Is Next-Gen really worth it at launch?

The question every gamer asks themselves when the new generation of consoles come knocking. Not only stemming from saltiness of not being able to get a preorder, but also from taking one look at the often disappointing launch lineup.

And don´t get me started on trying to decide which companies system to choose, although Playstation looks like a better choice on launch. Games like Demon´s Souls, Spider-Man: Miles Morales and a new iteration of Little Big Planet, Sackboy: A Big Adventure on offer to name a few. Demon´s Souls coming exclusively to PS5 crowns it as the first next gen specific title, and god does it look good.

Then you take a side glance over at the Xbox Series X launch title list, as that´s all it´s worth. Assassin´s Creed: Valhalla, Fortnite, and NBA 2K21 named as the top three, is that some kind of a joke? Have I slipped in to some kind of coma inducing alternate universe where Xbox have no exclusives at all? Halo Infinite being pushed back was a big mistake by them.

Obviously there are some people that will get both consoles. Virtue signalling with the ¨Ooo look at me with a PS5 and a very big dust collector.¨ You can interchange the console of choice based on your preference, if you prefer.

Basically, this tangent I´m about to go on will specifically be aimed at the Series X and the Series S (which I had almost completely forgotten about). But before I get started, it might be worth mentioning that even though I like the look of the Playstation lineup more, and they did knock it out of the park with their exclusives last gen, I´m still probably going to get the Series X instead. This isn´t just some Playstation fanboy scrawling excrement all over the walls in my padded cell shouting ¨Xbox bad¨ just for the sake of it. Although you could call my writing shite, that´s up for debate.

I was writing a small news article for the announcement of a free generational upgrade for owners of Borderlands 3 when I started thinking about the imminent release of next-gen consoles. I had a whole argument spawning in the vapid expanse inside my head whether next gen is even worth it at launch, PS5 certainly looks like it, but what about the Series X?

I Believe so, for a few reasons. I´ll tell you if you care to indulge me.

Backwards compatibility & Gamepass

Even though backwards compatibility isn´t anything new, it sure can still be exciting. Xbox are proving that with the way they are implementing automatic upgrades to backwards compatible games, with no extra effort from the developers. Simply loading up a game and getting FPS boosts to 60, better colours, lighting and overall graphical quality with automatic HDR upgrades is crazy to think of. It breathes a whole new life in to games you were probably never planning on playing either again, or for the first time. Like I said in my article before, it makes you think that maybe remasters will be a thing of the past, although that´ll probably never happen as long as there´s money to be made.

With just a quick search on Youtube you´ll find examples of games that this is working on. Most recently I saw Fallout 4 which is running at 60fps on the series X. Considering that game is more of a shooter than an RPG, which I´m still upset about, the boost to 60 will actually make it an enjoyable experience. You´ll be walking around the wasteland smoother than an alcoholic smoothskin with maxed out charisma. The whole experience is akin to upgrading your graphics card on your pc and taking old games for a spin to see the difference. Let´s be fair here, if you wanted the latest graphics cards they´ll set you back the same price as a new console, if not slightly more.

I once had a friend tell me that the human eye can´t tell the difference and see if something´s over 30fps. How incredibly sad and clunky life would be if that was true.

Then of course there is Gamepass, which goes hand in hand with backwards compatibility. We may not be getting any good launch titles with the Series X, but there´s a huge backlog of games at your fingertips straight away that will be automatically enhanced. It´s a no brainer signing up for Gamepass, especially knowing that all first party games are released on the service, meaning you can play every new release practically for free.

Quick resume

Another great feature of the Series X, and one you´ve no doubt heard about is quick resume. Being able to have games suspended in the background in the SSD with no adverse affect on performance is mind boggling. I see PC gamers on Twitter saying you can do that on PC anyway. Can you? And why would you? I´ve had a top tier gaming PC before and I would never have two games open at once, I imagine it would be a right drag on overall performance.

This feature being implemented with so much ease is a nice addition, and it works so well. I´ve seen it works after turning the console off and on, even after unplugging the console it still works. You can have 8 games interchangeable at a time, or 5 Triple-A titles, I believe. How many times have you been sitting in a lobby with a mate for ten minutes, ’cause they’ve said they´d ¨be right back¨ just twiddling your thumbs. The new norm would be, oh he´s off for a while, let´s quick resume this game of Fifa I was playing earlier before I was rudely interrupted. Jumping straight back in to a game you simply left on pause, waiting for a maximum of 10 seconds for the game to load. What´s not to like about that? Pausing just as you´re about to concede, leaving a nice surprise for your future self.

Everyone knows about the faster load times, so I won´t harp on about that. It´s nice and saves you time in the long run, but no one´s appreciating this when you have to fork out a hefty chunk of your life savings just for an extra external SSD because game sizes are a joke nowadays and you can only store 5 on the console. I imagine if you skimp out and just buy a HDD the load times will shoot right back up again.

You also won´t be able to fully appreciate next-gen if you don´t have the 4K TV/monitor to experience all the HDR goodness we´re about to receive. So that´s another factor you have to think about. I know a lot of people are on tight budgets, but there are some options on the cheaper side of the market that I would recommend. I would call a 4K display a necessity for next-gen, even getting a One X last generation felt like a waste of money if you didn´t have a 4K display, and that was pretty limited to the amount of games it would display in 4K.

Xbox All Access

Last but not least is the new alternative business model Xbox are going with. Xbox All Access is essentially a credit plan for a new console, for £28.99 a month (for 24 months) you get the Series X and Gamepass Ultimate totaling £695.76. I did the math so you don´t have to, because I´m incredibly smart. Of course you can buy the console outright, which a lot of people will do, but it opens up the possibility of owning a new console to others in less fortunate circumstances. I know for a fact even if I was on a good wage and working in England, I would do this deal. I would 100% take spreading the cost over 2 years instead of hefting out one large lump sum. For this price you get the new console, which´ll last you longer than 2 years (as long as there´s no red rings of death), every new first party game that releases and some, and access to xbox live gold. I honestly nearly fell off my chair when I read about this deal. I believe this is the thing that´ll turn the tide and make it a day one purchase for some.

To summarize, I would say next gen is worth it on launch but there are a lot of ifs. Playstation has a lot going for it in terms of launch titles, Xbox doesn´t, but it makes up for it in other ways. We all know buying a new console is more than just what you get on the day of purchase, you´re buying it for the future, and I´m sure there´s going to be a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

Just promise me, if you´re buying a new console for your kid be it for Christmas or a birthday, don´t accidentally buy the discless version along with physical games. And for the love of god don´t buy the physical copy of Fortnite, it´s a free game!

And on a closing note, just imagine. It´s November, you have the latest and greatest console set up. Cyberpunk 2077 releases, you´re tearing it up in Night City, eyes blinded by the 4K HDR neon lights whilst Keanu Reeves tells you you´re breathtaking. Life is good.

Remember to check back for more at Ready Player Gone.

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Marshall Burrows
Lead Editor @ Ready Player Gone.

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