The PlayStation 3 has been around for five years now (the five-year anniversary for the US comes in November), so perhaps it's time to ask the question: has the machine reached its graphical peak? And if not, how much longer before it does? Then again, will it ever ?
Maybe the best thing to do is approach this question from a historical perspective, despite the significant changes in the industry. Let's look at the PS2- when it launched in 2000, we had titles like Tekken Tag Tournament , Summoner , Smugglers Run , TimeSplitters , SSX , and Fantavision . SSX wowed all the critics and at the time, represented a new graphics bar (or so many gamers claimed). Things just kept getting better from a visual presentation standpoint because, much like all PlayStation consoles, developers are often clueless at the start of the lifespan. They just become more comfortable as time goes on.
So by the time 2005 and 2006 rolled around, we had games like God of War II , Final Fantasy XII , and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater . If we compare later-gen titles to the launch lineup, there's such a drastic leap that the uninitiated might think we're examining two completely different consoles. The first question is, has the PS3 exhibited the same kind of leap? From Resistance: Fall of Man , Ridge Racer 7 , Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom , and Genji: Days of the Blade to inFamous 2 , Uncharted 2: Among Thieves , Gran Turismo 5 , God of War III , LittleBigPlanet 2 and Killzone 3 . Well, yeah, that seems about right.
Moving right along, we expect Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to once again outstrip anything else in the console game world; it should be yet another graphical bar. That launches on November 1, 2011, just a few weeks shy of the aforementioned 5-year PS3 anniversary in North America. Will that be it? Will that be the FFXII or the GoWII of the PS2? The big exclusives seem to have already hit and I'm not sure what to expect in 2012. Plus, with third-party exclusives basically a thing of the past, we can really only focus on first-party titles from various Sony studios. Maybe the biggest and most important question is whether or not new installments in the biggest franchises will make it this generation…
If you believe Sony's insistent 10-year-lifespan claims, you should believe we'll see another God of War , Uncharted , and Killzone (but maybe not a new Gran Turismo ). So maybe in that case, we'll see yet another graphics increase. And maybe it's unfair to compare the PS3 to its predecessor, as so much has indeed changed. But what do you believe?