I was pondering cross gen yesterday and having a brief discussion with the team, which got me thinking – when is the right time to say goodbye? This discussion came about with Sony’s recent announcement that they were delaying God Of War to 2022 and hinting that Horizon Forbidden West may slip to 2022, but they’re not sure at the moment. Part of me thinks this is potentially due to Covid and, because they’re choosing to cater for PS4, in my view the PS4 should be left as it is now. I understand this will be controversial opinion and from a business perspective in Sony’s eyes, it would be illogical due to the sheer millions of PS4 players out there. The problem for me is it holds the PS5 back in theory, as Horizon and God of War will be huge games which they’ll need to turn scope down for the PS4. The PS4 tech isn’t anywhere near the level of the PS5, in particular its CPU. Don’t get me wrong, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War (2018) were both stunning games, but I felt they ran the PS4 to its very limit, as did The Last Of Us 2. They certainly made my PS4 sound like it was going to take off!
The other aspect is that this is a U-turn for cross gen on Sony’s part. When God Of War was announced along with Gran Turismo 7, these were listed as PS5 games with no mention of PS4 in the initial reveals. In the case of God of War and Gran Turismo 7, this seems to have recently changed. However, GT 7 hasn’t officially been confirmed that it will go to PS4, but my suspicion is that it will. This has to be a business based decision as, like I said earlier, it wouldn’t go down well leaving 100+ million customers behind. I will though bring you back to an original quote from Sony:
“We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features. We are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
How is the above going to happen if we keep returning to the PS4? Returnal and upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart have been the two major releases that have stayed PS5 only, and in Returnal’s case, it shows that it’s used the PS5 power and is stunning to look at. I haven’t played the new Ratchet and Clank game yet, but from what Sony have shown, I can’t see the PS4 running it, mainly due to how it loads.
What drew me to PS4 initially was its exclusives. The more games that become cross gen, it reduces the incentive for a buyer to purchase the PS5, when you can get a PS4 for half the price and still experience new games. It’s easy to see what the masses will opt for! This is making the PS5 list of exclusives thinner as time goes by and is also leading to mixed communications from Sony when you looked at their original quote. I want my PS5 to play games my PS4 can’t and I want my PS5 games to make use of the extra abilities, such as the DualSense pad which is brilliant! I worry that with PS4 being catered for, this wont happen for a good few years. To me, that’s too long!
Let’s take a look over the pond as Microsoft’s approach has been different with the messaging being the same throughout, I remember when Series S was announced questions were asked if it would run Series X games due to the power difference and it was quickly confirmed any Series X game will run on the Series S, not only that they made it clear that least in the first couple years Xbox One would still get games and they would get continued support, in essence this made me think Microsoft weren’t quite ready game wise for next gen, even now they haven’t put out as many next gen games as Sony (granted there isn’t many by Sony either). Microsoft has always been great with backwards compatibility too which helps bridge the gap along with Game Pass. However in the past day or so news broke that Xbox One will get Series X/S games via cloud streaming. Whether you like streaming or not is a different debate entirely, but it just shows the different approach there taking whilst remaining consistent with their initial plan. Xbox believe in cross gen, backwards compatibility and making Xbox games available on every device.
Taking from the original Series X announcement:
“More than 50 new games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, DiRT 5, Gears Tactics, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Watch Dogs: Legion. With Smart Delivery you only have to buy these games once to play the best versions for your console, across generations.”
This instantly made me feel that a Series X really wasn’t needed… it was going to be stuck in this cross gen limbo. However they were open with it so whilst I thought it wasn’t for me, I didn’t mind. In contrast Sony’s reveal for PS5 did the opposite and I thought next gen would start fairly quickly. Due to this PS5 was what I purchased, and as it’s panning out PS5 isn’t delivering entirely what I expected exclusivity wise. This leads me back to me first thought- when do you think it’s right to say goodbye to the previous generation? For me, it’s when the new one launches…