Next Gen Consoles: An Analysis Of The PS4, Xbox 720 & Wii-U

Ever since Sony revealed they had an announcement to make on February 20th 2013 the world has been obsessed with...

Curtis Dillon

Contributor

nextgen

Ever since Sony revealed they had an announcement to make on February 20th 2013 the world has been obsessed with the next generation of video game consoles.

As predicted, Sony indeed revealed their next-gen console on February 20th. The event was a success, surprising just about everyone with a two-hour conference showcasing the controller, new online and sharing features and unveiling several games.

The only disappointing aspect of the conference was the lack of a physical console. Fans were itching to see the machine itself but have had to wait. Not showing the console wasn’t a big deal, at the time it seemed weird but in hindsight it made sense, they’ll unveil the console at E3 in June.

This was a tactical move on Sony’s behalf, they more than satisfied fans on February 20th but left enough to keep them interested until E3.

This year’s E3 is shaping up to be a big one. Sony will undoubtedly show-off their new console and probably unveil some new features they’re keeping secret, as well as show more of the games we saw on February 20th as well as some new ones. New games Sony could unveil at E3 include Uncharted 4, Gran Turismo 6, the long-delayed The Last Guardian and a new title from Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream. As well as some new features and games we should get a price and a specific release date.

With all of that Sony will be flying high. The question remains, where is Microsoft?

Microsoft has yet to announce anything on their next-gen console. Gamers everywhere have been eagerly awaiting their retort to Sony’s announcement. That doesn’t mean that rumours aren’t running amok. Some of the rumours making the rounds in the past months include the next Xbox’s inability to play used games, a feature gamers would not be pleased with. Sony have already confirmed that used games will work on their machine, so Microsoft may make a huge blunder by including that feature.

Other rumours include the necessity for the next Xbox to always be online, this would be a problem for gamers who don’t have the internet, and the rumour that gamers must have the Kinect connected at all times to use the Xbox.

Of course this is all speculation, but it’s worth-noting that many of the rumours around Sony’s machine came true. If there was truth to these claims, I see Microsoft’s next console suffering big time. Hard-core gamers do not like motion-sensor technology; imagine if it was forced down their throat with the Kinect.

Another possible problem is the used-games issue. Used-games account for a massive amount of gamers collections, which is unsurprising seeing how much cheaper they are than new games. This move would also do heavy damage to companies like GameStop who need their used-games revenue to turn a profit. Let’s hope Microsoft take fan reactions to these rumours into mind before they unveil their next console.

When discussing the next-generation of video game console it would be foolish not to mention Nintendo. Nintendo released their next-gen console in 2012, the Wii-U, to an underwhelming response. The console has received mixed reviews from both fans and critics, and, as usual, has so far relied on games like Mario and Zelda to sell units.

The Wii-U promised HD graphics and a more satisfying online experience but has failed to deliver in both areas. Yes the graphics support HD but the console doesn’t have the power to produce games that look like PS3 or 360 titles. In truth, the Wii-U games don’t look much different to Wii games.

Nintendo’s latest foray has been very disappointing, especially after winning the seventh generation with the ambitious Wii. They’ve failed to do anything new, riding on the coattails of the Wii, even keeping the name. The Wii-U has so far failed to make an impact with casual gamers and families, as they don’t fully understand that it’s a new console, while hard-core gamers have all but rejected it as a next-gen console.

With Sony and Microsoft breathing down their neck and since the PS4 and Vita can do exactly what the Wii-U’s main pitch is, things aren’t good. At the minute the future looks bleak for Nintendo.

Nintendo’s failure plays very well for Sony and Microsoft. With the winner of the previous generation struggling so badly, despite having a year head start over their next consoles, can only be good news for them. It seems the eight generation will be a two-horse race. As harsh as it sounds, I don’t care about Nintendo. The way I see it, if the Wii-U were to fail and Nintendo drop out of the hardware market, they would copy Sega and become third-party developers for PlayStation and Xbox.

As a PS3 owner, I’d be very happy getting to play Mario on my next-gen console. Another avenue could see Nintendo developing motion-sensor technology for Microsoft or Sony, or both. As nice as this sounds, the reality is both the Kinect and PlayStation Move are better motion-sensors than the Wii or Wii-U. I see Nintendo eventually becoming third-party developers, which is a move that benefits every party involved. Though that’s a wild guess, it’s very hard to project how the Wii-U will perform; maybe it will suddenly take off, time will tell.

The month is April and E3 is in June. In logic Microsoft has April and May to unveil their next-gen console. In my opinion, the sooner the better. The sooner they announce it the longer we all have to drool over it. The longer they take to announce it the more gamers will be swayed by Sony.

Gamers have been dreamily doodling PS4 in their notebooks for almost two months now and bad rumours continue to build over the next Xbox. These two factors could play important roles in the next-gen console race, if Microsoft don’t act soon and blow everyone away the future could very well be Sony-dominated. This wouldn’t be a good thing, competition keeps the companies on their toes and without it they could get lazy. However Sony dominating the market is very unlikely to happen, it’s more likely that it will still be very close, the 360 has amassed a faithful following that will be buying the next Xbox regardless.

Whatever happens in the next eight months one thing is clear; it’s an exciting time to be a gamer.