Too early to tell how things will go next gen. I expect both to make some much needed improvements. MS will most likely keep up the pressure on Sony with a much improved xbox live service though. Hopefully we get a glimpse at E-3.
This has been by far the longest generation of consoles the gaming industry has seen, but the next cycle of consoles is going to start this year with the Wii U. Nintendo is pushing their console out the door earlier than the competition, in no small part because they desperately need a new console to inject life into their earnings reports. The Wii U also sets the tone for this console generation, even if it isn't going to meet some people's expectations.
Some people have been holding out hope that Nintendo is going to unveil the final version of the Wii U and it's going to blow everyone away with its graphics capabilities. That scenario, however, is looking more and more unlikely all the time. While multiple developers are on record saying that the Wii U's hardware is in a state of flux, unofficial sources continue to place its power comparable to the Xbox 360/PS3, not above them. Driving a stake through the heart of those wanting Nintendo to try to advance beyond the graphical capabilities of the Xbox 360/PS3 is the Nintendo CEO and President himself, Satoru Iwata.
"As we will showcase the Wii U at E3 in June this year, the detailed announcements must wait until then, but we are aiming to make a system which shall not be forced into competing with the others where the contenders can fight only with massive developer resources and long development times as their weapons," said Iwata during aninvestor Q&A. "Looking at the software for home console systems, there are certain the software titles for which very rich graphics must be reproduced on HD displays and which demand a large number of developers to spend a very long time to develop. It is one of the truths that a certain number of such software titles must be prepared, or the consumers will not be satisfied. But we do not think that any and all the software must be created in that fashion.”
"When you look at Nintendo's software, extraordinary rich graphics, massive gameplay volume and astonishing rendition effects are not necessarily the appealing point,” he added. “It is, in fact, important for us that our games are appealing in other ways as well."
So it seems highly likely that Nintendo is doubling down on new features for the Wii U and not getting involved in a horse race with the competition on hardware power. This fits with Nintendo's philosophy of the past several years (compare DS vs. PSP, Wii vs Xbox 360/PS3 and 3DS vs. PS Vita) where the emphasis is on the quality of their own software, not “extraordinary rich graphics” as Iwata puts it. And for Nintendo to suddenly change course at this point would be both confusing to developers and to the consumer – besides, if they were going to brag about how much more powerful their hardware was going to be, they would almost have certainly done that by now.
While no one should be that surprised over the direction that Nintendo seems to be taking, it's slightly more shocking what Microsoft's rumored plans for the next Xbox (which I'm going to refer to as the Xbox 720 for simplicity's sake, not the code-name Durango) will be. One set of rumors from a credible source said that the Xbox 720 will use a development platform similar to Windows 9 and Windows Phone. It isn't too difficult to imagine this happening, since the new Metro UI for the Xbox 360 is very evocative of the latest Windows Phone, not to mention being Kinect friendly.
And speaking of Kinect, rumors place that as central to Microsoft's plans for the Xbox platform going forward. The boldest of reports on the console say Kinect will be central in its functionality with enough power to track fingers from up to four players. The Xbox 720 is said to incorporate augmented reality and directional sound, and the new controller has a touchpad. This touchpad has many bells and whistles, with an HD display and functionally that allow it to work as a “remote control when you're watching TV, a browser when you're on the internet, extra buttons and information when you're playing a game or a portable display when you want to take your game with you.”
All of these features are said to be the true focus of the Xbox 720, with Microsoft “playing it safe” when it comes to the GPU and CPU. It's hard to imagine this console won't be at least a little more powerful (or at least have a much more generous allotment of RAM), but focusing on features, particularly features that are not necessarily directed towards core gamers is an amazing 180 from where Xbox started out.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox, the focus was solely on hardcore gamers who were mostly male. I'm pretty confident that the original Xbox controller (nicknamed Duke) was never focus tested on women, given its sheer mass and bulk. The console was designed to appeal to the most hardcore of gamers with the most advanced graphics at the time and an emphasis on broadband multiplayer – yes, not just system daisy-chaining or dial-up Internet (which was still incredibly common back in 2001) but broadband specifically. Even the advertising for the system was in your face with the tagline “No Power Greater than X”. While the system was consistently a money loser for Microsoft, they were sewing seeds for the future.
Sure enough, when the Xbox 360 launched to the market (one year earlier than the PS3, reversing what happened with the PS2 and original Xbox) those same hardcore gamers that were playing series like Halo, Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six online multiplayer for the Xbox migrated over to play even more Halo, along with Gears of War and Call of Duty. Xbox Live has set the standard for a console network, and while few would argue it's a flawless experience (how many ads really need to be embedded in the dashboard anyway?), most still prefer it over what the competition offers.
So Microsoft has its claws in deep with a majority of the hardcore gamers in the U.S. and the U.K. (if sales numbers are to be believed). Microsoft doesn't want to stop with just bringing in the most dedicated of gamers; they have ambitions to be the platform of the future, not just in your den, but on your living room TV and in your phone. It's part of the reason why they're bringing more of Xbox Live to Windows Phone and Windows 8, along with making the Xbox 360 more like a Windows experience.
The Xbox 360 has seen a gradual shift in its marketing and focus; sure, it's still all aboutCall of Duty gamers on Xbox Live, but now it includes much more than that. The tagline for the Xbox 360 is currently “Jump In”, which is definitely more friendly to a wider audience and it's complemented by the peripheral Kinect. Now, as a gaming device Kinect has some kinks to work out but it has still sold 18 million units. What's more, it is potentially the tip of the iceberg for a whole new way for people to interact with electronic devices, and has wide potential for mass market use in a number of fields, as shown below.
If the strategy of focusing on Kinect 2.0 and a touchpad controller is true for Microsoft, it's clear whose market they're going after: Nintendo's. Yes, it could be that the Wii U and Xbox 720 will actually be going after a similar mass market audience. This leaves Sony in an interesting spot – they could target a similar audience or they could keep on the track they've been on and possibly make the PS4 many, many times more powerful than the competition's consoles; for now, I'm going to theorize that their emphasis will be on the latter instead of the former.
If the PS4 is really a case of Sony doubling-down on technology rather than bells-and-whistles, I could see two extreme scenarios possibly happening. The first scenario is absolute victory for Sony – gamers choose the most powerful system on the market (not unlike how many moved on from the Wii to the Xbox 360/PS3 in the past couple of years), and peripherals like the Move or a touchpad controller can be added afterwards to address whatever market need there is for them. The second is complete defeat for Sony – the inability to anticipate the mainstream desire for extra features on their console relegates the PS4 to third place and the sheer cost of making games on the system drives developers away and eats away at first-party profit margins.
I can't say right now which scenario is more likely to be true – there are so many random variables (including what exactly the PS4 will be) that divining the truth would require a soothsayer. Right now, Nintendo is holding back revelations about the Wii U until E3 2012, Microsoft has dismissed rumors of an Xbox 720 reveal during E3 2012, and Sony has openly admitted that they “will probably be the last to announce something.”
The only certainty is how much different this new console generation will be over the current one (consider how differently this generation started with the momentum of the PS2/Xbox/GCN console race) and it will be fascinating to see how it all breaks down.
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Xbox 720: How Microsoft Could Determine Sony's Fate
I don't see the article title has anything to do with the article. At the end he says "if Sony doubles down on technology..." which would mean Sony's fate would be in Sony's hands not anyone else's.
Inzane2050 likes this post
Yeah, I had a hard time following the whole point of the article too. And it was a lot of filler information that never really got to the point. Not well put together.
And things like this have no sense to them:
Last edited by Inzane2050; 02-25-2012 at 04:46.
The title makes no sense.. The fate of Playstation is mostly determined by Sony, not Microsoft.
If Kinect is going to be central to the nextboxs infrastructure, and when MS themselves said that Kinect was built for casuals, then I don't really see how ms could determine Sony's fate, as they are for the core.
The article goes on about the PS4 being lighter on bells and whistles. The Vita is a 5-10 year product according to Sony, and it's functionality has already surpassed the Wii U's control imo. It has all the connectivity and online community features with XGC and other things that were lacking this gen. The integration that Vita will with both PS3 and PS4 is something that doesn't look to be matched this gen or next by either Nintendo or ms. Sony have also recently patented that 3D camera tech, and have other things going on like reportedly successful VR R&D (not saying thats coming next gen, but they aren't resting on the laurels when it comes to developing new waysfor gamers to be immersed). It's fair to assume that all the forward steps made with Vita will be applied to PS4, including input from 1st and 3rd party devs to create a good programming environment. Yeah, PS4 will have it's fair share of bells and whistles.
Sony make products for the discerning core gamer. This is clear by the tech, content and pricing of both the PS3 and Vita. The only people who will determine Sony's fate are Sony and the consumers out there who are interested in the kind technologically flamboyant gaming ecosystem Sony seems to be crafting and the content for core gamers that Sony is known for.
In my ever so humble opinion, of course.
Last edited by Ghost; 02-25-2012 at 05:43.
The ps4 vita connectivity is something I have been wondering lately as well.
In terms of ps4 hardware they need to get couple of things right to get the connectivity work properly and that would be video and audio encode/decode with a fixed function hardware.
This would make it pretty much free to send images to one or more vitas and would allow all sorts of nice things in addition.
It should also prove useful for ps4 games as mp3 streams wouldn't need processing on CPU and thus wouldn't trash caches.
02-25-2012 #9Soldier 95BGuest
No doubt the next Xbox (still don't understand why the author says 720, doesn't make sense) will continue it head on appeal to the core gamers like it does now. They obviously don't intend to lose their bread and butter. They have done such a great job, giving us amazing core games all the way through 2012 so far (with more coming). Adding more appeal to obtain even more gamers with the addition of Kinect is the icing on the cake.
If there is one thing that Xbox has got right, it is the appeal to core. I am glad MS isn't losing focus on that.
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The success of Kinect and the early success of the Wii clearly demonstrates that the dominate force in the gaming industry is the casual gamer. It is a much better strategy to go after the casual gamer than to go mainly for the core gamer.
Please do not take this as an endorsement of this article since I agree that it really makes no sense. I'm merely pointing out that if you divide gamers into core and casual segments, the one you want to get as a corporation is the casual gamer. There is much more money in that segment than the core segment.
Price is what really matters and getting the casual gamer with an inexpensive console is always going to win over an expensive do-it-all machine with great games and awesome graphics. That was already proven this generation whether you agree with that strategy or not. The proof is in the numbers.
There will always be a place for a Sony console among a core group of gamers. I really enjoy games like Ratchet & Clank, God of War and the Uncharted series but my main console is the Xbox and my PS3 gets related to the occasional single player game and Blu-Ray movies. Guess what, I'm not alone.
Sub-stance1 likes this post
It's all about ME. I really don't give a $#@! what's better for Sony, I care what content and products are offered to me. I don't use "what's better for the business" to justify a companies performance for me as a consumer who is part of the core demographic. As I said, Sony make products for the discerning core gamer. The fact that they are but a small slice of the pie make Sony more legendary. It's all about the PlayStation Experience.
From 1:30 - This is who Sony go for. That's why they get my €€€.
02-26-2012 #14Soldier 95BGuest
02-26-2012 #15Originally Posted by Soldier 95B;5778707[B
02-26-2012 #16Got YLOD? In the UK? I'll buy it off you.
How are core gamers the minority?? It's completely the contrary. Lol
02-27-2012 #18Soldier 95BGuest
sure, the console still has a good solid base of core games, but third party offerings have little to do with the focus of MS themselves.
Today MS have fewer active core franchises, and focus more on mainstream offerings than they did 4, or even 10, years ago.
i said it was increasingly difficult to give microsoft money - because i think that both the volume and quality of core MS exclusives (obviously barring a few) has declined. i don't think that is a particularly contentious position and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with liking or disliking any corporation.
by pushing back core games in order to introduce kinect? by ignoring original xbox IPs, in line with the financially sensible option of third party arrangements? the fact is that MS have made business decisions - they haven't made decisions in order to provide unwaivering support to the core gamer. those kind of statements, when there is conflicting evidence, is just the usual PR trash.
counting relatively obscure JRPGs, kinect games, and titles that were exclusive by default (for example in the first year) doesn't change they fact that things HAVE changed, including MS' focus. just think of all the quality IPs that MS have allowed to expire since 2001. is that all out support for the core gamer?
Last edited by J3ff3; 02-28-2012 at 09:06.Got YLOD? In the UK? I'll buy it off you.
Microsoft hasn't slowed down on their releases of core games, but not to say MS isn't pushing hard to make sure Kinect succeeds. MS is still releasing their Xbox IPs on a timely basis. Halo Anniversary, Halo 4, Forza, Gears 3, Fable 3, PGR5, etc, have been going along with their normal release cycles despite Kinect being around. So what gives?...
People are freaking out over Kinect for no plausible reason. Observe:
Last edited by Inzane2050; 02-28-2012 at 09:38.
I think the Vita is very tellin of what Sony has planned, the PSP was with PS3
The only difference is the Vita is a amazing machine by any standards, not just the fact it's portable
You take that and just imagine what PS4 is gonna be like and it changes a lot, will a improved kinect and live aimed at casuals compete?
I think the real question is, Will Microsofts next console decide Xboxs fate?
I think Sony has learned that Nintendo has its audience and they have theirs, Microsoft seem to be chasing the whoever sells the most and adapting to them to get their audience, yes Sony isn't innocent, but they offer a option, a accessory more then anything, they don't lose their identity if you will, Which make me think Xbox has a problem identifying what the brand is, its hardcore? (Xbox) It for everyone(360), or just for casuals?(Nexbox)
Guess we'll just have to wait and see
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02-28-2012 #22Soldier 95BGuest
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I don't want next gen yet... I'm not ready for 3 new systems again.
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