Now that the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U are all out, you’d think it’s the perfect time to dive into games on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Games on those systems are typically cheaper and there are a ton of worthwhile titles released for them already, many of which are already in our backlogs, just waiting for us to tackle them. It’s the sort of situation that should make waiting for the PS4 and Xbox One to fill up with must-buy titles less painful for all of us early adopters… except that’s not actually what is happening.
Confession: I haven’t played too many games on my new systems just yet. Mostly, I’ve been playing Titanfall. While that’s enough to keep me somewhat busy, many of the titles that I’m interested in buying — like the recently released Dark Souls II — tend to be on last-gen consoles. But here’s the thing, though: playing on last-gen consoles presents a number of problems.
Some of these problems are silly and almost a product of being lazy: I don’t currently have the right setup or enough space to account for all of these systems to be out and hooked up at once, and if the game is being released on current consoles it’d probably look better on those systems than my older ones. Mostly, though, the prospect of playing a game that I can’t easily stream on a console isn’t appealing — and while I knew that I was looking forward to having the option, I had no idea streaming would become so important that it would dictate what I do or do not play. And, yes, I’m aware that PC gaming accounts for a lot of these problems — but streaming on that platform isn’t as easy as it is on consoles. I need to be able to broadcast my games to people, and I need to be able to do it without much hassle — and on this front, both last-gen games and PC games don’t deliver. Plus, there’s always that whole thing about having console friends who aren’t PC gamers — I have more of those than I do PC buddies.
Gaming becomes a thing I can easily share, a thing anyone with an Internet connection can enjoy with me.
The need to stream reminds me a little bit of having the compulsion to tweet or digitally document things that happen in my life — funny moments, quotes from friends, occasionally insightful things. Twitch, the program both consoles use to stream games, has become another Facebook, another Twitter, another Instagram — it presents me with another avenue to be ‘social.’ I like knowing that I’m constantly sharing what I’m experiencing while gaming. Admittedly, it’s a bit egotistical: I want people to know about my awesome kill/death ratio, I want them to see my SKILLZ or whatever, I want to have witnesses that I can point to when I tell stories about neat things that happened when I was holding a controller. Heck, I don’t even mind having people see the more embarrassing moments, too — the whole idea is to be entertaining, right? Plus, the rising popularity of YouTube and streaming stars makes me occasionally (but not seriously) think, hey, that could be me, too.
I know, I know. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I can’t keep from thinking about it in this way lately. Judging from the huge number of people streaming on both systems, I’m guessing I’m not the only one that’s being seduced by the possibility of having a streaming audience, either. It’s not all bad, though. Streaming means I can connect with more people, means gaming doesn’t have to be this lonely, detached thing that happens when I seclude myself from the world. Gaming becomes a thing I can easily share, a thing anyone with an Internet connection can enjoy with me. I like that, I like knowing I have another way to connect with people. Screw that this situation might give people an easy way to fear-monger about what social media does to us.
Eventually, this strange next-gen/last gen limbo pass. I’ll have enough streamable games on next-gen consoles to keep me busy, and last-gen titles won’t be as alluring as the newer, shinier toys I can play with. But for now, while we’re in between the space where last-gen still feels current and current-gen still feels like it’s finding its footing, it’s something that I can’t help but think about.
I’m curious though: For those of you that have both current-gen consoles and last-gen consoles, how are you deciding what games to buy for them?