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When Exactly Does Next-Gen Become Current-Gen?

Posted on Friday, November 15 @ 11:50:58 PST by

For the last few weeks, I've been hesitant to type the words "current generation" or "next-gen" or even "last-gen." Who exactly decides what each of these time-sensitive words mean and when it's appropriate to use each one? It's not like the entire game industry is corralled into a jury room, though the thought of it compels me to wish for this to happen, and emerges after an irritable week of stale popcorn and flat soda with a clear answer.

Mulling over the question of when "next-gen" becomes "current-gen" in the last hour, I've come upon several possibilities:

1) It happens the instant all of the next-gen consoles arrives. By this definition, once the Xbox One becomes available to the public on November 22, the PS3 and Xbox 360 should be called "last-gen" and both new consoles (plus the Wii U) should be called "current-gen." This seems to cut the life of the PS3 and Xbox 360 short, though.

2) It happens when the majority of game developers and publishers stop making games for a console. Around the same time, retailers discontinue selling pre-owned titles of the system. By this definition, the PS2 became last-gen only several years ago. And the Xbox 360 and PS3 won't be "last-gen" until developers deny a multiplatform version of their games for those two platforms.

3) It happens when Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo stop using the words "next-gen" in their press releases and marketing when describing their latest consoles. This is sort of vague and puts the control in the palms of the marketing team, but wouldn't they be the authorities on their own products? That said, if Nintendo chooses to reintroduce its next Wii console in several years, does that mean we're still in transition? Would this be "half-gen" or does Nintendo not really count because they've separated itself from Sony and Microsoft?

4) It happens when the majority of fans start using "current-gen" for the most recent consoles and rolls their eyes at anyone who uses the words "next-gen." This may have already started on blogs and forums everywhere, but the time this happens en masse is difficult to pinpoint. Rather vague definition.

5) It happens precisely one year after the last "next-gen" console is released. In this instance, "next-gen" consoles will become "current-gen" consoles precisely on November 22, 2014. This gives enough time for people to come to terms with the new generation of consoles, and allows Game of the Year awards to be given to games strictly in "next-gen" consoles.

6) Who cares? I'm not a dictionary. I say what the hell I want. And no amount of downvotes will stop be. Bwahahaha. Stupid Internet, I am the god of words! PC gamers don't give a crap about this question! *ego rampage*
Tags:   PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4

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