Next-generation gaming. A phrase that only eight years ago was being optimistically shouted from the rooftops, is now being whispered about from blog site to blog site. The big players are keeping pretty tight-lipped with information; Microsoft and Sony have only just announced that they are working on the next generation of consoles.
Most of us speculated that this year’s E3 would have been the perfect place to announce the new consoles, but what did we get? Smart Glass and Storybook… Don’t get me wrong, I think that Smart Glass is exactly what Microsoft needs to help evolve the Xbox into the entertainment unit, not the gaming unit, that they’ve always said that it was, and Storybook is great for… well, kids. Either way, no matter how ambitious, neither one of these reveals were a console, but instead tools to increase the life-cycle of the current consoles. Why is there all of this whispering about next-gen then? Well in response to a stock drop, EA CEO John Riccitiello has gone on record saying:
“A major catalyst going forward, and the most important catalyst going forward is visibility on next-generation console, because that NPD data – that minus 10-25% that you’ve been seeing – that can and should be reversed out and some point, probably starting next year.”
Although this is not damning evidence, it is enough to speculate. That being said, Sony has also gone on record saying that the PS4, codenamed Orbis, will be out by 2014. However, the pleasant surprise of a holiday ’13 release might be part of a strategy to sell more units. Despite new hardware revelations, Sony is still persistent that the PS3 is still on par with its forecasted 10 year life-cycle. For those of you not skilled in basic arithmetic, that means that Sony anticipates that the PS3 will continue to chug along until 2016. Prior to the 2014 launch window being announced, Sony implied that they had no intention of releasing a new system prior to the end of the current system’s life-cycle. Given the fact that we’ve already been bamboozled once, a 2013 launch would not surprise me. Other than this, very few interesting details about the PS4 have been documented/leaked.
Of course, one can’t talk about gigantic leaks without talking about Microsoft and their Durango (isn’t that a car?). If rumors and speculation are to be believed, the Xbox 720 will come with a set of augmented reality glasses and a more accurate Kinect, as well as beefy hardware specs that will truly propel Microsoft into the future of gaming. Virtual Reality? Yes, please.
Is next-gen a possibility in the near (holiday ’13) future? Well, I think so. Developers such as Ubisoft and EA are impatiently awaiting next-gen tech, and much of the technology required for augmented reality to work already exists today. Saying that I am excited for the future of gaming is an understatement, and I urge everyone who shares my optimism to keep checking in at New Gamer Nation for the latest next-gen info!