Monday, August 2, 2021

Month Nine of the New Console Generation - My gaming Laptop is the best!

 Just a few errant comments on having had a Playstation 5 (which I had to drive to another city to pickup) and Xbox Series X (and two Series S's) since roughly December/January: it's nice to have them, but also not really. Despite their popularity, this is starting to feel like the Laziest Console Generation, indeed perhaps even a clear indication that the Big Two have moved from the old notion of releasing new consoles as a demonstration of new computing power for games to merely being incremental iterations in which a virtual dearth of actual timed support is leaving me with the sensation that neither Microsoft nor Sony ever intended for this generation to be anything more than a general purpose hardware upgrade.

I'm not including Nintendo in this because Nintendo is still playing its own game, making consoles designed to be an experience in their own right. It is not trying to compete with the Big Boys, it is trying to cater to the consumer notions of what it means to buy and experience a console. Nintendo has made something of a mis-step with its Switch OLED edition but only because for months now the online buzz has been about an imaginary Switch Pro that Nintendo never said was coming and which likely Nintendo is aware it does not want to release at this time in the midst of a worldwide microprocessor/electronic parts shortage. This has not stopped an amazing number of Youtubers who make their clicks and likes out of insisting they have an inside scoop look like idiots and in turn viciously attack Nintendo for not catering to their imaginations. Nintendo is only guilty of not realizing the narrative that they needed to get out ahead of before announcing the mildly upgrades OLED console.

Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft might finally have some games by the Fall/Winter season that fit the definition of "next gen" for the new consoles. Up to this point though we've got mostly last gen holdouts with very mild upgrades, and a smattering of "new" stuff. On the plus side it has never been easier to find games and playing old games on the new consoles does give console players a chance to feel, briefly, like PC gamers have felt all along.

For me personally my investment in a decent gaming laptop (with a 2070 TI GPU, mind you) has eclipsed my console experiences. Pretty much everything except for Returnal (one of a handful of PS5 exclusives) is available on PC, and runs great on the laptop, usually at 4K resolution or maybe 2550p for higher framerates. Meanwhile if I play something on console it is purely as a deliberate choice....for example it is still easier to play split-screen Gears 5 or Call of Duty with my son on Xbox Series X, and Returnal is, after all, only available on PS5. 

Most of the newer games to come out so far (including Outriders which my wife and I both like despite its flaws) have been less than stellar, the sort of stuff you usually see coming out on last gen consoles catering to that quiet period between really good releases. For the most part, though, the next gen has benefited the most from the Games as a Service types including Destiny 2 and Fortnite, but I think there's a limit to how much people can put up with the never-ending hamster wheel of repetition and microtransactions these games sustain on, and you most definitely do not need a Ps5 or Series X/S to enjoy either of these games.

This is all a long way of saying, that had I not secured the new consoles I would still have the satisfaction of being envious of those who have gotten them. But because I have them, I now realize it was kind of a trap and I could easily have waited to 2022 without actually missing anything. 

No comments:

Post a Comment