In about three weeks we will enter into a new era of video games when the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One consoles launch. The current generation of consoles, the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii have lasted longer than most cycles, a solid seven years, and during this time we have seen many changes to the way video games look, the way they play, and the emotional depth they can deliver. The new era of games should build on the already solid foundation of the old guard, but some people aren’t convinced as many have this misconception of what the new generation means. For some, it is the idea of “I now have to buy new hardware and all my old games are now obsolete.” For others, like myself, I see the untapped potential of the next generation.
Most video game journalists and developers alike argue that some of the best games of a generation come at the end of a console cycle, as developers are more familiar with the technology and are able to get the most out of the hardware that they can. Near the end games also get bolder, with more mature, darker themes and more innovations to the gameplay. The new generation of consoles is offering something that twenty years ago seemed like a dream: photorealistic graphics and near-complete player freedom.
Games still will resign players to following objectives and completing missions, but the player freedom will come from other facets of gameplay. Instead of telling you exactly what to do and how to do it, games will soon tell you only what you need to do. How you’ll get it done will be entirely up to you, the player. This idea was only touched on by the recent blockbuster Grand Theft Auto V, whose normally linear missions have been replaced with more player choice than ever before. While some games will remain linear to control player experiences, open-world games, will create a living breathing world for players to experience and explore. The possibilities, as it has been hyped, will be seemingly endless.
While some may still be skeptical for the next generation of video games, I myself sit entirely excited. Video games have vastly improved over the last seven years and they are set to become even better. The time when video games will become indiscernible from film and television are quickly getting closer, and soon players will have complete control over what they experience and do in a game. The ultimate playing experience is right around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited.
One final word: make sure you choose the system that is right for you. Don’t buy into the hype, but definitely listen to people’s recommendations if you are unsure between choosing the Xbox One or the Playstation 4. Both systems are great, but there may be one that is a better fit for your gaming lifestyle. Choose wisely and enjoy this holiday season!
The PS4 retails for $399 and the Xbox One for $499. Both can be found at most retailers this Christmas, and although supplies are said to be readily available, you’ll still have to do a bit of hunting this holiday season.