The last system I can remember really being excited to get was probably the original Xbox or the PS2. Both of those, and the GameCube to some extent, marked my return to home console gaming after skipping Sony’s first effort and the N64. I can’t remember why I skipped those or what happened, but up until that point my experience of gaming at home was with my father’s PC and the SNES and Genesis.
By the way, those two systems were easily remembered as ones I pined over, and not because they were new systems like today, but because holy shit! A new Mario game! And damn…Sonic is all fast and has that attitude. Altered Beast?! I played that in some arcades and the guy turns into animals OMGWTFBBQ!!11eleventyone11!! I mean, really…those were games I desperately wanted to play and they came packed in with the system. Something I didn’t get with my PS2 & Xbox purchase. However, they were still driven by a strong desire to play their launch lineup. The Xbox, of course, had Halo and I had a slight urge to play another Oddworld as well. The PS2 had SSX, Summoner, Midnight Club, and FantaVision (shut up). As for the GameCube, it didn’t have much out of the gate, but I really wanted to play that Rogue Squadron game, and there was always the promise that a new Nintendo begets a new Mario game. So I was more in it for that than anything else.
Still, the Xbox and PS2 had a strong opening even though they were a year apart in release. I played a ton of Halo and loved that system dearly. Just as much as I’d come to love my PS2. Seriously, SSX was one of the most fun games I’d played at launch and didn’t feel like some kind of a stretch in filling out a launch lineup. It was just a damn blast to play. And I looked forward to both systems because of that reason – they had games I wanted to play.
I have a hard time saying that today with the impending release of the PS4 and Xbox One. Hell, I had a hard time saying that with the PS3 and Xbox 360 release. Advancing the technology is great and always a good thing, but the launch lineup for that generation was pretty lackluster and this next one is as well. Keep in mind I am only speaking for myself with this so let me explain a little bit about why that is. At the core of it is my PC. A machine I built just over a year ago and seems to only now be showing off what it can do with titles like BioShock Infinite, Batman Arkham Origins, and (probably) Assassin’s Creed IV. And that’s just this past year, to say nothing of what Titanfall and others next year will look like. The PC gives me these games at a cheaper price either out of the gate or, at the very least, faster than I’ll get them cheaper on the console. Currently it allows me to play these games at a max setting that the PS4 and Xbox One just cannot match.
Now that just covers the multiplat titles. The games I mentioned for the SNES, Genesis, PS2, and Xbox were all first party exclusive titles. And the first party titles for the Xbox One and PS4 just aren’t getting me excited. I’ve never been a fan of the KillZone franchise. It never clicked with me and has really remained off my radar for the most part. The last I ever saw of Knack was back in February with Cerny on stage talking up the system and his game. Sony hasn’t really been pushing that game and the media hasn’t been doing it either. The best I can hope for, personally, is Resogun, and that’s a PSN title! That doesn’t diminish the game itself but it’s surprising to me that your best launch title is on PSN (and free to PS+ members). Although, maybe that isn’t so surprising as I played a ton of Geometry Wars and Hexic HD on the 360 when it launched.
On the Xbox One side of the equation they have Dead Rising 3. I plan to check it out but I haven’t really been paying attention to it. I played the first Dead Rising during the desert of no games in the early first year of the Xbox 360. I haven’t played it or the sequel since. I like my racing titles, but I’m not a fan of the sim type of racing games that is Forza 5 (unless it has a DeLorean in it). RYSE has me curious but cautious, and, again, the best I can hope for comes digitally from Xbox Live in LocoCycle. Oh, and I’ve heard good things about Zoo Tycoon (or real life Viva Pinata, I guess).
The point I am making here is that the launch games aren’t driving me to buy the systems. I want them, but I can easily remember a time when I wanted a system to play the games that launched with it. Now…now it’s just some weird caveman instinct in me to own something right when it releases and be within that crowd of people who can talk from experience in owning the system and checking it out – even though I might not be playing much, if anything, on them. For now, at least.
I mean, even if I didn’t get either system at launch I’ll own them eventually. Naughty Dog will do what they do and release a game or 4 on it that I will WANT to play. And, hell, what if we see The Last Guardian show up – that’ll put a system in my hands for that title alone. On Microsoft’s side, Halo will release and I’ll want that, I’m sure. However, it begins to look a bit bleak there for their first party titles. They’ll have some surprises, sure, but at the outset I can’t see much in their future for me at the moment. I’m sure it’ll come though. Then we go to the third parties who usually will include the PC, but sometimes stick to just the home systems or delay the ever-loving shit out of putting their game on the PC. Rockstar will be there with something eventually and they made Table Tennis – something I spent $60 on when it released. Destiny seems to be destined for ONLY being on the PS4 & Xbox One (fix that Daniel…do it!), so I would have a system by then as well.
Eventuality, price drops, exclusives, form factor updates, system improvements, and holiday bundles would put both systems in my hands in the future. That part is inevitable. But man, I do miss that excitement of having a brand new game to play at launch on my brand new system. For now, we’ll just get the wedding over with and take a rain check on the honeymoon.