An argument could be made that there is plenty of life left in the current generation of consoles. Newly released games on PS3 and Xbox 360 continue to raise the bar on visuals and depth of play, squeezing every ounce of capability from this almost geriatric hardware. (Consoles age in dog years, right?) Developers have had plenty of time to learn the hardware capabilities inside and out, and it shows.
Typically, the games released at the beginning of a console’s life cycle are graphically supercharged versions of games we have already seen. Granted, I love this as much as the next guy, but in the realm of playability and variety, new consoles tend to fall short. However, all of this is necessary to get to the best a console has to offer, the “Golden Age” of its lifespan. The last few years of a generation turn out true gaming gems every cycle, and while these games are trumped very shortly thereafter by more powerful hardware, those glorious games are the reason we bought the console in the first place, for what we knew it could do. We are in that Golden Age right now for Xbox 360 and PS3, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Goodbye, my old friends, you will be missed.
So who’s ready for the next console war? This guy, right here. With this console cycle being the longest in gaming history, we have waited patiently (well, maybe not patiently, but we have definitely waited) and it is finally at our doorstep. The leap into the next generation of console gaming started on November 18th, 2012 with the launch of the highly anticipated Wii U, and this only marks the beginning of what could be described as a game of quasi-political chess. The players—through endless marketing, technical specifications, and console features—will be locked in a continuous epic battle for total domination of their constituency. There will be blood.
It’s pretty safe to say who the major players will be; Nintendo is obviously already on the field of battle, leaving Microsoft and Sony to make the next strategic move. Who will release first? Each company is sure to be watching each other with a microscope and waiting to capitalize on the slightest misstep of their competitor.
But who really knows? Rumors are everywhere, but neither company has confirmed any sort of tangible release timeline. However, the amount of rumors can be telling. The fact that there is more buzz than ever around this topic alludes to the possibility that we will be seeing these consoles hit the marketplace sooner than we might expect. When exactly that is, nobody knows for sure. Except Microsoft and Sony, and they aren’t talking.
There are endless variations on technical specifications for these new gaming juggernauts, so I will just make it simple: It’s gonna be pretty. If you find yourself among the countless eye candy nerds (I just raised my own hand), then you will be stoked about the visuals. I remember the first time I saw Call of Duty 3 on Xbox 360; I was playing it on a demo machine before it came out. The level of detail was amazing; I could read the serial number on my Thompson machine gun! This is what we have come to expect from new consoles, quantum leaps forward in visuals. Considering where we are now, graphically, these new systems are going to have to deliver some seriously juiced-up pixels.
But, more than that, what can new consoles bring to the party other than pretty visuals? Nintendo has already taken the Wii U in a new direction with their touchscreen GamePad and multimedia capabilities that the original Wii could never have handled. Microsoft and Sony have been championing this type of home multimedia integration for years now, so I think it’s safe to assume that we can expect more of that from all future consoles. This makes your console of choice the center of your entertainment world; whether it be through gaming, streaming video, or social media, these technological wonders can do it all.
As a possible answer to Wii U’s new innovative touch control interface, Microsoft has released SmartGlass (to be fair, SmartGlass was actually released before Wii U), which has the ability to assimilate your tablet or smartphone into your gaming experience. Let’s not forget Sony either; their touchscreen PS Vita has the capability to interact with the PS3, so one could assume that functionality will be continued to the PS4.
Anyone else seeing a pattern here? If you can’t, I will let you in on the secret: All the giant mega-company gaming systems are moving toward touchscreen-interfaced, multimedia-capable gaming console that can deliver insane graphics with enough tech-power left over to create vast new gaming possibilities. Epiphany!
So what do we want to see out of these consoles? We all know gamers can be hard to please, but in this case I think the companies are pretty much nailing it. The hardware will be amazing and we will have more capabilities, bells, and whistles than ever before. Hell, you might even get these things to make you coffee.
Here is where it can be tricky though. With undefined release windows, rumors, and the overall mystery surrounding these upcoming systems, will there be the ever-so-much-needed third-party development support that we so desperately crave? This is required. Required! I don’t care what you have to do, Sony and Microsoft, just make it happen. I’m not talking about the newest installation of Madden Football either; we need new IPs with interesting stories and features, not just glorified tech demos. How many times have lackluster launch titles made us question the very fabric and future of gaming? The answer: every damn time. Enough is enough. Fix it.
So let’s talk about the enormous elephant in the room: Price. There really isn’t any way around this, so I’ll just say it: These consoles are going to be expensive. Technology is pricey and you will have to shell out some serious cash to procure one of these shiny new boxes of gaming delight. While there has been no price point established for either new console, there is little doubt that it will eclipse the price of previous console generations. It sucks, I know, but if you want it, you’re going to have to pay for it. Sorry.
Here is a tip though: Pre-order it. Most major chains (GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy etc.) accept a down payment on these not-yet-released systems as soon as a release date is announced. Sometimes you can even make payments to whittle the price down over the months prior to release to ease the strain on your wallet or purse. So be smart and pre-order your system early or you may just find yourself empty-handed come launch day.
In short, we have a lot to look forward to from this upcoming generation. With more on the line than ever, each company seems dedicated to delivering an excellent gaming platform that almost anyone can enjoy.
But who will win the console war? Be sure to check back here at Cheatcc.com for all the new console news as it happens.
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*