Sony finally announced their long rumored upgrade to the Playstation 4, the Playstation 4 Pro on Sept. 7. Since the PS4 was released three years ago, one would expect that the new console would be a massive upgrade to the existing console millions have purchased for their entertainment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The PS4 Pro only adds 4K and HDR capabilities, and more than double the power of the original PS4. The only “new” feature that the PS4 Pro has is that it makes games “prettier.” As a gamer, I’m upset that people get so wrapped up in how games look. As if it makes them better. I just can’t help but think, “why do we live in a culture that is so caught up in the aesthetics of a game, rather than it’s gameplay?”
Back in the day, it was a big deal when new consoles got announced. Why? Because it meant that there would be a jump in technological capabilities. It allowed developers to do more with the worlds they created and allow them to try new things that were otherwise impossible on earlier consoles. Somehow though, more and more people started caring about what the game looked like, rather than how it played. A game can be as pretty as it wants but if it’s not fun to play, no one’s going to want to play it.
In an interview with the Guardian, Sony CEO Andrew House said, “There’s a dip in the mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had.”
He goes on to say that, “We wanted to keep those people within our ecosystem by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality].”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he’s talking about aesthetics. I won’t lie, I like games that have great graphics. However, I love games that are fun to play. A game like “Super Mario World,” a 16-bit Super Nintendo game, still stands the test of time because of its fun mechanics in the form or platforming and exploration.
The original “Bioshock,” was released back in 2007, and still holds up thanks to its amazing narrative and engrossing world. The games that are most memorable to us aren’t necessarily the one’s that have the most mind-blowing graphics. The best gaming experiences are the ones that give us a sense of enjoyment or the ones that captivate us with memorable moments. The moments that have stuck with me through my entire gaming life have been either somber moments that my favorite story-driven games have presented me with or fun multiplayer matches with my friends.
When gaming was first created, it was done so with the idea that it would bring enjoyment to people in the comforts of their homes. People had no idea how far the medium would jump in just a few decades. Unfortunately, we live in a superficial society where looks are everything. Is it fair to repurchase a new console just to for an experience to be a little bit prettier? Probably not. We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not about looks, it’s about what’s on the inside.” This is one of the cases where that rings true.