THE VARIATION IN APPROACH MAKES NEXT GEN EXCITING AGAIN
Copy and paste be gone.
By JAY TEE
Set phasers to megaton.
As the industry continues to drastically morph with a succession of high profile releases and megaton announcements, the next generation has undoubtedly solidified itself as a broad proposition. No longer are the lines between platforms blurred by similarity; for the first time in years, it can safely be said that the big three are going their separate ways, and that is both an enticing and unknown prospect.
That being said, policies like cross platform play and the prevalence of streaming have made the synergy between all respective fanbases almost inevitable at this point. But despite the walls being dismantled, you can still feel the shifting tides, as Xbox doubles down on Game Pass, PlayStation hold their course, and Nintendo keep being Nintendo (which is to say, bonkers, creative, and terrible at pricing).
As someone who is very much platform agnostic and enjoys first and third party games across all devices, it makes me so happy to see such divergent strategies emerge as we finally learn what the hell is going on with these new boxes. Today’s Bethesda bombshell is a clear statement of intent from “The Spencer” that Xbox have been listening, and quite literally putting their money where their mouth is.
It’s the culmination of a strategy that began with reforming the dire pricing for Xbox One (and erasing the dreadful Kinect / TV focus), continued with Game Pass and its bonkers value proposition, and finishes with a cavalcade of studio acquisitions. Yes the money hat is being deployed, but Xbox’s “player first” mentality will see everything launch on PC anyway, day and date with Xbox, and Game Pass, and potentially xCloud streaming.
Sony are selling the sizzle with first party sequels from their incredible studio slate, and a console that despite looking like an internet router from NASA, is designed to do what the PS4 did, but run faster and look prettier. It’s a consistency that will be appreciated by many, even if dreadful messaging, and that equally woeful pre-
Rumours swirl of a 4K enabled Switch revision, and a big ol’ year for Ninty going into 2021. Whatever they have cooking, it will undoubtedly excite, with ongoing innovation in Lego partnerships and real life Mario Kart hinting at an even more diverse future. That hybrid wonder machine still conceptually excites, and the Japanese powerhouse seem keen to stick with it for the foreseeable. They just need to sort out those joy cons. And run a sale every once in a while.
But the culmination of all of this, and the big takeaway for me, is that all three companies are now content to explore their own corners of a vast landscape in a way that makes the console wars look even more petty and redundant. It is an incredible time to be a gamer, and as each platform refocuses on what makes them unique, we will all reap the benefits… and cause our bank balances to openly weep.