When you take a look at the type of jump we saw as gaming moved from the PS2 to the PS3 and Xbox to the Xbox 360, the difference was amazing. However, when gaming moved from PS3 to PS4 and Xbox 360 to Xbox One, the difference hasn’t been as astounding.
This generation has seen unprecedented success when talking about sales, however, the technology leap has been less significant. Resolution and frame rate have become the discussion rather than a game looking night and day different visually.
While PS4 and Xbox One software failed to astound when they debuted in 2013, the next iteration of those devices could amaze us. We Write Things had the opportunity to speak with Michael Goodman, who is the director of digital media strategies at Strategy Analytics, about what gaming has seen so far this generation.
“The software this generation has been less impactful [compared to the PS2 to PS3 jump]. If you look at the improvement in the quality of gameplay both visually and also in terms of gameplay itself, the degree of improvement this generation is less noticeable. I don’t want to say there’s no improvement because there absolutely is from the PS3 to the PS4 and from the 360 to the Xbox One, but the level of improvement has been less noticeable,” Goodman said.
Despite a smaller level of improvement in gameplay and visuals, PS4 and Xbox One have re-energized the console market. If you were to listen to pundits back in 2012 and early 2013, they would’ve told you the console market was dying, but as this generation’s sales have proven, the console market has never been stronger.
Still though, software taking full advantage of its hardware takes time and learning on the part of developers. Goodman spoke about how launch software rarely takes full advantage of its hardware as well as which software generation will shine the most.
“I would say we never see [software] take full advantage of the hardware at launch. To me, you don’t really start to see console hardware start to sing until the third or fourth generation of software.
“The software has to be sufficiently enticing for people to buy, but your first generation software is never going to be as good as your first generation software, which won’t be as good as your second, which won’t be as good as your third, etc. It’s really at the fourth generation of software where developers begin to master the hardware,” Goodman said.
Massive improvement has come more in the form of fascinating and complex systems like the Nemesis System from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. There of course have been the visual marvels though, with games like Ryse: Son of Rome and The Order: 1886 wowing gamers with their looks.
The next frontier seems to be 4K gaming, and gamers are expecting that frontier to be conquered with PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio. Goodman discussed the possibility of both upcoming systems reaching the milestone of true 4K gaming.
“If [Pro] and Scorpio achieve their promise, they have the potential to show that big leap forward in terms of gaming that we didn’t see in this generation of gaming.
“We’re moving into the world of 4K gaming with significantly more processing power, which in theory should give developers the ability to create more immersive games and significantly better looking games, assuming you have a 4KTV. I think we then have something that’s more similar to the jump from PS2 to PS3 and 360 to Xbox One,” Goodman said.
Games that were shown off at the Sony E3 2016 press conference certainly wowed people. Titles like the new God of War and Days Gone showcased unbelievable visuals, and many were convinced they were the product of software running on PS4 Pro, though Sony said they weren’t.
They elected not to talk about or show off PS4 Pro at E3 2016 because they didn’t have enough software to show off. Well, Sept. 7th is when they will host the PlayStation Meeting and many are expecting Sony to talk about Pro and its games then.
“They were very specific in saying that one of the reasons why they didn’t want to show [Pro] at E3 was because the software was not there to support it. Does that mean [Sony] will show better versions of existing games you showed at E3 or are there some new games coming out specifically for [Pro]?” Goodman said.
It’s a fascinating question to ask considering Sony revealed a number of new titles at E3 2016. You’d think there are no new games left to reveal, but Sony may have something up its sleeve, particularly since PlayStation VR will be launching on Oct. 13.
Sony will hopefully give us a release date for when PS4 Pro launches during their event, particularly if it is releasing this year. “To me it makes sense that PS4 [Pro] launches in conjunction with PlayStation VR.” Stick around here at We Write Things for more discussion surrounding PS4 Pro, Project Scorpio and more.