Every generation of consoles has had it’s highs and lows when it comes to graphics. Right from the good old PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast to the PS2 and Xbox, and the PS3 and Xbox 360. Every subsequent game that releases on the consoles, feature better graphics. Lets leave game-play aside for a moment, because sometimes the biggest question that’s there on everyone’s mind is “Has the console peaked in terms of graphics?”
If you look back at the PS2 and Xbox, The PS2 released way back in 2000, and the Xbox in 2001 – it took the PS2 nearly 7 years to hit its stride in terms of optimal graphics, with God of War II, and the Xbox just 4 years, with Ninja Gaiden Black. Sure, there’s the Gears of War game too, but Ninja Gaiden Black edges it out narrowly in terms of graphics and game-play. Not to mention how smoothly the game ran on the original Xbox. Now, we’re not taking into consideration cross platform games, because these will look just as good, or bad on both platforms – give and take some. Similarly with the PS3 and Xbox 360, it was Uncharted 3 and Halo 4, that was the best representation of their graphical prowess – that’s 5 years for the PS3 and 7 for the Xbox 360. Again, not considering GTA V, because, we already know the graphics on that is un-friggin believable…it really pushed both consoles to the hilt; but like we said, it’s about when the consoles hit their optimal stride.
When will the PS4 and Xbox One hit their stride?
Let’s get one thing straight, it’s not about which console will end up looking the best, it’s about them finding that perfect balance. Graphics heavy games sell – and sell well, but only if the game-play, and the fluidity of the game-play is in sync.
In our estimate and going by past trends, it could be anywhere between 2016-2017.It’s certainly not going to take the avg. of 4-5 years to get there. “Next Gen”, as you may call it, will get here much sooner than expected.
But still…why so long, you ask? There’s already talks about consoles utilizing 95% of their resources et al -Whether you sit on the Xbox or PlayStation side of the fence – both consoles have some undisputable grunt under their respective casings; yet many titles still aren’t even hitting 30FPS at native 1080p resolution, let alone the ideal 60FPS. Why is this?
The majority of the problem revolves around parity between console versions; many cite the Xbox One as not being powerful enough to handle many games at 1080p at a steady 60FPS – despite first party titles such as Forza 5 displaying otherwise. Over a period of time developers will learn to code better for the consoles, better game engines will emerge, existing engines will be tweaked for throughput rather than just visual candy. A console hits it’s stride, when it gets the perfect balance between graphics and fluidity. This is going to be very subjective with every game release.
How does one tell that a better looking game will not come by 6 or 8 months down the line? or maybe even 2 years down the line?
While this may not be a very good example, think of Dead Space 3 – the graphics on the PS3 though far improved over Dead Space 2, was terrible to play. Frame-rate drops, uneven textures etc. Think of GTA IV. GTA IV had a terrible game engine. Bulky, sluggish, and at times you’d wonder if you actually bought a PlayStation 2.5 instead of the 3, and that was way back in 2005/06. Similarly for GTA V (2013) – while the engine was much improved, the frame rate drops couldn’t have been avoided. They pushed the graphics on it so far, that game-play fluidity was scarified. That’s not what we call ideal game-play. Think of, ‘The Last of Us‘ – visually a stunning game, marked improvement over Uncharted 3, but there are several instances of frame rate drops and unwanted jaggies by using lower resolution textures to balance it out. It makes you feel like the console in on it’s last legs. It’s a different thing that it actually was.
Having said that, we think that with the PS4 & Xbox One, they will hit their stride in a few years from now. There will be several games that will blow the graphics out of the water, and then there will be those that will be defined by the hours of fluidity of the gameplay – Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is one such example, running at 1080p at 60fps – more such games will follow, and they will look better and play better. It’s hard to pin point at this stage, what game will define this generation, but if we are to go by what we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the PS4 or Xbox One – either way, YOU, ‘The Gamer’ stand to experience the best, which is yet to come, and that day isn’t very far.
Who knows? Can they eventually squeeze out 4K at 60fps?
Let us know what you think, and sound off in the comments.