One year in, it’s easier to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X than a true next-gen game
A year ago, the next generation of console gaming was supposed to have arrived. The Xbox Series X (and Series S) and PlayStation 5 strode boldly onto the scene, with massive chassis and even bigger promises of games with better graphics, shorter loading times, and revolutionary new breakthroughs.
But a year in, and that next generation of gaming has yet to arrive. There are still too few consoles, and more importantly, too few games that truly take advantage of them, leaving the first year of the PS5 and Xbox Series X more of a beta test for the lucky few who have been able to get ahold of one, rather than the proper start of a new era of gaming.
What is a next-gen game?
There’s no formal definition of what makes a game “next-gen.” But I’m choosing to define it here as a game that can’t have existed as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 title. Games like Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart or Microsoft Flight Simulator, which push the boundaries of graphics and SSD load times to the point where they can’t have existed in the same way on an older consoles.
In short, they’re games that in some way rely on the hardware of a new console enough to help justify the outlying cost of a new machine compared to its predecessor.
A complicated mess of factors have led to the next-gen bottleneck. The physical consoles themselves are still nigh-impossible to buy, which naturally limits the number of customers who own them and can buy games for them. That in turn means that there’s little incentive for developers to aim for exclusive next-gen titles that truly harness the power of the PS5 or Xbox Series X. Why limit yourself (and your sales) to the handful of next-gen console owners when there are millions of Xbox One and PS4 customers to whom you can sell copies of games?
Adding to the mess has been the fact that industry-wide delays (many of which are due to similar pandemic-related issues as the broader supply chain problems) have also seen tons of next-gen optimized or exclusive games moved out to 2022 and beyond. Meaning even if you can get ahold of a console, there are still relatively few blockbuster titles to actually play on them.
With the exception of a handful of true next-gen exclusives, like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, or Microsoft Flight Simulator, virtually every big “next-gen” release has been available on older consoles and PC. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was on Xbox One and PS4, as was Call of Duty: Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
And that’s a trend that’s set to continue for the foreseeable future: Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 are playable on an original Xbox One from 2013 right alongside the cutting-edge Xbox Series X; a first-generation PlayStation 4 from almost a decade ago will get the same Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok games as an impossible-to-find PS5. Microsoft has already pledged to aim for concurrent Xbox releases on its first-party games. And most Sony first-party games have been a successive series of reading the fine print after each announcement, only to discover that they weren’t PS5-exclusive titles that would actually take advantage of the processing power and SSD speeds.
It’s no wonder that on Sony’s list of the most-played PS5 games from the console’s first year, just a single title — Demon’s Souls— is a true PS5 exclusive. And that’s a remake of a PS3 game from 2009.
To be clear, there are always transition periods. A year into the Xbox 360’s and PS4’s lifes pan, and there were still plenty of major cross-platform titles. Huge titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Forza Horizon 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Dark Souls II, and Destiny all tried to cross the generational divide. Not all those ports were effective — Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, for example, had an infamously watered down version of the Xbox One / PS4 game, a hint that developers were already starting to hit the wall of what the older consoles could do.
But there were also already big, next-gen-only games that were taking advantage of the extra power of the new hardware, games like inFamous: Second Son and its neon-particle-fueled powers, or Sunset Overdrive’s hordes of soda zombies. And even some big third-party titles were starting to embrace the newer consoles, like the Xbox One and PS4-only Assassin’s Creed Unity.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing that new games are available to a broader audience, either. But much like we saw in the last generational transition, when a game in 2021 has to be built to take into account the finest hardware that 2013 had to offer, those games are going to be held back in tangible ways. Horizon Zero Dawn’s dev team has already been frank about how memory streaming limits impacted how freely the game’s mechanical prehistoric creatures could roam or interact with each other. It’s the kind of feature that the PS5’s ultra-fast hardware should theoretically solve. But with Horizon Forbidden West now set to launch on both Sony’s current-gen and next-gen consoles, it’s not clear that the sequel will be able to offer that kind of functionality, either. (Game director Mathijs de Jonge claims that they “didn’t really think about hardware limitations” in an interview with Singapore News Live.)
The same might be true of Halo Infinite’s semi-open world: how much of the virtual walls that divide up Zeta Halo into discrete playing areas in the upcoming game are design choices, and how many are due to the eight-year-old hardware that Microsoft is trying to support?
Even the consoles themselves have taken some time to work through growing pains: both Sony and Microsoft have had to make multiple updates to smooth out the rough edges of their software, and basic features, like the Xbox Series X’s 4K dashboard or the PS5’s option to add additional storage, are only just now becoming available. If you’re just picking up an Xbox Series X or PS5 a year in, you managed to miss out on a lot of software awkwardness of the past year.
The delays actually work in Sony’s and Microsoft’s favor in some ways here: these kinds of early issues are common for new consoles, and the supply issues mean that there’s more time to sort a lot of them out before the majority of gamers get ahold of them. And even if the next-gen experiences aren’t quite here yet, there are still good reasons to pick one up, whether it’s just futureproofing or the fact that they do offer some nice perks in making old games look and play better. Load times are faster in games that have been optimized for the PS5 and Xbox SSDs, and games do look nicer, with bonus ray-tracing perks, more consistent 4K gameplay, and faster frame rates.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the inflection point wherein “next-gen” consoles just become “current-gen” tech. The transition point where the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are the defaults, and the unannounced PlayStation 6 and whatever the Series X’s successor will be called take over the “next-gen” title.
I’ve come up with a few definitions: when the majority of games released by major publishers can’t be played on older consoles. When the cookie cutter annual releases like Call of Duty, FIFA, or Madden are exclusive to the PS5 or XSX. When you can walk into a Best Buy or Walmart and walk out with a console without fighting an epic duel to the death in the gaming aisle.
It’s all but guaranteed that the PS5 and XSX will eventually get to the point where there are real, compelling reasons to pick one up over a current-gen console beyond faster frame rates or ray tracing on the same games. But where things stand now, the two consoles are just extremely pricey performance mode unlocks for games that you can already play on a console you already own; the experiences they offer now are still closer to a souped-up PS4 Pro or Xbox One X than the true leaps of which they’re capable.
It’s certainly frustrating that over a year in, it’s nigh-impossible to just walk into a store and buy a PS5 or Xbox. And if you don’t have a PlayStation or Xbox already, it’s an especially problematic limbo, given the fact that buying any flavor of Xbox One or PlayStation 4 at the nadir of its time in the spotlight feels foolish. But for the millions of folks who do own a previous-gen console, you’re still not missing out on much yet while you’re stuck endlessly waiting for a PS5 or XSX to appear.
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Entry-level gaming PC guide: The best parts to pick for budget gaming – XDA Developers
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With the shortage of key components and the corresponding prices on the rise, building a new computer may sound like a daunting task right now. But luckily, it’s relatively easy to build a basic computer for entry-level gaming even under current circumstances. In this article, we’ll take you through a guide to help you build a solid entry-level gaming PC for around $700. With the recent price spikes on GPUs, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to fit a discrete graphics card into a $700 budget. As a workaround, we’re using a Ryzen 5 5600G APU to power the graphics for this build. So without wasting any more time, let’s get to the build.
Note: We’ve added a couple of budget GPU recommendations in the ‘Price Summary’ section of this article for those who are interested. We’re not including a graphics card for this build because, well, most people don’t have access to even budget GPUs at retail prices or anything remotely close to it. Perhaps we’ll update this build once the dust settles down and the GPU market stabilizes.
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The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best processors in the Ryzen 5000 series. This tried and tested APU is an absolute no-brainer as it’s a part of our collections of the best gaming CPUs as well as the best AMD CPU on the market right now. The Ryzen 5 5600G APU offers an impressive price-to-performance ratio for those who’re looking to save money on an entry-level build. It eliminates the need for including a discrete graphics card in your build for entry-level gaming. Intel’s new Core i5-12600 is a solid processor to consider for a budget build but it comes with an associated cost for the new 600 series chipset motherboards that are still somewhat expensive on the market. The Ryzen 5 5600G, on the other hand, drops on one of the existing affordable motherboards including the less expensive B550 boards.
As for the performance, the Ryzen 5 5600G should be good enough for entry-level gaming. You’re not going to get fantastic frames across all games, but we think it’s plenty to run even some of the newer titles at 720p or at 1080p with low-graphics settings. The Ryzen 5 5600G is a six-core APU that comes with the AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics. This particular APU also comes with a bundled CPU cooler which means you’ll save more money on the build. There’s a lot to like about the Ryzen 5 5600G as long as you keep your expectations in check from a budget-centric PC with entry-level parts.
For the motherboard, we think any of the affordable B550 chipset-based boards should be able to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. We’ve picked the ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard for this build mainly because it’s one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It comes with plenty of noteworthy features including an eight-phase power design, support for DDR4-4733+ RAM, and more. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 isn’t the best when it comes to overclocking, but it should allow you to tweak the 5600G to offer better performance than its stock settings. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 is an mATX form-factor motherboard, which means it’s probably best to stick to a small-sized PC case or a mid-tower case at best. Alternatively, you can check out our collection of the best AMD motherboards to find more options for your build.
Unlike the new DDR5 memory kits, there’s no shortage of DDR4 RAM sticks on the market right now. You can always pick up a pair of budget sticks for the build but we recommend picking up the XPG Gammix D30 gaming DDR4 RAM sticks. There’s a lot to like about these sticks and we think they offer great value for money. We’re looking at memory latency of CL18 and memory speeds of about 3600Mhz. These sticks are faster and have tighter timings than a lot of other kits on the market. They also have a stylish heat-spreader that we think will add to the overall look of the build.
Western Digital’s Blue SN550 is one of the most affordable and reliable M.2 SSDs on the market right now. This particular SSD is the go-to option for a lot of entry-level builds and we’ve picked the 500GB variant of the drive for this guide. For just $60, the Blue SN550 offers plenty of features including high sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,400MB/s and 1,750MB/s, respectively. If you don’t mind putting up with slightly slower speeds in favor of high-capacity, then we suggest you replace the M.2 drive with a SATA SSD of choice. Additionally, you can also pair it with a high-capacity 7200+ RPM HDD as your secondary drive to dump your files. These are entirely optional upgrades though, which is why we’re not adding them to our price summary of this build.
When it comes to the PSU, we recommend picking up the Corsair RM550x. This unit, as the name suggests, offers 550W of power to the PC, which is plenty for a relatively low-powered build like the one we’re working with for this guide. We’re only using an APU to power this rig, which is why we can get away with spending less on the PSU. That being said, it’s still recommended that you pick a reliable power supply unit with a good rating. The ATX PSU that we’ve picked here comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating and is fully modular, making it better than a majority of other PSUs in its class. 550W of power is enough for the build we’ve listed here but it goes without saying that you will have to upgrade it if/when you buy a discrete graphics card.
At $80, we think the Phanteks Eclipse P360A is the perfect PC case for this particular build. Despite the affordable price tag, it’s a reliable mid-tower PC case that comes with two 120mm D-RGB PWM fans pre-installed out of the box. Additionally, the case has plenty of space to add more case fans and radiators for CPU coolers, should you decide to add them in the future. It offers great clearance for all the components including tall CPU cooler towers, modern GPUs, and more. The case also has plenty of vents for airflow and they’re all covered with mesh filters to keep the dust away from the internals.
You can always step down and pick up PC cases that cost as low as $50 or less. However, we decided to stick to the Eclipse P360A mainly to keep our upgrade paths open for the future. This particular case is considered to be amongst the best in the budget space. It’s also one of the better-looking cases out there market with included RGB fans and a see-through side panel.
Here’s a quick look at the price summary of the entry-level gaming PC based on the parts we’ve picked for this guide. The prices are subject to change based on the availability of stocks and other factors, so keep that in mind.
While the Phanteks Eclipse P360A comes with a pair of 120mm fans, it’s recommended that you add at least one more fan to maintain adequate airflow. We’re not adding the cost of the case fan to the price summary because a) it’s not a significant addition to the overall cost of the build, and b) the number of required case fans depends on your choice of the PC case. The same is true for thermal paste. We’re not adding it to the overall price of the build, but it’s not a bad idea to pick up a thermal paste syringe for as low as $5 and keep it handy for when you need it. You can check out our collection of the best thermal paste solutions to find some good options. We also have an essay explaining how to apply thermal paste if you need help with your first build.
If you’re hellbent on adding a discrete GPU to the build and somehow have access to one at retail price, then we recommend considering either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super or something more affordable like a Radeon RX 570. You can also swap out the Ryzen 5 5600G with an IGP-less CPU to save some money for the graphics card.
Building an entry-level budget gaming PC, as you can see, is entirely possible even under the current circumstances. Sure, you may not be able to afford a discrete graphics card in this price range, but this particular build is capable of running even some of the modern titles at low graphics settings. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G can also act as a reliable stop-gap GPU while we wait for the discrete GPU prices to stabilize. It’s the next best thing to a discrete GPU that’ll save you money to spend on graphics cards when the prices go down.
It’s also possible to build more affordable PCs by swapping out our recommended parts with cheaper alternatives. For instance, you can replace M.2 SSDs with SATA SSD or even slower HDDs to save more money. Similarly, you can pick up a non-modular PSU and perhaps a more affordable PC case to save a few more dollars. That being said, we don’t recommend skimping on the APU or a compatible motherboard to make sure you’re not taking a performance hit, especially while gaming on a budget. As always, you can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss your build and get more product recommendations from the experts in our community. You can also check out our PC building guide in case you need help building your PC at home.
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Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.
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EA Guzman and Shaira Diaz are already celebrating their anniv and Valentines Day – GMA News Online
EA Guzman and Shaira Diaz are celebrating Valentines Day and their 9th anniversary early — as in January early.
On his Instagram Stories, EA posted a couple photo of the two of them inside a parked car and greeted his girlfriend a Happy Valentines Day as well as an advanced happy 9th anniversary because "same kami ng schedule ng lock-in taping," EA said.
"Happy Valentine's Day! Happy 9th anniversary! Advance ko na Baba," he continued.
"Mami-miss kita. See you in 2 months," EA said as he tagged Shaira.
Shaira, who has gone into quarantine for "Lolong" taping, reposted EA's IG Stories and said she was also "gonna miss you baba."
"See you soon!" Shaira wrote after three crying face emojis.
"Advance HVD and happy anniv, too!" She greeted EA.
The two are each working on a project that will have both of them in locked-in taping through February. — LA, GMA News
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