Suggested soundtrack: “We All Become” from the Transistor OST
Okay, so this column is normally Sad Girl™ Highlights as told by a David Lynch character. But not this time! No — this time, we are talking about legitimate Gamer™ things (I can’t promise that’ll be the last time I use a superscript).
Let’s start with the absurd: how much “next-generation” consoles cost. The Xbox Series S is a more moderate $299.99 US. But the Series X and PlayStation 5 set people back a minimum of $499 US. Companies have also talked about upping the average cost of games from $60 US to $70 or $80 US per title.
Now, that’s definitely a symptom of Capitalism, inflation, and the cost of doing business. Even indie games take serious ducats to put out these days. The question doesn’t lie in the “value” — perceived or otherwise — of the system or the entertainment it provides. It’s merely a question of these “next-gen” graphics really being as revolutionary as they claim to be.
The TL;DR on that? No, not even close. The “next-gen” thing is a scam like Santa Claus and when your parents say they love you. Just think of games you might have already played that came out years ago.
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Division 2
God of War
Red Dead Redemption 2
Paragon (only the Real Ones™ will remember)
These games, though they have received PC releases, are all capable of producing incredible graphics. HZD and Death Stranding both run on the Decima Engine while The Division utilizes its own custom engine. But all of these games outperform the current dumpster fire of the gaming world: Cyberpunk 2077. Beyond its botched release and buggy state, it indicates what other “next-gen” games also show and that is that this hardware was not an exponential change.
It’s more like changing from an iPhone 10 to the iPhone 11 in terms of incremental change. Even the Miles Morales Spiderman and the Demon’s Souls remake leave something to be desired.
There’s also an easier answer to “which console should I buy” and that’s to get a PC. With Windows offering PC passes for any Xbox purchase, it makes far more sense to invest in a Series S and a badass rig build. Moreover, the Nvidia 3060 – 3090s (if you can get one) offer SO MUCH POWER for their relative cost.
You could build a PC for $850 – $1,000 US and have something be good for 10 years conceivably. But some people are, forever and always, going to be “console only” players. These people also probably think Destiny is a good game and it’s totally not Bungie’s fault that it sucks now. But it’s still good, okay?
For all the patient gamers out there, save yourself some pennies and skip the “next-gen” console jump for now. Also just don’t play Cyberpunk 2077. It’s bad and CD Projekt Red should feel bad. If you want the real cyberpunk experience, play a Deus Ex game or another of these games I recommended in a Gamerant article.
Until next time, don’t let the holidays get you down.
Juliet Childers graduated from University of Houston and writes for a number of outlets including TheGamer and Edgy.app. After a long hiatus from poetry, she is breaking back into the industry with renewed fervor and unflinching identity. She loves video games, South Korean dog Instagrams, and the occasional Dr. Pepper.