Will the Scorpio and PS4 Pro kill off the traditional generation cycle? Is it a good thing if they do? Who are these upgraded consoles for?
Call me a cranky old man, but I fear this change. I believe it’s anti-consumer and benefits the console manufacturers the most.
Mobile manufacturers like Apple have been charging big money for yearly hardware upgrades and it appears Sony and Microsoft want a similar deal. Why wait 5+ years to sell a new console when you can cut that down drastically?
The PC and GPU market is obviously the most comparable. Gamers can get away with aging hardware, but play at lower resolutions and frame rates, deal with hardware issues, and spend far more compared to a new $400 console every generation. I’m not a fan of potentially playing low-grade ports on my PS4 in 2018 because the PS4 Pro 2 has come out to compete with the Scorpio S.
Many console owners choose the platform because of its simplicity compared to PC gaming. Forcing publishers to develop games playable on 2-3 wide ranging platforms per console family could be a disaster.
The PS3 launched in 2006 and The Last of Us didn’t release until 2013. Naughty Dog used their ample knowledge of the hardware to produce a stunning game that many critics hailed as the best of the generation.
Or check out the evolution of Mario 1 to Mario 3, both released on the NES.
While the PC will always have the best looking games due to its constant upgrade strategy (and larger components), consoles can still produce great visuals that evolve throughout the generation.
VR is the wildcard and the best case for demanding a sudden jump in hardware power for the luxury market. For the high-end consumers that want the best VR experience, a Scorpio that can handle the higher than normal system requirements makes sense. Frame rates must remain high to avoid nausea and two images must be rendered mere inches from your eyes. Perhaps this was the reason for the beefier specs all along.
Personally, I view the mid-gen refresh as an insult to the millions of console-owners that have made this generation so successful already. If console go the way of PCs and phones, I’m not expecting to like it, but I’d love to be proved wrong.