Tell Us Dammit: How Much Do Next Gen Visuals Matter To You?

In the lead up to the release of the Xbox One and the PS4 there has been much wailing about resolutions and whatnot. I think this is perfectly normal and fair. People are in the process of deciding which console to buy and I think consumers are perfectly within their rights to want to discuss this stuff. But how much do visuals matter to you when choosing your next console?

Is it your primary concern? Is it a secondary issue?

For me the main issue is exclusive titles: what games will I be playing on one console and (perhaps more importantly) what games will I not be able to play on that console. Weirdly enough the technically 'underpowered' consoles have won the last three generations in terms of unit sales, so I wonder just how important it is.

That being said, I think it is a legitimate issue and a legit concern — I just want to know how important it is to you.


    I'd love to play a photo realistic Uncharted game, but at the same time it's the level design, cinematography, story, gameplay, music and production values that keeps me coming back to that series. Prettier graphics is just the icing on the freakin' cake! I agree with Serrels, exclusives!

    Last edited 31/10/13 11:19 am

    Nought. I was actually more concerned with the news today that you can't stream media from your PC to a PS4

      This did concern me a bit. I guess it a something that can be added later but that feature is what made my PS3 one of the most used device in the house.

        Same here, I'm pretty pissed off about it being left out of PS4. But at the end of the day I'll just keep the PS3 plugged in, stick it behind the TV and keep using it for media purposes until Sony hopefully see the light and patch this functionality into the PS4 later.

          Indeed. If Apple couldn't make their formats succeed by restricting the more common formats on the iPod, then Sony doesn't stand a chance in hell of making their proprietary formats succeed by restricting formats on a home console, which will almost certainly be within metres of a device that CAN play mp3 files, while the iPod had the advantage of being a portable player.

      You can't stream media from a PC?

      Wait, what?


      WHY NOT????

        Probably because Sony has fingers in the music and movie industry as well as having their own online stores and 99% of what gets streamed is pirated?

        Although that wouldn't explain why it won't play audio CDs.

        Last edited 31/10/13 11:33 am

          I think that actually does explain why it won't play audio CDs. From the FAQ:

          What is Music Unlimited?
          The music destination on PlayStation 4. Music Unlimited is a cloud-based, ad-free music subscription service that enhances and simplifies music discovery from an extensive catalog of millions of songs. On PS4, users can create the soundtrack of their choice, to listen to while playing their favorite games. On the go, the service can be enjoyed on a variety of portable devices such as PS Vita, Android phones and tablets, and iOS devices such as iPhone.

          Having to pay a subscription fee for the privilege of listening to music I already own has soured me on this console, hopefully common sense prevails and the functionality is patched in.

 won't play cds? now that is truly baffling to me (granted, most music these days is acquired online -legally or not- but still, it's a bit baffling)

            Cost of getting CD player to work per unit, vs. proportion of people who will use it, and impact on the total product price.

            Not cost-effective, drop it.

            Last edited 31/10/13 1:58 pm

              Sony already knows how to make CD players work, they've been in the business for a while. And they also know that the hardware is cheap as chips (less than $5). Cost effectiveness isn't a factor.

                It is when you look at utility for the average person.

                They would bump up the price of production by $5. Now they either take that cost hit, and retain their current RRP, or they bump their RRP up and pass on the price.

                Knowing that 99% of people won't use it, and it'll eat $5 per unit into their profits, it isn't cost effective. It's the only factor.

                If it was a selling point, and would make a few more people buy the unit, they would do it. It won't though, or it won't get enough people too. So it's not in there.

                  Yeah, but that 1% of people who are turned off by it have just spent their $500 elsewhere, which nets them exactly $0 overall, with fewer consoles sold and money potentially going to competitors.


                  Yep, that's true. But once again, lets say $5 additional cost per unit multiplied against the total sales of people who don't care (or aren't aware, and they are indeed the majority) minus the profit associated with the proportion of people who will no longer buy it solely for that reason (which, I think you'd be hard pressed to count them on your fingers and toes), and you're still looking at numbers which tilt in the favor of not including it, just because it imposes a greater cost on the total unit, and reduces profitability.

                  It's also worth remembering that they don't make profits on these consoles initially. At all. So cost minimization is very important.

                  It's the same underlying economics which leads to backwards compatibility not being included, although the $ associated with the components and costs and the numbers of people who care are of a much different volume.

                  Although, that said, given the only "competitors" offering backwards compatibility is PC and Wii U, Sony knew they could scrap it and not really "leak" any sales.

      Yeah - I'm gutted by this. On the one hand, I don't care for MS's TV push, on the other hand, at least the xbone is a capable media centre.

      wow, that's a massive massive fail.......

    Not a jot. Gameplay will always trump graphics for me.

    Edit: Expanding on this point - I appreciate playing games on my PC because I can turn the graphics DOWN. I get frustrated when performance detracts from the gameplay on a console because of the shiny graphics.

    Last edited 31/10/13 1:31 pm

      Exactly my thoughts. I'm sick and tired of every game being judged purely on the biggest, prettiest explosions. It's like Michael Bay movies - yeah, it looks pretty, but there's no content.
      Sure, I don't want games to look blocky like the late 90's, but for me, gameplay and story will always come out on top.

      I liked this quote from J.J Abrams:
      "It's hard not to look at what people are doing with the graphics of stuff like Call of Duty or Dead Space. You can't help but be blown away by what's possible. But to me, as much as the visuals will continue to improve ... the sense of being in a place. It's insane what's possible if we all just extrapolate where it's going. In no time, it's going to be photorealistic to the point of preposterousness. At that point, it's irrelevant.
      So I'm not looking at the graphical stuff. That's going to happen anyway. What I think is critical is gameplay and the emotional connection to the characters."

        It doesn't need to be too pretty when your screen is 4/5ths lens flare at all times.

        thats why i love the wiiU. Sure there are hardly and 3rd party developers and that means ill have to either get an xbox or PS. But nintendo games, for me, are by far the funnest. Graphics are great and impressive but when it comes down to it i really don't care about them.

    Console gaming has always sacrificed graphics in return for convenience and comfort. This generation will be no different. I prefer the feel of the XB1 controller over the PS4, and know more people interested\buying an XB1, so that's my platform of choice. I'll get a PS4 once they have exclusive titles out I'm interested in, but until then, I'll be happy with the One. If I want cutting edge graphics, I'll move to my gaming PC, or maybe move it to the TV if I can be bothered. Others have their own reasons, and they're more than welcome to have different understandings\opinions :)

    The overall power of the hardware does matter to me a bit, simply because whatever machine I get is what I'm going to be gaming on for the next 5 - 10 years (depending on how long they choose to drag out this next generation for). So more powerful hardware means we get a bit longer out of it before it starts to really show its age.

    It's not going to be the be-all and end-all of my decision - I'm going PS4 because Sony's history of producing quality exclusives means there are going to be more games there that I don't want to miss out on. The fact it's a bit more powerful than XBone doesn't really matter that much, nor would it matter if the positions were reversed. If there was a really significant gap (like the one between Wii U and the 2 new consoles) then it would be an issue and I'd probably have gone XBone in that situation.

    It's important to me, otherwise why would I upgrade to next gen? GTA 5 has created a new benchmark in the intense detail of what a game should have, for console games on old gen consoles. So the next step would be improving on visual components.

    I must admit, I was hoping for close to if not the same visuals as PC.

    It's not a purchasing decision for me, but I'm still excited to see what they'll be able to do with next gen. I'm especially hoping they'll be able to do something great with character faces (which sort of suck in the current gen). Having characters be able to express emotions through subtle facial expressions would be awesome, and can only be good for story (which is what I mainly care about with games).

      You should checkout LA Noire. They used some sort of face capture, so that whilst the faces aren't much more detailed, they have the full range of facial emotions.
      It looks a little odd at first, probably due to the "uncanny valley" effect, but I much prefer it to the plastic faces of most games.

    As far as multiplats go, it bothers me substantially. I see no reason to buy multiplats on any platform other than PC if consoles can't render them in 1080p natively. As for exclusives, it would have to be quite an exclusive to get me to buy a console just for one game.

    Pokemon sold a bajillion copies and the 3DS does not have amazing graphics.

    League of Legends is the most played game in the world (excluding mobile and Facebook games) and that isn't a huge step up from Warcraft 3.

    Super mega awesome fantastico graphics are there for fanboys to use as artillery in their console war while the PC Master Race sits high atop their mountain and scoffs at the peons.

    Anyhow, launch titles mean diddly. Just compare The Last of Us to Resistance: Fall of Man. Developers can squeeze a lot out of hardware once they know what they're doing with it. Then again, just look at the new Mario game coming out. The Wii U has the graphical power of a calculator and yet it still looks fantastic because the art direction is fantastic.

      Pokemon sold a bajillion copies and the 3DS does not have amazing graphics.

      Not really a good comparison, because what does the 3DS have to compete with? The Vita (which is more powerful, yes, but is also tanking horribly in sales) and smartphones.

      I agree with just about everything else though, apart from the quip about the Wii U's graphical power. It's more powerful than many people give it credit for. Will it compete with the PS4 and Xbone?, but that's not really the point.

        The point with Pokemon is that people will buy a game on any platform, regardless of the graphics, if the game is good enough (or scratches the right itch). There are people who bought a 3DS just to play Pokemon.

        As for the quip with the Wii U, I know that it's actually fairly capable. I just felt like a little hyperbole. The point remains that solid art direction goes so much further than raw graphics horsepower when it comes to making a game look pretty.

    IMHO, if next gen graphics werent an issue for games, what would be the point of new consoles?
    cause isnt the big diff with new consoles just better hardware to make shit look pretty?
    And the story and plot is just software side that can be produced on any console?

      Battlefield finally being able to support 64 players on console is a pretty good reason to move to NextGen that isn't related to graphics. It's the one reason I've held out on buying a current gen version today.

        I agree - that and 'The Crew' having a map the size of the United States are actual selling points for a new generation. The graphics don't look all that different to me

    Buy a PC if you care so much about graphics. Its not that much more and will be cheaper in the long run buying CD keys and not paying for online services.

    They look the same and are perfectly fine as an upgrade from 360/PS3.

    I stopped playing the Wii because my eyes got used to playing in HD, but when you're talking XBOX 360 vs PS3 or PS4 vs XBOX One I don't notice the difference at all. Side by side videos feature nothing that I'd pick up on if they weren't showing me them together and highlighting the differences. I played a ton of XBOX 360 games last generation that probably looked better on the PS3, but I wasn't playing them on the PS3 at the same time so I was completely unaware.
    Really, if I cared about realistic graphics and all that I'd be comparing them to reality not other consoles, and the PS4, XBOX One and PC graphics all look like garbage compared to reality.

    Performance > Gameplay > fidelity

    I much prefer games with crisp edges, screen native resolutions and solid 60FPS. There is nothing worse than a game that claims to have the most badass graphics that runs at a lower res than native, barely hits 30FPS during the action and has more such rough edges you could use them as sandpaper.

    The frames per second is the biggest thing though, I don't mind if your game is lower res, but please don't choke to 10FPS during heavy action, it really kills the game.

      That's why I love Blizzard & Valve. Generally very nicely optimised games :)

    As much as they did last gen. So somewhere around "not at all".

    So many games that people would go on about how good the graphics were, I'd look at them and just think they looked ugly. Give me a cool art style over high-end graphics any day.

    As long as the increased graphics means no loading times on open world games, NPCs that're tracked no matter what you're doing and that you can see the impact of your gameplay all through a game such as building destruction, then yeah, graphics are important to me. AI moreso though

    To be honest, I'm not really ready for a new generation of consoles yet. The steps between the previous few gens seemed larger and I was excited for the future and the changes that the new gens brought, but this time I'm still very happy with the current consoles.
    The new consoles don't seem like as big of a step up in any department, and certainly not visually. We're at a point now where a lot of these new independent games are wowing us with their gameplay, stories and charm and these kind of things are far more important to me than how realistic the latest shooting games can look.

    I'll be honest, I want the next gen consoles to have some graphical heft. I consider it a major part of the next gen transition, along with more immersive storytelling and hopefully the perfection of the open world story/exploration balance which seems to improve every year. I'm not THAT concerned, if I want a really pretty game I'll play it on my PC like I have been doing, but I want my console exclusives to be competitively pretty, so long as they stack up in the more important areas as well.

    Gamplay > Story > Graphics

      Agree, and as a sub-bit-thing to game play: AI
      So tired of predictable damd arse AI.

      For me: Story>Art Design>Characters>Gameplay>Graphics>>>>>Multiplayer

    How much do inferior graphics mean to me? Nothing. I usually get a console for the gameplay and exclusives. In fact the last console I got was primarily for there you go :/

    Frame rate

    I just want a stable frame rate and the end to slideshow games (ala Skyrim on PS3)


      If the increase in power of next-gen consoles was used for nothing but frame-rate stability, I wouldn't mind.

    I want to see the developers use the entra power to create a distinct visual style instead of counting pixels.

    I saw the footage of a PC running BF4 at 1080P and the PS4 running it at 1080P. The PC footage looked a little bit sharper (the textures were nicer) and cleaner, but really, how much attention do you pay this stuff when you are slapping C4 packs onto the side of vehicles, leaving them for the other team and shouting "birthday cake!"? Not a lot.

    Beautiful, detailed, liquid smooth graphics for me is only a small part of the overall experience. I don't sit in a darkened room pants down admiring my 4k screen setup. I'm all for fun and exclusives, not the eye candy. I'd replace my 5 year old laptop if I cared about that.

    Pretty interesting question. So many people are eager to say they don't put graphics first, yet will turn around and beat on WiiU for being behind on power. Visuals though... I'm not about to say I don't put visuals first, it means a hell of a lot. Exclusive titles and visuals aren't mutually exclusive - I prefer Nintendo because of their exclusives, but the visuals of those have a lot to do with why I prefer them. HMMMMM.

    as long as exclusives look good and play well i'll be happy... i'll just get multi platform titles on PC because i know it'll look far superior and probably be smoother...

    i can't say i'm not disappointed with the performance and graphics of the next gen consoles... but at the same time i'm only getting them for exclusives this time round...

    I gave up on the Xbone when all the crappy stuff was announced with it (always online etc etc) I know that's all been removed, but it left a foul taste in my mouth that can't be removed just yet.

      Yeah I wouldn't want to invest in a company that thinks of it's customers with that kind of disdain.

        You don't exactly have many alternatives. Sony isn't your friend either. Nintendo maybe, but you'd miss out on a lot of good titles.

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