The impact of the new console generation

It’s been a couple of days since the pre-orders started for the new console generation, and both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have sold out all over the world. Hype is at an all time high for the new consoles and their incredible power. But with every new generation comes changes to the industry. In previous new console generations this change had little impact on our lives, but I fear that this new generation will have a bigger impact on our lives than we may realize.

Impact #1: Game prices will increase

Sony has already confirmed that many of it’s PS5 games will retail at $70, up from the normal $60 we’ve been used to for many years. Looking at pre-order prices from BT Games, it is already impossible to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series focused game for under R1200. This is a staggering price and will inevitably make new game purchases much more expensive for everyone. Buying games at launch and not on sale will be a much bigger investment, and will come with a lot more research and questioning to ensure people don’t buy a perceived bad game for that amount of money. This is a trend that is not likely to go away, and it is highly probable that next gen games will all retail for well over R1200 at launch.

Impact #2: Your TV is not ready for the new generation

While we as the hardcore gaming scene might see 4K as the bare minimum standard resolution for our TV’s, these TV’s are not yet standard. The majority of households in South Africa, and in fact the world, still only has a 1080p TV. Also, both the new consoles will be able to output games at higher than 60 frame rates. I would bet that virtually no-one has a TV capable of this, as higher than 60 Hz TV’s are incredibly expensive and extremely rare. It means that, while you may buy a R12k gaming console, you may never push it to its full potential, unable to game at 4K resolution, and surely unable to game at higher than 60fps, even though the consoles are clearly capable of such.

Even with computer monitors the situation is not better. The vast majority of users, according to the latest Steam hardware survey, use 1080p monitors incapable of going higher in resolution of frame rate.

What this all means is that we may see an increase in 4K TV adoption in a few years. But seeing as 4K TV’s have been on sale since 2012, the adoption might be slower than expected if other media channels (set top TV, streaming services etc.) do not introduce more 4K content.

Impact #3: Storage will be an issue

Currently we already see many games go over a 100GB install size. Many of the newest AAA games can all be expected to be well over that size limit. What’s more, next gen games will ship with ever increasing texture data as both consoles pack the muscle to handle such high textures, increasing gaming sizes even further. Don’t be surprised to see games installation sizes average at between 150GB and 200GB in the next 2 to 4 years.

With the new consoles shipping with 1TB storage, they can realistically carry only 10 games at this size, if not less. And seeing as both consoles have made the move to speedier NVME SSD storage, expect to see expandable storage cost an absolute premium. The expandable storage for Xbox Series S already costs about the same as the console itself!

These 3 impact points I feel will shape our gaming future, and come at a massive cost. So if you think the next generation of consoles only costs R12k, think again.


Disclaimer: I only skimmed it, will read properly later.
That said:
Impact #4: PC hardware is taking a step change in performance, but will likely then stagnate again for a while. If you’re planning on upgrading your PC, the hardware having been announced recently and being announced soon might be a great investment, even if the GeForce 3080 costs more than a hatchback.


I would like to take a different stance on the matter. Currently, if you don’t have a monitor capable of 4k resolution or higher than 144hz refresh rate, I would honestly say there is no reason to upgrade to the 30xx GPUs. They are fantastic pieces of hardware, but completely pointless if used for anything less than 4K or very high frame rate gaming. Current cards are more than capable of playing any game at 1080p on ultra and achieve 60fps+. In fact the current prices of 30xx cards are so overly expensive and current gen cards should come down in price enough that now is a better time to pick up something before the 30xx cards.

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The implicit assumption in my statement is that your PC is in need of an upgrade - in other words, you’re not planning on using 1080p at 60 fps for much longer.

That said, what we saw with the previous gens was that the resolutions and frequencies stayed 1080/60 for most games, but with game engines pushing the quality to the limit of the console hardware capabilities near the end of the generational cycle. That meant that hardware purchased at the beginning of the cycle that was of mid or upper tier, was still working well enough at the end of the cycle 5-6 years later. That’s a really long lifetime for hardware!

A console hardware refresh in the middle of the cycle complicates things a bit, but I think the principle holds.

Agreed, though, don’t buy a 3080 now if you’re not looking at 4K, just because Avatar said it’s a good idea. I’ll deny everything!


Addressing the points in order:

  1. I am sad to see the price increase. I wonder if this will be an early life thing only, where cross-generation games will be $70 (for new gen games), and then when we are well into the next gen, the price goes back down to $60?

I also hope that digital game prices eventually become cheaper, but Sony SA has recently increased our prices. Not a massive increase in all cases but still:

Meanwhile I recall Gamepass getting cheaper? It’ll be interesting to see how that model works for selling games.

  1. It’s better to have the consoles push the TV, than design for the current TV standards. Higher framerates (and variable refresh rate) at any resolution is a good thing. It’s only a matter of time for this to become widespread in TVs.

  2. SSDs are still expensive but eventually they will come down in price too. I didn’t know this, but one reason for large game sizes is duplicated data. Data is duplicated for quicker access. In theory, the SSD can overcome this by it’s ability to read faster:

This is obviously going to be offset by 4K assets being more of a norm though.

R12k is a lot of money but the tech is definitely more exciting this time. R7k for a Series S with Gamepass is also a viable option, and it also goes back to the point about TVs. The Series is designed as a device which is not intended for 4K output.

Overall, thanks for raising this discussion. There are definitely exciting times ahead. I am going to be staying on current gen for now as most upcoming games I’m interested in are cross-gen.

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I read that games will actually be smaller.

With new compression technology and as @LazyDemoni mentioned, the SSD’s will prevent duplicated data.

Also the Series S games will not have 4K textures apparently which will make the games smaller on there.

Will be interesting to see. Currently I don’t come close to using all the space on my One X. However, I normally only have games installed that I’m currently playing or want to play soon.

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my one X is full along with the 2tb external i have attached to it.

I take it you don’t have uncapped internet then?

I don’t really see any reason to have everything installed when you can just install it at any time.

i like to have the games that i own installed on my consoles, look at the whole epic/apple fiasco where even though you own a game like infinity blade you are not allowed to download it anymore, because of their beef.

and i just like having my full library at my fingertips for immediate playtime sometimes i just want to game and not go through the whole process of redownloading a 60 gig title i just want to play for and hour or so again


A lot of talk about games sizes will decrease, but two PS5 launch titles both have massive file sizes. Spiderman Remake is twice the size on PS5 than on PS4, and Demon’s Souls is over 60GB.

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Yes, that’s really not a good sign! I just hope that with time, devs manage to figure out a way to optimise the file size a bit. If this is the trend, then it’ll be tough juggling installed games until SSDs become cheaper.

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