New Era, New Features. What will these changes bring?


With the next generation of both consoles set to be released in early November of this year, gamers have a difficult choice before them.

Less than two months away, the anticipated release of the next generation of consoles has gamers on the edge of their seats and clicking that refresh button waiting for an update from either company.

Whether or not backward compatibility will be available for players has been the number one question asked by gamers, said Robert Turney, debate and English teacher. 

As a new gaming age rises, so have the expectations for our companions for the next decade. Now with more advanced technology, backward compatibility, the ability to play games from previous generations, is possible. 

Much to gamers’ delight, Microsoft promised backward compatibility with this generation of consoles and speculated reports from July rumored backward compatibility for the Playstation 5. However, Sony has not promised anything. Gamers were looking forward to backward compatibility but the only type of backward compatibility that there will be is Playstation 4 games.

On the other hand, Microsoft stated that backward compatibility will be available and that players will be able to play any previous Xbox game. The difference between Microsoft’s consoles is that the Xbox series X will allow backward compatibility along with improved graphics. Although the Xbox series S will still be able to play previous games, it will still have the original graphics. 

It is definitely a selling point and lots of people are interested, Turney said. 

“It’s going to retain a lot of customers,” said Turney. “I like the idea of playing older games on my system with improved graphics. If what they are saying is true, then it’s going to upscale to 4k [resolution]. It’s definitely positive and can’t hurt.” 

Both higher-end consoles will be $500, but Sony’s lower-end Playstation is $400, while Microsoft’s Xbox series S is only $300. The higher-end product will allow disks and digital versions and have bigger upgrades as opposed to the lower-end model which will be an all digital version. Microsoft’s Xbox series S and series X will be released November 10 and Sony’s PS5 will be released to the public November 12.

“It gives flexibility to the consumer. If you’re a casual gamer, then there’s a console for you and if you care about the graphics, then there’s a console for you,” Turney said. 

Microsoft surprised gamers worldwide September 21 when they bought Zenimax Media, parent company of Bethesda, makers of Fallout and Skyrim, for $7.5 billion.

“It’s a bold move on Microsoft’s part and shows that they are very tired of Sony taking the lead. I wouldn’t be surprised if they purchased another third party game developer,” Turney said.

With the addition of Zenimax and everything it owns, it puts Microsoft at 23 studios under its command and 8 more studios than what Sony owns. This means Xbox Game Pass owners will most likely see new additions to their collection of games.

Hopefully it will be altered and have more games so people will have more freedom with games unlike when Xbox One first came out. No games for free automatically so Xbox One owners had to buy a game and spend $60 dollars, and hopefully it will just be a better experience, said Zachary Johnson, 10. 

Alongside the addition of features, Sony states they will introduce a new feature called Playstation Plus Collection. PlayStation Plus Collection is similar to Xbox’s Game Pass. It builds on and allows members who already have a Playstation Plus subscription to have access to 18 free games . This feature will be a Playstation 5 exclusive and will be available right from the launch of the Playstation 5.

“I think it’s pretty cool that they’re doing the free games stuff,” said Lance Wike, 10.

With the Playstation 5, Sony is introducing customizable consoles and controllers. The sides of the console will be changeable and  be available in all different kinds of colors, as well as the sides of the controller. 

“That’s the best idea so far. It does get annoying when you have just one controller and you can never really change it. Or like with  Xbox you have the main controller, but to get an elite controller, it’s going to be like $160,” Johnson said. 

On September 15, Xbox took a big step and allowed owners of the Xbox Ultimate Pass to play 100+ Xbox games directly on their phone. This excludes IOS users. Sony does have something similar to this called Remote Play, but it requires players to have the console turned on and connected to the internet.

“It’s a win-win. Microsoft, I don’t think, is concerned as much about selling systems; they’re just more interested in being the dominant force in video games right now and if that means you play on the PC or you play on a tablet or you play on an Xbox. Microsoft just cares about you subscribing to their service. They don’t care about where you play the games,” said Turney. 

One change has been coming for sometime now and this generation was the one to receive it: Prices of video games have had a $10 increase from $60 to $70. 

“That’s been coming for a while. It’s just with inflation and the production cost. It was going to happen. I remember when games cost $50 and it was a big deal when they jumped to $60. This isn’t anything that should shock [anyone] because it’s just that the games are too expensive to produce now and they said for a while that they wanted to push the price up even higher and I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 more years, we’re paying $80,” Turney said.

With all the big changes, all the new features, the release dates of each being two days apart, and tons of new information to cover, gamers have a difficult decision to make. 

It is definitely going to be a difficult choice for games with the release dates of each console being two days apart, new features for each side, and new information being released as their release gets closer and closer, Johnson said.