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This week, Zero Punctuation takes a look at the three next gen consoles.

Release Date Edit

This episode was released on 2013-06-05 and rereleased on 2013-12-25 to fill the Christmas gap.

TranscriptEdit

The current situation is the sort of thing that a corporate press release would describe as "a challenging time for console manufacturers," in the same sense that a tube with barbed wire down it presents "a challenging time for a prison inmate's arsehole." Console gaming is going through a strange and slightly traumatic graduation, and no one seems to know what it's going to do with its life after this. Maybe it'll get a job and build a future, maybe it'll move back in with its parents, or maybe it'll just drink a load of mentholated spirits and have a little snooze on the floor of a subway car.

I figure it's time for a rundown of the candidates, now that all three have at the very least made some awkward stammering announcement of their consoles, and so far it's been like watching the most retarded game of Texas Hold 'Em ever played, where everyone just sat and eyeballed each other for six months before someone finally called in the most weaselly non-committed way possible, in the hopes that it would make someone else show their hand. Whereupon the flop cards were revealed to be a joker, a get-out-of-jail-free and a Magus of the Vineyard from Magic: The Gathering.

Wii U

Of course, the odd man out is Nintendo, as ever, and in keeping with the poker metaphor, they were dealt a pair of twos right at the start and immediately went "All in, motherfuckers!" Only to realize later that one of the twos was actually a four that had been partially covered by a big fat touchscreen controller that someone had left on the table.

There's not much more that needs to be said about the Wii U. Suffice to say that everyone's trying to find some innovation to keep themselves alive, but Nintendo's innovative idea to have a console with no sodding games doesn't seem to have paid off as well as they hoped. Maybe you could still come back if you brought out the usual suspects, but even Mario has a shelf life.

And recently a critical blow was dealt when someone at EA unguardedly mentioned that they weren't making any games for it, because if they have to bring water to a dying man in a desert, then giving it to the man with no arms or legs who refuses to stop eating crisps might be a bit of a waste. EA did backtrack on that remark though, perhaps realizing that before you burn a bridge, it might be smarter to wait and make sure the other two bridges aren't going to spontaneously combust...

Playstation 4

... which brings us to the first of the two enigmatic candidates, the PS4, announced earlier this year. Although "announced" might be too charitable a word, because they didn't reveal the console, or the price, or the release date, or much of anything really, besides the new controller which they were really excited about because they came up with a idea for a dedicated "annoy all your friends" button.

As I said, everyone's trying to find a way to innovate, because previously you'd sell a console by showing that it lets you play bigger and better games, and that's not going to work this time because the increasingly inefficient ways AAA games are made is only making them blander and blingier. Next gen can't even bring itself to pretend that if all you want to do is play the best games available then you should stick with current gen or buy a PC, especially since everyone's shunning backwards compatibility like it's a physically able person trying to enter the special Olympics.

So, instead, Sony is throwing all its eggs into the social media basket for the sake of a USP, with the ability to instantly show all your friends what you're doing and even let them take control. So the PS4 is for people not only unconcerned about having the best games, but also don't particularly want to play the fucking things. This is like a hairdresser buying up all the advertising space in a cancer ward. Surely if someone has sat down and turned on their PS4, it's because they want to play something, not watch someone else play something. If I was trying to enjoy a game and some prick kept pestering me to watch them play Twat Bandits 4, and maybe fight the final boss for them 'cos they can't be arsed, I'd tell them to fuck off! Any chance of getting a dedicated "Fuck Off" button on the controller, Sony?

You can also record video footage and upload it to YouTube, which, as a consumer of Let's Play videos, you might think I support. But the important question for me is to what degree one is permitted to edit the footage, because this would mean the difference between Sony enabling a culture of criticism and Sony just trying to get everyone to do their marketing for them. And I think we all know which one Sony would prefer, 'cos it is a console manufacturer, which in the current climate is the entity with the demeanor of a cornered wolf and the financial stability of a tin-mine in a supernova. If it came down to a snarling fight for pack dominance at this point, I'd probably bet on Microsoft, because it seems to be the slightly more desperate of the two.

Xbox One

The Xbox One then, which, gratifyingly, everyone was already calling the "Xbone" by the end of announcement day. An announcement day that seemed a trifle premature, 'cos nobody at Microsoft seemed to have a clue what this big black ring-binder of a console actually does.

First it was going to be always on, then it wasn't. Then it has to call home once a day or else Microsoft won't pay the ransom. First pre-owned games wouldn't work, then they would, but only if you pay the fee, then you can only install them if you pay the fee. Why is the seller of an alleged entertainment system being as evasive as James Murdoch at a select committee? What we do know is that you can't use it without Internet, you can't play 360 games, you can't use 360 controllers; you can't use SD TVs, you can't turn the fucking Kinect off, so it will permanently stare at you from the corner of your living room occasionally licking its pencil and taking notes on your prefered wank material - this is starting to sound more like a "can't-sole" than a "can-sole" and that's just one letter away from a "cunt-sole!"

Oh, but the Kinect needs to be on all the time so it knows when you're barking orders at it. But I want to feel comfortable talking about the Xbox in front of it. I might unguardedly say, "I hope Xbox doesn't NUKE THE CHINESE," and then who knows what might happen. And I continue to argue that all these motion controls and Star Trek "tea, earl gray, hot" mechanisms still require more effort and reliability than moving your fingertip half a centimeter to press a button.

Conclusion

You know, video game consoles didn't always need marketing events that resemble political rallies, because they basically sold themselves. "Here's a thing that lets you play fun games," they would say. "Which games?" we would ask. "These ones," they would reply. "Ooh, those do look fun," we'd conclude. Now the same statement has so many asterisks next to it, it looks like a fucking constellation map!

The only reason a console would need a fucking spin doctor would be if it benefited the corporation selling it a fuckload of a lot more than anyone buying the fucking thing, or anyone who'd just want to play fun games. At this point, I would only buy a next generation console if it had an exclusive game I really, really wanted to play, but it would not be a healthy consumer-product relationship. It would not be a console providing access to something I want, it would be a console holding something I want hostage until I gave it my Wi-Fi password and credit card details.

So to summarize this buyer's guide for next gen consoles: "DON'T!"

AddendaEdit

Not enough hugs as a child: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Of course some things may have been clarified by the time this comes out so if that's the case just assume I'm still really annoyed and cynical about it all

Let's hope the E3 roundup brings a rictus grin to my face

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2

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