Waiting Games: The Problem With Next-Gen Ports

Crossing the gap.

With all the recent news of games being ported to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. It’s nothing short of a first world problem yet the choice between playing some of last year’s greatest hits or waiting for them to cross the generational gap is still a tough decision to make.

Like many who frequent TheSixthAxis, I allot a fair amount of my free time lounging around playing video games. However, with work, studying, and the other myriad distractions in our lives, we often find games either slipping through the net or being returned to the shelf unfinished. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to blitz through every major release as well as those lesser-known titles that appeal to our own personal tastes.

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For me, Grand Theft Auto V slots directly into this situation. During launch week I absolutely hammered Rockstar’s latest satirical sandbox though quickly set it aside, satisfied in knowing that when I came back to it, Los Santos would still be waiting. Several months down the line, however, I started to doubt this decision.

During this year’s E3 Rockstar confirmed that, indeed, Grand Theft Auto V would finally launch on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Maybe I’m a sucker for not realising the inevitability, but now, having returned to Grand Theft Auto V, I can feel an invisible barrier. One part of me is content in waiting a few more months for the newer version, whereas the other – perhaps more sensible – part would rather stick with what I have now.

After all, I did spend £40 on the game when it came out – surely it would make sense to get my money’s worth instead of paying twice for the same experience? Still, just the thought of playing on newer hardware is enticing enough for me to doubt myself.

Sticking with the topic of value, the supposed listing of Beyond: Two Souls creates a similar dilemma. Having adored Heavy Rain, I was keen to sit down and blast through Quantic Dream’s divisive technical showpiece. However, with so many other games on my slate, it slipped under the radar. Even up to a few weeks ago this never seemed like a problem, however. I’m sure many, like myself, often put off buying games so they can snatch them up later for half or even a quarter of the price.

With the recent sighting of Beyond for PlayStation 4, it seems like I will be paying full price when it hopefully launches in the near future. In this particular instance I’m not too bummed: having seen The Last of Us: Remastered being flogged for £30, it’s not as if I’ll have to go hungry to grab a PS4 copy of Beyond. Not everyone is in the same situation though with some die-hard fans having snapped it up last year, their wallets now on stand-by.

This strange practice of holding out for new generation ports is bizarre yet (hopefully) temporary. With the cream of 2013’s crop having undergone the scalpel and the fact that most new games now launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well, there’s little chance of players being caught in the gap for much longer.

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With that said, those who are topping up their last-gen libraries may still want to tread carefully for a little while. Only a couple of days ago a developer from Gearbox, currently working on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, hinted that the game could come to newer hardware after all. Similarly, Sony has scoped the Uncharted series as a suitable “Remastered” candidate.

Other studios and publishers such as EA, Ubisoft, and Deep Silver may also be planning re-releases behind the scenes. There would be nothing stopping them from porting recent hits such as Saint’s Row IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, or even the Mass Effect Trilogy.

I suppose it all comes down to how picky we are as gamers. Though some will be more than satisfied in just playing what comes out first and enjoying a game for what it is, there will be those wanting the very best experience they can get.

16 Comments

  1. “Though some will be more than satisfied in just playing what comes out first and enjoying a game for what it is, there will be those wanting the very best experience they can get.”

    Thing is, the experience is largely the same (if not exactly the same), it just looks a bit nicer.

    It’s of course fine for those who just have a PS4 (say those that have crossed the divide from 360 for example), as they are experiencing things that they missed recreated in a slightly nicer form, but for those of us that have been with PS3 through pretty much it’s entire life cycle thus far, we have likely played these games already. Probably to completion.

    As I mentioned on the Uncharted news, its gonna take more than a splash of paint to get me to jump back into games I have already played & been done with some time ago.

  2. These remasters are nice, but they’re a bit too soon after the original’s release really, by just a year in most cases.

    Personally I couldn’t give a toss for the remasters, as TLoU, Tomb Raider, and Metro all look brilliant on the PS3 so I have no wish to pay for a ‘high’ quality setting.

    In the case of PS2 remasters though, I’m glad to be able to play games that I missed years ago.

    • Yeah, I’m all for PS2 remasters. The jump between PS2 and PS3 is easier to tell than between PS3 and PS4. Plus, many of games that have been remastered have benefited from enhanced controls and other little knacks such as trophy support.

      • Now, this I agree with – The generational jump between PS2 & PS3 was much, much larger (in terms of visuals, connectivity, trophies etc), so those remakes made much more sense to me.

        These though? They are effectively just the same games, so I am struggling to see a point (aside from those that missed them the first time around of course).

  3. Ports of exclusives can actually save people money, I.e you don’t have to now buy a ps3 to play TLoU, Beyond, if you only had a 360/wii last gen.

    Likewise, Halo Master chief collection is outstanding value for money and ease of access, probably the strongest factor to get me to buy an X1. I had a PS3 but didn’t play TLoU, Beyond, so this is great for me.

    I think the only issue people have is that original owners feel a bit burned because they didn’t know at the time of purchase that a more complete version will come out a year later, although I suppose that’s to be expected anyway with Goty editions and such.

    If they had announced a PS4 Last of us before the ps3 version launched, nobody would be arguing, but sales would have been cannibalised.

    • I have no issues with collections (such as the Master Chief one you mentioned, which does indeed sound like a lot of bang for your buck) – You get all games (or most) packaged together in one case, which means you can catch up on stories, see what the origins were etc & its good value for money.

      What I am not so pleased about is games that were released a short time ago that are being released pretty much exactly as they currently exist, just with a bit of a spit-shine. TLoU & Beyond fall into this category. It’s good for the minority, not the majority & likelihood is that a few people will pick them up again (whether they wanted to or not) as there is nothing else to play (or they just like spending money on stuff they already have perhaps?).

      • I see what you mean but you simply have to treat it as another platform (which it surely is). If those games came to the PC then it would sell reasonably well there too (for the ones who didn’t have a PS3 or didn’t buy it when they did have a PS3).

        My biggest gripe is whether devs could be making new games instead. That’s where it really sticks in my craw.

      • Most PS4 owners haven’t played the Last of Us on PS3, according to Shu Yoshida, so I’m not sure that you’ve got the minority/majority right.

        I would 100% agree that it shouldn’t unduly take up developers resources. I like how ports of flower, dead nation were done by a different developer.

        However, how much will ND have learned from porting TLoU for UC4? it may have even sped up the development as ND is structured to work on two games at once anyway. All of the creative/art/writers will have been focused on UC4, while the programmers have a play with the PS4 system on a familiar game with TLoU.

      • IMO, Shu Yoshida is chatting crap! ;)

        Most people that I know that wanted to play TLoU (non hardcore gamers as well as the hardcore) already have. Multiple times.

        Not saying you are wrong of course, just from my opinion (taking the above into account) it makes itharder to believe.

      • Shrugs, its from PS3 trophy data, remember us people on gaming sites are not the whole demographic.

        Most people I know IRL haven’t played it, I’m not saying that my situation representative of the whole gaming community (far from it), but that it does vary.

  4. I don’t like the idea of seeing too many remakes. Granted they’re helping to moisten the inevitable new generation post launch games drought, but if they make up too big a proportion of the number of retail games available the appeal of the new console is going to drop. Having said that, The Last of Us remake bundled with a PS4 has masses of appeal to me, all because of the quality of the game. I think remakes need to be chosen carefully and done extremely well if they’re to maintain credibility.

    • Hannah Montana on PS4 it is then! ;)

      • NUUUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  5. Never bought GTAV last gen as I always expected a port.

  6. I’m in a similar position with GTA… The factor swinging me towards buying again is remote play… GTA isn’t coming to Vita any other way and I love remote play on open world games.

  7. I would love to see a remake of the original motorstorm, with 4 player split screen & of course trophies. I think that would be an awesome way to re-introduce the franchise, post club drive.

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