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September 2, 2014 / Jett

Next Gen Busts

Last summer, my excitement for the start of next gen with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was at a fever pitch. It had been a long time since we’d made a technological leap and was anxiously looking forward to what the future would hold for gaming with these new machines. A year later, and both of them are basically just collecting dust on my shelf.

Having gone through the new console cycle since the Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis days, I know that new platforms don’t start out hot. As a new adopter, you only get a handful of second-rate games to start with. I remember with the Nintendo 64 how that console literally launched with only two games (Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64) and then I had to wait months before one more game trickled in (Wave Race 64). It’ll take months, or even years, before you’re finally able to build a catalogue of games that justify your purchase. However, as someone with a weakness for new and shiny things, this is the price I willingly pay.

I figured that the launch window for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 would be weak. When I got my PlayStation 4 on launch, I got by on Resogun and a handful of cross-gen games that I could have probably played just fine on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. However, I thought that the rush of hot next-gen exclusive releases would have kicked in by now. Instead, basically everything worth playing got bumped to 2015, and my PlayStation 4 that has been unplugged for months will probably continue to be unloved.

Say what you or I will about the mistakes that Microsoft has made with the Xbox One, but things look a bit rosier there, if ever so slightly. I really enjoyed Titanfall and Killer Instinct is right up my alley. I’m looking forward to the Killer Instinct season 2 content, which comes out later this year. I’m also excited for Dance Central: Spotlight, which will hopefully act as one step towards justifying the existence of the Kinect. That said, it’s a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. I really want games that make the best use of the new hardware. Instead, we’ve been getting small downloadable games, cross-gen games and ports of Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 games.

Right now, it looks like the only real big game on the horizon is Destiny. Admittedly, I don’t know anything about it, as my interest for it has been nonexistent. Maybe with so little to play right now, this one may surprise me.

I don’t regret owning the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. My desire for new tech trumps basically everything, so this is my burden to carry. Still, if someone asked me if it was worth going to a store to buy either console, I’d advise against it. Of the three current home consoles out there, I’d say the only one worth grabbing is the Wii U. Sure, I have grave concerns about whether anyone will ever truly utilize its giant GamePad, its longetivity in the face of more powerful consoles and a continued dearth of third party support that will forever plague it. However, you can go into a store today and grab Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3 and Mario Kart 8 and have a blast. There’s also a fair amount of upcoming first party releases that are going to make this thing worthwhile in the future. Having said that, the Wii U also took years before reaching this point, and there’s a number of other factors in play that may deter you from purchasing it.

I’m not saying that the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will suck forever. The reason I have them is that I’m almost certain that they both will be awesome in time. However, they do kind of suck today because of how weak their respective game libraries are at this point. I was really hoping that both would have gotten it together by now, but most of the games that were teased to us before the console launch got bumped back to next year at the earliest. I’m glad to have Ultra Street Fighter IV to carry me through these tough times, but for many next gen owners looking for any sort of relief, there isn’t much of anything on the immediate horizon to make things better.

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