We all know that both Sony and Microsoft have something big coming down the pipe. Now, as much as I’m sure we all want them to be announcing a Canadian-exclusive PS and XBOX mini, they are both more than likely going to be unveiling their next line of gaming devices. February 20th seems to be the date that Sony will let us “see the future,” while Microsoft might be counting down to E3 to show their latest tech. As someone who quite literally only joined this gaming generation in October, I can’t say I’m quite as ready as some for a new move. Still, 7 years for a generation is pretty good, and some of the current generation systems are showing their age. What is it that these new systems are going to bring to the table to make them that much different from what we have now? Well, here are a few of my guesses.
Firstly, and perhaps most important, is using graphics to create more meaningful experiences. Let’s be fair, games today look pretty good. While the gaps between new PC games and their console counterparts are widening, the PS3 and 360 still look surprisingly great. While I’m sure the next group of consoles will have superb graphics (Unreal Engine 4, anyone?), I feel that they’re going to need more. Game studios are really going to have to really push the artistic properties of their games. There is a reason why games like Banjo-Kazooie and Final Fantasy 7 are still amazingly popular today, and part of that reason is the artistic vision behind those games. The recent indie explosion has yet again proven better graphics don’t always equal a better game.
“Five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars.” I feel like not much more needs to be added to that statement. The famous quote referencing the PS3’s US launch price still lives on today, and both Sony and Microsoft would be wise to avoid this trap. Both parties have stated that they intend to keep their new consoles between $300 and $400, something which could very well spell disaster for the Wii U. If both Sony and Microsoft can make their latest systems more accessible right from the get go, then that will mean more people buying their games and more big bucks in their pockets.
Finally, reward your loyal customers. I feel that Sony has recently figured this out with the massive overhaul of their Plus program. Their store also seems to be taking, though enormously small, baby-steps towards varying price-points, fast sale cycles on products, and basically trying to be more like a Steam sort of service. However, if either company wants to move forward, they should start offering hub like systems where gamers can interact which each other outside of swinging their trophies or achievements around.
Only time will tell for both Sony, Microsoft, and their new systems. In only a couple of days Sony will make their latest announcement and you can be sure we’ll have something to say about that. While this article was a brief overview of models that perhaps both companies can and could move towards, stay tuned for more in-depth looks into what we hope will come with the next generation of gaming consoles.