PS4 + Xbox One vs PS3 + Xbox 360: The Outsets of Two Generations Compared
Many feel that the current generation of consoles wasn’t very exciting. When Xbox 360 and PS3 were launched, we were at the end of a generation in which PS2 provided us with an immense variety of great games, and the titles that came with the launch of the new consoles and in the short term afterwards simply failed to excite a lot of gamers.
On the other hand the outset of the next generation seems to be creating a lot more hype. The internet is buzzing with conversation on the games that will launch with PS4 and Xbox One or shortly after, and on the systems themselves. As a gamer, I honestly didn’t feel this “alive” myself since the old dear times of the PlayStation 2.
But what changed between the outset of the generation that is now about to wane, and the beginning of the next? Why are we this excited and ready to embrace the new consoles? Is it just the passage from a relatively disappointing period to one filled with hopes and dreams? Or maybe the games we have been shown are simply more impressive than those that marked the passage between the previous two generations?
In order to try and get to the bottom of this difference in hype I’m going to make a bit of an experiment: people normally pitch PlayStation consoles against Xbox ones, for obvious reasons, but this time around I’m going to create two unusual teams: I’m going to pair the PS3 with its Xbox 360 arch rival, while the PS4 will team up with its hated enemy, Xbox One.
We’re going to take a visual trip through the games that were launched in the early life of the current generation consoles compared against those that we have already seen for PS4 and Xbox One. Of course I’m not just going to include launch titles, because even those that come a bit later still contribute to the hype. I’m also not going to include every title for brevity, but just some of the most relevant.
Of course if the visual trip is too much for you, and you want to avoid suffering through five pages of trailers (some of which aren’t exactly flattering nowadays), you can just jump to the bottom of page 5 of this article to catch my conclusions.
Ridge Racer 6 (Xbox 360)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (Xbox 360)
Ridge Racer 7 (PS3)
Formula One Championship Edition (PS3)
Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)
The Crew (PS4/Xbox One)
Armored Core 4 (PS3/Xbox 360)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (PS3)
Titanfall (Xbox One)
Madden NFL 06 (Xbox 360)
MLB 07: The Show (PS3)
NBA 2K7 (PS3/Xbox 360)
Madden NFL 25 (PS 4/Xbox One)
FIFA 14 (PS 4/Xbox One)
NBA 2K14 (PS4/Xbox One)
Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)
Perfect Dark Zero (xbox 360)
Quake 4 (Xbox 360)
Gears of War (Xbox 360)
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3/Xbox 360)
Call of Duty 3 (PS3/Xbox 360)
Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3)
Quantum Break (Xbox One)
Halo (Xbox One)
Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
Destiny (PS4/Xbox One)
Battlefield 4 (PS4/Xbox One)
Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS4/Xbox One)
Mad Max (PS4/Xbox One)
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (PS3)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PS3/Xbox 360)
Deep Down (PS4)
Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4/Xbox 360)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4/Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XI (Xbox 360)
Phantasy Star Universe (Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)
War Thunder (PS4)
Planetside 2 (PS4)
Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4/Xbox One)
The Elder Scrolls Online (PS4/Xbox One)
Enchanted Arms (PS3/Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XV (PS4/Xbox One)
Kingdom Hearts III (PS4/Xbox One)
Genji: Days of the Blade (PS3)
Heavenly Sword (PS3)
Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires (Xbox 360)
The Godfather: The Game (PS3/Xbox 360)
Spider-Man 3 (PS3/Xbox 360)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (PS3/Xbox 360)
Infamous: Second Son (PS4)
Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)
Watch_Dogs (PS4/Xbox One)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4/Xbox One)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4/Xbox One)
Mirror’s Edge 2 (PS4/Xbox One)
Did you enjoy our little visual trip made of beauty and horror?
The first thing that comes to mind watching those clips is that developers have gotten a whole lot better at making trailers. Even considering the technological level of the time, a lot of the trailers released at the outset of the waning generation were very rudimentary and simply lacked the impact that we see in today’s promotional videos, but that’s most definitely not the only element of the equation.
During the press conferences at E3 I saw quite a lot of people with their jaws dropped, catching a glimpse of an exciting future. On the other hand, the titles launched around the birth of the PS3 and the Xbox 360 simply didn’t seem as shiny (even relatively to technological level of that period). Many seemed to be games for PS2 or Xbox hastily upgraded (and many actually were), while others simply looked like they were rushed out of the door in order to support the new consoles.
The Xbox 360 was launched in a hurry to beat Sony to the market, with the result that many developers simply weren’t prepared for it, while the PS3 and its exotic architecture presented studios with a puzzle that took quite a few years to fully solve, while the first few titles used just a fraction of the power of the machine.
The result of those conditions is that the early generational jump between the PS2/Xbox and the PS3/Xbox 360 wasn’t that impactful, with games becoming more impressive in a very gradual way through the years.
On the other hand the Xbox One and the PS4 have been planned and designed with a lot less haste and with much more familiar PC-like architectures, allowing developers to unlock a large portion of their power from the very beginning without having to rush the development of their games. The effect of that is evident in the trailers we saw. While the generational jump in sheer visuals is not extreme, it’s still very visible, causing a strong emotional impact in the viewer, amplified by the promise of features like enormous and seamless open worlds and much more dynamic and populated environments.
On top of that, with the Xbox 360 and the PS3 third party developers simply weren’t ready to deliver, resulting in a lot of sub par games. This time around both Sony and Microsoft worked closely with their partners, resulting in third party games that aren’t in any way less impressive than first party ones. Quite the opposite, some of the most exciting upcoming games like Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV, Watch_Dogs and Tom Clancy’s The Division are third party and multiplatform.
Back in 2005 gamers were presented with a new generation that looked somehow good but not exceptional, especially considering the comparison with the rich, varied and colorful offering of the PS2 era. Today we prepare to walk away from a generation that can’t really be defined exciting and was full of problems and causes of malcontent despite a few exceptional games, and we prepare to jump into a new one that seems to have been planned much better by both relevant parties.
Looking at that, it’s not surprising that many feel that we’re at the outset of a renaissance for console gaming. Personally, I haven’t felt this passionate and ready to make the jump in several years, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one. This holidays and the coming year definitely seem to be a good time to be a gamer, no doubt about it.