#1 Posted by Excast (937 posts) -

I own a Playstation 3.  Looking at games that are currently being pushed for the next year or so like Last of Us and Watch Dogs, I'm honestly not finding myself really pining for better graphics or more power.  Is true "next gen" hardware (Not the Wii U) going to have trouble when it comes to making that leap that really separates them from the current generation of consoles?
 
I mean, the jump from Playstation to Playstation 2 was remarkable.  So was the jump from PS2 to PS3.  We now see games that are able to project almost photo realistic character designs with huge, amazing worlds to explore. 
 
To me it seems like we are starting to reach the point where the differences will not be as profound.  We are talking about things that you are going to need fairly advanced HD televisions to even really notice.  Development times and costs will likely increase just to be able to eke out that extra bit that probably doesn't mean as much.
 
I guess what I am trying to ask is, when does just a little bit more become not worth it both for game developers and the consumers who are going to be asked to invest in yet another new line of hardware?  How much better can games really look within a reasonable development cycle?  How much are console owners willing to pay en masse to get "just a bit more"?

#2 Edited by artofwar420 (6291 posts) -

I think your answer is found in the length of the current cycle. Except when you go into PC gaming, the rules kind of go out the window. If you wanna call it "next gen", PC has been there for a while despite the wealth of neutered console ports. I fully expect the consoles to last at least another year. Hell, maybe even two. Your average mainstream consumer thinks current console graphics are just fine. I would venture to guess that not even a great majority of them know what HDMI is.

TL;DR Console plebes are covered in flies. /jk

#3 Posted by MAGZine (438 posts) -

@Excast said:

How much are console owners willing to pay en masse to get "just a bit more"?

As much as Sony and Microsoft tell them are appropriate.

Your point is also why I think Nintendo has the upper hand. They're actually introducing new hardware. Something interesting and innovative. Not saying that MS/Sony won't do something crazy, but right now it sounds like they're going to update the hardware in their respective consoles, rebadge it, pretty it up, and call it a day. Yep. 8 years in the making, folks. Some games have been developed for 8 years and have more to show for it than the 8-year-developed hardware does.

#4 Posted by Excast (937 posts) -
@MAGZine said:

@Excast said:

How much are console owners willing to pay en masse to get "just a bit more"?

As much as Sony and Microsoft tell them are appropriate.

Your point is also why I think Nintendo has the upper hand. They're actually introducing new hardware. Something interesting and innovative. Not saying that MS/Sony won't do something crazy, but right now it sounds like they're going to update the hardware in their respective consoles, rebadge it, pretty it up, and call it a day. Yep. 8 years in the making, folks. Some games have been developed for 8 years and have more to show for it than the 8-year-developed hardware does.

I think the days of "You will pay what we tell you to pay..and like it" are over.  Heck, look at the last 3 big hardware launches.  PS3 struggled earlier because Sony tried to gouge their fan base with a price point that was unacceptable.  3DS and Vita also suffered from similar problems.   Gaming is an expensive hobby.  People are demanding more bang for their buck.
 
As for Nintendo?  I don't see a mass market appeal for that system.  Hardcore gamers aren't going to invest money to play games they can already enjoy on the consoles they already own.  The casual gamers and soccer moms that picked up a Wii controller because of the "get up and move"mentality are going to look at this new controller and wonder what the heck it is.
#5 Posted by G_Locke (11 posts) -

Pretty much. While each gen will bring some technical improvements every time, it's really not enough to become groundbreaking imo.

But I'm skipping next gen anyway. Next gen is Backlog Gen ^_^

#6 Posted by MAGZine (438 posts) -

@Excast: My 60 year old father, who follows just general news, saw the demo of the Wii U + tab shortly after it was announced and knew exactly what it was. It's not really a difficult thing to figure out. It's an extra screen, not a prosthetic limb. I've seen more posts on GB saying "I don't even know what it does?!" then I'd expect from a gaming site.

Also, Sony didn't try to gounge their fanbase. AFAIK, Sony never made a dime on a PS3 sale, and even if they did on launch, it was not very much. Hardware is expensive, and they went too big, too fast. Sure, "it only does everything," but it costs like it does, too.

If Sony and MS can't charge big money for a new console, they're either going to have not as great hardware as people expect them to have, or they're going to be absorbing a lot of the cost, hoping to move games. I'd say expect to be disappointed with the specs of the new "next-gen" consoles.

#7 Edited by Tennmuerti (8123 posts) -

I want to play games at an actual 1080p, at 60fps, with proper AA/AF/dynamic shadows, better physics, and most importantly high res textures that can at least stand up up close. The current gen consoles cannot provide such an experience. Hopefully next gen (IF it is in the range of mid-high end PCs) can do this, then I will gladly get a new system for the console exclusives. Edit: (also near instant load/saves times ala pc would be nice)

Everytime I pop in a game in my PS3 like Darksouls/Dragons Dogma/Darksiders a huge though pops into my had: "man I wish this was on PC and didn't look like shit", because the design is awesome but the tech is lacking. With Darksiders i got my wish.

And you don't need some advanced HD tv to see the huge quality difference, it's obvious any normal non shit HD tv out on the market these days.

#8 Edited by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

This is why it's smart to introduce a new controller concept. I don't know if Wii U will be the best console next generation, but I know a lot of people don't think graphics can get better than they are on consoles (they can if you look at the PC though) and even if the graphics can get better, people won't be blown away by it. So instead of making people blow 599 US dollars on improved graphics that no one will care about anyway, they introduce a new controller that makes their system stand out from the others.

That said, we haven't even seen what Sony and Microsoft are planning, so it's really hard to speculate on this.

#9 Posted by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -

There's still a lot fo elements that can be improved in games. Graphics can dramatically be improved.

#10 Edited by believer258 (11949 posts) -

More power means they can do more stuff, and not just with the graphics either. Battlefield 3 on consoles has a 24 player cap. The PC version has a 64 cap. This is because consoles are lagging incredibly far behind PC's, so at this point it isn't just graphics and frame rate that are suffering.

We now see games that are able to project almost photo realistic character designs with huge, amazing worlds to explore.

I don't want to undermine Naughty Dog's coding and engine and stuff, because it's fantastic. But part of the reason their games look so great is because they have a lot of tricks under the hood. Notice how linear the games are and how often there's at least one wall blocking your field of view. Sure, there's the sequence on the rooftops in Uncharted 2 and other things where you can see out in the distance, but there's still a whole lot of tricks going on to keep that happening. No open world game can look as pretty as Naughty Dog's stuff on current hardware because it just can't process those kinds of graphics on a grand scale.

I'm not yearning for a new generation at the moment because I can't really pay for it now. However, I am excited to see what sorts of things might happen with newer tech and, like I've mentioned before, it isn't just graphics that are lagging behind.

Online
#11 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

T'aint just about graphics. We're a long ways away from hitting a wall in system performance.

#12 Posted by l4wd0g (1959 posts) -

I think we need to better define what "next generation" means. Are we talking about the next system, or are we talking expectations.

#13 Posted by M_Shini (551 posts) -

I'm in the boat where it feels weird to think about getting a new console, granted they haven't announced the new one's yet (not really counting Wii U), i'm already getting everything i was from consoles and pc stuff, and even still there hasn't been a Holy crap wow moment of some game that takes advantage of crazy awesome hardware similar to the Original Crysis when that made a stir.

It would be great if they just allow games to do more interesting things or even run better and to the point where almost every game is coming out looking fantastic instead of only a select few, but even still that idea doesn't really do much for me to get me excited, not yet anyway.

#14 Posted by TooWalrus (13221 posts) -

Built a gaming PC last month- now I'm spoiled. I'm not hyped for the next generation of consoles- because I've already got it.

#15 Posted by Talis12 (488 posts) -

i think a majority of next gen power will be used for other things than graphics.. of course graphics can still be improved upon slightly but i think they will focus more on animations, load times and physics etc.

Imagine a game like GTA where you could walk into every house in the city, not just those important to the story, and have no load times between the outside world and the interiors you walk into. Watch Dogs also showed the guy walking past an alley and you could see his jacket move with the wind.. right now its pretty much only applied to the character you are playing but what if everything in the world had it? all AI, garbage and leafs etc.. the world you would play in would become so much more dynamic and interesting.

right now if you kick/shoot a garbage bin and it launches across the street, the cars dont get affected and just keep moving on their AI paths.. what if you kicked the bin, the car moved to avoid it and ran over someone on the sidewalk because of it? this might still be years away but we are heading that way step by step.. the only problem is that because its step by step you barely notice it.. its not leap after leap anymore.

#16 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

i mean the best looking game ive seen at E3 so far purely from a graphics standpoint is probably star wars 1313, and yes that agme looks amazing. but uh. im in the same boat, i thought pretty much every major game they showed looked amazing.

like everyone was blown away by watch dogs, as was i. i thought it was the best game i saw so far from E3. but everyones arguing "waah it wont look like that on 360/ps3" "that was a super powered PC it was playing off of so it wont really look like that" WHO CARES? that is not what i was impressed by in the demo. i was impressed by the possibilities of an open world with all those awesome gameplay tools they showed in the game. the core concept, a theme that satires our societies reliance on digital means. sure it looked pretty but that is not what impressed me with that game.

i dont think graphics are going to take a HUGE bump like everyones expecting when we hit the new consoles. yeah, i bet games will look better, but not by a ton. like hte jump from PS1 to PS2, or PS2 to PS3, i dont htink we're going to see that jump and that doesnt bother me one bit.

#17 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

PLaystation 1 to playstation two wasn't more than I', seeing this generation, it's just harder to see because games already look good. But that said, you haven't really seen the most extreme examples of next gen just yet, so I don't really know where you are getting your idea that it won't be as big a jump as that. But it certainly won't be the jump from last gen to this gen, because there were such huge fundamental technical leaps in the basic way games are rendered and the hardware on which they render.

Also, the focus this generation is on dynamic techniques and simulation being done in real time, which is actually ridiculous when you know what goes into it. If you look at the smoke and particles (and apparently the explosions) in the 1313 demo, those were simulated in ways we NEVER came close to seeing being done in real time. The character's faces were FAR more detailed, something you could see in the animations. The hair and clothing was much more detailed and less static. Look at that SquareEnix tech demo, and you see video game hair that actually looks pretty damn good. It's not as small of a jump as you think, it's just that we're already so much further up than we were before.

I'd also like to add that things like LoD will be a huge thing that you don't notice immediately but will be greatly improved in the big scale/open world games.

#18 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Next Gen isn't about graphics. With the next gen it brings new ways to make games. A game like Assassin's Creed couldn't be made on last gen hardware or at least not to this extent. It's about creating new gameplay and new genres for games. Just think about all of the new genres and types of games that have been made in this gen exclusively. Graphics are just the icing on the top. Everything will be better hopefully in the next gen. Loading times, framerate, and much more. We need a new gen after 7 years. It's vital.

#19 Posted by Little_Socrates (5677 posts) -

Even without graphics it means a lot.

But uh, in terms of graphics, did you see 1313?

#20 Edited by Xerxes8933A (227 posts) -

I built my system around the time the 360 and PS3 came out. To this day it can run everything they can, while looking the same quality as them. But over the years those settings have dropped from Very High, to High, to Medium, to now being medium-low. But still, those medium-low settings on my PC look about the same as the console version does.

This afternoon I built my new system, it only cost a few hundred and is made up of mid-high range parts from about a year ago. Now I can play those games at very high again. I can tell you one thing, we have entered next gen already. The consoles just need to catch up. There's a reason why the best looking games at E3 are being demoed on the PC.

#21 Edited by wewantsthering (1571 posts) -

Watch Dogs will not look as good as the demo on the PS3. It was running on a high-end PC. My beef with most console games is that they're still 720p and sub-40 fps. Like

#22 Posted by ztiworoh (731 posts) -

I think that as the generations progress, graphical improvements are a going to experience diminishing returns. At some point, yes they might get some things a bit better, but overall, you won't have the big leaps in graphical fidelity like you have in the past.

That said, there are still huge leaps that could be made in other areas. Size and detail of the worlds you play in for one. AI routines have a LONG way to go. So will we see improvements? Definitely, but it might not look like that as much on the surface.

#23 Posted by benspyda (2035 posts) -

I doubt we'll see such a huge jump that happened with this console generation, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Until the games we are playing look identical to real life there is still room for improvement.

#24 Posted by Brendan (7817 posts) -

I remember the initial jump from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360. It wasn't that big at all. CoD 2, Kameo, Gun, etc... Those games did not push the boundaries far past their predecessors. A year later with Oblivion and Gears of War, and in 2007 with every-awesome-game-ever, that was where the term "next-gen" really meant something. It'll be the same this time around. The launch window games for the next systems (probably) aren't going to be eye-poppingly new.

#25 Posted by niamahai (1405 posts) -

Next Gen means very much.

To your wallet.

#26 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

It's not going to be about paying a lot to get a little more power. It's going to be about, 'this is what the games come out for now.' Your PS3 won't get new games and the PS4 has all the new cool looking stuff you'll want to play.

#27 Edited by efman (212 posts) -

Among the many games that have been shown, the few technological stand-outs are Star Wars 1313 and Watchdogs, yet, quite honestly, in no way did I find myself having my world rocked at seeing these games for the first time. Once the next generation of consoles hit, the games are only going to look better as the hardware and the processes mature, much like they have on the 360 and PS3. I think, as far as visual fideilty is concerned, we're balancing a sweet spot where the outright noticable "visual look" of them are going to be the equivalent of how the ease with which we use Google has advanced, versus how it worked at the outset -- incremental advance.

#28 Posted by RVonE (4643 posts) -

The term "generation" in "next generation" refers to the time period in which consoles are released and (to a degree) to the incompatibility of the hardware with other generations. The current generation is, arguably, the seventh generation of consoles. As long as companies keep replacing existing consoles with new hardware that isn't 'forward compatible', for lack of a better way to put it (meaning playstation 4 games that are playable on playstation 3), the term "next generation of consoles" is entirely sensible and meaningful.

#29 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@Excast:

PC gaming is currently on the rise again, because tonnes of core gamers whom did most their gaming on consoles now prefer the PC for all their gaming experiences again. I for one buy multiplatform games on PC. More frames, higher rendering resolutions, crisper textures and more special effects - once you get used to such things, it's extremely hard to go back to the 720p/30 FPS standard on current gen consoles.

Additionally to the benefits of higher fidelity rendering - some experiences just can't be done with current console processing power - and due to the rise of production costs, games that do exploit the full power of high end PC hardware are few and far between. And even so, it's only enthusiast mods maxing the current high end PC potential. We are still worlds away from true fidelty in virtual worlds - we will be getting there.

Establishing the next processing power baseline is extremely important for the evolution of virtual worlds and game design - don't you ever doubt it! Gorge your eyes on some iCEnhancer modded GTA IV - it might help you see...

#30 Posted by Excast (937 posts) -
@sideshow said:

i think a majority of next gen power will be used for other things than graphics.. of course graphics can still be improved upon slightly but i think they will focus more on animations, load times and physics etc.

Imagine a game like GTA where you could walk into every house in the city, not just those important to the story, and have no load times between the outside world and the interiors you walk into. Watch Dogs also showed the guy walking past an alley and you could see his jacket move with the wind.. right now its pretty much only applied to the character you are playing but what if everything in the world had it? all AI, garbage and leafs etc.. the world you would play in would become so much more dynamic and interesting.

right now if you kick/shoot a garbage bin and it launches across the street, the cars dont get affected and just keep moving on their AI paths.. what if you kicked the bin, the car moved to avoid it and ran over someone on the sidewalk because of it? this might still be years away but we are heading that way step by step.. the only problem is that because its step by step you barely notice it.. its not leap after leap anymore.

The thing is though, what would the development time be on a game like that?  You reach the point where it is impossible to have games come out with reasonable time frames at a reasonable price point..  I would love to see things like that, but not if it means the console is going to cost $600, games are going to be $80, and the development cycle is going to double.
#31 Posted by DBagalot (159 posts) -

I HOPE there's innovative things done with the next consoles. I mean yea physics, graphics, frame rate, textures, and shadows could be all improved really well. But it'd be cool to see a Playstation and/or an Xbox do cool things with how you actually play the games, like, (Dare I say it) The Wii U.

#32 Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff (5432 posts) -
#33 Posted by neoepoch (1295 posts) -

The 360 has hardware from probably 10~ years ago. It has 512 mb of RAM. I'm going to let that sink in.....512 mb. I'm not sure what the PS3 specs are but I can imagine it is quite similar. Developers are having to use all sorts of software tricks in order to get the games looking as good as they can now, and they aren't going to get much better. To be frank, I don't necessarily want better graphics (although that would be nice) I want to make sure that the games will have the best performance as well. Although I guess my point is also moot, because I almost always play multiplatform games on my PC, and just play the consoles for their exclusives.

#34 Edited by crithon (3312 posts) -

anyone who's making bleed edge graphics is out to sell the license of a game engine.

The real issue is is the infrastructure to maintain and optimize games for multiplatform releases.

#35 Posted by hershelgeorgelives (78 posts) -

I believe people think this after every hardware cycle, I certainly didn't think games could look much better after Xbox.

#36 Posted by Trapsummers (11 posts) -

There is a lot in terms of programming that you can do with modern GPUs that you just cannot do on the 360’s hardware. I think you might be right, at first, you might not see an immediate improvement in the way games look. At the same time, there is a lot that developers can do with a newer GPU that would lessen the amount of work they need to put into a game in order to make a game look the way it does now. Less time spent on making trees sway in the wind equals more time spent on other aspects of the game.

That is not the mention the obvious fact that new hardware will allow for higher resolution textures.

#37 Posted by mosdl (3229 posts) -

Take Uncharted and God of War. Their latest releases were graphically impressive but were quite linear. Next gen would mean they can keep the visuals and expand the gameplay/evironments. Open world Nathan Drake could be amazing. As would Kratos in a Skyrim open world game.

#38 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

My thoughts- I don't see any of the people who bought the wii buying the wiiu. Most of the people who play the wii dont really care about the games and to them just having wii sports is perfectly fine. So i dont see how they are going to convince their audience to upgrade.

Sony if they can get their online to work aswell as microsoft's and if their system is easier to program for next generation could do very well.

Microsoft- they seem to being doing rather well i wish they would improve their IPs outside of just halo but seeing as how gears was an exclusive and so was mass effect they might have something similiar up their sleeve for next gen.

if that star wars 1313 or watchdogs is anything to go by then we will definitely see some improvements in graphic. I'm hoping they improve online as well so the consoles can finally have a 64-32 player battlefield matches we shall see. I'm cod crashes and burns that franchise needs to die. It seems activision has a contigency plan though for when that happens with that new bungie game of their's

#39 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

i think that there aren't really any next generation hardware yet. there should be a big leap from graphics again as the hardware is almost 6 years now.

#40 Posted by LordAndrew (14426 posts) -

For me, it's not so much improved graphics that I want out of next gen. But if that power could be used to create worlds that feel more alive, like in the Watch Dogs trailer... Great! I want bigger, more interactive worlds with less restrictions. Hopefully next generation can provide that.