The next generation consoles are both nearly here once more and will be a large part of the ibdustry for the next decade. Coming into this I was once again Talking to Mr murf and we were debating the consoles in a way, the good and bad of the model and where pc’s stand against them. It’s a debate that has become rather heated, especially so recently.
He brought up one point that I hear quite often, that the consoles will once again hold us back. The glorious PC master race is steadily improving itself over time. Gradual improvements that add up over time that eventually get to the stage where it appears it’s games are being held back by the consoles restrained and unchanging specs.
To me this endless growth is actually rather tiring and I’m unsure if it actually substantially helps gaming all. Looking at my recent backlog of played games some of the best don’t need these new graphics, the best games often use graphics as a tool rather than the selling point, a way of enhancing the experience instead f just being the focus.
With Pc’s having the steady growth in terms of cpu and graphical power it feels like there is a constant desire there to utilise it. More pixels and polygons on screen so it doesn’t feel wasted yet there are far better ways to be spending time and money then say… A realistic looking nude Ellen Page. Gameplay for instance; depth of mechanics, more open ended experiences and greater scope rather than better hair rendering.
I do think the industry needs to have these constraints and even if this generation has surely had its time it is still a good thing that consoles have held back games in terms of power for a decade now. To me it seems the endless growth towards graphics, fidelity and MOOOAAR pixels lessens the focus on gameplay. A focus on graphical techniques far outweighs anything else in development yet is only a small part in the quality of a new title. The ooo purrrty thoughts are a mere novelty and quickly fade but a great experience lasts months and years and those are the things we see more of layer in the console cycle.
Without that growth, and the restraints of singular benchmark we see far more innovations and engineering marvels that prove more helpful and make better games. Optimisation improves dramatically over the course of a console, developers get more comfortable and experienced thus improving on mechanics.. And you just seem to be able to get far more out of the specs.
At the beginning of a console we always get the kill zone type graphical splendours that lack any meaningful depth, yet by the end we are getting classics that will be talked about for generations to come. Having restraints here just seems to breed creativity and imagination in a way you just don’t get when your constantly playing catch up.