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The Sad Truth About Next-Gen Consoles

The next generation of consoles has turned into the current generation of consoles, and for many, it was as disappointing as 2020 in general. Microsoft and Sony promised their 10+ teraflops of graphical power and SSDs would deliver over 60 fps of gameplay at 4K resolution with ray tracing. Right off the bat, gamers got hit by low console stocks, scalpers, and controllers that suffer hardware problems barely a month out of the box. And the mud-flavored icing on this disappointing cake? The 60 fps at 4K with ray tracing promise was a mirage.

According to Tom's Guide, not a single game currently on the market lives up to the 60 fps at 4K pledge. Assassin's Creed Valhalla falls woefully short of 4K, and even acclaimed console exclusive titles such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales force players to pick their poison. Gamers can choose between better framerates or improved resolution and ray tracing, but they can't have both. The outlet cited Eurogamer's Digital Foundry article that tested the game's performance, and according to that study, Miles Morales' quality mode delivers ray tracing and 4K resolution but caps at 30 fps, while its performance mode removes ray tracing and shifts between 1512p and sub-4K resolutions to squeeze out 60 fps. Meanwhile, Digital Foundry also discovered Assassin's Creed Valhalla can't reach above 1728p, no matter what.

Tom's Guide's conclusion is clear: Despite the graphical horsepower sported by the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the consoles can't currently deliver on their promises. However, the solution to this problem lies in one of two possibilities.

The first potential solution is obvious: If current-gen consoles can't hit 4K and 60 fps at the same time, then console manufacturers may have to brute force games with even more powerful hardware. This could mean that gamers have to ironically wait for yet another new generation of consoles, or at least until Microsoft and Sony release the inevitable Xbox Series X Plus and PlayStation 5 Pro. Judging by the time it took the companies to release the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, Tom's Guide predicted these hypothetical improved iterations will launch around 2023.

The other solution, meanwhile, is to wait for developers to get better acquainted with the current generation's system suites. As Tom's Guide pointed out, Uncharted only tapped into 30% of the PlayStation 3's power, and by Uncharted 2's launch, the dev team managed to maximize the console's performance. Moreover, developers can fully exploit a console quicker with each generation. Perhaps a title that churns out 4K resolution at 60 fps is just around the corner.

If you haven't bought a next-gen console yet and are disappointed to hear about their current performance, you have one of two options. You can either wait for things to get better, or you can accept the situation and just enjoy the current generation of games, even if it falls a bit short of promises and expectations.