There’s been a lot of talk recently about the three major console manufacturers announcing their next generations of consoles in 2012. Nintendo has already beaten their competition to the punch by announcing Wii U at this year’s E3 convention.
Rather than speculate on what the consoles will and will not have I decided to look at what each console needs to have in order to provide the next generation of gaming and meet the expectations of the gaming community.
Wii U off the bat has been mired in controversy. With already announced no support for DVDs or Blu-ray discs Nintendo has essentially made this console the gaming-only system. While they say you may be able to stream movies and there will be some social interaction features, many believe that this counsel may be too little too late to compete with the early established systems and will be left in the dust once Sony and Microsoft unveil their next-generation systems.
While I enjoyed the Wii it quickly became my least favorite of the three systems mainly due to the fact that the graphics are not up to standard and it has extremely limited multi-play abilities.
Furthermore, the vaunted motion control system quickly became more of a gimmick to me that a feature as many titles did not utilize the technology properly which in turn drove me to play the games on other systems.
Nintendo needs to stop telling gamers what they want and listen to what they are saying. Gamers want high-end graphics, and exciting and diverse range of titles, multi-play options, and social networking.
Gamers will not be content to take essentially the Wii with better graphics they want and deserve the complete package.
Microsoft on the other hand is in a unique situation. They have a very popular and strong console but are still plagued by questions of reliability as it is rare to find an Xbox owner who’s not experienced the dreaded red ring of death. While newer models of the system have provided more stability counsel failure is still a concern for many owners.
The Kinect has proven to be a nice addition to the system but truly needs more titles to fully validate its future.
The rumored Xbox 720 of course will have better graphics with one recent announcement that it would be able to produce “Avatar” style graphics.
While this is all well and good, various things need to be included. Currently the system will not have the ability to use a Blu-ray and this will limit their ability to offer high definition movies by anything other than a HD stream. I think the system will also need some unique exclusives as what Halo did for the original Xbox may be needed to help the console upon launch.
I think Microsoft really needs to take a look at offering free online gaming and not charge their customers for the service which is provided free by their competition. This is not to say they cannot have subscription models that offer more features, but the basic ability to play a title online should not require an additional monthly fee no matter how small when you’re already paying $59.99 for a title.
Microsoft also needs to ensure that the Kinect will work with the new system as requiring potential owners to buy a new console and motion control system might put off the more casual consumer.
Microsoft also needs to not à la carte accessories as they did with the initial launch and ensure things like Wi-Fi and a hard drive are included in the base unit price.
Sony on the other hand is a bit of a mystery. Naturally the new console will have enhanced graphics and sound, but with the current system already offering so many features for social networking, watching movies, as well as other music and media options they must be careful not to simply give gamers a souped-up version of the PS3.
I think first and foremost Sony needs to continue to develop exclusive titles and examine just how deep their commitment to The Move motion control system really it’s.
Like Microsoft, Sony must decide if they want to make their current control compatible with the new system, create a new one, or scrap it altogether.
Sony must also provide a strong and secure network environment with a greater ease of interaction between gamers.
Cutting-edge graphics are one thing and the 3-D ability of the system is good, but gamers should have a 3-D title that will make them not only want the system but will want to buy a 3-D monitor or television to experience the game in.
Well I am curious to see what the new consoles will offer, with the case of Microsoft and Sony I still think what they have is pretty good and I question whether or not the new console is really needed at this point. While this is probably moot since both companies are already well underway with research and development, they need to remember not to rush as being first to market as what led to many faulty systems for Microsoft.
In the end the new systems will only be as good as the games that are created for them but by creating more options for developers the new systems should usher in an absolutely new and amazing era in gaming.