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Could Compelling Console Capabilities Come in the 9th Generation?

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By Nelson Schneider - 01/18/20 at 04:30 PM CT

At MeltedJoystick, we’ve been aware of the death of console gaming since 2017. Sure, we may occasionally partake in some brief necromantic dalliances – Chris with his PlayStation 4 and me with my dusty, offline Switch – but for the most part, we’ve been quite happy with modern era PC gaming.

However, recently the rumormill has produced some material that is incredibly compelling: Allegedly, the upcoming Xbox SeX will include a ‘Windows Mode,’ allowing it to act more like the commodity PC it and its ancestors dating back to 2001 have always wanted to be. On the other side of the aisle, the PlayStation 5 will, again allegedly, include full Backward Compatibility for the full breadth of the PlayStation ecosystem.

The PlayStation 5 including full Backward Compatibility would be a huge boon to PlayStation loyalists, as it would provide a simple all-in-one box for playing everything from “Tomba!” and “Suikoden 2” to… “Bloodborne” (*dry heave*) and “Dad of Boy.” Sure, there’s that other rumor about the PlayStation 5, alleging that, in the 9th Generation, Sony will approach ‘exclusive’ games the same way Microsoft currently does, with PlayStation AND PC releases for first-party titles, but a full BC appliance for old Sony games still holds solid appeal. Gray Market Emulation for anything newer than the PlayStation 1 is pretty iffy and requires both a cutting edge CPU and a willingness to tweak and fiddle with settings, not to mention a willingness to ignore non-game-breaking performance issues and audiovisual glitches. Personally, the only reason I still have my PlayStation 3 hooked up is in the event I get the uncontrollable urge to revisit a PlayStation 2 game. I wouldn’t be completely averse to replacing that old, dusty monolith with a new monolith… which will also get dusty.

The possibility of a Windows Mode appearing on the next Xbox console is nothing short of miraculous, and is the main feature I’ve been advocating for the Xbox platform since time immemorial. Microsoft already supports both Xbox gaming and Windows gaming. Hell, the XBONE and the Xbox SeX both run on a gimped, locked-down, closer-to-the-hardware version of Windows already. The introduction of Play Anywhere during the XBONE’s lifespan just further cemented the idea that Microsoft doesn’t consider to their two gaming platforms to be two platforms at all. The ability to bring vast, extant PC game libraries as-is to the Xbox platform is not just customer friendly, but also stands as a monolithic counter-argument to those closed-minded console gamers (a.k.a., Peasants) who still believe that PC gaming requires a $2000 box and $200/month hardware updates to keep it current (yes, I saw a forum-dweller post that exact argument, unironically, just a day or two ago).

So what are the odds of either of these rumors proving true? Sony has been milking the Remaster trend so hard, that it’s difficult to believe they’d be willing to allow their fanbase to pop their old discs into a new system and enjoy them without any caveats. Then there’s the elephant in the room of disc rot and general fragility rendering the number of gamers out there with functional games from the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 eras into a mighty small niche.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems very contrite about how badly it screwed up the XBONE’s launch and how anti-end-user their proposed DRM policies were. Everything they’ve been doing with the XBONE since then – with Backward Compatibility, Play Anywhere, Gamepass, and the like – seems like a very earnest attempt at creating a pro-end-user platform. Adding a Windows Mode to the Xbox SeX and allowing games from both halves of their unified platform makes sense and seems like something Microsoft would try to do… provided it’s technically feasible.

Whether they’re true or not, these rumors offer compelling reasons to consider buying both upcoming 9th Gen consoles… compelling reasons that were completely absent from their 8th Gen predecessors. Nobody here at MeltedJoystick is champing at the bit to buy these things just yet, but we’re no longer dismissing both platforms out of hand. From where I sit, that’s moving the needle a whole lot!

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dbarry_22

Wrote on01/28/20 at 02:14 PM CT

Sigh...well let's just go through this step by step shall we?

Sony porting 3 year old console exclusives to PC does not mean they're struggling. You are confusing the difference between taking advantage of a new revenue stream and needing a new revenue stream. The architecture of current consoles and PCs are similar enough now that porting doesn't cost that much and is worth the reward.

The survey you're referring to specifically states that cross-platform development is included so that PC number is skewed. Of course 3rd party developers are going to make their games for PC and consoles, at this point it would be dumb not to...take note of my reasoning above. Remember you are arguing that console game is dying, I'm NOT saying that PC is dying. Developing games for both consoles and PC does not mean console gaming is dying.

I don't care what crazy reasoning you tried to justify PC gaming is actually cheaper than console gaming, you won't convince me of that. Online might be free on PC which is an advantage but that's a cost that isn't a necessity on consoles. There are tons of people that enjoy and use consoles without subscribing to that feature and you don't even need it to play Fortnite. I'm sure you pointed out the argument you can get crazy good deals on Steam and that you can save tons of money by just waiting for sales instead of buying $60 console games. Well you have to wait for sales and if you wait for your console games you can get them for like $20 a pop (excluding Nintendo) so that argument doesn't work either. And, the cost of updating your PC every 5-7 years (the approximate length of a console's life) has always been more than the cost of the new console with just the motherboard, processor, graphics card and RAM. Plus that doesn't even take into account the simplicity of a console over PC, the plug and play aspect of it will always be welcome.

Lastly, Nintendo hasn't gone handheld only. The Switch is a hybrid. My Switch gaming is almost exclusively on a TV. That has absolutely no relevance to the state console gaming anyways.

I still don't understand how you can argue that console gaming is dying when both Sony and Nintendo have sold 20+ million more consoles this generation than the past one. You have to be trolling right?

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Nelson Schneider

Wrote on01/25/20 at 02:24 PM CT

I'll just leave this here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2020/01/25/xbox-series-x-vs-playstation-5-developers-clearly-favor-one-over-the-other/amp/

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Nelson Schneider

Wrote on01/24/20 at 12:20 AM CT

I wrote a whole article cost comparing PC and console gaming years ago. It was before the Switch, comparing the WiiU, XBONE, and PS4. Ultimately PC gaming shakes out to be cheaper in the long term despite the larger upfront cost because you aren't paying a subscription for 5+ years and you aren't (in Nintendo's case) paying a premium for physical games.

And you DON'T think console gaming is struggling when Microsoft AND Sony are multi-platting onto PC to garner more sales and when your beloved Nintendo has gone full-handheld? Get real.

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dbarry_22

Wrote on01/22/20 at 01:16 PM CT

I would be utterly shocked if backwards compatibility for the PS5 goes any farther backwards than PS4 games. I fail to see why Sony would put that much effort into something like that when they can just force you to buy old PS1/PS2/PS3 games off their digital stores. The desire for it just isn't there.

Xbox has to do whatever they possibly can to stay relevant. It's becoming more and more apparent as the years go by that if you have a gaming PC there is basically no reason to think about getting an Xbox and that won't change anytime soon. I admire their efforts on the backwards compatibility front but I don't know how many minds that will change by what they're doing. Xbox has it's niche. It's for console multiplayer shooter experiences along with the sports community some, that's about it. Is that enough? I doubt it. All these studios that Microsoft purchased better starting putting out some great console exclusives if Xbox wants to join up with the big boys again.

Oh, and just because you're little group of people don't play console games doesn't mean it's dying. Over 100 million PS4's sold in it's lifetime, over 44 million Switches. Your opinion on consoles is the exception, not the rule. I play my consoles way more than my PC but you don't hear me saying that PC gaming is dying because that would stupid.

And the argument that it's more expensive to have a gaming PC than a console is accurate. Show me a gaming PC that can play new releases well that you can purchase for $300? Yes the numbers you put out there are crazy and an extreme exaggeration but that was your point right? Yes it's gotten cheaper but it's still more expensive and more complicated to be a PC gamer, period.

Currently though I have no immediate plans to purchase either new console. I can wait a year or two at least but that's because my PS4 and Switch backlogs are extensive.

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