Do you know that tingling in your stomach? That feeling when a new console hits the market? I love this impatience and anticipation for new hardware. A new generation of consoles should actually be something special. Something that every game fan should look forward to. But when I think of the upcoming winter gaming season, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla and Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War come to mind. Only after a few moments does the penny drop again: Oh yes, there come too Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Although the marketing machinery from Sony and Microsoft is slowly starting up, I just don't want to get into the next-gen mood. Maybe it's because of the large exclusive games that I haven't seen so far, maybe because of the weak staging of both consoles. Or maybe just in the present day ?! The question arises as to whether the next-gen might not be able to wait until next year.
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When, how and where?
I'm writing this article in early September 2020. There was the leak of the Xbox Series S and then the subsequent confirmation by Microsoft. The cute, but apparently somewhat weak mini-console costs 299 euros and will be released on November 10, 2020. The premium model, on the other hand, hits a significantly larger hole in the wallet at 499 US dollars (or euros).
With Sony's Playstation 5 there was even more ambiguity in early September. No price, no release period – based on Nena: "Somehow, somewhere, sometime." Of course, any company can reveal such details with just a tweet or stream. But is that how you stir up enthusiasm before the launch? Not really!
For weeks there were rumors about when it would finally be possible to pre-order. Maybe then something like mood would finally arise. After all, there is a little hunter in each of us who wants his prey … er, his console at home in time.
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Too little incentive to buy
One thing is certain: so far, neither Sony nor Microsoft has been able to adequately stage the strengths of their new flagship products. Sony relies on its own first-party dominance, while Microsoft relies on Game Pass and backward compatibility. But is this what the next evolutionary leap looks like?
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/nextgeneration04-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Also vampires: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will not come until 2021. The reason given was Developer Hardsuit Labs is further fine-tuning the action role-playing game.
Source: Paradox Interactive
The elimination of trade fairs like E3 or Gamescom in 2020 hurts twice in this case. Not only because the annual class reunion was missing. The first contact with the new hardware was also eliminated. No shiny eyes in front of the Sony and Microsoft booths. No flattened noses on the display cases of the new consoles. No practice rounds with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart or Halo: Infinite. Oh … too early?
The temporary failure of Microsoft's flagship exclusive game was a blow to the pit of all Xbox fans and raised many doubts about backward compatibility and the simultaneous release of the game for Xbox Series X and Xbox One. Somehow, the next generation of consoles is more likely to stumble onto the market than make a triumphant entry.
While we are on the subject of postponements: Here too, the corona crisis strikes mercilessly. Halo: Infinite? Postponed. Vampires: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2? Postponed. Deathloop? Also postponed. And whether Cyberpunk 2077 will really be released on November 5, 2020, I will only believe when I have it in my hands.
In other words: The launch lineups for Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X are thinner than ever before. It has been known since the Playstation 3 and Xbox One at the latest that the biggest guns are not always deployed when a new console is launched. But this time it's different. Sure, Ratchet & Clank or Spider-Man: Miles Morales are sure to be top games. But is that really enough? Where are the big system sellers?
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/nextgeneration05-pc-games.png" alt = "Spider-Man: Miles Morales is currently one of the hottest horses in the PS5 stable Insomniac's superhero epic is unlikely to offer anything new in terms of play, but with the brand and the existing product quality it certainly reaches the masses.
No matter how often Sony can present the advantages of the DualSense controller in high-tech trailers. If nobody can try the part, the incentive to buy will definitely not hit the masses. At the moment, Sony and Microsoft are still selling us a pig in a poke. "Look forward to the next generation, it's … great!" One seems to shout out to potential customers. But apart from high-speed SSD hard drives, smart delivery and other cryptic tech formulations, I haven't had the aha moments at almost all showcases.
Next generation? Another time!
Many friends have asked me in the past few weeks if I would pre-order Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X. Mostly I answered yes, but had problems arguing the investment of an estimated 500 euros per platform. Well, it's the end of the year and I can deduct the acquisition costs from the tax. And I like new toys. But actually I'm lying in my own pocket here. Because neither Microsoft nor Sony have so far managed to provide appropriate arguments for their new products.
Everyone has to ask himself whether he or she really needs new consoles in times of a global pandemic, combined with short-time work, insecurity and many other problems. And sometimes it seems as if the two big hardware manufacturers themselves don't know why they are launching the consoles right now.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/nextgeneration06-pc-games.jpg" alt = "The Xbox Series S was first leaked and then officially confirmed. The compact console without physical drive will be released in November 2020 and costs 299 euros.
Maybe the postponement would also be the better solution: Hibernate with titles like (hopefully) Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla or Outriders – and then start a new attempt in 2021. Wishful thinking? Yes. Because of course that won't happen. But sometimes I think it would be the smarter alternative in this messed up year 2020. Or the other way around: Sony and Microsoft, please finally convince me!
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