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What defines this generation of consoles?


gaf, I have had an xbox one for over a year now and for the past year I had two more TVs and two PS4s hooked up in the house that my roommates owned. I have also been into PC gaming for 10 years or so as well, and I have always had a mid to high tier parts.
Right now i am confused about what is a defining characteristic or feature of this generation of consoles. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
When the xbox came out, it was the only console at that time with networking capabilities. Sony and Nintendo released adapters eventually, Sony eventually released a console with built in networking, and Nintendo abandoned networking altogether. Online at the time was very primitive. But then the 360 came out, and Xbox Live evolved and changed everything for consoles at the time. The amount of AAA game demos, AAA public betas, media content, downloadable games, DLC, etc was amazing to me at that time. I had had all of that on PC already, but at that time Steam wasn't large, and everything was disorganized. There were also a lot of slow downloads back then. I remember downloading EA patches from their public FTP site and it was brutal. You could pay for premium download services at the time though. The Xbox Live store at that time also predated the Apple App Store. Sony launched the PSN store, and Nintendo joined in on the online game. Neither service were near as good as Xbox Live last gen in my opinion, with Sony being second and Nintendo being in a distant third in terms of online features and content. That being said, Xbox Live had the unique feature of not being free.
I believe that online features revolutionized the industry at the time. All of the consoles have built upon their online features from last year, but in many ways Xbox Live is worse on the Xbox One than it was on the 360. PSN made a major leap and is also a paid service now. Nintendo now offers a more in-depth experience that still needs work but is definitely making improvements.

But here's the tl;dr: I can't think of anything this generation that is truly ground breaking. Everything is a bit of an improvement over last gen, general hardware refreshes(the fact that PS4 doesn't have 5GHz wireless is amazing to me), I can't really think of anything that is new on consoles. The amount of content introduced to consoles last gen was a ground breaking new feature.
What do you think is the cutting edge feature of this gen? Is it Xbox One TV support? Is it built in streaming support?

And I just want to clarify that this isn't a knock on these consoles. They do so many things way better than their predecessors, I just don't know which one is looked at as this big leap.



More seriously, this is all about sharing your experience with others. Whether it's through Miiverse, Share features, livestreaming, screenshots, etc.


Thanos acquires the fully powered Infinity Gauntlet in The Avengers: Infinity War, but loses when all the superheroes team up together to stop him.
Bitchin' controllers


Open worlds with lots of tedious map icons to clear them of. Everything wants to be Assassin's Creed.

Last-gen was defined by everything wanting to be Calladooty or Gears.


Anecdotal, but for me it's quite a lot of bug-filled games with lots of glitches, day one patches, remasters of games just a few years old, and almost 2 years in and games are just now starting to be only current gen development only instead of last gen developed as well.

I don't know, but I really question why I even bought an Xbox One last year. This generation just feels like a stop gap in a sense to me.


It still blows my mind how both console interfaces are not significantly better than their predecessors. The Xbox One dashboard is a total joke and that W10 update can't come soon enough. The PS4 dash is alot better but in some ways the PS3's XMB was snappier and easier to understand. The store interface is not great either. Party chat is bad across the board on both consoles and the 360's was actually far superior.

In terms of features consoles are basically catching up to where PC has been for the last couple of years (ease of indie publishing, F2P, streaming functionality, etc.) And now with Big Picture and the Steam Controller the comfy couch issue has been partially solved. Suspend mode is the only true big new feature yet it doesn't work for games that require online persistence, and even then a good PC can boot up a game super fast anyways.

The generation is still young though. There have been a few console only games worth owning the systems for like Bloodborne, Sunset Overdrive, Destiny, Forza, etc. You've got Halo and Uncharted coming soon too. It's a shame the tech is so outclassed by PC at this point but anyone who follows game can at least find a few reasons to own each console.

And to the open world point, last generation was definitely the one of linear CoD, Gears, Uncharted clones, so this is just the hard shift in the opposite direction in the wake of Skyrim and GTAV being massive hits. Hopefully we can find a nice middle ground.


Is currently staging a hunger strike outside Gearbox HQ while trying to hate them to death
Open worlds with lots of tedious map icons to clear them of.

As opposed to last-gen, where everything was a third-person cover shooter that lasted 5 hours.

This. Open world games have been fairly good so far this gen but I'm fucking sick of them. Uncharted 4 can't come soon enough.


So far (in my opinion)...

*Fast start-up & suspend/resume
*Social sharing
*"If you don't have broadband then you're screwed." (huge patches, multiple online only games)
*Open-world games


Delays, boring/tedious/uninspired open world games, remasters, connectivity/sharing, large game installs and patches, frequent patches, suspend/resume (which is amazing).

Now, there's been some fantastic games and I'm happy with the hardware, but there's just been something lacking. This gen hasn't really found its edge yet. It seems to be, very much, in a rehash sort of phase.

It's also sad when The Order felt refreshing to me due to how many bloody open world games there were.

Deleted member 125677

Unconfirmed Member
I think it's safe to say that this generation hasn't been a revolutionary one, but more a generation that simply improves on the previous one in most aspects. The flood of remasters is sort of emblematic of this.

If I had to say one common thing I guess the effort to integrate social media features, like miiverse, sharing and streaming, is the most "innovative" part of it?

I still think off-screen play with the Wii U is for me personally the most appreciated invention of the generation, but that only really applies to one of the consoles as a standard feature.


as already mentioned the frequency of patches and prevalence of micro transactions and add-on content, new for consoles and the latter being a new business model for the industry in general

also the rate of obsolescence, difficult to see this console lifecycle lasting beyond 5 years, if that. I'm primarily a console gamer but when games such as Witcher 3 struggle to get 30 fps, shows consoles are already aged 2+ years in.


CliffyB's Cock Holster
It seems this generation hasn't impressed people thus far :)

Speaking as an older person, the relentless negativity of "gamers" as represented on the internet is just depressing to me.

How the hell did things get this loveless and sour?
Speaking as an older person, the relentless negativity of "gamers" as represented on the internet is just depressing to me.

How the hell did things get this loveless and sour?

Publishers have made it very hard to be enthusiastic about games. I used to be really excited for new releases and now I am wholly indifferent because I know that buying day 1 is the least sensible way to play games now due to patches and due to how quickly games drop in price.

This entire gen feels like no one wants to take a major step forward in terms of game design.
When a lot of major things have already been done, it gets harder and harder to do follow ups quickly. If all games on consoles were able to have high graphics and 60 FPS, that would be a huge revolution. Unfortunately, the sales of the consoles would be much lower as a result as well, because lower prices are a selling point of these consoles vs. a good PC. Another thing that may have been big for consoles this gen would have been some type of cloud service that allows you to download a LARGE selection of past gen titles (e.g. 90-95% of past gen titles) onto your current gen console. Ofc, that would take up a lot of time and resources getting older games to be compatible on a digital format for any new gen console.


Open world and non-linearity, as well as online social features.

Of course most games don't really do any of those things in ways that are really meaningful, but those are the trends.


Social features. Being able to stream to twitch straight from the console, have friends hop into games remotely, etc is all pretty awesome stuff.
Particle effects and chromatic aberration.

Subscription-model game-services, indies, delays, flipping switches and The Last Guardian.


Wow this thread is depressing :(

Not that i disagree though. I really like my PS4, but i regret picking it up so soon on its life cycle, since there still isn't many exclusives that appeals to me, even after almost 2 years of its release (and i think the same thing applies to the XONE). Would have been smarter to just assemble a good PC. Also, most of the releases don't really appeal to my taste. Most AAA games are content bloated, and even though we still get some gems from time to time, it isn't my cup of tea. Thanks god we have indies, but then again, i could just play them on a better rig. So yeah, so far this gen hasn't been mind blowing for me.


Greatness Waits

Seriously. There's a lot of good games being put out, but some of them are taking far too long to materialize. And the ones that do just whet your appetite for more that don't quite exist yet. It's been a very frustrating generation, even though I'm quite happy with my console purchase.

I struggle to think of any console generation that has had a more prominent space in between major exclusive releases than the current one.


extra source of jiggaflops
I really like my PS4, but i regret picking it up so soon on its life cycle, since there still isn't many exclusives that appeals to me, even after almost 3 years of its release.
It's less than two years after the release of the PS4.
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