• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Would mid-gen upgrades have made sense during any of the earlier generations?

Elysion

Member
Jan 11, 2020
288
460
280
We don‘t yet know if the PS4 Pro and XBoneX were just a special case or if that‘s what console manufacturers will keep doing going forward. But it‘s interesting to speculate how such mid-gen upgrades would‘ve been received during earlier gens.

Imo the gen where such an upgrade would‘ve made the most sense was gen 7, if only because it lasted so long. I think ‚pro versions’ of the XBox360 and PS3 would‘ve been a good idea. A mid-gen upgrade in 2009 or 2010, with more RAM for better textures and capable of delivering 1080p for (most) games (or optional 60fps modes at 720p) would‘ve been fairly well received, imo. At that point 1080p TVs were already widespread, probably more so than 4k TVs were when the PS4 Pro launched.

And let‘s not forget the Wii either! A ‚Wii HD‘ around 2009 or so might‘ve expanded Wii sales even further, and might‘ve prevented (or at least slowed down) the system‘s total nosedive in 2011 and 2012.

I‘m less sure however when it comes to gens before that. Would a mid-gen upgrade for the PS2/XBox/GC for example have offered anything new? I don’t think so. The only other system I can think of that would‘ve really benefited from such an upgrade would‘ve been the PS1, since its 3d capabilities were fairly primitive. A ‚PS Pro‘ with perspective correction, texture filtering and higher resolution (480p instead of 360p or 240p) could‘ve been pretty nice. PS games with such an upgrade would‘ve looked more like (and even better than) games on N64.

I can‘t say much about systems before that, since I‘m not familiar with the 2d era in general. What do others think? Are there any other particular systems (or generations) where mid-gen upgrades would‘ve been a good idea?
 
Last edited:

Excess

Member
Dec 8, 2020
366
573
310
In those days, the hardware leaps were less frequent with one manufacturer. Not only was the industry not in the financial position it is today, but also the willingness of consumers to upgrade more frequently, brought upon by a change in consumer spending habits with smartphones, made purchases of incremental updated hardware more palatable.

I most certainly expect to see upgraded versions of current hardware within a few years because either Sony or Microsoft is going to decide there's a market for it, and the other will follow suit simply to "keep up". That's what happened last "generation". This is why once the PS4 Pro released, any conversation about maintaining generations going forward was dead in the water.

It's hard to say what previous generations would've benefited from it, but there was also very little parity. Each OEM was sort leap-frogging each other. For example, the Saturn debuted, and a few years later, the PlayStation, then the N64, then the Dreamcast, and so-on. Today it's just two juggernauts who release hardware at the same time, so there's less competitive releases in between. Even this will change, though. In the future, digital services, not hardware, will completely kill the idea of "generations" all together.
 

NickFire

Member
Mar 12, 2014
8,874
9,727
940
Nope, but companies still tried in a way. Sega had 32x and CD. Nintendo had a ram pack for n64 (something like that anyway). Nothing really came out of either. N64 might have had a game or two that took advantage, but it wasn't a widely talked about / cared about thing like Pro and One X were.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NeoIkaruGAF
Mar 8, 2021
135
213
220
I think the mid-gen upgrades only made sense last gen because of how underpowered those consoles were, even at launch, this gen the consoles are actually at least pretty good PCs, so unless this gen lasts like 8 years I don't think there will be a real need for a mid-gen upgrade (not that there won't be one, but it won't really be necessary)
 

Tmack

Member
Sep 23, 2020
314
423
275
Back compatibility, online stores, scalable hardware... now there`s a whole ecosystem that make this possible.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Member
Dec 8, 2019
1,769
3,154
515
PC-Engine did this.
And it can be argued that add-ons like the Famicom Disk System, Sega CD, etc were an earlier form of mid-gen upgrades.
 

Velius

Member
Dec 22, 2016
814
1,103
495
Exponentially more power gives you exponentially diminishing returns. It's a reality.

So as counter intuitive as it may seem, a PS1/N64 pro would have given you more of a bump in visuals than you see today.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alabtrosMyster
Jan 29, 2019
5,972
6,491
495
Nah, the CD upgrades on 16-bit consoles were great!

- Better audio
- Almost infinite storage
- More working memory
- Scaling and rotation (Sega CD only)

Sega should have made the standard Genesis unit with a CD from that moment on.
Exponentially more power gives you exponentially diminishing returns. It's a reality.

So as counter intuitive as it may seem, a PS1/N64 pro would have given you more of a bump in visuals than you see today.
A backward compatible PS 1.5 that offered a few benefits (texture filtering, z buffering, higher bit depth, etc.) would have been great!

And a CD add-on for the N64, maybe with Dreamcast like performance... that would have been interesting to see, however SGI were pretty much out of the picture at this point?
 

ZywyPL

Member
Nov 27, 2018
4,896
8,280
675
I agree, 7th gen lasted way too long, with games during the last few years not even running at 30FPS, and like 600-640p, it was a mess.
 

Velius

Member
Dec 22, 2016
814
1,103
495
Nah, the CD upgrades on 16-bit consoles were great!

- Better audio
- Almost infinite storage
- More working memory
- Scaling and rotation (Sega CD only)

Sega should have made the standard Genesis unit with a CD from that moment on.

A backward compatible PS 1.5 that offered a few benefits (texture filtering, z buffering, higher bit depth, etc.) would have been great!

And a CD add-on for the N64, maybe with Dreamcast like performance... that would have been interesting to see, however SGI were pretty much out of the picture at this point?
In another, fucking better, reality I'm still playing Earthbound 64 on the 64DD.
 

Tmack

Member
Sep 23, 2020
314
423
275
Nah, the CD upgrades on 16-bit consoles were great!

- Better audio
- Almost infinite storage
- More working memory
- Scaling and rotation (Sega CD only)

Sega should have made the standard Genesis unit with a CD from that moment on.

A backward compatible PS 1.5 that offered a few benefits (texture filtering, z buffering, higher bit depth, etc.) would have been great!

And a CD add-on for the N64, maybe with Dreamcast like performance... that would have been interesting to see, however SGI were pretty much out of the picture at this point?

You described exactly why mid-gen incremental things didn`t work in the past and work now.

When you have such leapfrogs developments happening so fast, you better have a new system altoghether.

From previous gens you went from

2d - wank 3k - full 3d
x numbers of colors - a lot of colors - unlimited number of colors
midi music - full music - full music and dialogs
size limited - better limit - no limit
playing with a stick - rudimentar controllers - 3d controllers - standard controllers
Gamewhat? - Gameplay limited by hardware - basiclly no limit to gameplay
offline - crappy online - full blow online

Now all we get a bettter version of what we already have... transitions are much smoother and cooesistance is much easier.
 

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,526
1,489
1,610
PS4/X1 were certainly in the best position ever to take advantage of mid-gen, given the way modern engines work and are built without the same dependencies on the hardware's quirks to actually run.

For instance, it would have been amazing to have had a "PS1.5" that had z-buffering and other features that N64 brought to consoles, but that was the way the games were made to work; hacks to introduce these graphic features have only recently been able to be added into emulation. You couldn't just crank the levels up to 11 with better hardware; it wouldn't run the same, and it wouldn't necessarily help without some customization to really take advantage. (You'd almost need two different compiled versions on the disc, which maybe would have worked?)

These days, the engines are kind of independent of the hardware. Engineers tweak and crank everything they can to get everything they can out of each platform, but the game designers are making the game for the engine, not for the hardware, and the engine is made for conforming to standards of the API in order to conform to mechanical/technical expectations. (*I realize I am not saying that well... basically, in the old days, you made the "N64 game" and the "PlayStation game", and these days, you make "the game" and as long as you know your parameters it should be playable on your target machines with a little work.)

Back compatibility, online stores, scalable hardware... now there`s a whole ecosystem that make this possible.

Heck, even backwards-compatibility took a leap thanks to scalability inherent in last gen. Sony made some mistakes (?) in support, but for either console, the almost automatic boost in loading speed and framerate makes the old products better than ever. (You get a little bit of bonus out of Xbox 360 too.) Back in the day, the best you could do was some filtering and whatnot, but now, the BC games are almost like new, and that was games that weren't even built for unlocked framerates or other ways of exploiting a mid-gen; now, they could potentially leave hooks in the game to take advantage of hardware they don't even know is coming in the future.

Nope, but companies still tried in a way. Sega had 32x and CD. Nintendo had a ram pack for n64 (something like that anyway). Nothing really came out of either. N64 might have had a game or two that took advantage, but it wasn't a widely talked about / cared about thing like Pro and One X were.

True, but there's a bit of difference in that SEGA's products divided the market. GBC and N64 Expansion Pak did some too, although there were some games that tried to offer options (really, the Expansion Pak was the only way to play some of those, they almost shouldn't have allowed them to not play downstream.)

With today's platforms, so far they are showing that you can pump up the levels and offer good value on an upgrade without pushing the original console owners out of the market (albeit owners of Xbox One S or Nintendo 3DS og are probably calling that a lie after suffering some slideshow games?)
 
Last edited: