Gamers?have been waiting for years, but finally the PS4 and Xbox One have been released. The question is – will they see the same long-term success as their highly-popular predecessors?
Yes, the pre-orders were astronomical – with both Sony and Microsoft having to delay later orders due to a lack of stock – but it takes more than a strong launch to survive. Gamers need games, and so far multi-platform games have struggled to match the sales numbers of years past, with Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV selling over 60 per cent less on PS3 and 360 than their predecessors – even with the promise of £10 next-gen upgrades.
Part of the trouble is the tech – the last jump between console generations was a massive jump in quality, but despite their improved looks over previous generation games, the difference in the new console releases is hardly mind-blowing.
The other problem for consoles is the cool grandparent in the corner – the gaming PC. It’s cheaper than ever to build a half-decent gaming rig, and hardware costs are often offset by cheaper games and the ability to surpass the static hardware inside consoles. With the increasing presence of PCs built for the living room, the competition between consoles and computers looks set to get tighter.
For some gamers, the PC is rising back up again as the platform of choice, and the new consoles may find that those willing to shell out for next-gen gaming instead invest in a better computer until prices drop, while casual gamers will stay content with the existing consoles for the meantime.
For others, the consoles will have to prove that they are worth the investment of hundreds and hundreds of pounds – especially in the lead-up to Christmas as gifts, food and rising bills eat up budgets.
The new consoles need to prove that they’re bounding, rather than stepping, away from the old consoles, and that they can not only hold their own in terms of power, but also offer a unique experience, over gaming PCs. Once they manage that, they will truly be set for success.