This is going to be less of a rant-and-rave-style post as it will be a no-duh kind of post that really shouldn’t need clarifying but here we are: the definition of ‘next generation.’ Hell, let’s break it down even further for you journalist-types out there that like to use cool little hype and trigger words to get people to read your article among all the tripe out there.
PlayStation 4: Current Generation.
PlayStation 3: Last Generation
PlayStation 2: Retro
This is pretty simple stuff, folks. However, for you types who just love to argue, let’s take the gaming aspect out of it and break it down further, into the definitions of said words and what they mean together, in context:
1.(of a time or season) coming immediately after the time of writing or speaking.“we’ll go next year”
2.coming immediately after the present one in order, rank, or space.“the woman in the next room”
1.on the first or soonest occasion after the present; immediately afterward.“wondering what would happen next”
1.the next person or thing.“one moment he wasn’t there, the next he was”
1.all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively.“one of his generation’s finest songwriters”
2.the production of something.“methods of electricity generation”
Now that we have the definitions out of the way, let’s combine the two in context, here, so that way there’s further clarification for those who still don’t get it: let’s take the two definitions that have the most relevance in terms of gaming generations – next; “coming immediately after the present one in order, rank, or space” and generation; “the production of something”. Most people see gaming industry generations much like they do generations of people but seeing as there’s confusion, time and time again, regarding the definition of “next generation”, this is what I’m going with: “coming immediately after the present one in order, rank or space in the production of something.” Quite literally mashing the two up, side by side. It’s like language salad.
With that being said, you clearly couldn’t mean that the XBOX ONE, PlayStation 4, and Wii U are next generation, right? That would imply that they’re still yet to come and aren’t in current production? To say they’re current generation would mean that they’re here and ready for consumption, right? Right.
While the timing of when something becomes retro is entirely objective and changes from person to person, I’ve defined it here as whatever comes before the last generation of systems and I feel that it’s pretty appropriate as a general definition that most can agree on.
If It’s That Simple, Why Is It Still Being Used?
That’s probably just as simple, if not more simple than the ideals we’ve went over already: it would seem that the journalists and bloggers out there need buzz words and click-whore-worthy titles in order to draw attention to their articles, magazines, and other publications. Everyone in the industry – myself included – drew a lot of attention to this current generation while it was still in development. Last year wasn’t very different in how the industry really hyped up what’s to come and, I think, thanks to outlets like the Internet, it’s going to continue that way. Every person with an opinion and an foot into the industry has a blog or a website, nowadays, and the information is flowing a lot more freely and a lot less secretively than it used to. Bottom line, the press as a whole needs to find ways to keep people reading in-between majorly hyped announcements.
Still using terms like “next gen” and its ilk are a solid way to do that; people are buying into it, too, which means clicks for websites and purchases for magazines and the like. It all adds up to exposure and money, in the end: if using it only benefits people, why take such a position against it, I hear you asking? It’s pretty simple, actually: it takes advantage of people who just don’t know any better.
You guys have the knowledge now. Stop calling PS4, Wii U, and XBONE next generation.