More Gen 8 Consoles have been sold than gen 7 Consoles – But is Gaming better off?

Jan 17, 2016

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VGChartz reported today that roughly 20 million more generation eight consoles have been sold — PlayStation 4 and XBOX One — than PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360.

It’s been roughly 26 months since the launch of the two current-gen consoles, and all sorts of records have been broken. Many gamers have talked about this being the greatest generation of console platforms in a long time. This generation has, without question, shown a greater and faster uptake than any generation that has preceded it.

Here is the VGChartz graphic that depicts the total amount of consoles sold, exceeding the past generation’s sales along the y-axis over the total time on the market for gen 8 on the x-axis:

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I’m not sure that I would give the numbers that much credence as an indicator that this is a better generation than the last. I am, overall, much less impressed with the catalog of games on the two consoles than the catalogs of the PS3 and Xbox 360 (at 26 months) at this point in the gen 8 life-cycle. Part of that is me not counting the abundance of independent games on both consoles, because in most cases I played them on PC before they came to consoles, so they do not offer me any value in console form. There are far more HD remakes and redos of gen seven titles in the gen eight catalog. In fact, I’d wager that a lot of the games being played on all those gen eight consoles are a lot of titles that are owed to gen seven.

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And while it is great that this time around the PlayStation has a more robust online service, I feel that the online community on both consoles is much more fragmented. At the launch of the XBOX 360, you could play in a public room on XBox Live and easily find decent people to play with, and without the screaming, racism, and misogyny that would come later (about the same time as the arrival of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as I remember it). These days what I see is a lot of people playing with people they already know, in party chat, and less interaction with players at the public, anonymous level. An outgrowth of sites dedicated to players meeting other like-minded players has also occurred, enabling this growing paradigm of meeting the people you play with somewhere other than the actual online services platform that is paired with the two consoles.

So while there are more gamers, or at least more people who own consoles (although maybe a lot of gen seven single-console owners now just own both), I’m not necessarily of the mind that gen 8 is “better”.

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I still reminisce about the days of my PS3 and XBOX 360 and think of that time overall on consoles to have been a more satisfying gamer experience. There’s a reason why, despite owning both an XBOX One and a PS4, I’ve been spending more time playing PC games this generation, even though I only owned one console and a gaming PC during most of generation seven.

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