It’s hard to believe video gaming was a niche hobby just a few decades ago. There was a stigma way back when that only geeks and nerds played video games. The stereotype still lives on somewhat but it’s definitely not as prevalent because it seems like the majority of people play some kind of video game these days. I do think that a lot of why gaming is much more normal these days is because of technology, or rather how the hobby has influenced technology. As the years pass by, more and more tech companies have focused their research on making graphics more realistic, sound more immersive and the like.
You would think this would mean each new video game console generation would be as exciting as the last as companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are always upping the ante and trying to draw gamers to their new system. We are now in the 9th generation of the console wars and, to be frank, this is one of the most disappointing time to be a console gamer. I would even outright say this year’s console generation sucks.
I don’t say that lightly as I do love playing games on a video game console more than a PC. I simply love how user friendly gaming consoles are. You just boot them up, select the game and bam! You’re playing it straight away. No need to fiddle around with the settings or breaking the bank purchasing the most powerful processor and graphics card. Despite video game consoles being considered a luxury item, they’re still comparatively cheaper than getting a full-fledged gaming PC. However, despite my love for video game consoles, I still think today’s generation has just been terrible.
One of the biggest issues of the current video game console generation has to deal with not being able to get a PlayStation 5, Microsoft Series X/S or a Nintendo Switch in the first place. There just seems to be an extreme shortage of new systems to date. Thanks to the entire theory of supply and demand, the price of new systems are just too expensive. Remember, one of the advantages of a gaming console is that it’s cheaper than a gaming PC. So with the systems in short supply and demand is still relatively high, the price for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are also high. Sure, the price gouging hasn’t reached the heights of a powerful PC yet… but it’s still price gouging at its worst.
To be fair, this isn’t entirely Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo’s fault. A lot of the reason why there are shortages is because of the state of the world today. The entire world was pretty much closed down so this definitely slowed down manufacturing and all that. This led to a shortage in the necessary materials to build the aforementioned new consoles and it looks like everyone is still struggling to keep up. Last I checked, it looks like things might finally normalize by 2024. That’s 2 whole years from the time of this writing. What’s even weirder is that things will normalize 4 years since the current console generation launched! That’s terrible when you consider that a console generation is supposed to only last around 5 years or so!
However, the biggest issue I have with the current video game cycle is it doesn’t feel any special. I just mentioned a video game generation used to last around 5 years but that doesn’t seem like the case anymore. At the very least, it doesn’t feel like companies like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft need to rush out a new system in that 5 year period after the launch of their latest system anymore as there hasn’t been a significant technological leap to justify a new system. In fact, the leap between generations, from the PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 or the Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S, seems to be an incredibly small step. Sony’s big claim to fame for their new system is using an SSD hard drive 4K graphics and Microsoft is… in all honestly, I don’t remember what they said! Probably 4K or 8K graphics I would guess.
In fact, I admire Nintendo for basically skipping the entire console generation with the Switch. Then again, the Nintendo Switch is a bit of an oddity as it bucks the trend of focusing on fancier graphics and instead goes for trying to innovate the gaming market. Unfortunately, this also had the adverse affect of making Nintendo look like their behind the times as porting games to the Switch seems difficult. That’s because it’s not as powerful as Sony and Microsoft’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems, respectively. There are games which do show that the Switch might handle it but these are the exceptions to the rule.
Going back to Sony and Microsoft’s new systems, though, it seems like both companies are actually rather wary about their place right now as, in my opinion, we still haven’t seen the killer game which justifies shelling out for a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S. There are games on the horizon, like the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which will be only available on the PlayStation 5, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II for the Xbox Series X/S. These games do look gorgeous but I can’t help but think the PlayStation 5 and Xbox One, the older generation of gaming consoles, can play them. The leap between the previous generation and the current generation just doesn’t seem that great.
Maybe I am just sour graping because getting a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X/S is just so hard to come by unless you’re willing to pay through the nose to get one of them. Maybe I’ll be singing the current console generation’s praises once the price goes down and I finally get one. Maybe my tune will change once the killer game that showcases the need for a new video game console comes out. That’s all possible. Right now, however, I just don’t see what’s the big deal.
What are your thoughts on the current video game console systems? Let me know in the comments section below!