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PS4, Xbox One and Wii U: Next-Gen is the Same Old, Same Old

/ May 30th, 2013 1 Comment

Mark Cerny

The seventh generation of consoles was similar to an intense game of Monopoly. It was a game that spanned hours, well into the night with one person seemingly holding all the property with multiple hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. Dad is deep in debt and down to his shirt and old man garters, Mom is drinking trying to forget where her looks went and how her life got to this point, and right when little brother is about to win, you flip over the board knocking everything to the floor. It is a game that ends in bitterness and tears. No one really wins, but everyone feels like they accomplished something even if it was only resenting each other. It is time to gather the family together again and prepare for another game of acrimony.

Gaming’s Next-Generation is here. No more secrets, the speculation can stop because everything is transparent now. Well, not really, but certainly that is the message trying to be conveyed. Gamers now know everything, but actually they know nothing. Except that the Wii U is real and has had two new games since its launch worth giving a second glance at on store shelves. Nintendo has struggled since the launch and over promised on what it planned to deliver to early adopters who showed good faith to the House of Mario. Regardless of how many bizarre art house Nintendo Directs with Mr. Iwata and the sublime creepiness of Reggie Fils-Aime come out, Wii U owners’ bodies are firmly languid. All the amazing games promised within the “launch window” have either completely missed that time frame or barely came in under the wire. The Wii U’s library has been a flurry of ports since its November launch (even that has been ho hum).

That is not an anomaly (this is an anomaly, which is good and available now on PC). Despite what Sony and Microsoft has promised in their flashy press conferences, when their consoles launch this Holiday season they will have a hand full of half baked original IPs, but mainly feature slightly better ports of games in development for current-gen tech. In actuality, the Wii U will be the only system that has some actualized content available for it this Holiday season, mainly because all of it games missed their initial over promise. Yet the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are going to miss their over promises too, but they will be new and shiny and can share videos on Ustream or Facebook or they can make the TV finally hear people talking back to it (yet Ned Stark will never hear anyone tell him to stop trusting people in Game of Thrones, so what is the point?). When stripped of the implied games, or future games that will be awesome but are years off, now all gamers have are sub par launch titles to slog through that are glorified tech demos. What do these consoles really offer?

Wii U

Wii U

All of these consoles will play Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other media apps available on laptops, SmartTVs, smartphones, media boxes, PCs and cell-processor refrigerators, so that is not even an argument or valid point. They all do these things, but so do devices that cost significantly less. What do they actually offer outside of media services that multiple other devices do as well or better and for cheaper? Not tons actually. The Wii U is the only one that will be truly backwards compatible, but as most Wii owners know there are like 5 games (it is way more, calm down) that were worth playing on the Wii. Any game worth tracking down for the Wii are out of print and cost what a Wii brand new costs. Yet without games, the Wii U is another paper weight, but it has the brightest horizon of the three.

Everything the PS4 has promised is about games, so unless there are plenty of games worth playing at launch then it is a system that will gather dust for months because old PS3 games cannot be played on it. That is only partial true, sort of.Sony has stated that their Gaikai partnership will eventually lead to a streaming of PS3 games, somehow, but who knows when and what that will entail. It will not be as simple as popping in a disc to the disc tray. This streaming will likely require a PS3 to stream to the PS4 (which would be dumb and silly). That is far away and by the time it happens, good games will be rolling out for the system. It is hard to find sharing video footage of uninteresting games and their dull gameplay online all that exciting.

Xbox One is the only system that actually has a promise of something outside of games (because they conveniently left out the games [sort of, but Quantum Break looks rele cool] {don’t forget they showed Bark of Duty: Mo Cap Suit too}). There is a revolution happening, but not in some oppressed country that yearns for change and freedom. Rather it will be in how Americans watch TV (the revolution will be television)! Well, Americans with cable boxes and cable subscriptions. Those people will be able to watch TV differently. Actually pretty much the same, but prettier and will be able to use an always listening Kinect to turn on the TV or change the channel (this will be the final nail in the Snuggie’s coffin). People can snap Internet Explorer on screen while watching TV or movies or playing video games, or snap other things to whatever is happening via the Xbox One (But will my Xbox One come with a snap back and a snap band? Only on the premium package probably). In this instance while waiting for some of those 15 first-party Microsoft games to come out, gamers can patiently wait while watching the Price is Right because that will be way more interesting than anything at launch anyway.

PS4 Controller

PS4 Controller

There is a reason for the anticipation and excitement because at the core of all this new console information is the promise that in the future there will be some amazing games. However, come Holiday season all people will be buying are promises. Nothing that will launch alongside the PS4 or Xbox One will be particularly noteworthy, just like the stuff that launched with the Wii U was nothing more than fun trivialities that barely tided people over for a long winter. Ultimately whatever choice gamers makes in this new “console war” is irrelevant because all of these boxes are going to disappoint (or disappointed). Mainly because launches are always disappointing. Yet gamers get caught up in the message, marketing and myth of it all and give into Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s new console extortion. Launch software is plagued by problems and the only people who benefit are those who come late to the party. Most players have seen several console launches and none of them are dazzling, for every launch title that is Super Mario 64 or Halo, there are a ton that are like Gun or X-Squad . Yet every time we fall for it and then piss and moan about it. Which people have every right to do, but if companies get a launch window to release games then gamers have to wait until March to get angry about being duped (even though everyone knows they are going to be duped). Honestly, the only sensible thing to do with this new console cycle is to wait it out or buy a gaming PC.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. Currently, he lives in Tustin, California. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs

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  • gamingillustrated

    Nice article, man. Well done, I really enjoyed it. It’ll be really interesting to see Sony and Microsoft attempt to learn their lessons and position each console appropriately at E3.

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