For a month now we’ve been looking back at the winners, losers and defining trends of the PlayStation 4 / Xbox One era of home video game consoles as part of a feature series called The last generation.
During that time, we’ve covered Nintendo’s smooth exit from the console arms race, he said Goodbye to my Xbox Onecongratulated the DualShock 4marveled Grand Theft Auto Skip an entire generation of consoles
We called the feature The last generation for literal reasons. With the introduction of a new generation of consoles, what used to be current was now old. But we also gave it that name because this may be the last generation of home consoles we will ever see.
Defining a “generation” of consoles has always been a strange thing, as imprecise and generalizing as trying to capture human achievements and trends in decades like the “80s” when our experiences (and video game trends) actually merge more a spectrum as a series of chapters, especially when so many other important platforms exist and develop outside of this particular struggle. But as long as several machines started at the same time, stayed in competition for years and then were replaced by the same, it worked.
But now? Nintendo hasn’t just moved away from the concept of competing on the hardware front. it doesn’t even give a shit anymore when its consoles start up. And Sony and Microsoft undermined the whole point of consoles with upgrades during the cycle that split their user base and made selling points and hype for their ultimate replacement disappear.
So the idea that we’re still working under a system of console generations is shaky. Does it count as a generation when there are only two companies left and the hardware changes every three years instead of every 5-7 years?
Or do we just get to a point in the console game where we replace incremental tsunamis of new things with the gentle lapping of new products, just like on the PC and on the phone?
Maybe one, maybe both! Whatever it is, the past seven years have been some of the most important in video game history, and if you’ve missed out on anything, catch up on everything we’ve covered The last generation Here.
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