We have to find a new way to talk about games right now. I am so tired—I really say this a lot, don’t I? Games writing is a brilliant thing and I do not know what I would do without it. Working through games and the apparatus around development and game coverage is an invigorating, often infuriating project, but I love it. What I really, really don’t love is how this space is currently talking about the next generation of consoles. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, people are being evicted at an alarming rate, cops are murdering people every day, and the economy is at a breaking point. But no, we MUST be excited about these consoles, and Sony and Microsoft MUST release them this fall. That is not true. The fact that they have yet to delay them and are pressing their releases on us this hard is a genuinely gross thing. When so many folks can’t even afford rent and with a pandemic ravaging the world, is a new game console really that important?
Well, for some folks in the games press it sure seems like it is. “Just save some money and you can afford it” or “use one of the monthly purchase programs to get a new console” or “games are one of the few things bringing us joy right now, so these new systems will only enhance that joy” are common thought paths being espoused by some of the biggest voices at the biggest websites in this space. It is so closeminded. Oh, the Xbox Series S is only $299.99? Wow, that is so affordable!! On the one hand, it is but only if we are relating it to the prices of other consoles at their release dates. But in the midst of what is currently going on, spending $299.99 on a vanity electronic might as well be akin to climbing Mt. Everest for a lot of people. Yet, everyone is talking about this thing and about Microsoft like they are doing this for the people and that they are so consumer-friendly and have our best interests in mind. How can a company have one’s best interests in mind when they refuse just to push back a console release until the waters of the world are a little less choppy? It isn’t like there are any games launching alongside these systems that will make them worthwhile—in fact, most of those games have been delayed because COVID-19 has made game dev all the more taxing than it already is. But no, no, the consoles MUST come out!
And then there is Sony and the PlayStation 5. We are only mere months away from that console’s release and we still do not know the price. That might be telling (once again, just delay the fucking things). What is special (not in a good way) about Sony and the PlayStation brand is that they are all about the Premium Consumer Gaming Experience. This console might just be very expensive and it will release this fall into a global pandemic. The estimated price is $600.00—that is a good chunk of or just is someone’s full rent (before utilities) for an entire month. But you must buy the premium console! Move on! Gamers rise up or whatever the fuck. Plus, Sony has been weirdly vocal about how they are all about moving on and leaving their old consoles behind whereas Xbox, at least, is more than okay with making the new system backwards compatible when it comes to both software and hardware (controllers, headsets, and more). In a world where the PS3 launched at $600.00 and Sony joked about folks getting a second job just to afford it, I have very little faith in Sony ever doing anything with their customers’ best interests in mind. But hey, power to the players…
All of this shit feels like that band on The Titanic who played music while the ship sank into the cold Atlantic in the dead of night. When we are all going down, what good is some music? If anything it just feels insulting. I’ve gotten laid off twice due to the pandemic but hey at least I can look forward to marginally better graphics and faster loading times this fall because that is definitely (not) what is on my mind.