Playstation 4 vs Xbox One

Complaints about the new Call of Duty’s graphics on Xbox One have already been made, but are gamers expecting too much from the console too soon?

As we sit on the eve of the next generation game consoles, you can cut the tension in the industry with a knife. Gamers and developers alike are anxiously awaiting the release of the Xbox One and PS4. Expectations are high for the new consoles, but are they too high?

Rough Transition

Despite the fact neither consoles have been released yet gamers are already expecting too much. Infinity Ward, the developers of Call Of Duty, are claiming that gamers are expressing dissatisfaction with the graphics of the Xbox One version of the latest entry in the FPS series, Call Of Duty: Ghosts. The Xbox version of COD Ghosts runs at 720p whilst the PS4 is a much crisper 1080p. The PS4 version is, however, suffering issues with frame rates. The game is a cross generation release, coming out on Xbox 360 and PS3 as well as Xbox One and PS4, yet it seems gamers wanted more from the next gen version.

Microsoft Xbox OneInfinity Ward have defended the decision to scale down the graphics for the Xbox One, saying they wanted to optimise the frame rates for a smoother playing experience. This was justified by the problems on the PS4, but others may it see it as a weakness in next gen consoles. However, such a stumbling block should be expected for new consoles and perhaps once again gamers are expecting too much.

A History Of Weak Releases

New console releases are rarely perfect and the first games to come out on the systems are never the best. Both developers and console manufacturers are still figuring out how to best use the hardware available to them and there will be unforeseen issues to iron out. The best games tend to come out towards the end of the console generation, and this has been evidenced by the release of three ‘game of the year’ contenders in 2013 – Bioshock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last Of Us. This happens because only after several years can developers fully grasp the potential of the technology.

Sony PS3Poor games on new consoles should be unsurprising, especially because there’s a history of forgotten new games that had to be the unlucky early ones. A console’s potential is like a party, it only really gets going once all the guests show up. Does anybody remember the early Xbox 360 or PS3 games (except maybe Gears Of War)? But the state of poor games on release is exacerbated by two factors – the manufacturers themselves and the gamers, who are a passionate bunch who express themselves freely without fear of recrimination.

The manufacturers are at fault because they rush out new consoles too fast. They’ll spend a lot of time investing in perfecting a new console, but almost as soon as it’s out they’re already planning the next one. Developers can’t be expected to get the best out of consoles if they barely have the time to master them before having to relearn everything for a new console.

But the gamers are also at fault. As much as the hype for new consoles is fuelled by companies like Sony and Microsoft, there’s no smoke without fire. The pressure from gamers screaming that they want everything bigger, faster and better means the console giants have to satisfy them at all costs.

Too Much Too Soon?

Cross generation games rarely push the limits of new consoles. Developing for another console isn’t just a case of simply upscaling everything – it’s like learning and writing in another language. It’s understandable corners will be cut so deadlines can be met, particularly for a big release like Call Of Duty. Attention and resources are divided and naturally the biggest release platforms that will garner the most sales (currently the Xbox 360) will draw all the focus, leaving a next gen port in the dust. From a business point of view, it makes no sense for Infinity Ward to completely abandon their millions of loyal fans who won’t be interested in getting an Xbox One just yet.

Call Of Duty

Another factor to consider is the graphical jump between this generation and the last. Video game graphics are plateauing in terms of how much they can impress. Although things are getting sharper and more lifelike, comparing the kind of upscale in graphics between the original Xbox and the 360 – it’s not quite the same kind of step up. Game graphics are about to reach their peak and there’s little that can be improved that the casual observer would notice. Gamers expecting the same kind of leap from 2D to 3D graphics are bound to be disappointed.

The fuss over Call Of Duty: Ghosts graphics on the Xbox One is a minor issue. Gamers need to curb their enthusiasm and realise that things aren’t going to be perfect as soon as the new console is out, and that – like with every other console generation – it’ll take time for the console to shine. Likewise, console developers should refrain from overhyping their games and pushing them out before they’re ready.

But if there’s one thing we should learn from this debacle it’s that gamers and the gaming industry still haven’t changed much in decades, and the same mistakes are doomed to be repeated.

Eleanor Richards is a geek culture and gaming blogger that’s trying to keep calm and continue gaming, despite new console controversies.