Xbox Series X / S are the beginning of the end for console generations - editorial

Xbox Series X / S are the beginning of the end for console generations - editorial
Tradition has it that the beginning of a new console generation is a radical reset.

Bring home your expensive new box with, at best, a handful of launch titles. Your previous console and all its games are starting to gather dust, assuming you haven't resold them. Outside the old, inside the new.

Compare it to buying a better smartphone. Everything is saved on your PC or in the cloud, you change SIM cards, go through the usual setup process, download the backup and pick up exactly where you left off. Photos, music, podcasts and apps are all there. Sure, there are a couple of brand new features to get excited about but your new smartphone roughly replicates the old one rather than completely replacing it.

Setting up my Xbox Series X gave me exactly the same feeling, especially using the Xbox smartphone app to carry out initial choices as updates were downloaded. As soon as the whole process finished, it was like playing on my Xbox One X. Same settings, same library of titles, same usual. Even the UI is the same even if it is because Microsoft, like the owners of mobile platforms, iterates its interface separately from the hardware outputs and changed it just before the launch of the consoles.

The concept of 'next' of this next-gen machine is much more subtle and offers a sense of continuity that has never been experienced before with any previous console

So thanks to cloud saves I could just dive into the game than in I used to play on my old Xbox the day, week or even a year ago and continue where I left off. With the difference of having a larger box and a slightly modified controller.

The concept of 'next' in this next-gen machine is much more subtle and offers a sense of continuity never experienced before with any previous console.

I can already hear two angry responses in styleTwitter: first of all 'Well PS5 has backwards compatibility too' and perhaps more obvious, 'If there's nothing new then what's the point?'

Yes, PlayStation 5 has backwards compatibility but Microsoft he devoted much more effort and focus to us. Xbox Series X / S can run four generations of Xbox games thanks to feature work started with Xbox One, and gamers can not only enjoy their old games but also notice obvious improvements. Even titles not optimized for Xbox Series X (including Assassin's Creed Origins, Perfect Dark HD and my beloved Assassin's Creed Unity) all run smoother and look better than I remembered on older hardware.

As a comparison , Sony has abandoned PS1, PS2 and PS3 although the latter can emulate the two "ancestors". And articles like this Push Square test suggest that some PS4 titles, even this year's blockbuster The Last of Us: Part II, have minor improvements on the PS5.

So back to the possible questions said in previously, what's the point of a new machine that doesn't offer anything really new on balance?

It doesn't help that Microsoft has the weakest launch. Due to the postponement of Halo, there are no first-party launch titles beyond improved Xbox One games and even third-party exclusives like The Medium are on the run. There is a wave of games coming this week, very big titles like Assassin's Creed Valhalla but there is no wow factor like on PlayStation 5 (Spider-Man / Astro / Demon's Souls according to your taste). >
The launch of Xbox Series X has been undeniably undermined by the lack of important exclusive content, but that doesn't detract from the machine's long-term appeal. Games that are optimized for Xbox Series X are pretty cool to look at but the graphic leap between generations is becoming less and less evident. Personally, I struggle to thrill (as visually splendid as it is) in the face of ray-traced puddles and other lighting sorceries of Dirt 5 and I doubt I'm in the minority.

According to Statista only a third of households in the US, by far the largest market for Xbox, owned a 4K UHD TV in 2018. Both Microsoft and Sony can talk about teraflops, 8K, 120 fps, and other graphic / technical junk but people who don't have the right screens won't are the determining factors. It's something nice to have to get ready for future upgrades, not something necessary, a must have. Games push console sales.

In a way, as Chris noted in our latest podcast, now is not the time for Xbox Series X. That will come when Halo, Fable, Everwild, Forza Motorsport, Starfield and (please) a new Pefect Dark will be out next year or later. Now there was only the release of the machine that is needed for those games. It's just the beginning, the preparation. Just because your tree is standing doesn't mean it's Christmas already.

Anyone who bought an Xbox Series X now is buying a promise, a promise that Microsoft may not keep for years

Microsoft he is obviously trying to get the most out of a difficult situation. He almost certainly didn't plan to launch a next-gen console without a flagship title but the impact of COVID-19, perhaps combined with memes about Craig the Brute and, according to Phil Spencer, some poorly communicated plans have led to a Halo Infinite. which will not be published until next year. Despite the three years of development, for some reason not even Forza Motorsport is ready and the same can be said for any other title of the multitude of studios that Microsoft has acquired over the years (although several teams such as Obsidian or Double Fine previously had others. projects to be completed).

Great games are key to selling a console at launch but it's important to remember that, as has been said several times, Xbox is no longer just selling consoles. It is selling an ecosystem. A huge variety of games to drive console sales.

Mind every digital presentation from Microsoft this summer. There was just as much publicity about the Game Pass and titles coming to the service as there were attempts to build hype for the new consoles. The Bethesda acquisition has also been associated with the underlying message that Xbox is the machine to buy if you want Fallout, Elder Scrolls etc. Through its subscription service Xbox is no longer a single platform: it's old and new console, it's PC, it's even mobile now thanks to the constant launch in different countries of xCloud.

Xbox Series X isn't just the beginning of a new generation, it's the latest entry into the Xbox ecosystem. Once again look at the launches of the previous consoles; Even though the day one line ups have dozens of new games, most people can only afford two or three, yet I managed to fill my day one console with Game Pass games and other previous purchases, with a plenty of choice over what I could enjoy my new console with.

It's evidence of the strategy Microsoft has been following for some time now as well as a continuing shift in the industry. Xbox Series X, and partly similarly PlayStation 5, have to keep one foot in the past because so many people continue to play with the past. Just look at the biggest games of the last handful of years: Fortnite, PUBG, GTA Online, these are games that can't afford the radical reset that always came with the console transition. They need continuity. Even games like Rainbow Six Siege are getting free upgrades instead of a sequel. Video games, as well as other forms of entertainment, are becoming service-driven, driven by services, and hardware barriers are not conducive to this aspect.

Xbox Series X paints us a picture in which to continue playing video games it's as simple as upgrading your smartphone. And that's the point that Xbox Series X really made me realize: video games have been blocked by technology and format like no other form of entertainment. We can still read 100-year-old books, watch decades-old DVDs on modern players, listen to even older CDs and yet after six or seven years a new gaming device is needed. Even though generations are longer than in the past, that is still too narrow a window of time, especially if any demarcation makes previous games inaccessible.

As bad as the name was, Microsoft got something right when it called Xbox One an "all-in-one entertainment system". It handled video games, music CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays (4K UHD Blu-rays on One X) plus all those movies, TV shows, and music from streaming services. The PS4 did it too, just like next-gen consoles (although neither current-gen nor next-gen consoles play CDs).

Microsoft wants people to upgrade when they want, as they would with a smartphone, rather than when the industry decides it's time to buy new hardware

The point is that we are definitely beyond the concept of the console as a gaming device only so generations continue to make sense ? There is a reason behind the fact that Microsoft claims that the brand of its new generation is only Xbox, like "iPhone", that's how the mainstream talks about it. They don't differentiate between iPhone 6, 7, or X. It doesn't matter, it's the iPhone.

It's a giant bet with Microsoft pushing for a future where you don't have to spend $ 500 every five or seven years to stay updated with your hobby. Something he's already offering an alternative to with the Xbox All Access smartphone-style monthly payment. Microsoft wants people to upgrade when they want, just like they would with a smartphone, rather than when the industry decides the time has come. And when they do, all the games and content are ready for them.

It's not an easy world to build. Analysts predict PS5 will sell more than Xbox Series X / S, so we're not on the brink of a sudden shift in Microsoft's favor. And Sony has a stellar 2021 in store with Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet & Clank and Gran Turismo while we are unlikely to enjoy the new Fable or the new Forza before 2022.

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And surely Microsoft is not ( at least for now) doing enough to support Xbox Series X. We're still waiting for Halo, Forza, and all future exclusives from the myriad of studios the company has acquired. Anyone who buys an Xbox Series X today is buying a promise, a promise Microsoft may not keep for years.

But as PlayStation owners face hurdles with the transfer of save games for big blockbusters like Spider-Man ( a game that just turned two by the way) it's hard not to appreciate the simple accessibility that Microsoft offers. The reason I've stayed with iPhone for so many years rather than moving to Android is that instant transition and I can't imagine being the only one. There is no learning curve with new hardware so you can just focus on using it.

Xbox Series X and by extension Xbox Series S have no learning curve. You only play video games. Sure, it's easy to feel slightly cheated by the lack of decidedly new day one experiences but the ease of continuing unfinished titles and knowing that you don't have to frequently purchase new releases to be able to enjoy yourself on your new console paint a world where we don't have to start over. every handful of years.

The time for radical resets is running out. Inside with the new, side by side with the old.

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