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Predicting the next generation of console gaming

pramath

Banned
Jan 7, 2011
3,045
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0
I know that here on gaming forums, we always have a propensity to make the worst possible predictions about everything, and that they're nearly always wrong :p
But still, I figured that with a reveal of the next generation of gaming consoles imminent anytime now, it would be as good a time as any to discuss the potential strengths and weaknesses of the upcoming consoles, and to try and figure out which console manufacturer might be best primed going into the next generation.

This analysis will be inherently flawed, of course. Except for the Wii U, we don't really know much about any future console, apart from rumors and rumblings, and we don't know much about the Wii U itself either. However, there are certain management and financial trends and decisions that, simply because of the inertia associated with them, are indicative of future policy. That, plus history and precedence can always aid in such analyses.

So in any case, here's a roundup of how well the upcoming generation of consoles may be primed:

MICROSOFT

Xbox 720/Xbox Loop/Xbox Infinity/Xbox 3/Xbox Next

The Pros:


*Xbox LIVE: Microsoft has, with the Xbox and the Xbox 360, managed to build up a thoroughly excellent online community. Argue about PSN's relative merits all you want, argue about the fact that at $60 a year, Xbox LIVE is a veritable rip off. It doesn't matter one bit. Millions upon millions of gamers worldwide have built their online presences and identities on Xbox LIVE, complete with Gamertags, Games Lists, Achievements, Gamerscores, Friends Lists and more, and they're unlikely to move. Their absolute level of comfort with Xbox LIVE makes it likelier that they will stick with the console that offers LIVE rather than migrate, and this gives Microsoft a massive pre installed base to begin with. There are people who argue that the Xbox has no exclusives, but it has one, and that is very powerful: it has Xbox LIVE.
*Third party support: Mixrosoft and the Xbox may not have much in the way of exclusive third party support, but it doesn't matter at all. All third parties, and especially western third parties, seem to favor Microsoft's consoles, which offer straightforward architecture and a lot of hardware resources. Multiplats are almost always developed for the Xbox 360 first, and as long as Microsoft can continue the tradition of offering simple, PC like powerful architecture to third parties, then it will ensure that it gets all the notable games next generation.
*Mainstream recognition: The Xbox brand has become supremely powerful over the last generation. Achieving a level of mainstream recognition and acceptance that arguably rivals the kind that Nintendo, Sony and Sega have all enjoyed in the past, the mainstream media and audiences are likely to flock to the next Xbox, especially considering the kind of success the Xbox enjoyed this generation because of Microsoft's clever positioning of the system as the Call of Duty box.

The Cons:

*Kinect: The Kinect was incredibly successful, and it gave the Xbox a new lease of life just as it seemed the system might be flagging. However, Microsoft's insistence on pushing the new peripheral has been nothing short of disastrous, as core first party support for the system has all but dried up, leaving us with nothing but Kinect shovelware. If Microsoft's insistence on continuing with Kinect carries over into the next generation, then we might see a repeat of the Wii.
*Japan: The Xbox has no traction in Japan. Period. None whatsoever, and this can be highly problematic for Microsoft in the coming years. Yes, the fact that the Xbox manages to keep apace of the PS3 and even get ahead of it, in spite of the fact that it has one full territory less to work with, is highly impressive, but in the coming years, Microsoft will need to actively do something to ensure that the Xbox brand gains traction in Japan.
*No first party whatsoever: Halo. Forza. Fable. And that's it. That's all Microsoft has. They have Gears of War, but that's Epic's IP. They have a plethora of other IPs, like Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Project Gotham Racing, Conker, Kameo, and much more, but they aren't doing anything to utilize them. As it becomes incredibly clearer that all consoles next gen might be on par as far as third party support is concerned, Microsoft needs to work on building a good first party, and fast.
*The Specs: Reports on the next Xbox's power are conflicted, although most seem to point at a system that won't be a massive leap over current generation systems at all. This leaves the success of the next Xbox entirely contingent on the hands of what Sony and Nintendo do- if they decide too that their next system shouldn't be much of a power leap, then Microsoft is safe. However, in the opposite scenario, Microsoft might be screwed.

SONY

Playstation 4

The Pros:

*Incredible First Party: Sony has, over the last few years, built a stable of some incredible first party franchises. God of War, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, inFamous, Killzone, Resistance, Ratchet and Clank, and much, much more, covering a diverse variety of genres, all high quality. As long as Sony can maintain the quality of their first party stable with their next system, they have a differentiating base that can attract a fanbase.
*PSN: It sucked at the beginning of the generation, but over the last few years, Sony has worked on improving it, and now, it's an asset. The negative publicity brought on by last year's hacks notwithstanding, PSN represents the same kind of advantage for Sony that LIVE does for Microsoft.
*Guaranteed Third Party Support: So far, there has never been a Sony system that did not have proper third party support. Even the PS3's formative years were marked by lost exclusive third party support, not third party support period. With the PS4 too, we can rest assured in the investment, knowing that it will have both first and third party support.

The Cons:

*Sony's makes incredibly shitty decisions: $599. Absolutely baffling advertising. Overpriced PS Vita memory cards. No backwards compatibility on the PS3. The goddamn Cell. I could go on. The problem with Sony is, as great as their products are, they almost always manage to run them into the ground with some of the worst corporate decisions, ever.
*Sony's financial situation is precarious: The company as a whole is in dire straits, and it might not be possible for Sony to continually invest in a loss making venture, assuming the PS4 turns out to be one. Their entire decision making process might be fully dictated by their financial situation.
*Power: It is almost certain Sony will opt for the system power route with the PS4 again, especially if the PS Vita is any indication. The problem with this is, not only would it make the system expensive again, both for Sony and for consumers, but we might also be looking at a situation where the extra system power is never utilized, especially if both Microsoft and Nintendo decide to opt for modest power jumps instead,a nd third parties develop for them and simply upport to the PS4.

NINTENDO

Wii U

The Pros:

*Nintendo's First Party: Seriously, let's stop and consider Nintendo's first party. Simply the best first party in the industry, and the most enviable stable of franchises and IPs, games like Mario, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Fire Emblem, F-Zero and Star Fox will sell themselves, as well as the system they are on. As long as Nintendo can maintain the integrity and consistency of these franchises- and let's face it, they will, they've done it for over two decades now- they're good to go.
*Third Party Support: There is definitely increased third party support for the Wii U. Assassin's Creed, Arkham City, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden, Darksiders, Future Soldier, and many, many more third parties games and franchises have all been pledged to the Wii U. Nintendo is making a visibly improved effort to address the one shortcoming of its consoles, and that is consistently little third party support.
*Head Start: Releasing at the end of this year, the Wii U will be the first eighth generation console out of the gate. This gives it an opportunity to develop a user base ahead of the competition, and to gain favor with third parties, especially as a lead console for all multiplats. This one year lead might be the decisive factor in a potential Nintendo victory.
*The tablet controller: The tablet controller is a stroke of genius. Essentially a traditional controller with a touch screen, the controller is infinitely customizable, presenting for the traditonalist a dual analog control scheme, but for third parties and the more enterprising gamer, options and alternatives. The tablet controller might turn out to be Nintendo's most successful controller experiment since the N64.

The Cons:

*System Power: How powerful is the Wii U? We don't know, although most reports indicate it is 2-6x as powerful as an Xbox 360. Is that enough? The Wii U might be able to keep pace with the HD twins, but will it be left in the dust again, similar to the Wii, once the new Xbox and Playstation hit the markets? The Wii U's continued success with the third parties is entirely contingent on how powerful Microsoft's and Sony's systems are. If the Wii U is at least in the same power range, it will do well, otherwise, it might be in a world of trouble.
*Third Party Support: An extension of the point raised above, but exactly what kind of third party support can we count on for the Wii U, and for how long? Can we be certain, for instance, that third parties will support the Wii U even after the PS4 and Xbox 3 have released? Can we even be certain that many major third parties, like Epic and Rockstar, will even support the Wii U? These are all integral questions that Nintendo needs to answer, and fast.
*Online: Nintendo blew it with their online strategy. Thankfully, only six years too late, they have woken up to the reality of the situation, but there are two problems. As promising as Nintendo Network sounds, are we sure it will be up the standard set by the competition? And even if it is, will people who have already created profiles, complete with their achievements and friends lists, want to migrate and start from scratch?

---

There will be other contenders in the market too. Apparently, Apple wants to enter the console race tangentially with its Apple TV, like it entered the handheld race with iOS. Whether they can replicate that success in the console realm is a question up for grabs, but it's an interesting notion all the same.

Then there's Valve, who apparently are working on an infinitely customizable, and supremely powerful, Steambox. Considering the goodwill Valve enjoys, as well as the level of third party support it could potentially have, a Steambox sounds like it might upset the market, especially given the open source model Valve is reportedly considering.

However the next generation ultimately turns out, from our standpoint, it might be the best one yet. For the first time ever, we have all three console manufacturers uniquely positioned in positions of more or less equal strength. It could go either way, as of right now, it would be impossible to predict a winner either way.

However, I would still like to pose the following question to my fellow GAFfers: considering the pros and cons that I just listed (as well as any more, if you have any, that come to your mind), what console manufacturer do you think is best primed for the next generation of console gaming? One of the big three? Or will it turn out to be Apple or Valve with their disruptive technologies?
 

APetePerson

Neo Member
Sep 13, 2011
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370
personally, I'm having so much fun on this generation with the current games, that I just can't imagine a new console, but it would always be awesome to have some sweet new hardware to play with though.

the only thing that I really hope for is for there to be none of the over saturation of shooter's we've seen this generation.
 

guek

Banned
Apr 27, 2011
18,684
1
0
To answer your question, I think microsoft is in the most advantageous position to dominate the next gen. You list kinect as a potential liability but I've believed for some time now that MS intends for kinect to be a social input device for UI more than an avenue for gaming. They're going to to try to use kinect to replace the remote control (ironic considering that's what nintendo modeled the wiimote after). Much like Wii sports before it, it was never meant to provide a gaming experience that lasts the entire lifetime of the device. Rather it's meant to be an ever persistent hook that should continue to draw in the casual consumer for some time.

They do need to be careful though. Casual mindshare can definitely be fleeting, and it's absolutely crucial that kinect pops up in as many headlines for as long as possible. They're going to need really strong word of mouth once kinect 2.0 hits. For the casual consumer, image is everything, and if kinect stops being the new hotness, the mainstream market will simply walk away. MS is primed to control a significant portion of both the casual and core consumer due to kinect and the guaranteed 3rd party support.

All of that however can be upturned by nintendo. If nintendo can secure a sizeable chunk of the market before the competition hits and maintains momentum while simultaneously displaying the ability to sell current gen ports such as ACIII and Darksiders II, they'll be able to ensure a decent level of 3rd party support next gen. Whether or not the tablet will catch fire is a big unknown. People like to throw a lot of predictions around, but frankly speaking, I think it's nearly impossible to know whether or not casual bait will catch on or not. It also depends completely on what kind of software they have planned to show off the tablet. Even though MS' console is farther away, I think in a lot of ways nintendo's cards are a bigger mystery. They could weasel their way into first place again or fall flat on their faces, it's hard to tell.

As for Sony, I think they're going to have to do something drastic to avoid 3rd place. But hey, I view Sony as a very incompetent company at the moment, so I'm obviously very biased.
 

Raonak

Member
Aug 19, 2010
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dreammodule.com
This is more of a pipe dream than anything. and probably can only be realised one battery tech advances a bit more.

PlayStation 4

The form factor will be very close to the vita. SHOCK!

Obviously, by itself, it's a next-generation portable. With really powerful hardware that eclipses the PS3 Graphics, equaling the Nextbox and the WiiU. It will have a Super omega OLED+ turbo edition. 1080p and whatnot. Probably a 5-6 inch screen. A 5+ hour battery life.

I know what you're thinking; But thats a portable!!

Yes, it is a portable. But it's also a home console.

The PS4 comes with a cradle. It will not only charge the PS4, but it also has HDMI out. Once you plug it into the cradle, the PS4 goes into home mode.
Because it has bluetooth, you can just sync the dualshock4
(dualshock4 and cradle are both included in the PS4 package.)

It will give the ultimate console experience. Next generation, 1080p games on your 42" HDTV when youre at home, and the same next generation, 1080p games on your 6" OmegaOLED screen right in the palm of your hands.

heres a picture to illustrate Home mode.



The only hard thing would be packing all that technology on that little device. I suspect it won't be too hard considering how fast technology is advancing.
 
Nov 4, 2011
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predicting the future? Is such a thing even possible?

yes but depends on the subject and most of the time it's luck lol and usually requires a lot of statistics and analyzing.

predicting the future of consoles? I would say futile. Who knows wtf these companies are thinking.
 

Log4Girlz

Member
May 23, 2006
40,774
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I just hope the Steambox has just as much in common with consoles as it does PC's and is fucking powerful.
 
Aug 27, 2009
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I understand that the lack of facts about next gen systems makes any serious analysis difficult. What I can't understand is how the OP gets even the facts that we do have so wrong. Subjectivity at its worst.
 

nasos_333

Member
Sep 19, 2010
2,310
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0
Greece
www.artengame.com
Actually the cons of Xbox are the reason i will buy xbox 720 day one

I cant wait for Fable 4, Witcher 3, Gears 4, Halo 5 myself and those are the strongest reasons for me to buy xbox 720

Zelda is a reason to buy WiiU too for example

And i dont currently have any franshise i would buy a PS4 for, since i always bought PS for FF and now i dont like the series at all after FF12

So, what is posted as 360 con, is actually its biggest perk by far

Kinect is also a huge plus, for the first time in gaming history i can interact in full 3D with game environments, i dont care how it is implemented currently, the potential is there and is near infinite, that is a huge plus too

The specs of 720 will be amazing, anyone trusting rumors is in for a huge surprise imo

The only real con there is Japan, i agree with that one
 

michaelius

Member
Jan 5, 2012
16,114
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935
I think it will be like this:

Wii U- same as Wii - slightly improved past gen hardware (x1,5 PS3/X360) sold at current gen prices.
At least this time they are lucky as they are releasing year or two before competitors so they will get some ports from x360/ps3.

Microsoft- they will go into casualbox with kinect and connectivity with pc running windows 8 and mobile phones with WM8. Still their console will likely overpower Nintendo.

Sony - likely the only one to contentrate on classic gamepad and powerfull hardware but even they will likely be limited by budget this time.

From core gamers perspective next gen will probably look like this:

PC > PS3 > X720 > Wii-U
 

squidyj

Member
Jun 15, 2011
17,028
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Calgary, AB
I think if Sony goes for a more powerful system with an x86 cpu in there they'll be much better positioned to reap the benefits of more powerful hardware through ease of use and being able to scale multiplats from PC rather than having to rewrite everything.
 

Terrell

Member
Apr 1, 2006
12,476
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I think, if I were to predict anything, compatibility with existing Wii accessories will do a lot to get the WiiU into homes. People get a new tablet toy AND get to keep using their pre-existing equipment. It's the best value-add to such a purchase one could hope for, and this generation is going to be the first time that's possible. Being first out of the gate gives Nintendo all the room in the world to capitalize on that, not to mention many other things. Mindshare is a big deal. But it can be easily undone, as well, so Nintendo has to walk that tightrope carefully, cuz it'll be a LONG drop otherwise.

OP, to say third party support is guaranteed to any platform is folly. I'm old enough to remember the folly of people thinking that with the N64. And we all know how that turned out: several "betrayals" were noted in the gaming press, and it's all anyone could talk about. Sony hasn't exactly been a big goodwill ambassador to third-parties since the PS2. They got by this generation because Nintendo ducked out of HD and it ended up being on par with the competition enough to allow for multi-plat releases. Not to mention that many third-parties sank buckets of money into the platform already prior to the $599 bomb they dropped.

Microsoft has done good this gen by being the middle ground, the safe bet, and by ending up matching up with PS3 in many respects to ensure multi-plat for almost everything. But the lack of strength from several Japanese publishers in the console space this generation has been their biggest boon, as it made that market not end up the deciding factor for 3rd-party support. This was the West's generation, and they owned it. I just don't think any of these factors will be something they can replicate next gen. Japan could easily walk into next gen guns blazing, especially if they can ride the success of a more hardcore/HD-friendly Nintendo and the sales numbers that will bring. If there's a viable alternative to the PS4 in the WiiU and it soaks up the development out of that country, then gets development support in the West for being close enough in power to MS' console, they'll have the West AND Japan, a potent combination we haven't seen since PS2. It's still a BIG "if", but this gen is shaping up in a way that MS can't capitalize on the industry's lack of good fortune (underpowered Nintendo, poor-selling Sony) to be successful.
 

Izayoi

Banned
Jul 25, 2010
18,053
0
0
I think it will be like this:

Wii U- same as Wii - slightly improved past gen hardware (x1,5 PS3/X360) sold at current gen prices.
At least this time they are lucky as they are releasing year or two before competitors so they will get some ports from x360/ps3.

Microsoft- they will go into casualbox with kinect and connectivity with pc running windows 8 and mobile phones with WM8. Still their console will likely overpower Nintendo.

Sony - likely the only one to contentrate on classic gamepad and powerfull hardware but even they will likely be limited by budget this time.

From core gamers perspective next gen will probably look like this:

PC > PS3 > X720 > Wii-U
That's a rather depressing prediction and I really hope that it's wrong. (Deep down inside I know you're probably right but fucking hell we at least need 1080p and 60fps. Awful IQ is starting to get to me.)
 
Nov 4, 2011
8,584
2
725
Actually the cons of Xbox are the reason i will buy xbox 720 day one

I cant wait for Fable 4, Witcher 3, Gears 4, Halo 5 myself and those are the strongest reasons for me to buy xbox 720

Zelda is a reason to buy WiiU too for example

And i dont currently have any franshise i would buy a PS4 for, since i always bought PS for FF and now i dont like the series at all after FF12

So, what is posted as 360 con, is actually its biggest perk by far

Kinect is also a huge plus, for the first time in gaming history i can interact in full 3D with game environments, i dont care how it is implemented currently, the potential is there and is near infinite, that is a huge plus too

The specs of 720 will be amazing, anyone trusting rumors is in for a huge surprise imo

The only real con there is Japan, i agree with that one

labby, you are not going to last very long here.
 

Gustav

Banned
Feb 1, 2011
8,095
0
0
Actually the cons of Xbox are the reason i will buy xbox 720 day one

I cant wait for Fable 4, Witcher 3, Gears 4, Halo 5 myself and those are the strongest reasons for me to buy xbox 720

Zelda is a reason to buy WiiU too for example

And i dont currently have any franshise i would buy a PS4 for, since i always bought PS for FF and now i dont like the series at all after FF12

So, what is posted as 360 con, is actually its biggest perk by far

Kinect is also a huge plus, for the first time in gaming history i can interact in full 3D with game environments, i dont care how it is implemented currently, the potential is there and is near infinite, that is a huge plus too

The specs of 720 will be amazing, anyone trusting rumors is in for a huge surprise imo

The only real con there is Japan, i agree with that one

Sorry to inform you, but...
 

Globox_82

Banned
Mar 14, 2010
4,339
0
0
Consoles will became even less relevant. Playstation brand will continue to fade, consoles will sell in even less numbers. More sequels of already established IPs. Less variety. Death of single player (will end up like platforms, maybe 5% games will have it few years down the road). One console maker will leave the industry. talks about one (upgradable) console future will heat up.
 

spekkeh

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
14,647
0
0
www.neogaf.com
It's kind of difficult to predict the future with no real idea what the next xbox and playstation will be. As it stands Nintendo definitely seem to have the edge. They have a headstart for the first time since the NES, they're a pure gaming company and have less tangential interests than sony and microsoft, making them adapt more easy. And of course, them exclusive games.

Microsoft have done well to create an integrated OS with Windows 8, which makes Kinect bigger than just a gaming peripheral, but at the same time their user base across the board is dropping fast, with iOS and Android being the hipper choices. So any success almost seems contingent on how the public will attach to it; also precipitated by the fact that MS don't really have any games that would make core gamers flock to the next console. I loved my 360, but have little interest to try the next one. It's actually the non-gaming aspect, a possibly nice home entertainment experience, that may be the only reason I'd buy it.

Sony conversely has much more interesting exclusives, but don't sell themselves very well and OP is right to point out that the entire company is teetering, becoming a more marginal brand by the minute. They're not going to push the envelope for the next generation and it may therefore be too little too late.
 

Maedhros

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Apr 16, 2010
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0
Consoles will became even less relevant. Playstation brand will continue to fade, consoles will sell in even less numbers. More sequels of already established IPs. Less variety. Death of single player (will end up like platforms, maybe 5% games will have it few years down the road). One console maker will leave the industry. talks about one (upgradable) console future will heat up.

What a shitty future man. I hope you're wrong.
 

Aruki

Neo Member
May 30, 2011
12
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0
Madrid Spain
www.noobware.net
For me its going to be all around cloud gaming, a progressive drop in sale of physical games. Idk if this is going to happen on the next console generation scenario (maybe steam box :D ), but this scenario is going to be quite powerful in the near future.
 

Shaffield

Member
Dec 18, 2011
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twitter.com
I'm pretty sure we'll be in the exact same situation as current gen, but with less graphical difference between Nintendo and the rest.

Everyone will joke about how "WiiU haz no gamez LOL", but in the end we'll all look back at the 10000 matches we played in SSB4, the perfect files in the next Metroid Prime, and the hundreds of hours in Xenoblade 2, and we'll realize what the best console of the generation really was.
 

Rollo Lawson

Banned
Jun 11, 2008
5,300
0
0
hetero town
a bigger focus on convergence. many many cues taken from the mobile PC gaming side. basically branded gaming laptops, netbooks, and tablets, customized OS's and UI's...dockable for traditional TV gaming...portable with screens for mobile gaming

eh...wishlist...predictions...tomato tomato
 

alr1ght

bish gets all the credit :)
Sep 25, 2005
55,610
6
1,440
Sequels
LOTS of DLC
Online Passes for singleplayer
More "Capcoming"
 

Sho_Nuff82

Member
Jan 2, 2007
39,630
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The Kinect and MS publishing assessment in the OP is deeply flawed. MS is publishing dozens of exclusives for XBLA this year.
 

AnGer

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May 29, 2007
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I think Sony might've learned that overpricing isn't going to work. Though when I look at the Vita's price, I start getting doubts about that.