The Last Console Generation?

With the recent unveiling of the Wii U, and internet chatter talking about PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 being unveiled (if not released) next year, it looks like we will be ushering in a new generation of consoles in the very near future. But do we actually need another generation of hardware, and what do we hope for from the next generation?

The current HD consoles are very capable pieces of kit, and some games still look impressive graphically. Do we need even higher resolution textures, and more detail? Well I would say that if they can’t achieve photorealism with the next round of consoles, then they shouldn’t bother with new hardware. The graphics achieved at the moment are good enough, and as the recent PlayStation 3 Battlefield 3 footage has shown, it comes fairly close to the quality of the PC version that everyone has been raving about. There is also the impressive tech employed in LA Noire to capture an actor’s performance, which adds greatly to the emotional attachment to characters. If they can achieve the Holy Grail of photorealism, then that might just make the hardware graphics race a thing of the past, and leave developers to concentrate on the games, which is no bad thing. But until that is achievable they should try and push current hardware as hard as they can. Adding a few extra polygons or extra characters on screen just isn’t enough these days. What about improving the AI you say? Well a lot of games these days concentrate more on online multiplayer anyway, and singleplayer games like Killzone 2 and 3 show what can be achieved with the AI, using current generation hardware.

Will the next generation of consoles have photorealistic graphics?

At the moment games cost millions to produce, and with the next generation, development costs will rise yet again. Will companies be willing to take as many risks with new franchises? I very much doubt companies would take a chance on niche games like Heavy Rain if they are going to have to fork out extra millions in development costs, and marketing, in the hope that the game is a major hit. It might also make small developers switch their focus to smaller handheld games like iOS, where there is less risk involved. Leaving the big boys to duke it out with the likes of Modern Warfare 4 and Battlefield 4. This would lessen creativity with developers sticking to tried and tested franchises, and gamers subjected to a diet of sequels and remakes.

This current generation of consoles has seen a rise in the amount of downloadable content, and games themselves. It’s been said that publishers want to get away from the High Street shop environment, and sell games direct to consumers. Apple have already shown how well this can be achieved with the App Store, with even games selling for 59p making millions in revenue on the iPhone and iPad. If Apple were to move into the home console market with App Store prices, it would turn the industry on its head. Indeed the smartphone might one day become your home console as well. But as it stands Games on Demand and PSN (with titles priced at £49.99+) to download, when you can buy them in the shops for £25, just won’t encourage much uptake for a download only future. I also feel any new console that tries to push download only, by not having a physical drive, will be dead in the water; and the next generation consoles should have a Blu-Ray/DVD drive as well. I use my PS3 as a media-hub as well as a games machine, and if they took away that facility from PS4 I would have reservations about buying it, as my Blu-Ray and DVD movie collection would be unplayable, along with my PS3 games, and it would force me to buy a dedicated Blu-Ray player.

Will the PlayStation 4 be releasing in 2012?

Online multiplayer has become increasingly important with this generation, and I have built up a good friends list on my PS3, with regular games of FIFA or Battlefield Bad Company 2 a feature throughout the week. I think that friends lists should carry over to any new generation of console, and that the PS4 or Xbox 720 should have backwards compatibilty with PS3 or 360 games. I would hate to upgrade my console, and lose all my friends, as they wait to upgrade to the next generation. The ability to still contact and chat with your friends, as well as play the last generation of console games online, is a must-have feature to help encourage me to upgrade. If that is not possible I might have to wait a while before I upgrade, and I’m sure a lot of people will feel the same way.

The Wii U controller is a great idea, but you should be able to take your home console games out and about with you, as well as just around the house. If, for instance, you could use your PlayStation Vita to continue to play Uncharted 3 while you are away on holiday, and then return home with your progress saved on your home console, that would be revolutionary, and would blur the lines between home and mobile gaming. Cross platform play between the Vita and the PS3 has been talked about, and it would be a fantastic feature, especially with friends lists crossing over onto the Vita. The Wii U gives you the option to play without the need for a TV, but going even further than that, would be the return of Virtual Reality goggles. Imagine a 3D enabled headset, that reacts to where you turn your head? It would also negate the need for a TV, which will stop angry exchanges with spouses desperate to see the latest episode of EastEnders! Sony recently unveiled a prototype VR headset called Headman which gives users virtual surround sound, along with 3D visuals to add to the immersion. Imagine using Move controllers or Kinect with that set-up?

PlayStation Vita looks like an impressive piece of kit.

Finally do we really need new hardware anyway? With OnLive and Gaikai apparently offering games streamed to your TV or mobile device, the graphics race would be obsolete, and for example, PC Battlefield 3 visuals could be streamed to your iPad, TV or even smartphone. If Sony or MS embraced this technology and implemented it in the PS3 or Xbox 360, then they wouldn’t need to invest billions in new hardware. Surely that would make more sense than trying to get people to upgrade their hardware yet again in these financially testing times? These are my hopes and fears for the next generation of consoles, so are you happy to go next gen again?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

5 comments

  1. MR_GET_IT_IN /

    I like your ideas maybe they would implement them. The whole spouse wanting to watch something rings true with me I want to play demon’s souls but the wife wants to watch that housewife crap. So I let her so that I can have some “sexy time”!!

  2. why oh why do people who write thease articals insist on wht there talking about is truth.Again I WILL SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU SONY + MOVE=10YEARS SONY HAS STATED A NUMBER OF TIMES THAT THE WANT TO MAKE THE PS3 LAST 10 YEARS.NOW KEEP FOLLOWING ME MICROSOFT HAS SAID ALSO THAT XBOX360 + KINECT=10YEARS ON IT’S CYCLE PLUS MICROSOFT HAS SAID THAT WHEN THEY MAKE A SUCCESSOR TO THE XBOX 360 IT WILL BE AROUND 2015 TO 2016 DO BLEAVE ME I DO MY FUCKING REASEACH AND I GOT FUCKING PROOF TO BACK MY SHIT UP DOUT ME SEND ME AND EMAIL AND I GIVE YOU FUCKING PROOF DJSERVICE123@YAHOO.COM GO FOR IT I DARE SOME PATHIC SHIT TO CHALLANGE ME I GOT PROOF I DO MY FUCKING REASEARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. gamer /

    this isnt about gaming. it isnt about quality. this is business. nintendo is making a new console is one of the few things they can do to stay competitive and relevant. they already gouge the most outta the devs and pubs of the big 3. they need to cash in from those who haven’t jumped ship yet. as for sony and microsoft, they are cashing in because nintendo is. they dont want to give up any ground. they know nintendo is in the weakest position. when u have the wealth they have, u dont want more. there isnt more. u eliminate competition. u take away from whom threatens you most. and thats just business.

  4. First, it’s obvious that Nintendo needs new hardware.

    Secondly, so does everyone else. You say that the consoles can play PC games. Well, how is that possible when console hardware isn’t getting any better. Sure, they’ve used a few tricks to keep within striking distance of new gamings rigs. Maybe the aging consoles can run the AI of a shooter game but I doubt they could handle the AI of the next Elder Scrolls game that’s coming after Skyrim (all the things that NPCs do in Skyrim are neat but still programmed in to them; the next step is true AI), or any game that starts wanting to compete with their brand of realism.

  5. Let’s not forget that Skyrim has run up against many walls already. In the literal sense, they are still forced to contain the larger cities inside walls to conserve memory. A new generation is needed and overdue.

Leave a Reply