Ever since the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era, each subsequent generational jump has felt smaller, and smaller by comparison. There has never been a more impressive console jump between hardware generations than the one performed by the Nintendo 64 over the Sega Genesis, and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
I could, in fact say, that even the jump in visual disparity between the PlayStation/Saturn and the Nintendo 64 (at least early on) has been a bigger jump than anything that we have ever seen afterwards. Yes, Super Mario 64 was that big of a game changer back in 1996.
Gearbox’s CEO, Randy Pitchford, believes otherwise. In an interview with GameSpot, Pitchford made the following statement regarding the upcoming hardware generational jump:
I think customers will realize how profound of a difference it is to have the throughput capability that these new platforms bring. It’s just absolutely unreal. The leap there with PS5 and Xbox Series X is the biggest leap I have ever seen in the history of console generations. I’m saying, including the leap from 2D to 3D. It’s going to change the way we think about every bit of our experiences. However, it’s going to be hard to see that in the initial launch titles because a lot of the launch titles are games that were endeavored upon before. Frankly, there are a lot of ports, and games that have already [available] on existing platforms that are being reimagined with these new platforms. Still, I am super pumped about what it means for Borderlands 3 on PS5 and Xbox Series X.- Randy Pitchford, CEO, Gearbox
Pitchford’s excitement is palpable, and I do believe that this upcoming generation is a bigger jump than the previous one in which the Jaguar CPU cores held back the current systems performance. However, I strongly disagree with Pitchford’s take.
First, let us shut down his statement by pointing to the one generation that was clearly – and indisputably – a bigger console jump than anything that we had seen prior to or after it.
The Jump between the 16-bit era and the 32/64-bit era was monumental. The gap is even more pronounced when we take the Nintendo 64’s launch into consideration and Super Mario 64 .
Quite simply, what the N64 did wasn’t just a huge generational leap, but a dimensional one, which changed the way that we played and experienced video games forever.
As far as I know, the PS5 and the XSX will not bring forth the 4-D era (whatever that is, though I suspect it will be VR, when someone can do it right). Thus, by virtue of the massive implications on both graphics and gameplay that a dimensional jump brings forth, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X can never really compare to what we first experienced when we booted up Super Mario 64 back in 1996.
And Second, the console jump between the 32/64-bit era, and the advent of the ‘gigaflop’ era machines in the PS2/GameCube/Xbox era, is also arguably superior to anything that we have seen so far, in terms of what the PS5/XSX will bring to the table.
Many will argue that point, most who will argue however, are probably former PS2 owners who never owned an Original Xbox. Halo in 2001 was far, and away more impressive (in relation to the previous generation of games) than anything that we have seen that both upcoming consoles offer as launch “Showcases”.
Granted, most current ‘next gen’ offerings are either re-masters, or remakes (Demon Souls) of previous generation games, though in the case of Demon Souls it is a remake of a PS3 game.
Still, the fact that the industry, and gamers alike are contempt with remaking and playing old games with newer paint coats showcases the fact that indeed, the upcoming generation isn’t a gigantic leap over the current one.
So, sorry Randy, but no, the PS5 and the XSX aren’t the biggest leap in the history of videogames, and the upcoming leap certainly pales in comparison to the mid 90s 2-D to 3-D dimensional jump.