In a handful of months, the next generation of console gaming will begin. But what does that actually mean in this day and age? The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 provided a massive graphical boost with more quality of life improvements while also emphasising a digital shift in gaming, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One era were focused on even bigger graphical gains and sharing your experience online.
What are consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 bringing to the table? While there is an effort to up the visual ante with consoles that’ll be far more at home with 4K televisions than their predecessors ever were (outside of the mid-gen upgrades that tested the waters that is), this new generation seems to be more focused than ever before on making the gaming experience quicker and smoother.
Solid state drives aren’t just going to make lengthy loading screens a relic when they hit the console scene. The SSDs that Sony and Microsoft have for their consoles are custom-tuned, technological marvels designed to move data across at a speed that’s comparable to that sudden epiphany of a wet fart hitting your cheeks.
Sony may have finally lifted the lid on their gaming wi-fi router, but they’re still keeping quiet on just how games will be better in the 2020s. As for Microsoft? They reckon this upcoming generation will be about collapsing your entire gaming history into one compatible ecosystem that’ll tickle all your senses. “As we move into this next generation with Xbox Series X, we’re really committed to tearing down all the barriers that exist in the ecosystem,” Jason Ronald, the director of program management for Xbox Series X, explained to Games Radar.
That includes things like cross-network play, cross-generational play. The fact that your entire game library – your gaming history, your gaming legacy, your progression, your achievements – all move forward with you. And we want to make sure that players can play together, regardless of what device that they choose to play on. Because, once again, we really want to make sure that everybody’s able to play regardless of the device they choose to play on and they have that great shared experience together.
When we think about the future of gaming, it’s really about providing more options to both gamers and developers. And we’ve really invested a lot of time and energy in making sure the exact same development tools that you use on Xbox One are the same tools that you use with Xbox Series X. And as a developer, what that really enables you to do is to make sure that you have the largest addressable player base, and that players can choose to play together regardless of what device they choose to play on.
Beyond all that, the Xbox Series X wants to be a console that not only provides good-looking games, but experiences that have a more haptic sensation that players can grab onto. “With past console generations, the primary focus has been on graphics improvements – and with this next-generation we’ll continue to see a step change in graphical fidelity. But more importantly, with this generation, is the power that you can feel,” Ronald explained.
Internally, we think about this as ‘the power you can see as well as the power you can feel‘. When we talk about the power you can feel, this really is about changing how games actually play. Things like ultra-high framerates, ultra-low latency input, and how quickly and easily we can get players to jump into the experience with the virtual elimination of loading times. It’s really much more about how games play and how games feel, than just looking at the graphic advancements alone.
There are only a few weeks to go until Microsoft fires back at Sony’s recent reveal with their own line-up of upcoming games. Microsoft has a baker’s dozen of game studios working on next-gen projects, and come July 20 they’ll be showing off not only the power of the Xbox Series X but also the unmatched might of Microsoft’s near-infinite bank account that was used to acquire these developers.
Last Updated: June 22, 2020