Over the past couple of months, the topic of next generation consoles has seemed to make its rounds in the media every week or so. Whether it be news of an executive hinting at the future of their consoles, leaked information headlines, or some kind of vague announcement, whenever the scent of next generation consoles is in the air, people seem to go crazy.
Just recently, the president of Sony, Kenichiro Yoshida, was giving an interview to the Financial Times when he said, “At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have next generation hardware.” He did not give any more information, such as a timeframe or a name drop for the future console; all he did was make a vague statement about the future. However, this vague statement caught fire and took up news headlines for the day.
On the flip side, Microsoft has been making announcements about their new game streaming service known as Project xCloud. The idea behind this is simply to be able to take games with you anywhere, and not have them limited to a console. Project xCloud aims to allow games to be on demand and available on any screen. While public trials for Microsoft’s latest venture will begin in 2019, the project itself has been said to be a “multi-year journey.” So, of course, this has people talking about next generation consoles already and the impact it could have on them.
Even game developers are getting in on the next generation console talk. At this year’s annual E3, Bethesda teased a game known as Starfield. The game is being described as Bethesda’s next generation game. The teaser trailer shown at E3 can be seen below. If you don’t want to watch it, I will save you the trouble. All that it is, is a video of space with light that slowly comes around a planet with dramatic music in the background. Then a spacecraft is shown. The end. This simple trailer caused headlines from all the big gaming outlets talking about next generation consoles and games, and the hype wheel continued to turn while seeming to skip out on the release of Fallout 76 that was just a few mere months away.
Now I am not harping on speculating about the future or even teasing it. The question I am trying to answer for myself is, do we really need to be talking about next generation consoles right now? If Sony and Microsoft were going to sit down and actually answer questions about the next generation of gaming and reveal information, I’d be all for it. Instead, they are making very vague statements about what we all already know is coming. We aren’t actually getting any new information.
Focus on the Now, Not the Next Generation Consoles Possibilities
For starters, I think console makers and game developers should focus on creating great games and content now instead of focusing on an undetailed future. Sony has put out two fantastic games this year (among many others), God of War and Spider-Man. Let’s focus our talk on those games and give them the attention they deserve now, instead of dissecting every word of an incredibly vague quote referring to consoles in the near future. We have information on great games now, let’s not allow that to go unnoticed and unappreciated for speculations about something we know nothing about and are being given no information about.
Alongside that, I think when we focus so much on the vague future of gaming, we are diminishing what we are being given now. Some fantastic games have come out this year. Santa Monica blew the roof off with God of War, Insomniac Games out did what everyone expected with Spider-Man, and highly anticipated games are finally coming out, like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout 76. Let’s put our focus on what we have now and enjoy all the hard work that has gone into it. Once Sony and Microsoft are ready to give out actual information about next generation consoles, then we can begin having those discussions. But in the meantime, you can find me playing God of War.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really don’t like when companies give vague statements on things that they know are hyped up just for PR points. If you’re going to talk about something, wait until you can actually give us details and answer the community’s questions. Continuing to dangle next generation consoles in front of gamers’ faces while purposely keeping it out of reach is simply annoying and unnecessary.
With all that being said, I am not totally against next generation console talk, I actually think there is a place for it. I am just not sure that place is right now in 2018. It just doesn’t seem like anyone is ready to give out any real information quite yet.
Speculating About Next Generation Consoles Is One Thing…
It is fun to speculate about the future and come up with theories based on teases and stuff of that nature. When a developer releases a vague trailer for a new game and leaves it at that, it’s incredibly fun to hop on places like Reddit and read all the different fan theories. Take Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding for example. That game has gotten like four different gameplay trailers and still, no one really has any idea what it is about.
But there is a difference between what Death Stranding is doing and what console makers are currently doing. We are getting content for Death Stranding, but we are not getting content regarding next generation consoles. The trailers for Death Stranding are filled with hints and clues about the game, while statements from Yoshida about the next PlayStation console merely acknowledges a need for a new console in the future without giving out any substantial information.
There will always be a need for new and updated technology. A game like Red Dead Redemption 2 would not be nearly as exciting if we were playing it on the PlayStation 3 as opposed to the PlayStation 4 Pro. I am not at all against console makers preparing for the future and working on the technology years in advance. What I am against is stirring the pot when you are not willing to add anything substantial to it.
Thinking about the future and making predictions can be a lot of fun, but it can also be incredibly frustrating. Next generation console talk has gaming outlets giving vague details of the future and skipping over present content. We live in 2018, and right now next generation consoles are likely still a few years out. Until console makers and game developers are willing to give out substantial information about the next generation of consoles, let’s focus on, enjoy, and appreciate what we have now.