Kinect, Move & Nintendo

Another major factor is the introduction of Kinect and Move. While both were reactions to the popularity of the Nintendo Wii, they represent a clear decision on the part of both Microsoft and Sony to reinvigorate their consoles mid-life rather than replace them. The decision may have additional R&D costs which, like the consoles, will have to be recouped but it allows the technology to evolve before the next generation consoles arrive to take gaming and living room entertainment to the next level. Considering the state of the economy these incremental upgrades are smart, bringing new gaming experiences without the cost of buying a new machine or starting a new games library.

Of course all this seems at odds with the bashing I gave to Sony's impending PSP2, but there are differences. Being portable the PSP is attacked by the phone and in launching the Xperia Play this is clearly something Sony recognises.

By contrast it will take some time before phones have a) the power and b) the storage (given the dwindling of microSD) to compete with home consoles. Then again with the seemingly imminent arrival of quad core handsets that will pack in 128/256GB of storage and have a direct connection to your TV via HDMI (or a wireless equivalent), you never know how things could turn out come 2014 - would Sony dare launch the PS4 based on Android?

There is also another fly in the ointment: Nintendo. At present talk is a second generation Wii will break ranks and launch much earlier. E3 2012 is the hot favourite. While the Wii has lagged behind the Xbox 360 and PS3 the new console is, unsurprisingly, said to be faster than both. Yes it is unlikely to be faster than Microsoft and Sony's next gen consoles, but in the meantime the bump in power could finally attract hardcore gamers, especially if Nintendo can keep the price down. And lest we forget Nintendo doesn't get a lot wrong. The Wii remains by far the best selling console of the current generation, having shipped over 85 million units.

So yes risks are there. However it is impossible to argue that, all things considered, Microsoft and Sony have done anything but a thoroughly satisfying job with both consoles. Yes, they've never quite been perfect and have had their fair share of slip-ups along the way but by remaining sternly stuck in their ways they've provided a welcome relief from the otherwise relentless onslaught that is the tech world. Where phones, laptops and televisions all demand our constant attention and destruction of our finances the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - red rings of death aside - have allowed us in one purchase to sit back and simply enjoy using them for years. It may be terribly anti-gadget to say this, but long may they continue…


April 25, 2011, 1:10 am

This early move from nintendo could work out very well for them.
By the time sony & microsoft come with their next consoles nintendo already has a big market share with their new console.
So within time sony and microsoft wil lag behind, in market share, the amount of next gen. games, and console graphics/speed.
If you look at it from the other side, sony and microsoft are doing what nintendo did.


April 25, 2011, 4:37 am

I like the fact that consoles aren't updating anytime soon - I bought my PS3 nearly 3 years ago now and the graphics are fine. What really needs to be done is strong innovation and making games that push the boundaries of what we can think of rather than how many pixels we can manipulate on the screen. Think of what games like Portal 2, Demon's Souls, The Last Guardian and Metal Gear Rising bring to the front - its not the graphics (even though they do look pretty amazing) that make them so awe-inspiring. Its the principle that you can do something different and get involved in something that is interesting and exceptional.
The PC is still the hardware king but I don't want to shell out the price of a console just for a graphics card.


April 25, 2011, 11:27 pm

I'm not in any sort of rush to replace my 360 and PS3. I think the biggest difference with this generation is that we've reached a point (IMHO) where graphics are now more than good enough. Most games look fantastic to me and that removes the biggest reason to upgrade.

The fact that firmware is also now upgradeable means that the consoles can still develop through software. Something that wasn't possible before this generation.

The problem with the Wii is that it was so underpowered at launch that it now just looks pathetic and desperately needs to be replaced.

Geoff Richards

April 27, 2011, 5:49 pm

I want more power! I hate the fact that many Xbox 360 games don't even run at full 720p let alone 1080p.

Need For Speed Unleashed lacks the pin-sharpness of most PC games, due to lower resolution and lack of decent AA.

It's been reported elsewhere that the current consoles are actually HOLDING BACK PC games - games like Portal 2 are now console-first and retro-converted for PC, and often render to the lowest common denominator instead of unleashing the full power of your gaming PC.

So do I want to wait another THREE YEARS? No thank you!

comments powered by Disqus