With the release of Microsoft’s Xbox One X rapidly approaching, reviews or “previews” are developing, and it makes you ask the question “just who exactly are these consoles for?” Now, I say ‘consoles’ because its not just the Xbox One X that falls in this grey area between current and “next gen”, that’s right, I’m looking at you PS 4 Pro.
BOTH of these systems boast native 4K resolution, and when you open the hood they both have impressive specs that make them the most powerful home consoles on the market, there is no denying any of this. However, unless you own a 4K TV, or have a lot of family movie nights or get-togethers, neither the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X are really a necessity. If you’re going by just the specs, the Xbox One X is, about, a 40% stronger system. The CPU is .2GHz faster, the GPU has 1.8 more teraflops of performance, and has 4GB more RAM! That IS impressive.
Here is the issue though. The PS4 and Xbox One have been out for about 4 years now, they’re just starting to hit their stride in terms of graphical fidelity. Not to mention they can run the SAME games as their newer, more buffed counter parts. If you don’t have a 4K TV there’s literally no point in even purchasing these more expensive products because aside from minor frame rate and ambient occlusion differences they do the same thing.
I’ve owned a PS4 since the night it released, I love it, but when the Pro was announced I literally didn’t understand why we needed it, because the simply truth is we DON’T! Yes the Pro is smoother, and the graphical enhancements make games like Horizon Zero Dawn or Destiny 2 run smoother, but these are subtle differences that don’t really support dropping another $400-$500 on a new system.
So really, these systems are for the die hard fans that NEED the newest and best thing on the market. The thing is though, if you know how and where to look, you can build your own PC for less than the cost of a One X and it’ll run games faster and smoother. My biggest issue with the Pro and One X is that some people are calling them “next gen systems”… How?
Let me give you an example: Think back to the Xbox 360; when the Xbox One came out there was a blatant noticeable difference between the One and the 360. It was an all around difference from graphics, to performance, to speed. Everything about the systems were purely “next gen” and rightly so. The PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 had stupid long life spans and everyone was ready for something new and better. Now, think of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Compare them to the newer Pro and One X… Things will look crisper, absolutely. Particle effects like smoke or explosions might seem a bit more seamless for sure. However, they still run the SAME games. So are they truly “next gen” systems?? Absolutely not.
Here’s another thing… The Xbox One X comes with a 1TB storage. That’s great, it comes with that much storage right off the bat, BUT you can’t upgrade that storage, aside from hooking up an external hard drive, which if you don’t own one, ends up being yet another expense. The thing with the 1TB storage though is that 4K maps are fucking HUGE in terms of file size. You can absolutely expect games to be pushing the 80-100GB storage size, and that’s not counting any DLC content you may want to tack on.
So in reality, you’re going to be able to keep the same number of games on your system, because the file sizes are going to be bigger.
Going back to additional expenses, take this into consideration: You go out and buy this new Xbox One X, but you have a regular flatscreen TV that only supports 1080p. So to get the most out of your new purchase, you now need to drop around another $500-$1,000 on a new TV just to see a difference! That’s ridiculous.
So again, I will ask the question, who the fuck are these consoles for?!
The answer, in my opinion? Companies. Who benefits from these new systems? The ones that sell PS4 Pros and Xbox One X’s. The ones that sell and produce 4K TVs. THEY are the ones that benefit from these supposedly “next gen” consoles. The die hard fans that want bigger and better systems are the only ones I see having any reason to go out and buy these new consoles.
All of this aside, the Xbox One X could literally cook me dinner while I played my games, but if it doesn’t have the exclusives to back it up, I have no reason to even contemplate getting one. Sadly, Sony has held the market in this area. From God of War to Bloodborne, to the Last of Us Part 2, etc. Sony has dominated the market in terms of exclusive games. Making me even less likely to buy an Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X does support a 4K/HDR Blu-Ray drive though, so in terms of home consoles for the “whole family” they have a win there. Why Sony hasn’t even tried to implement something like this into their newer systems is beyond me.
A HUGE issue with all of this rambling and information though is what third party developers DO with this power they have on hand. Not all games are going to have 4K support. Not all companies are going to create games specifically for these newer, stronger consoles because that limits their market. That my fellow nerds is an issue that will only be answer in time.
I have no doubt that the future of gaming will involve native 4K IP’s that run smoothly at 60FPS. Right now however, just isn’t the time. Not everyone owns 4K TV’s. Not everyone has movie nights with their friends and family where a 4K/HDR Blu-Ray player feels like a necessity. And again, not every developer is going to utilise the specs these stronger consoles have at their disposal when they can make content for the PS4 and Xbox One that run on both the base models and the Pro and One X. The time IS coming for everyone to be on this bandwagon, it’s just not now, and probably won’t be for another few years.