It’s been a few years since ex-G4 hosts Adam Sessler and Kevin Pereira gave their opinions on video games. The two have active Twitter accounts, sure. But ever since the two left working in games media full time, most notably at the defunct (but soon to return) G4TV, they haven’t had an occasion to dole out their hot takes on the current video game ecosystem.
Which is why, during an interview about the legacy and return of G4TV, Inverse asked both Sessler (co-host of video game review show X-Play, 1997-2012) and Pereira (co-host of weeknight magazine show Attack of the Show!, 2005-2012) a gaming question rooted in the 2020 experience.
What will video games look like at the end of this brand new console generation?
Both Sessler and Pereira gave different answers about how the newly released PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S will change gaming, but Sessler had an observation about how these consoles might surprisingly change gamers themselves.
“The change in load times I think is the most significant,” Sessler says. “It changes the way you play.”
As seen in this new generation with platforms like the Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation 5, there has been much ado about speedy loading times. This is largely due to the hardware’s inclusion of solid-state drives, or SSD. Unlike traditional hard drive disks (HDD), which is what most computers and consoles have used until recently, SSDs store data on flash memory chips. SSDs are physically smaller than HDDs, more expensive than HDDs, and faster than HDDs.
There’s a lot of technical wizardry involved, and both the Xbox and PlayStation use different SSDs. But SSDs allow fast loading times ever seen in gaming.
A quick Google will bring up dozens of speed tests in which big games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Devil May Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are put through the loading ringer. And would you believe, these games load incredibly fast, with some as quick as five to six seconds.
(In one example, IGN booted Doom Eternal on the last-gen Xbox One X and next-gen Xbox Series X. It loaded on Series X in seven seconds, while it took a full 30 seconds on One X. Final Fantasy XV loaded on One X in 57 seconds, and just nine seconds on the Series X.)
The days of waiting around twiddling joysticks out of boredom while the game loads are numbered.
Sessler tells Inverse these truncated load times won’t just change how designers make games, but they'll influence how gamers play the games.
Because load times are no longer an arduous punishment, he believes gamers will be more willing to psychologically rewire their existing playstyles.
He uses the popular, notoriously difficult Souls franchise as an example. “Those games tend to be hard and you get stuck with a 30-40 second load time,” Sessler explains.“I would play more conservatively because I don’t want to go through with that. It becomes annoying and tedious.”
Faster load times make players more willing to “fall on their ass a few times” as they rethink difficult problem-solving. “I think this allows players a lot more experimentation,” he says.
Another consequence of short load times is how games are designed structurally. Sessler anticipates a marked shift in how people understand graphics and visuals.
“Because we’re going to see higher resolution textures but the focus isn’t on that visual pop, hopefully we start to move over to the notion of design,” he says. “How many enemies can you have on screen versus the quality of enemies. You’re not just having the same type of combat time and time again. I think there’s a lot of opportunity and potential, and hopefully by next year third and fourth quarter, we’ll get that sense where people want to go with what’s under the hood.”
Pereira, meanwhile, had a different take that he revealed during the call with Sessler. “Xbox rules. PlayStation drools. Mic drop,” he says. “I want to disrupt the fanboys.”
“Is drooling good or bad?” asks Sessler. “Are you salivating at the PlayStation or is the PlayStation releasing mucus?”
“That’s a fantastic question. I think you can order the drool from the PlayStation OnlyFans at a certain tier.”
“The heat it’s generating means it’s gotta be perspiring.”
G4TV will return in 2021.