This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will be the single most important show in the history of the expo. This is not hyperbole. Think about it. Really think about it. Think about what’s happened in this industry since 2013. More importantly, think about what’s not happened in the industry since 2013. Once you realize what’s happened, you begin to understand the gravity of the situation we’re all in. And I’m here to tell you why.
If you’re out of the loop or don’t follow industry news closely, then let’s talk about the last two and a half years. In November 2013, Sony and Microsoft both released underpowered consoles in the Xbox One and PS4 to the masses on the claims of 1080p 60fps “next gen gaming”. In the same month, Nvidia released the 780 Ti, a GPU 3 times more powerful than the PS4.
However, on launch day, both consoles were incapable of delivering 1080p, nevermind 60fps. This continues through to today. When you keep in mind 1080p and 60fps gaming has been possible on the PC for the last ten years, the failings of these current consoles become even more apparent.
Meanwhile, the PC space saw unprecedented technological breakthroughs. High bandwidth memory (HBM) was introduced by AMD in 2015 with the release of their Fury line of graphics cards. The premium VR experience is only available – and only possible – on PC hardware. And just in the last month, both Nvidia and AMD have released incredibly powerful graphics cards for substantially less money than their predecessors even 4 months ago.
Image via videocardz.com
Think about that folks. Very soon you can buy a $200 graphics card which will give you incredible VR performance for (conservatively) 3.8 times the power of the $300 Xbox One. The RX 480 will be a card capable of delivering 60fps gaming at maxed out graphics at 1440p. Meanwhile, the Xbox One is utterly incapable of delivering even 30fps at compromised graphics quality at less than 1080p. In 2016!
The gap between PCs and consoles is utterly cavernous today and it is only getting wider and wider. The PC today is quite literally two generations ahead of these consoles. And who truly benefits from these consoles’ utter lack of power to drive modern games at modern resolutions and modern framerates with modern graphics standards?
I’ll tell you who doesn’t benefit. We, the consumers, certainly don’t benefit. Your average consumer who may not have the time to adequately research industry claims (a working parent for example) was sold on pure lies. They were promised 1080p gaming. They were promised 60fps gaming. They consistently fail to receive that.
Developers absolutely do not benefit from these consoles. Time and time again, they are forced to compromise their vision because of the complete lack of horsepower in these underpowered consoles. There is no better proof of this compromise than the flagship games of the Xbox One and PS4 — Halo 5 and Uncharted 4. Both games were utterly compromised. Art was sacrificed.
Image via GameSpot
Perhaps most criminally, the industry as a whole suffers. Developers (read: artists) cannot fully realize their vision. Consumers fail to receive products they were promised and, in 2016, quite frankly deserve. PC gamers, the consumers with the hardware to see developers’ visions realized, don’t get the experiences that take full advantage of the hardware they paid for because those experiences were developed for the lowest common denominators — these toxic consoles. Innovation stagnates.
Progress, ladies and gentlemen, has ground to a corrosive halt.
In fact, the only party who benefits from these garbage consoles is Microsoft and Sony — the console manufacturers. While creativity and innovation crumble around them, they sit pretty on their 900p 30fps thrones, lining their pockets with more and more money.
This is wrong. It must end. Full stop.
And that brings us neatly to today. E3 is less than a fortnight away. We have seen leaks from Sony’s Neo and Microsoft’s Scorpio. I even wrote about the Neo not too long ago. Both are reported to be much more powerful than the current consoles, though that doesn’t take much at all.
In fact, if the purported specs are correct, these new consoles would be pretty powerful little machines outright. This is a good thing. We desperately need new console hardware in this industry to allow creativity and innovation to flourish once again.
And we need them sooner rather than later.
Microsoft and Sony must announce these machines at E3 this year. The sooner these machines are in the hands of developers, the sooner they’re in the hands of gamers, the sooner new life will be breathed into this stagnating environment.
Development on the PS4 and Xbox One must cease immediately in order to fully leverage the substantial boost in power in the new machines. Will some consumers be left behind? Will they complain? Absolutely. But such is the sacrifice that must be made in order to see progress return to our industry. I do not care about Microsoft’s nor Sony’s bottom line. As a consumer, it’s not my responsibility to care about their pockets. I care about technological and creative progress. And that’s all I care about.
But in reality, whose fault is that really? Microsoft and Sony created this mess. They released these underpowered pieces of trash and sold them on blatant lies. They put themselves and this entire industry in this cesspool of stagnation. They have the responsibility and duty to do right by us.
Microsoft and Sony must announce new consoles at E3. Period.