Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Next Generation

With the recent reveal of the new Xbox, we are now firmly on our way to "the next generation" of video game consoles. Over the years I've done this blog, I've commented on new systems and made predictions about their futures (most of which were massively short-sighted and wrong). So, why miss an opportunity to do it again?

Because I don't really know what I'm talking about! I'm not a market analyst or a game journalist. I'm lucky if I can put a sentence together that doesn't sound like gibberish most of the time. And, I'm not even in the demographic that these companies are looking at - that 20-30 year old male with disposable income who watches sports and plays Call of Duty multiplayer for hours. Instead, I'm going to look at my concerns for my gaming future and how it may change.

Mostly, I don't want what I have to change. Microsoft and Sony are looking to obsolete pretty much everything we've enjoyed over the last 6-7 years so they can sell it to us all over again. At least when we made the PS2 to PS3 and Xbox to Xbox 360 jump, there was a good reason - wide-screen HD gaming. These new consoles only have more graphics power, which is nice, but do we really need it?

What's going to happen to the current Xbox Live and PSN? Not that I play on them, but I do depend on them for game updates. How long will those companies keep the servers running? Legally they can turn them off whenever they want to. And the longer they support the old systems, the less incentive there is for people to buy the new consoles and games. What if I have to replace a console and have to get a patch for a game again? The worst thing I think I've heard is that downloadable content won't transfer to the new systems. At least that's one thing that Nintendo worked out.

Overall, my take on the new consoles boils down to a new appreciation for 3DS and PC gaming via Steam, and the likely purchase of a Wii U in the near future (once they announce a new Mario Kart with a track editor and race options).

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