If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware that E3 will be in full blast just one week from today. We’ll be hearing the latest from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and their third-party partners as they give us the skinny on all manner of next-gen goodness. Of course, we’ll have all of that news for you right here when it breaks.
However, E3 will mark the beginning of the end for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Those systems will still be supported for a while after the PS4 and Xbox One are out, of course, but they’ll soon be living on borrowed time.
Looking back, we’d wager that this was the greatest console generation gaming has ever seen. And wouldn’t you know it, we have five reasons why.
Multiplayer Comes Into Its Own
After getting a head start with Xbox Live with the original Xbox, the service really came into its own when it made the leap to Xbox 360. Microsoft’s service provides mostly reliable connections between players, while also offering great touches like seamless messaging, party chat, and almighty Achievements.
Despite a rocky start, PlayStation Network is no slouch. While it’s missing a few features that have pushed Xbox Live over the edge, PSN still offers solid multiplayer experiences at no cost to the player. And while Trophies are clearly a response to Achievements, Sony managed to put a neat RPG twist to their system.
No one like playing on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, though. Good riddance to bad rubbish on that front.
The Great Indie Explosion
Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Steam have provided havens for smaller developers to get their wares in front of the gaming public, and the result has been a thriving independent scene unlike any before it.
These digital marketplaces have been host to an enormous variety of different games that might not have been able to find a home otherwise. There are smash hits like Minecraft, Trials HD, and Castle Crashers. Critical darlings such as The Walking Dead, Limbo, Braid, and Journey. Cult hits such as the PixelJunk series and Dead Nation. No matter your platform of choice, indie studios were churning out great games like nobody’s business.
Not so much on the Wii Shop, though. That could have been handled better.
Games Have Never Been Cheaper
Despite costs going up in other areas of our lives, the costs associated with buying games has been steady for years, even going down in some cases. N64 games as high as $80. SNES and Genesis games going for $100! With current-gen games going down in price a month after their release, that gap seems otherworldly.
Besides the cost of a standard retail game, though, there are other ways for frugal gamers to save money. Steam always has outrageous sales, of course, but Sony has made major strides with their PlayStation Plus service by offering free games and deep discounts for a scant $50 per year. Microsoft has gotten much better about offering discounts on digital games this year as well.
Nintendo’s first-party Wii games took years to go down in price, though, and once again the Wii Shop was terribly neglected. I swear I’ve got positive things about Nintendo’s machine soon.