What the heck’s wrong with the current generation of consoles? They cater to pretty much all tastes. There’s easy as pie online gaming, stunning HD visuals on the right telly for it, the PS3 is 3D capable and both Microsoft and Sony are gunning for a slice of Nintendo’s motion sensor market pie with Kinect and Move respectively.
It’s everything you could want and more. PS3 launch games like the lacklustre Heavenly Sword make up for boring hack and slash gameplay with absolutely breathtaking visuals and exciting set pieces, all ticking along with a great frame rate and minimal slowdown. Launch games still look fantastic on HD TVs. As developers have gotten more and more familiar with the current batch of console’s hardware and resources everything’s just improving, as long as devs are keen to make sure a game looks stunning, it can.
But Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida has said in an interview that yeah, there will be a next gen and it’ll be from Sony’s rivals first. Hang on a tick – the gaming world+dog are all going, ahem, barking mad for all the motion stuff and add-ons set to come out.
The amount of dough being plugged into Kinect and Move show that Microsoft and Sony are serious about making this happen. Some are touting it as revelatory gaming. Personally we think it’ll just make you look more of a tosser yelling into your microphone while waving your arms around frantically, but everyone’s excited.
What’s the point of talking about next gen already!? Why are we never happy with our lot?
I remember in the days of the SNES and Megadrive, console gamers would get uppity and superior about PC gamers because their kit – fitting in with Apple fanboy ethos – would just work and wouldn’t need constant upgrades to keep playing new games.
If console makers rush to put out new consoles too quickly, they’re going to fall into the same trap as the ill-fated SNES CD, the Ultra 64 add-on or the Megadrive’s 32X. The idea was you paid through the nose for extensions and they’d just about increase the performance and fun of your console. The difference between then and now was that new technology was craved and being called for. 3D in gaming, for example Mario 64, was actually a revelation. It wasn’t just more of the same, but shinier. Even worse would be if next gen machines were rushed out, touted as powerful kit that trounces the rivals when it’s simply not needed.
Remember the 3D0? It had, for its time, excellent performance and impressive capabilities. But the thing was a bloody monster and it cost a bomb. It was powerful but the majority of gamers stuck with their SNES’ or Megadrives.
Shuhei Yoshida has a fair point when he postulates the order of next gen consoles to come. He says the Wii isn’t even HD ready, and the PS3 has meatier specs than the 360 because it came out later. Have you ever played on a 360, though? I’m not taking sides – all are fantastic to play, great fun and lovely to look at.
The Wii’s lack of HD capabilities is a slight sticking point but remember your average Wii customer, if you’re going to throw labels around, could be tagged with “casual gamer”. Fun accessories like the fitness board et al make the Wii fun and that’s its niche, fun, not stuff that makes your eyes pop out from your head.
Having a quick chat with fellow hack here Dean Wilson, he told me: “I thought finally they’d had some sense by adding to existing consoles rather than expanding on an established range.”
Please, don’t rush out a next generation when we don’t need them. I don’t want a PS4, PS5, six or seven, an Xbox “720” or “1440”, and I’m definitely not after a Wiiiiiiiiiiii. Not any time soon, anyway.