Ask a Dork: Next Gen Systems
As Microsoft and Sony ramp up for their next gen systems, what are some things you’d like to see left in this generation?
As we reach the twilight of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s lifespan (to be honest, I think the Wii has been checked out for a while), we start to appreciate more of what they have going for them. Sure, next generation consoles mean better graphics, stronger online play, and interesting new experiences, but if reports are true they also mean an end to trade-ins and pre-owned games, more expensive new titles, longer development wait times, and more inhibitory approaches to customer interaction. Really, if I am to be frank, I don’t like how Microsoft and Sony have been treating their customers as of late and I don’t think things will get better with the advent of new hardware. If anything, they’ll likely will get worse.
So what is there left to enjoy in this generation? Well, there are still new titles on the horizon of all three major consoles. Fewer for the Wii, but at least Operation Rainfall is finally complete and we can pre-order Pandora’s Tower (thanks XSEED, you continue to rock). One aspect that I can almost guarantee our current generation has over the next generation is indie gaming. Microsoft has recently announced that they’re ceasing development on XNA Games Studio, which essentially means that indie gaming is going to being phased out in the future. We also have the ability to buy and sell games as we please. We can also lend and borrow other people’s titles to our heart’s content. If reports are true, cross-tablet/handheld play and non-controller gameplay are the next things on the horizon for these supposedly “true HD consoles.” If you’re a fan of joysticks and buttons, you may not like where gaming is going in the future. While it may not seem this way now, five years from now this current generation may be seen as a golden age.
I suppose I’m showing my age, sounding like such an old curmudgeon, but for the first time in my life I’m not looking forward to the next generation of consoles. In fact, the more people talk about them the less I seem to care. They’ll get more and more expensive. This of course will make them harder to develop for. Long-term, this will means that games will either cost more or take longer to develop (possibly both). Things really don’t look great.
The only next generation system I actually think to be positive towards gamer culture is the Wii U. This system is HD, easy to develop for, allows multiple gameplay types, is compatible with Wii games, doesn’t inhibit used games, and is relatively inexpensive. For the first time since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, I’m more invested in a console from the “Big N” than anything else within its generation. Probably because Nintendo is actually trying to appeal to the customer right now. Sony, as expected, is doing barely any promotion with current titles and Microsoft keeps stripping away its services.
Mark my words, folks: a change in the marketplace is coming, and you’ll likely be more interested in the OUYA and SteamBox than the PS4 or Xbox 720 in the year to come.