Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Next Generation

It's no secret that the next generation of consoles is soon to arrive. The Wii U will launch this year and rumours abound that the next Xbox and the PS4 will either receive a full blown unveiling or will at least be teased at this year's E3. Either way it looks as if Nintendo may not hold the monopoly on the next generation for as long as they may have hoped to. Whilst all of this is very exciting do we really need the next generation of Sony or Microsoft's consoles?

Nintendo follow their own technological path and innovate fairly consistently, often changing the way games are played, or the way the industry as a whole works, in a very big way. The Wii was a fantastic console but its tendency to over provide on the casual front scared many gamers away, I myself am guilty of this despite having loved the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube. With the Wii U however they have the potential to strike the perfect balance between casual ad hardcore whilst also revolutionising the way we play games thanks, yet again, to the genius of their controller design.

Shiny and impressive but also unnecessary.

This has always been the way Nintendo works but Sony and Microsoft have always been more about the graphical and technical side of things, they're the ones who popularised HD game play and this graphical power is almost always the focus of stories revolving around their games. However with their next generation of consoles the focus has shifted onto what other changes they may make, such as an emphasis on download based gaming, cloud saving, streaming services, incorporating TV services and many other things. All of these things are good and would certainly be welcome additions but with most of the focus being on these things and not the games (after all, they can't really improve on the Uncharted series all that much can they?) then why is a new console needed? All of these improvements could be made without the launch of a new console, and indeed I feel they should be. The games are at a stage now where the engine is more important than the console and even so graphics and the responsiveness of games can't improve too much more without games losing the touch that makes them games, in other words without them seeming too real.

So whilst Nintendo certainly need a new console, their new controller is a fantastic idea and they need a console capable of HD gaming to bring in more hardcore and third party games developers, Sony and Microsoft do not. They could easily stick with their current consoles, Sony have even recently defended their ten year plan, and they should stick to this because the console has a lot more to give and I feel the same could be said of the Xbox, especially now with their focus on Kinect, which they will undoubtedly pursue further. 

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