Rumor has it Microsoft is going to unveil the next version of the Xbox at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Exposition, along with speculation that the Playstation 4 might be in production and revealed to the public soon. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing at this point. Is the general public ready for such advancements, and will gaming really benefit from such choices?
Upon looking at some of the widely considered greatest games of all time, one will find that these lists are often composed of games that were for the Super Nintendo or original Playstation consoles. And while current generation consoles have had their gems featured on such lists, it isn’t with the same frequency. This is taken into consideration with the fact that many of the games on these lists revolutionized an aspect or genre of gaming and influenced development up into today, which is why their importance is noted.
But when one looks back on these games, there are obvious differences with today’s games, namely graphics, frame rate, gameplay, etc. Newer games are held to such a high standard, that companies are consistently pushed to feature photo-realistic graphics and process more information than ever before. This is ironic, since some purists will often claim that the greatest games were made years ago. But these standards are complicating matters for both the developers and the gaming audience.
When it comes to current generation consoles, there really isn’t a need for yet another iteration. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are more than sufficient enough hardware for gaming, and creating yet another generation will only complicate matters further.
First, the developers will be hit hard, or have already been hit hard if games are currently in production for this rumored system. When the Playstation 3 debuted, the launch titles were absolutely horrible with the exception of Resistance. Developers either rushed a product, or didn’t have a grip on the new hardware. The shift from Playstation 2 to Playstation 3 was a living nightmare for some companies, who simply couldn’t handle the new hardware, and their product consequently suffered.
The only reason new consoles would be manufactured would be because they would further evolve gaming, with even better graphics and so on. The problem is that audiences don’t need more at this point. Graphics are already unbelievable, game play can be over the top and explosive and current games already offer enough.
Secondly, there is an issue with pricing. Shelling out $60 on a new game is already really tough for some people and companies have overcompensated loss of profit by making peripherals to appeal to the casual gamer. Consistently spending more money into newer systems means the consumer will have to do the same. The new handheld Sony device, the Playstation Vita will feature games for $50, which doesn’t even include backwards compatibility with old Playstation Portable games. These games are almost the cost of a current generation console game and will have noticeably lower quality. It isn’t likely that many people are going to spend $50 for a handheld game. By creating a new console, there will most likely be a guarantee of a higher price for games, possibly to $70.
If developers can’t even make games right now that are considered the best of all time, then the creation of a new console isn’t going to solve that problem. The issue doesn’t lie with the graphics, gameplay or other aspects of a game. The issue lies with how developers are sometimes held to unbelievable standards, and that games are more difficult to make today than ever before. Making a new console won’t solve a problem of losing profit, especially if prices are consistently raised.
There’s a possibility that new consoles will only add to the experience at this point with some new add-on. The Wii-U, which has already been unveiled, is Nintendo’s new console, that’s supposed to be released sometime this year. The difference with the Wii is that the Wii-U has a controller with a built-in screen that provides another gaming screen. It also is a much more powerful console and is rumored to be even more powerful than the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. If this means that Nintendo is actually going to release quality games, then it’s by all means an improvement. The Wii, while it had its standout games, was a failure for the hardcore gamer. Unfortunately, consumers are subject yet again to another stupid name for a console. Whatever happened to “Nintendo Revolution?” People are probably more apt to play a console that with a name like Revolution, and not as much for “Wii.”
This is fine for Nintendo, especially since it seems like it is trying to rebound from the Wii, but the same doesn’t apply to the others. Both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox have great quality games, and there are many more on the way.
It doesn’t seem like there’s much more that can be added to what consumers already have, unless companies are seriously striving towards the futuristic gaming style seen most often in science fiction movies.
By constantly creating new hardware, new possibilities are opened, but it does have negative impacts on both the developers and the consumers. Sony and Microsoft at this point should instead focus on the games for now, because it’s likely most people are not ready to spend on yet another console. Of course, the list of reasons is exhaustive. No single factor is responsible for the creation of a new console. Who knows, we might be blindsided by something revolutionary. Only time will tell for sure.
Tim Jones can be reached at [email protected]