Thoughts On Next-Gen Game Consoles
by Da'Von B.
It’s been interesting lately as there have been multiple rumors of the alleged XBox 720 (highly doubt that’ll actually be the name) or Playstation 4 would be announced at this years E3, though I won’t suggest it won’t happen I highly doubt that this will happen, as opposed to going in depth with why I’d rather go in depth on what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo could conceivably do with the next generation and opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.
The XBox 360 continues to sell well and Microsoft set the bar substantially high with XBox Live, Kinect seemed fun at first glance and is essentially a family themed add-on not something that could be used for hardcore games. So aside from drastically improving the internal and external hardware components which should boost frame rates, what else could Microsoft do to set-up it’s next system for the future? If anything a combined 250GB harddrive along with some sort of 5+GB of Skydrive implementation to connect across various other devices would be ideal, along with an updated LIVE component and an increase in available tools and business structure for indie developers.
Microsoft has got to see what Apple has done for it’s developers, with the iOS devices becoming huge gaming and attracting talented developers from all over the place with little price to entry to grab the tools needed to make the apps Microsoft should take a page from the Cupertino playbook in terms of making the tools available and attractive to indie developers that are currently working out of their garage or college dorm room. Other than seeing a more advanced Kinect add on or possible standard with each new Xbox, Microsoft has a clear path for success with their new system, the only damage that can be done is if they try to force Windows 8 down gamer’s throats. The important thing to remember is 1-2 years from now technology would have substantially increased hopefully for the better, with higher download and transfer rates online, essentially online gameplay and purchasing will continue to rise a Blu-Ray drive seems irrelevant and won’t be a substantial selling point within the next year or two. Best guess Release Date: Spring/Summer 2014
The Playstation 3 is allowing sony to make income off of each system now, that’s something to be positive about though it took quite a few years for this to happen, the PSP Vita doesn’t seem to be doing well, though the system is quite innovative, the company needs to add a bit more. With Vita games costing anywhere from $9 to $39 for various titles that also appear on the premier systems the ideal behind purchasing an arc of a major title (Uncharted) for somewhere around $30 isn’t appealing.
With the fourth home console Sony has a lot of work to do, not from a software or hardware architecture point of view but from the security of the playstation network and actually making something that can compete against XBox Live, again Microsoft set the bar substantially high with Live and the more they add to Live the more catching up Sony has to do and their current service Qriocity isn’t going to cut it. Again with the advancements in technology set to take place over the course of the next two years Sony’s focus should be the online security of a new live service that offers something substantially equal to Microsoft. Best guess Release Date (A tough one): Summer/Fall 2014
Calling this now, Wii U will be a bust, they’re competing against two already established Hi-Def systems in the XBox 360 and Playstation 3, questions continue with the cost of the new system, cost of a new touch screen controller, and their own online component. It seems that Nintendo essentially came out with a system to compete against systems that have been on the market for over six years. The touchscreen remote seems novel very iPad-esque, with a few added bells and whistles, but what else? Could they open up tools for indie developers? Highly doubtful and definitely wouldn’t hold my breathe. The Wii U is confusing at best, and questions remain however the questions may continue even when some are seemingly answered in a “round-about” way. Best guess Release Date: Fall 2012/Spring 2013
Again this is essentially my opinion on what may or may not be released and what the three companies should focus on, the rumors will continue to plague the internet until each company confirms something, until then beware what you read because the majority that hear from the mythical “sources familiar with matters” are essentially making it up or heard something from someone that hasn’t the slightest idea of what’s going on.