Opinion: Xbox One X and PS4 Pro: Are mid-gen consoles a problem?

Are these mid-gen consoles a cause for celebration or a cynical cash-grabbing ploy? We break down what's going on in the gaming scene

For most gamers, the introduction of mid-gen consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X is a polarising one. You either love it, or hate it. And there are plenty of legitimate reasons for both.

Whether you love the fact that you can now fully exploit that sleek 4K display, or hate knowing that you’re now stuck with an old second-rate console, we’re here to breakdown the dispute and weigh the good and the ugly, and offer some suggestions on what we gamers can do in the future, now that we’ve seen the trends.

At the very least, it seems that both PlayStation and Xbox loyalists are on the same side for once. 

When does the upgrading stop?

Games consoles used to last you the whole decade. If you had a PS2 or something newer, say the Xbox 360, you could enjoy the console for years knowing you had the best gaming could offer (aside from PC, of course). Any upgrades were merely on the exterior, like a slim version that wouldn’t affect its performance substantially.  

With the release of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, things have actually changed enormously. Spec hounds who’ve just bought their day-one models no more than three years ago will be ripping their hairs – possibly wallets – knowing that their devices aren’t top of the class any longer. Carousellers may frantically list their old consoles to make up for a fraction of the price of the latest releases, while others short on cash will have to game on knowing that their graphics are second-tier. For many, these Pros and X-es are a tragic development in the gaming industry. 

Upsetting the balance of the force

There’s plenty more to throw at the companies, most crucially how it upsets the balance of console gaming.

Consoles ensured an equal gaming experience for gamers, where no one can blame losing on inferior RAM and what not. Now, gamers may be separated based on the superior performances of these mid-gen models. It’s a lot like the PC crowd now, where gamers can perform better with a better gaming-PC, while those gaming away on their laptops are likely to experience slower speeds thus performance. And then again, the PC crowd will tell you that computers offer a gaming experience unrivalled by its console counterparts.

Is 4K even a big deal?

At this point in time, Microsoft hasn't given us access to compare the original Xbox One to the new Xbox One X.

It’s definitely fishy, but let’s take a look at another case, the PS4 and the PS4 Pro. Horizon Zero Dawn generated a lot of hype for its stellar graphics and detail. Check out the video above. Frankly, we can’t see that significant a leap in performance to justify the purchase of a completely new console. Could this really be another cash grab?

Is the market even ready 4K gaming consoles to hit the scene? Chances are, you don’t own a high-end 4K telly, and few of your friends do. The uninitiated may be buying a mid-gen console just for the sake of owning the best of the best, but sadly left underutilised. By the time 4K tellies become properly mainstream, it’s about time for your next-gen PS5. It’s a strangely timed release that creates further problems for the console crowd.