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Why next-gen Xbox One and PS4 games aren’t coming until 2015

Andrew Williams by


Where's my killer Xbox One/PS4 game?

Many Xbox One and PS4 owners are disappointed. The avalanche of games expected after the consoles’ release in late 2013 quickly became a trickle, and E3 2014 has shown us that we won’t see most new high-profile games appear until well into 2015.

By then the two consoles will have been out for 18 months. It’s enough time to make a family, enough time to erect a skyscraper. So why does a console need this long to get a half-decent games library?

Normal games take three-plus years to make

The most obvious reason is that games take time to make. Over the last few years the games industry has polarised into a place where only AAA games and very low-budget games can hope to make a viable profit.

A normal AAA game will take three years to produce with a team of well over a hundred staff, which will swell towards the end of the development period. It’s a gargantuan endeavour.

While developers had access to development kits for consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 well before launch, they will not have had it three years before launch. games 1

This means that most third-party games released in the first few waves of a new console’s life have to be co-developed – made for both future consoles and current ones. Obvious examples of this include Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 14 and Assassin’s Creed IV – the bulk of the third-party launch games. While different teams may take on the finishing touches for the different generations, the core of the game is largely the same between the console generations.

These games become the filler of a console’s launch window. They are enough to get a few coos from the crowd of fans waiting to be pleased, and they invariably have the brand cache to ensure million of sales. But they’ll be looked at with mild derision down the line. They’re not ‘next-gen’ games.

ALSO SEE: Xbox One vs PS4

Rises in graphical fidelity cause exponential rises in cost

Then there is the issue that not all publishers can afford this kind of cross-development, as rising graphical standards often cause an exponential increase in the cost of producing game assets. And even among those that can, not all choose to do it.

gamesIf a game has to effectively compete with its next-generation alternative, the investment doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Is an early adopter Xbox One owner likely to have an Xbox 360, or a PS3? Yes.

You’ll often see games developed for both platforms offer half-hearted visual updates too. It’s true of just about every launch PS4/Xbox One title that also available for the last generation of consoles, and the inevitable backlash is one of the reasons we see launch windows occupied by first-party titles and games with brands strong enough to weather through a lukewarm longer-term reception. Even Xbox exclusive Titanfall has been accused of looking like a last-generation game.

In the end, launch games aren’t cool. An avoidance of this is also why we’ve seen so many delays in titles that were originally meant to be out shortly after the consoles themselves.

Wondering why GTA 5 for PS4/Xbox One is only turning up a year after the new consoles came about? A mix of these quality and cannibalisation of sales issues is what is behind it.

The old tale of developers ‘getting used’ to hardware still applies

The argument that it takes developers a good while to get used to new hardware is an old and pretty boring one. It’s doubly dull when both the PS4 and Xbox One uses GPU and CPU hardware that is already familiar – it’s made by AMD and it’s pretty similar to the tech found in some common desktop graphics cards.

games 2However, the argument still holds. Most of the developers of the games we’re seeing making the games due in 2015 will have been working on games designed for Xbox 360 and PS3, not the more scalable world of PC gaming.

Working on optimisation and finding out where a console's ceiling really sits is how we get from games that look slightly ropey to titles that justify splashing out on a £400 box.

A focus on mobile and casual games within publishers has shifted focus

The last couple of years have also seen publishers shift focus somewhat, thanks to the perceived gold mine of in-app purchase mobile games and other microtransaction-based virtual doodads. Activision partnered with Rovio in 2012, Ubisoft boasted of its 10 million downloads in a month of the free-to-play Trials Frontier in its 2013-214 earnings call and in Q2 2013 EA’s Mobile division brought in more revenues than its PS3 games.

‘Proper’ console games aren’t the be-all and end-all they are sometimes seen as. Not only does this mean that in some cases resources are redirected away from console titles, mobile revenues act as a buffer that will stop publishers from having to release game X in quarter Y in order to avoid disastrous financial results.

There is more to win and lose in gaming than ever, and the release lag in this generation does seem to be worse than the last. But it is nothing new. There’s an early adopter tax that’s paid in things other than pounds and bugs. You also need patience.

But from what we’ve seen at E3 2014, the wait will be over. In about 8-9 months.

Next, read our PS4 tips and tricks feature

Go to comments


June 12, 2014, 1:45 pm

We need more games this year !!!!


June 12, 2014, 3:15 pm

I am very confused....this article is just wrong. There are several fantastic new exclusives coming out this year if you are luck enough to own an xbox one. Forza Horizon 2 leads the way on september 30 which is a gorgeous open world racing game in stunning 1080p. There arent many open world games in 1080p...so very impressive. Then followed by beautiful sunset overdrive in October and then Halo master chief collection which has over 100 multiplayer maps plus all the campaigns in 1080p at 60 fps. So ummm...your article is wrong...xbox one and xbox one only has quite a few great games coming in 2014.

Stephen Middlehurst

June 12, 2014, 3:56 pm

Off the top of my head next-gen games coming or already available in 2014

Forza Horizon 2 (yes, 360 version is in the works but different developer & engine)
Halo Master Chief Collection
Sunset Overdrive
Assassin's Creed: Unity
LittleBigPlanet 3
Infamous: Second Son
Titanfall (yes, 360 version available but pushed very hard as a next gen title)
NHL 15, Madden 15, FIFA 15 (all on new engines with noticeable play differences)
Just Dance 2015
The Crew
Ori and the Blind Forest

On top of that most multi-platform titles will look and perform better, in some cases significantly, better on the new consoles. Plus there's GTA V and The Last of Us versions coming as well. Frankly I'm struggling to think of another console generation since the dawn of optical media that's seen such a glut of games for new platforms. Yes, some of 'em are multi-generational but who cares? You've still got a huge range of great gaming experiences to keep you going.


June 12, 2014, 7:30 pm

trouble is none of the platform has sufficient decent titles @present. personally i wouldn't rush to buy ps4, had i known they only offer only handful of items for gamers.


June 12, 2014, 10:08 pm

And that doesn't even cover games like Destiny, COD, among others that have better experiences on the new generation. I do somewhat with the article though. There is still quite a bit of improvement to be made in visuals and game play to take advantage of the new generation that will probably take another year or two to be further realized.


June 12, 2014, 11:27 pm

You will buy a cute PS4 in 2015


June 13, 2014, 1:14 am

Plenty of decent titles for my xbox one...dead rising, forza, ryse, tiranfall out now. All of them excellent. Forza horizon 2...sunset overdrive...halo master chief in 2-3 months. Those will be fantastic. You want great games...xbox one is the way to go. PS4 has pretty much nothing...most of my buddies selling on ebay or trading in for xbox ones.


June 13, 2014, 1:56 am

Apparently PS4's stronger hardware, ~3.5 million sales lead, large number of 1st party developers, more games, and more developer support have microsoft fanboys extremely upset, causing them to spread lies and hatred. Thankfully everyone is ignoring these children and buying PS4s like hotcakes anyway.

8+ million PS4s and counting. Nothing you say will stop it, you are helpless. Keep lying and hating while everyone else ignores you.

It's good to know you're completely wrong and raging against facts and reality, and nothing you say will happen. You are clearly ill hating a corporation and pieces of plastic.

PS4 will have the graphics advantage the entire gen. PS4 hardware and software will outsell Xbox globally the entire gen. PS4 will have more dev support and more 1st party games the entire gen. Sony still has a large number of 1st party studios and they're all working on PS4 games. PS4 will make a net profit, Sony won't go bankrupt.

You are clearly malicious and here to spread your hatred of PS4/Sony and spread lies. You have a negative value whereever you post. Nothing you say is remotely constructive or factual.

PS4 games not on Xbox One revealed at E3 2014: LittleBigPlanet 3, Entwined, Bloodborne, The Talos Principle, Let It Die, Rachet & Clank, Infamous First Light, Kingdom Under Fire 2 and tons of indie games. No Man's Land, Grim Fandango, and ABZU timed exclusive.

For the rest of 2014 PS4 has the best visuals on every AAA multiplatform console game, TLOU Remake, Driveclub, LittleBigPlanet 3, Infamous First Light, Oddworld, Natural Doctrine, Tropico 5, Guilty Gear Xrd, Samurai Warriors 4, and other indie games (Hohokum, Entwined, Helldivers, Guns Up!, etc.)

PS4 has the superior visuals on all console AAA multiplats, more dev support including indies, a large number of first party studios, free to play games and MMOs like FFXIV and War Thunder, and unannounced 1st party games. Titanfall 2 and future 3rd party games will almost certainly be on PS4.

1st-2nd party studios include Media Molecule, Quantic Dream, Guerilla Games, Sony London, Bend, San Diego, SOE, Santa Monica, Polyphony Digital, Naughty Dog, Japan Studio, Ready at Dawn, Evolution Studios, etc.

PS4 games not on Xbox One: Killzone, inFamous Second Son, Dynasty Warriors 8, Final Fantasy XIV, War Thunder, DC Universe, Yakuza Isshin and other Japanese games, MLB 14 The Show, Bound by Flame, Injustice Gods Among Us, Knack, Natural Doctrine, Transistor, Uncharted, Planetside 2, Dragon Ball Z, MotoGP, Deep Down, Driveclub, The Last of Us, The Witness, The Order, LittleBigPlanet 3, Bloodborne, Let It Die, Rachet & Clank, and a ton of indies including Resogun, Rime, Transistor, etc.


June 13, 2014, 3:50 am

Mobile gaming is a plague. (I mean cellphone/tablet gaming)


June 13, 2014, 3:52 am

Well said ;)
I don't feel bad for these delusional xbots still stuck in 2007 lol.


June 13, 2014, 5:55 am

No offense to anyone but I consider myself a true gamer. I only felt games were lacking that first month or two. I enjoyed the free 2 play and free game a month. I learned to appreciate independent games while also playing my few triple A titles. I have since played more games than I ever have on my ps3 and also have bought more games than I ever did on my 360 and ps3.
I have a life so it takes me a month if I hammer a game. I really appreciate my ps4 and will also get the xbone soon even though my friends with one tell me to just wait. I appreciate the games I've played and see the good in 70% of them. Tired of all this whining. Let's see everyone get out there and develop a game. Maybe then they will appreciate and understand that 60.00 to enjoy a living breathing world is worth it. People have become so spoiled and whinny in America. So be glad you even have the opportunity to even play and be patient just like we all have had to do for every new generation of hardware.


June 13, 2014, 5:57 am

Not true at all.


June 13, 2014, 6:31 am

That would be a turn up for the books - if the victor in the next gen console war... is no one. Also very telling that we're still referring to these as 'next gen' when they've both had their launches, games have indeed been released, and sales figures have been scrutinised. Still no one feels it yet because so many people are still playing with their massive game library on their more-than-good-enough PS3s and 360s.

What this console war is really missing is a headlining leap in technology that the average consumer can notice, like we've had in the past :

PlayStation (1994/5) - game pak gives way to disc
PlayStation 2 (2000) - CD gives way to DVD
X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (2005-7) - standard def gives way to HD, multiplayer explodes, motion detection as standard
PlayStation 4, Xbox One (2013/4) - ehm, uh... voice stuff?

Well the obvious answer should have been 4K. Couple of problems - that
hadn't left rich early adopter territory before the deadlines, and much of the paradigm has shifted to casual gaming and streaming.

So the state of the console is in a bit of trap - the cheap game market's
gone to mobile devices pushing them exclusively to the time and money
hungry high end, and that premium game experience is about to be much
more contingent on bandwidth and infrastructure, as opposed to the
hardware you buy.

While it would be premature for us to declare the console dead (again), it does need that extra zing that I just don't see yet. I thought that might have been found in 3D which was an obvious fit for an interactive medium, but the entertainment industry was hell-bent on the doubling down of an ill-fitting marriage to the passive experience of film.

In the end, you could retreat to the position that all any console ever needed was a great games library since wars are always settled by the titles, but that brings you back to a key point in the article : it still takes more than six months to make a Last of Us or GTA. The exponential leap in mobile processing power, the eventual roll out of higher connection speeds combined with better connected televsions, along with the bad omen of handhelds being swallowed up, means that's time they simply do not have.


June 13, 2014, 9:07 am

Wow. That's an extraordinary response to David476's claim that "xbox one and xbox one only has quite a few great games coming in 2014." I hold no brief for either side here, but it seems like you're massively overreacting. The meat of David476's comment, that Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive and Halo: MCC all look great, is perfectly valid.

Did he say something more inflammatory, which has since been edited away?

Alex Walsh

June 13, 2014, 9:40 am

At this rate the real victor is going to be PC gamers :)
Even ignoring the Steambox on the horizon, with mini ITX builds and manufacturers like ASUS making GTX 760/770 designed for smaller cases, it's possible to get with a hundred to two hundred pounds in price to a nextgen console with much better performance. And given the price gorging in games we're seeing on the consoles, you'll recoup that pretty quickly.

This is all from a console gamer too- Megadrive through to Wii U who has only recently got back into PC gaming after a ten year sabbatical :)


June 13, 2014, 10:25 am

Some very interesting points made here. The whole lack of a truly obvious generational leap in terms of a 'standard' is true. It could be something like a console going mostly digital, but our broadband speeds in the UK aren't really fast enough to make this faesible.

Not to mention that 500GB wouldn't do if that was to be the case!


June 16, 2014, 2:51 am

Some severely mentally ill fanboy human waste is upset at PS4's success and have to spread hate and lies, apparently.

PS4's stronger hardware, ~3.5 million sales lead, large number of 1st
party developers, more games, and more developer support have microsoft
fanboys extremely upset, causing them to spread lies and hatred.
Thankfully everyone is ignoring these children and buying PS4s like
hotcakes anyway.

8+ million PS4s and counting. Nothing you say
will stop it, you are helpless. Keep lying and hating while everyone
else ignores you.

It's sad PS4 is dominating so badly that you're
left desperately wishing Sony would go bankrupt. Keep dreaming. Your
favorite piece of plastic is getting dominated by PS4 in sales, games
performance, and dev support, causing you to harbor fevered delusions
about Sony going bankrupt. Sorry, not happening.

PS4 will
have the graphics advantage the entire gen. PS4 hardware and software
will outsell Xbox globally the entire gen. PS4 will have more dev
support and more 1st party games the entire gen. Sony still has a large
number of 1st party studios and they're all working on PS4 games. PS4
will make a net profit, Sony won't go bankrupt.,


June 16, 2014, 2:52 am

Yeah no. Consoles aren't going anywhere.


June 16, 2014, 2:53 am

Look at his post history.


June 16, 2014, 10:36 am

It's hard to see how the PS4 and Xbox One really advanced the state of the art beyond some fairly subtle upgrades to graphics. 60fps at 1080p seems a struggle when really they should have been shooting for 4K (or perhaps VR) if they wanted these consoles to have as long a shelf-life as their predecessors. The Wii U has many flaws, but in some ways it is more 'next-generation' than the competition in that it has a substantial point of difference to its predecessors (the game pad).


July 27, 2014, 8:14 pm

You have pretty much nailed my reservations about this new generation of consoles. No significant improvement of graphic, audio, etc performance. The systems being a little faster is not reason to buy a new console. None of them can play the previous gen games. The lack of 4K support, 3D movies (which should have been a no brainer). Sony and MS should have just waited til 4K became more mainstream. Obviously they were unwilling to go with a 4K console which would be costly like the NEO GEO in the 80s and unwilling to wait. Thus we have mediocre next generation consoles. I may just end up buying most of the games that are coming out next year for either my PS3 or 360, skip this generation and wait for either PS5 or XB2. It seems consumers like you and me are making these observations vs. game critics such as IGN, Game Informer, and Gamespot.


July 27, 2014, 8:28 pm

Maybe in 2015 or 2016. But as of right now. I see very little content to get excited about. Especially when most of the games available for PS4 I can buy for either my 360 or PS3. There are very few exclusives right now and the upcoming exclusives I must wait to see how good they are (The Order: 1886, Mad Max, Deep Down, etc).


July 27, 2014, 8:34 pm

I appreciate your passion for your console. I will probably just wait til the end of 2015 and maybe buy a PS4 then.


September 7, 2014, 11:10 am

look at how hard this guy trys to reassure himself he made the right
choice with ps4. im a fanboy of neither, i own both. you can choose: the
game selection of xbox1 or the faintly noticeable framerate increase of
ps4. keep in mind, this was the same fight last gen, and both systems
came close to evening out overall. good games or good hardware, your


September 30, 2014, 12:38 am

This is a good point made by this article, lets look at Nintendo Wii U which was said to be on par with PS3 or 360, the games on PS4 and XB1 just look a little sharper then their predecessors. Next gen games are supposed to look like and play like their PC cousins, but instead we are already talking about not being able to get 1080p at 60fps out of some games on next gen systems; Nintendo fans should be laughing right now because all the hype around PS4 and XB1 delivering stunning next gen graphics and performance has fallen flat to just a 'amped up' PS3 and XB360. Nintendo already knew this when they chose their "Broadway" processor, because next gen was not going to be significantly out performing Wii U; if you have to stare at the specs to justify why a PS4 game looks and plays better than PS3 or Wii U than that's just sad. We are not stunned at all, just curiously hoping things will look and play significantly better in the near future. I believe it will look and play better but not significantly which means the smartest consumers should buy and keep playing PS3 and 360. Sony and Microsoft can keep their updated systems as souvenirs, we want more. For your info, I own a Wii U and XB1.

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