"Next Gen" Gaming, What Does It Mean?

Sega Mega Dave

Distinguished Member
Hi Guys,

Something I keep seeing more and more as time goes on are the words "next gen gaming" and especially how consoles have slowed us from reaching that elusive stage in gaming.

The question is though what is "next gen gaming" and is the problem much deeper than just outdated consoles?

For me the problem lies deeper than outdated consoles, for me it's technology itself, are we at a limit for modern day? Is BF3 the maximum current technics in game development allow?

I am no game developer but over the last decade has the basics of how a game is created differed? Are the basic principles the same? I imagine they are very similar apart from a few tweaks, upgrades and some bells and whistles.

For me "next gen" is so much more than just added textures and improved game mechanics, for me "next gen" is a whole new level, a new technology and a new radical way in the way games are developed and i just don't see what that is at the moment and nor do i think we have the software or hardware available to create that "new way"

With the above from a purely business view it makes very little sense creating new consoles because all you will have then is just better looking games with improved mechanics and for me that's not enough.

We need something groundbreaking like the move from 2D to 3D gaming, we need something that will make us stand up and be wowed.

For me DX11 and a pretty game isn't "next gen", it's merely an improvement on what we have, for me "next gen" is not even close. The industry needs to change and until then we will just improve on what we have.

What are your thoughts?

Also lets not turn it into a console bashing thread or a big argument, i'm interested in other like minded peoples opinions on what they expect and what they want.
 

WildeKarde

Distinguished Member
Well my thoughts are the latest console is always seen as "next gen" as that is the latest in terms of hardware and all games are written for that.

Until the next version of the console is announced as it take that title.

For a PC I don't feel we get to the point of next gen. Hardware is always improving (anything from faster and more powerful to just doing things better than the older versions).

We have as PC gamers the flaw of never sitting still with hardware development so do we ever get to the "next gen"? Consoles are designed to a defined spec for each generation so they achieve it on launch.
 

Sega Mega Dave

Distinguished Member
But is just an upgrade of hardware and software next gen? For me it has to be something completely new otherwise it's the same stuff just slightly improved.
 

The One

Active Member
I think there will come a point where new ideas graphically will slow down or cease... so what we will hopefully see is new ideas of innovation, thats maybe why all the consoles have tried to enter with the Wii remote/kinect/move ideas, but I'd say those weren't so successful...so for Me, its innovation, graphics will always improve, but I can't see there being a big jump between generations now..
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
Next gen for me is the next big "WOW... how did they do that?!" moment...

I am talking about the first time you rode on the monorail in Half Life or used the gravity gun in Half Life 2.

The first time you played an Ultima game.

The first time you played Ultima Underworld and had complete 360 control when walking around instead of moving in blocks.

The first time you played an Origins Wing Commander/Strike Commander game compared to what went before them.

The first time you shot down trees and threw someone into a building to destroy it in Crysis, or even when you first realised just how big and open Farcry was.

The thrill you got when you first loaded up Morrowind and just how big that map was and how much you could do in that game.

I could go on for hours...

The difference being that most of even the top games now, although they look good and are pretty impressive... I can't remember much in even the last 4 years or so that genuinely makes you go WOW!

We've seen the Unreal Tech demo and we've gone WOW... but this isn't gaming reality yet.

Hopefully Battlefield 3 or Elder Scrolls Skyrim will get some of the wow factor in it , but I believe they'll be amazing games... just not anything that will completely change the game up to the next level like some of the examples above.
 

WildeKarde

Distinguished Member
But is just an upgrade of hardware and software next gen? For me it has to be something completely new otherwise it's the same stuff just slightly improved.

Possibly you are right in some aspect.
Is street fighter 4 any closer to being next gen from IK+for example?
Does the latest fps radically change from doom origins? You still move looking ahead and shoot enemies.

Next gen seems to be used when visually and performance wise it moves on from previous versions. It also seems to be more focused in terms of the graphics and sound tho' than anything else - why else would the annual update of games be classed as "next gen".

I don't know if you could get a completely original idea in terms of game as we'd probably be influenced by our experiences.
 

DJSigma

Banned
"Next gen" has became a buzz word that basically just means "HD console games". It's pretty meaningless when people use it like that, because the 360, PS3 and Wii are current gen consoles.

As for "next gen" being something ground-breaking and new, what would you suggest? What would you like to see?

If people are tired of certain game formulas, then they clearly don't show that in the games that they buy (generally I mean, not people in this thread specifically). More innovative and creative (and cheaper) indie games are regularly overlooked for the next big shooter where you run about a map killing people to earn badges.
 

semiskimmed

Distinguished Member
ive always thought of it as simply meaning next generation, just simply the next one along for current console gaming. obviously peoples interpretation will differ but i think thats how alot of people see it too, talking mainly about console players.
i do agree though, its just a buzz word to slap on somethign to expect it to sell more.
 

Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Dave im with you in a number of ways, but also not quite there in a number of others.

From a development point of view:

I believe that the problem we have at the moment, is as the consoles are SO far behind, there is nobody like crytec back in the day who are really pushing the boundaries. To me, I think of it like this;

Lets say Battlefield 3 from start to completetion will take 1.5 years from drawing board to full realise (just as a made up example). The way I see it, in order for someone to create the next big WOW in graphical performance and gameplay, they will need to spend alot more time in the detail now to get it to the stage of graphics being as close to reality as possible- so not just textures (such as getting to the stage of detail of having pour's in a charecters skin), but also the underlying framework beneth characters and objects, THEN spending more time on the detail.
I would think that lets say if Battlefield 3 for example wanted to REALLY push the boundaries and bring us into the "next gen" phase, they would have to spend 2.5-3 years in development, as its a complete rewrite of current rules. Now as cool as that would be for us pc gamers- from a commercial aspect it makes no sense currently. Why would the BF3 producers spend another year (and thus inherit another year of costs- reducing profits), when they can already make a visually impressive game that will sell like wildfire.

If however consoles were more up to date, then I imagine this story would be different as I believe developers will only push so far beyond console graphics as that is where the main money is. So, in my amature option on a graph of 1 to 10, I would say consoles are currently around 4, and high spec pcs are about 8. I dont see any developer pushing pc games to 10+ without the consoles moving further up, it just makes no sense commercially currently.

As for the 2D to 3D comment- well yes I can see where youre comming from on it- but remember, even the PS3 is 3D gaming capable, so is that even a big step forward? You also have to remember that for developers to invest in this area, alot more people have to invest in 3D-which as of yet they havnt done.


Fact is, the "next gen" wow factor is already availible, you just have to look at the EA sampler and the full CryEngine3 capabilities to know that truely astonashing graphics and realism are availible in this day and age- the difference is, no company is willing to invest the time in developing a game of this level as it makes no commercial sense- not only because of the time it would take, but more so that people would have to spend another £700+ on GPUs to achieve it, so we are also waiting on a new batch of amazing GPUs to cope with it at more every day prices.


So to summerise- I believe next gen is still very much about the graphics and gameplay- 3D wil then be an afterthought to this. But i think "next gen" does really mean the next generation of performance and this is still easy enough to get to, but we have to wait for tech to evolve enough that gpus that can crunch the power needed for these games to be more cost effective (not everyone can afford a 2x 580 setup as needed for developing the EA video demo).
 
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brynhh

Banned
"Next Gen", as DJ said, is just a buzz word for new consoles these days. At the moment the PS3, 360 and Wii are current gen, and when the PS4, Xbox 3 or Wii 2 get announced, they'll be the first of the next gen machines.

So with that, next gen has meant varying things over the years. I believe this gen has been quite ground breaking, with Wii's motion control, Kinect, Xbox Live and PSN. Whereas other gens have been less so, like the previous one, as PS2 was just better graphics and hardware over PS1, Cube over N64 and Xbox over Dreamcast (in a spiritual successor way).

So for me, I really couldn't care less about what the term should mean, as it's purely just a label to differentiate console versions.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
For me the problem lies deeper than outdated consoles, for me it's technology itself, are we at a limit for modern day?
Interesting then that, for the first time, the consoles are currently exploring new ways of gaming with Microsoft Kinnect and Sony Move.
 

GMC79

Distinguished Member
Im quite excited about the "Next Gen Portable" (PSP2) cant wait to see what it can do. With such a decent res little 5" oled screen games are gonna be pretty damn good. I hope.

Next Generation Portable

Will be looking forward to the nxt gen of consoles just as much, it's new stuff so we all love it really ;)
 

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