February 16, 2013 by culturecub
This is the day we are all waiting for. The moment that could define, or redefine, what our expectations are of the next generation of video gaming. The day that Sony make “a huge announcement that’s going to change the future of PlayStation”. When the date was originally mentioned a few weeks back, I was excited. But as it’s drawn nearer, I’ve come to a scary realization.
I’m not ready.
I’m not ready for another generation of PlayStation and Xbox. Hell, the fact that I accepted the Wii U as a next generation console was a rather big step in my existence, but probably only occurred because the Wii had, clearly, run out of steam. The console looked out-dated, the graphics were awful compared with what we’d already seen from Sony and Microsoft, and everybody had (finally) gotten sick of playing Wii Sports. Except all those old people on the Nintendo commercials. Good on ‘em.
So the Wii U is ‘next-gen’, but only in the very literal sense that it’s the next generation of what Nintendo was offering us as consumers. But ‘NEXT-GEN’ as a concept inspires something that’s beyond just ‘what is next’; it should be something that we can get seriously excited about… forward thinking and creativity, along with beefy new tech that we can sink our teeth into. Ultimately, it should be a system that allows things to happen that couldn’t be done previously, games to be released that, literally, weren’t possible until now. Wii U (in a roundabout way) achieves this, but many would argue the next generation truly starts when Sony and Microsoft unveil their plans to the public.
Not that Nintendo aren’t doing anything exciting at the moment. They’ve recently announced a slew of new Nintendo 3DS games and everyone is expecting more details and official information on new Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart, Smash Bros. and more; plus, when it comes to marketing, Nintendo have already released the Wii U so have already started building its user-base. But while Nintendo are doing a bunch of exciting things with its tried-and-true franchises, Sony and Microsoft are about to enter into a battle for HD powerhouse home entertainment supremacy, as they try to out-feature each other.
The Wii U is full of exciting possibilities…
It’s a scary prospect. I mean, there are still plenty of games coming out this generation to get excited about; The Last of Us, Gears of War: Judgment, Bioshock: Infinite, Tomb Raider and GTA V to name just a small selection. Those releases alone create a pretty exciting 2013, let alone the idea that a new piece of hardware could be available by Xmas. And that raises a lot of other questions too, like… will it even be a worldwide launch, or will we (Australia/Europe) be left waiting 4-5 months after our NTSC brothers like the PS3 launch? The new Xbox is rumored to integrate a new Kinect; didn’t we all just spend $200 on the old Kinect like, last year? Will the consoles even be backwards compatible with their current-gen’s, or are we going to get some half-arsed emulation system/backwards compatibility being an unintentional ‘limited edition’?
That’s the big one, actually. I’m not done with a whole heap of PS3 and 360 games in my collection. Far Cry 3 is huge, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an excellent 100-hour adventure, I haven’t even started Devil May Cry and have I mentioned that there are 50 games coming out in the next few months that I want to play? Sony and Microsoft surely don’t expect that people are going to invest seriously in their new gadgets if we can’t transfer all of the crap that we’ve already downloaded and spent money on directly across.
The Last of Us is one of many awesome games in this generation.
Then, there’s cost. PS3 launched at a $750 price tag which scared away most parents and kids earning $6.20 an hour at McDonald’s. The Xbox 360 wasn’t quite as hefty in price but also had the advantage of being first cab off the rank in that generation, so it was able to ‘set the standard’ when it came to pricing and hardware expectations. Regardless of this; after spending at least $2000 on the various games I want this year, I’m not expecting to be able to dip in and spend a large sum of money on a machine that I can’t imagine is going to do a whole lot different to its predecessor.
This is all speculative. Maybe Sony will blow me away this week and announce a console that is worthy of being labelled ‘next-gen’, with a brand new Naughty Dog game at launch along with some other new IP’s that are going to be incredible. Maybe the console is going to change the way we play games, with new controllers, new functionality we haven’t heard of and a brand new experience just waiting to be unlocked. As long as it doesn’t involve the PlayStation Move, we should be OK. Fingers crossed all will be revealed on February 20th… and when it does, I’ll be right here to judge it in a harsh and biased manner.
Could it look something like this? What do you think the next generation will hold? Will it be a massive leap forward, or will it be completely underwhelming? Are we ready for new game consoles, or is there too much to do on our current generation?
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