Let’s be honest, those with new generation consoles in 2014 were a bit disappointed by the games you could get on them. Sure, there was a raft of unique indie titles, but many of the best multiplatform games – such as our GotY runner-up Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age: Inquisition – were available on PS3 and Xbox 360 too, and the ones which weren’t – we’re looking at you, Assassin’s Creed Unity – were quite disappointing.
Although open world exclusives such as inFamous Second Son and Sunset Overdrive were very successful and highly rated, we just didn’t see enough new, with other hotly anticipated exclusives such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Driveclub being broken upon launch, and many anticipated titles coming in the form of HD remasters. 2014 wasn’t a great year then for these consoles, but the first year never is.
Take the Wii U for example. Mario Kart 8, if you didn’t already know, is TSA’s game of the year 2014. Along with Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros., Hyrule Warriors and more, there were loads of exquisite exclusives on that console last year. Yet look back to 2013, to the system’s first year and you’ll find fewer acclaimed titles.
Bloodborne, Dying Light, Evolve, The Order: 1886. Those are coming within the next couple of months, and despite 2015 only just kicking off, it already feels as though we’re getting the big titles that we missed out on last year. These will be experiences you can only get on new consoles, and there’s a high chance at least one of them will be quite good (it’s probably not going to be The Order, though).
So to write off these consoles – this fledgling generation – now would be quite silly indeed; but it’s a cycle that repeats viciously with every new release. Of the consoles with “no games” in their first year, the only one to truly fail is the Dreamcast. Sure, the PS Vita didn’t quite manage to become the “console in your pocket” that Sony advertised, but it’s become a great machine for playing gems such as The Binding of Isaac, or even for using Remote Play when you can’t get to the TV. Hey, that’s a PS4 in your pocket!
Nintendo’s 3DS has become one of the most popular and packed handheld systems there is, despite it at first having few good titles, the 3D being a “bad idea” (and yes, Nintendo did reverse on that one with the 2DS), and claims of the mobile market taking over handheld consoles. They were proved wrong, just as the naysayers of home consoles were when the PS4 sold over 13 million consoles in its first year. Sure, they might’ve been right about the lack of major games but that’ll change as time moves on.
So, I say: ignore the first year. Don’t forget about all of the broken games and service outages so easily, but don’t let it reflect on the years to come: soon we’ll have this generation’s Uncharted 2 moment, and not long after the PS4 and Xbox One will get their Portal 2. We don’t know what that’s going to be yet – we can take a guess by looking at the release schedule for this year, but it’s 2016 or 2017 that you really want to be looking forward to.
When the developers know their hardware, when the publishers are (hopefully) not pushing out broken titles, and when the list of games begins to grow, we’ll really begin to see just how amazing these pieces of technology are. We’ll see huge leaps as we’ve seen before with God of War 2 to 3 – or Mario Kart Wii to 8, even – and not only in terms of visuals, but in terms of how expansive these games are.
There’s no reason to be alarmed: the PS4’s and Xbox One’s defining moments aren’t here just yet, and if they were then we’d have a very boring wait until the next generation. If previous generations are anything to go by – and they definitely are – then it’s likely that we’ll see intermittent moments of perfection and ingenuity over the next several years, right until the consoles are on their last legs.
And then, in the year after that – the first year of the next generation – we’ll see all of those brilliant tail-end titles remastered for a new generation, as we take to the internet to complain about the PS5 having no games.