While the PS5 and Microsoft’s next Xbox codenamed ‘Project Scarlett’ are still over 12 months away, the countdown has now begun. We’ve been here before and we all know that this will spell the end for the PS4 and Xbox One. Here’s the thing, I know it’s a full year away but I don’t think I’m ready yet. For me at least, it all feels a bit too soon.
In the past I’ve been hyped and incredibly excited when the march to the next generation begins, but this time I find myself saying, “PS5? Already?” The truth is I feel like my PS4 and Xbox One are only partially through their lifespan, I don’t feel like they are anywhere near the end of it. I also suspect I’m not alone with these feelings. Are WE just only partially through these machines lifespans due to our busy lives, or is it truly too soon? I’m sure there are lots of people who are psyched by the prospect of a new series of consoles.
My fear is that games consoles may end up following a similar model to iPhones.
I know there are plenty of people out there who get excited every time Apple announces a new model, but for me they usually seem pretty much the same as the previous iPhone. I upgrade my phone every 24 months generally which means I tend to skip a generation. I jumped from an iPhone 4 to a 6+ and presently have an 8+, and honestly? I’m still not that sure what my 8 can do that my 4 can’t. I still use the 4 as a spare business phone.
My point here is; if games consoles are slowly working towards this sort of faster release model, churning a new one out every couple of years, then I may be done with console gaming. Not only would that become a very expensive but keeping up would be confusing and exhausting. Also a very cynical decision by the industry, one which would kill my desire to keep supporting it. I own a gaming PC, as any self-respecting videogame journalist should, but I was weaned on 2D Sonic and Mario and will always have a soft spot for games consoles.
Let’s look at the lifespans of previous generations, using Sony as a template (as PlayStation has exited slightly longer than Xbox). We’re not looking at when they were discontinued, but when they were replaced.
PS1 1994 – 2000 (6 years)
PS2 2000 – 2006 (6 years)
PS3 2006 – 2013 (7 years)
PS4 2013 – 2020 (7 years)
So really, from a time perspective there’s no real difference and there’s every chance that this is all in my head. At least PlayStation is not going to be copying Apple’s model any time soon.
Perhaps the only thing that’s changed is me. Is it that as a man in his thirties with a career and a family, I’m just feeling bad that I’ve not had as much time with my games consoles during this gen? Is it that I feel like I’ve not had my moneys worth yet? There are still so many games on current gen that I still need to play. Just I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to get round to them all. Truth is I probably never will play all of them. The PS5 and next Xbox will just pile on to this.
If we examine the jump in technological advancements it does seem like the gap gets shorter with each new generation. The PS2 was a vast improvement over the PS1, the jump to DVD allowed for games to look stunning and play so much smoother. PS3 blew the PS2 out of the water graphically with the jump to HD, Blu-ray format and new online options. While the PS4 has been a fantastic console with its improvements over the PS3 becoming more noticeable over time, it’s arguably not been as pronounced as previous generational jumps. Will the PS5 be a vast improvement over the PS4, or will it be barely noticeable? Has 4K or VR truly become standard yet or is this still a few years off?
I want to get exited about Project Scarlett and the PS5 but I’m not ready yet. I may be the only one.