Thoughts on a Generation

With the next generation of video game consoles debuting in 7-8 weeks, what are your thoughts on the 8th generation?

In 2013, my youngest kid was 4, and so I was starting to emerge from the toddler years and into a wider awareness of the world. When I got the PS4, I had just started watching streamers on Twitch, and the idea of a console that could stream at the push of a button was pretty amazing to me. The first game I played on it was Contrast, a PS Plus freebie, and I also spent a lot of time jumping from stream to stream on the system, where people were using the camera to broadcast themselves to the world. My other early games were Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, neither of which really taxed the system. It wasn't until 2015 that Bloodborne came out that I found one of my games of the decade and the system came into its own.

2015 was also when I picked up an Xbox One, primarily for Ori and the Blind Forest. However, it was always a secondary console to me, and was not played for months at a time. That changed when I subscribed to Xbox Game Pass last year, and now it's the system that lets me be a total game tourist on the console.

In addition to the popularity of steaming, it seems that the other major innovation of this generation is the Battle Royale. These games have never really hooked me, but I can see the appeal of a game that allows you to quickly move from match to match, and emergent gameplay that is fun to share with your friends or an audience.

Interesting thread and looking forward to seeing what others say. My own confession is I feel that I’m getting stuck in my comfort zone as a middle aged dad and it’s hard to branch out. My son loves streaming and battle royale but I’m back to WOW and playing deep nerd strategy like Crusader Kings 3. If there’s one thing I would love to come out of 8th gen, it’s deeper storytelling and improved VR which I still feel is the obvious future of the industry.

The PS4 and Xbox One were pretty much non-entities for me. There's very few games on those systems that interest me and for those that do I have a PC. If I had a PS4 it would be a library of one -- Bloodbourne. The Switch is by far the best piece of gaming hardware ever released and I say that without hyperbole, but the games haven't lived up to that so far. The Switch's two big heavy hitters -- Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild -- were both big disappointments for me. Other than being a great place to play Indie games it hasn't really gotten much use. Mario + Rabbids was good, I want to pick up Link's Awakening, and I am super hyped for Pokemon Snap, but that's about it. The Switch is a great dumping ground for Wii U ports though.

And that brings me to my next point. The real winner of the 8th Generation. The Wii U. Yeah, sure, it was a financial bomb and it had a small library of games, but what it did have was phenomenal. Captain Toad, Mario 3D World, Tropical Freeze, and Mario Kart 8 were easily games of the generation. Sure, those games are all on the Switch (or will be soon), but I played them on the Wii U and that's the system that gets the credit from me.

I guess I'd give this generation a B- and that's primarily thanks to the brilliant Wii U library holding everyone else up.

The Xbox One was the console of choice for me.. I really liked what Microsoft did to unify the media experience of the console.. having the pass through HDMI port was awesome for me as it allowed me to integrate my Fios TV into the Xbox and have a single input/device to watch TV, Netflix, Plex, etc. and Play games... I'm somewhat sad that Microsoft is leaving that behind with the Xbox Series X/S consoles.. I know I'm probably in the 1% that used that functionality but its still disappointing given the pass through HDMI would add minimal cost.

Game Pass was the big thing for me as well as the simple fact that 3rd Party games played best on the Xbox One X as well as the few games that supported cross saves between the Xbox and the PC version.

PS4 was my Bloodborne console and for the most part it gathered dust otherwise.. never liked the Dual Shock form factor which has always been a sticky point for me... I did really enjoy some of the PS VR titles though.

I love the Nintendo Switch.. its my go to Indie Games platform since for whatever reason Nintendo First Party titles just never seem to click for me.

Edit: So apparently I don't know what 8th gen is. Thought this was about 9th gen. I'll repost elsewhere or start a topic.

It felt like a half generation or a partial generation. Lots of game design, especially in the AAA space, is still stuck in the trends from late in the PS3/360 generation. Both the PS4 and the XB1 were painfully underpowered when they launched, especially with regard to their CPUs. Both were low cost, low innovation, backwards looking designs from companies with significant internal struggles at the time. GTAV was one of the biggest games of this generation and it was a cross generation game from late in the last gen.

With the X1X and the Pro, graphics improved in a major way. But, the mismatch between CPU and GPU got more pronounced.

Midway through the generation, Microsoft really started getting smart about strategy. I think Steam paved the way with the conceptual model, Microsoft realized that they had a tremendous opportunity with on-line services in the console market, and everyone else has been reluctantly playing catch up.

For me, one of the big stories of the last generation was the disappearance of good story-driven AAA RPGs. In the 360 era, we had Fallout, Oblivion, Skyrim, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age. In the current gen, we've had The Witcher (my favorite game of the era), and unsatisfying, misconceived failures with the Fallout, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age franchises, and nothing new.

This generation was a bit of console renaissance for me. I got on the PS3/360 train VERY late in their lifecycles, and didn't get into this generation until mid 2018, when I picked up a PS4 Pro, followed by a PSVR (first VR experience....WHOA!!!) 7 months later. My initial system sellers were wanting to play The Last Guardian (still haven't played more than an hour), and Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (finished and did lots of side content), but the large back catalog of quality titles along with exciting upcoming releases and a financial cushion got me to not only pull the trigger, but overindulge (massively).

At this point my oldest was 2 years old, so I honestly didn't play nearly as much of the releases as I wanted to. 2019, a Switch followed, in large part due to Nintendo's history of child-friendly games. While I was excited about the Switch before I owned it, it didn't get much play once it was in my possession. That's slowly changing (also due to the kid now approaching 4, and wanting to play Mario Odyssey).

While I'm still a PC-centric gamer, I'm very much looking forward to playing all of the exciting console games of this generation I've bought for the day when I will have more than 73 consecutive seconds of uninterrupted time AND energy to make use of it. Given that I now also have a 1 year old, that day seems a long way away...

Speaking of Contrast - I remember first seeing that at Gamescom 2013 in Köln (only gaming convention I've ever been able to go to). I've owned it on PC for years now and still anticipate getting to it someday.

These new consoles are quite good, much stronger than a PC at anywhere near the price, but their games will be pricey. And if you get one of the all-digital versions, you won't have the option of used games, either.

The up-front cost is relatively low, but you'll probably be behind by the time you own ten games, and it will only keep getting worse. As long as you know that going in, it should be a great time.

Personally, I think I'll wait for PC versions, and upgrade hardware as needed. These are still just PCs, and I like the lower per-title prices if you're willing to be patient there. I tend to prefer higher up-front costs and lower running costs.

I own all the current gen consoles but haven’t bought a single physical game this generation. The only physical game I even own right now is a copy of whatever the most recent Halo is, which I got free, packaged with either the One X or an Elite controller. It’s still shrinkwrapped.

The delta between the cost of a high end PC and the cost of a console will buy you a helluva lot of $60 games. We're talking, what $1500 vs $300?

And that assumes that you're even buying games. Game Pass largely obviates that need.

Well say you need $1200 for a strong gaming PC vs $500 for an Xbox Series X. If you pay $70 for a console title vs $50 for a PC title that’s a $20 savings. That’s 35 games which I guess depending on your gaming habits a years worth or maybe even 3-4 years worth.

TheGameguru wrote:

Well say you need $1200 for a strong gaming PC vs $500 for an Xbox Series X. If you pay $70 for a console title vs $50 for a PC title that’s a $20 savings. That’s 35 games which I guess depending on your gaming habits a years worth or maybe even 3-4 years worth.

Average attach rates (i.e. # games bought for each console) is a single-digit number. This community are extreme outliers.

For what it’s worth, Playstation and Xbox have plenty of digital sales too.

More on topic, this was the first generation where I wasn’t really wowed by the upgrade in graphics. I noticed them, and they games generally looked better but not the jump between prior generations. With the half step of the Pro/X, I think that will be even more the case with the incoming generation. The curve is still increasing but it’s smoothed out.

Cool thread. The 8th generation was fine. It didn't have the oompf that the 7th generation did for me in my late twenties going into my early thirties. I absolutely adored my Xbox 360. When I think about all the games I bought for that thing... many of them I still have sitting on my shelves and I'll probably never get rid of until my 360 finally decides to give up the ghost. Talk about attach rates; it felt like I bought at least one new game a month in the heyday of the 360 generation.

But I digress. What sticks out to me as the defining qualities of the 8th generation are these rather random observations:

- The rise of the "looter shooter": My PS4 did start out as my "Destiny Machine" and that maybe lasted for, oh, I dunno, 6 months?

- Mainstream console games learned more from mobiles games than the other way around. See: games as a live service, loot boxes and other monetization strategies.

- Hitting 60 FPS on 1080p consistently was still a challenge

- Open world everything!

- The Soulsborne genre really hits its stride with a bunch of non-FROM releases, and most of them are pretty good.

- Digital distribution really became a thing on consoles: we've all seen the hollowing out of the games sections of major retailers and Gamestop/EB shift their focus to selling gaming paraphernalia and other doodads.

- Console storefronts getting into the shovelware & poor searchability business

- Much more seamless integration of social media and streaming platforms

All in all, a solid if not absolutely mind-blowing or memorable generation. A good 7 years separated the time bought my first Xbox 360 as a single guy living with a highschool friend to when my wife bought me the white Destiny edition PS4. It honestly feels like it was a much longer gap. My hype level and tolerance for things changed a lot during that time and they've shifted even more from the beginning of the 8th to now.