen incremental updates which we have never seen before. PS4 PRO and XBOX ONE X do the same job as their original vanilla models but with more brute force. Why is that we had to have these updates? Technology moved fast before (probably even faster than now) but console games kept to the one hardware chipset. This time around we have had to update and expand on what was already built and established at the start of this generation.

Will mid-generation updates like the Xbox One X become the norm?

So what will this gen be known for? I really don’t know. All I can guess is that this gen is the most transitional console generation yet, it kind of has never felt satisfied and the industry simply does not know how to message or handle it. The good news is that console gaming (that has rumored to have died out already) is alive and well, in fact stronger than ever. Will this be the last generation of hardware? I doubt it, will we see this model of incremental updates on future gens? You bet your bottom dollar we will! I think we have one more gen left until the industry decides how to play this update game. Bottom line is they have to listen to consumers, if we want a new gen every 7 years then that’s what they will have to do. Or if we want to have consoles using the ‘phone model’ with updates every couple years then so be it, I just may need a funeral service for my savings account.

This generation may be a bit of a muddle but damn, it’s a great time to be a gamer.

 Jake Buchanan | @hdd_heart

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