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Gaming Obsolescence

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This topic has been on my mind whenever I walk through town and stick my head in the local Cex to see the shelves full of unwanted PS3 and Xbox 360 Games.
Is it me or or is this the first time ever where a newer generation has made an older generation seem obsolete by virtue of there being little to no reason to ever go back to those older systems?
Taking the PS3 and 360 as examples, besides a handful of games what is there actually left on those systems that have not been either:

  • Ported to PC
  • Remastered for a newer system
  • Been succeeded by a newer game which gives little reason to return to the old one

For example, if I wanted to play the original Uncharted trilogy, would I not be far better off getting the PS4 collection? Obviously if you don't have a PS4 this a moot point but all things considered assuming you can get your hands on it wouldn't it always be better to play the best version available? 

More interesting to me is how the likes of the PS3 and 360 have become almost obsolete while older systems such as the PS2, GameCube, N64 and SNES remain as systems you'd be justified in owning. There are many games on those systems you cannot officially get on newer hardware, and even if you can, the ported and officially emulated versions are not always superior to the originals (the games were often designed specifically for the hardware's specs after all). In terms of longevity post-production-cycle, the move to PC architecture killed consoles long term viability. Anything designed to run on the 360 and PS3 can, and in most cases have been made to run just fine on a PC or newer system.

And you know what? This is by no means a bad thing. It is good that we now have the option to play better versions of these games, but more importantly it is good that companies are making moves to counter the issued caused by the closed platform nature of consoles. A person shouldn't be made to own several platforms just to enjoy a single series, nor should people be made to pay hefty sums for older titles just because they weren't around to play them when they were new.

Obviously you can argue that fan-made emulation makes all games consoles obsolete but those sit in a legal grey area, one Nintendo are very keen to see fade to black. Having seen the state of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2019 it has got me thinking that while its sad those systems have lost their lustre as something you would collect for, it is overall for the better that games are given more open availability. 

I'm rambling but the more I think about this topic the more I begin to think that it would be nice to have the convenience of not needing to own multiple systems to play the best versions of my favourite games. If the PS5 truly does end up being backwards compatible with older systems (and hopefully removing the region locks for the PS1 & PS2) then I'll be glad for it. There is little practical reason for closed platforms in 2019 and the sooner we make the old machines obsolete the better (although people are still welcome to play on them if they wish).

Just wanted to get these thoughts down in writing. I do think certain pieces of hardware have their own advantages (I can't bring myself to play GBA games on anything other than a GBA SP) but for the most part I can't see a future where we no longer need old systems just to play certain games as anything but a good one.

Also in before someone posts the HBomberGuy video about VHS tapes.

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I remember the 3DO being marketed as the VHS of games and the one system you’d need. I was sceptical then but if you’d told me at the time that we’d still have separate systems going into 2020 I’d have been surprised. 
 

I suppose you have the PC which is more of a games platform now than ever before and it’s its upgradability that allows it to work. 
 

The thing holding us back from one system is that it’s so tech based and every 5 years you’d have a better one become possible. I suppose you’ve had VHS to DVD to Blu-ray though so it’s not that different. 
 

I think we might be one gen more way from something like this - once the tech is universally acceptable as a standard and it’s agreed that Sony, MS, Happy Shopper etc can all make a version of it, it’ll make sense. We always hear about how consoles are loss leaders, this would be a way out of that. 

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I feel like this is almost completely true if you're interested mainly in aaa games or other high profile stuff and don't mind not being able to play whichever games fall through the cracks of BC etc because of licensing and such.

 

I keep a ps3 around for Outrun 2, After Burner Climax, GTI Club, Ridge Racer 7, Daytona, my steering wheel controller, none of which I can play/use on my ps4.

I keep my 360 for the Cave shmups (and also because I never bought an xbox one). I guess the one probably plays most big name 360 games but there are still plenty it doesnt support, or at least didn't last time I checked.

 

I think most physical 360 and PS3 games feel worthless/obsolete moreso than games would have in previous generations because of patches. What's the point of building a collection of discs that will become a collection of unpatchable coasters in various states of acceptability (depending on how bad a state it was in before the day one patch and other patches) whenever sony/microsoft decide that it's not worth their while hosting those patches anymore.

 

You can put in your snes carts now and have the same experience you did when the snes was still on shelves. I seriously doubt the same will be true of physical switch games in 25 years.

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There's a few games starting to creep in value like Splatterhouse on PS3 as an example, but yeah, the majority of games I have are worthless as they have been ported to PC or there's better versions on newer hardware available.

 

It's a great thing IMO.  

 

Too many good games have been held hostage on legacy systems in the past. 

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Rock Band is the biggest reason I intend to keep my 360 and peripherals for as long as they continue to work. Even if I ever get an Xbox One copy of RB4 and guitar controller (yikes at their current prices on CeX and eBay!), none of the games are backwards-compatible. I think I should still be able to export RB3 games to RB4, but I bought RB1 and 2 second-hand so I'll need to keep the 360 to play their on-disc songs. And of course The Beatles Rock Band is never going to come out on anything else.

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I feel the past 2 generations of consoles, where the launch game is not complete without a patch and in some case requires online, made it clear in my head that it’s pointless buying physical nowadays.

 

With that, a PC becomes an obvious choice of the main gaming machine if you embrace digital only: Games are cheap, technically the best if your machine is up to it, emulation and mods. It doesn’t suffer with the issue you describe, where a load of old, classic games don’t work. Because they work or the community make a mod that allows it to work.

 

Consoles are stuck in that slash and burn phase, where they can charge you 5 years from now with another port. Hopefully Sony make an effort with BC with the PS5 but my guess is, only the PC allows for playing your back catalogue.

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I believe going forwards , due to consoles being so similar to modern PC architecture, we will always have backwards compatibility which is great. And it's great for platform holders too - Microsoft could announce a console that makes breakfast and I'd still stick with Sony because there's no way I'm giving up my collection of PS4 games and downloads. Changing from MS to Sony at the tail end of last gen was an easy decision to make, as none of my 360 games or peripherals would work anyway.

 

No one enjoys those first few months of owning a new system and having to go back to your old one because new releases are so slow forthcoming. If I can plug in the PS5 and play all my old games , including my VR library, then they've secured a sale quicker than any other bullet point could.

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2 hours ago, Down by Law said:

I believe going forwards , due to consoles being so similar to modern PC architecture, we will always have backwards compatibility which is great.

 

In theory, mobile should be exactly the same as they all use ARM and various graphics vendors, in practice it isn't quite that simple as time goes on. Even on x86 Windows, BC has been a herculean effort to keep going, especially for games where you now have to resort to fucking emulation to get really old PC games working, despite everything still using x86 CPUs...

 

If they switched to Intel and Nvidia in some hypothetical future console, it'd be interesting to see what broke during that transition :) As the underlying hardware has differences, masked by the software layers that exist on Windows.

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I’m pretty sure people thought all the systems you feel are worth keeping around we’re as worthless as you think the 360 is now. 

 

I remember people selling cheap, binning or giving away segas and Nintendo’s.  I myself have my original sega away when I first got a ps1, it wasn’t worth selling at the time. 

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