Are We Really Ready For Next Gen?

Over the years, I’ve owned a lot of consoles. At one point or another I’ve been the master of the NES, Atari, Sega Saturn, Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation (uno, dos, tres) the GBA, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64, XBox, GameCube, XBox 360, PSP, the PC and Nintendo Wii. I like consoles, and the games that come with them. Each console represents a unique period of my life, in which I had a chance to become familiar with the system like a new friend, watching as they grew into their own.

The newest generation of consoles is starting to gather its steam, and so far things have been decent. However, as of late, more and more people are starting discussions about the next generation beyond the 360, the Wii and the PS3, speculating about development and wanting to know when the new systems will drop. My question is: is it time to be talking about this already? Have the big 3 earned an investment in a new console just yet?

In order to determine how these consoles rank so far in comparison to other consoles in generations past, we need to take a look at what each console had done by this point in its respective generation. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

For the purpose of brevity, we won’t be going back ALL the way into early console days, just far enough to look at our major players, when Sony entered the fray. We’ll examine the first 2 years of each console’s lifespan, starting from the launch date and going two years forward from that point, grading each system (for its first 2 years) along the way.

Maybe we’ll see if we’re ready for a new generation yet…

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

13 thoughts on “Are We Really Ready For Next Gen?”

  1. Haha, thanks dude. I had a really hard time with the N64, the 360 and the PS3, actually. It’s tough trying to put some of these games into perspective. And in reality, it’s all just my opinions anyway.

  2. Really good dissection of the past few generations, Eddy. I don’t think I disagreed with you on any of the grades you assigned to each console. I was surprised with your “C” grade for the X-Box, but looking back on it, it makes a lot of sense. I think you should have taken Live into account, however.(unless I missed that)

    Anyways, here’s what I think:

    We’re barely three years into the current generation, and there’s already a buzz about the next wave of consoles. It’s going to get to a point where we’re going to be over-saturated with “the next big thing”. The industry really needs to break it’s dependency on the generation cycles. You don’t need to introduce a new console every five years(or six, or seven in my opinion) to generate new ad revenue.

    I mean, gaming is just starting to become more “mainstream”. If parents purchase an X-Box or a PS3 or even a Wii for their kids, are they really going to want to drop another half-grand in two years? Your average consumer doesn’t care about advanced bit-mapping, or higher resolutions. Heck, your average gaming enthusiast will give up a bit of graphical polish to play something innovative.

    Games this generation can hardly be described as lacking in the graphics department, anyways. Take Gears of War, for example. It introduced the cover system in a big way, but it still managed to look great. The second one looks like it’ll top the original in looks, and they’re still trying to innovate.

    The problem with changing consoles so quickly is that it never allows the industry to mature. If you have to re-learn how to make a good looking game every five years, you’re never going to get down to the nitty gritty.

    So no, I don’t think I’m ready for a new generation of consoles. Give me some innovation with this generation. Let me squeeze a few more years out of my $500 before you make me do it all over again.

  3. Epic indeed.

    You pretty much nailed everything. And yes, I believe it is too early for people to discuss the next gen. We’re just starting this one!

  4. Yeah, it really did have some good games. When I was making this list, I remembered the GC being crappy to me, but looking back at all the games I played, it was at least better than the 64, which afters its first 1.5 years, did nothing as a system until Perfect Dark.

  5. No good games for the game cube,

    i think someone is forgetting pokemon snap and pokemon staduim!!! jeez :).

  6. That was one epic analytical piece about consoles. I still remember the PS2 as being loaded with games. With the talk of future consoles ALREADY, I doubt that the current consoles will manage to have such a plethora of awesome games. 🙁

  7. The only question that should be asked is “How do Nintendo innovate more?”. Better graphics with slightly improved controls? Is that even innovation? But hey, that’s what we said BEFORE the Wii!

  8. the only way any of this could get any better is if the graphics and gameplay get better, and better, and pretty soon games will be controllable movies!

  9. Don’t you guys know anything. It’s a well known fact that every three to five years a new game system has to come out. I’m Not saying that it needs to come out, but it comes out none the less.

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