The next generation of consoles are almost upon us. Sony are all but certain to announce the PlayStation 4 at their event on the 20th of February and you can be sure that Microsoft will not be too far behind. However, after the new wave of optimism that the next generation consoles bring with them, there is a trail of mistakes from earlier generations that must be learned from and there are also potential future mistakes they must avoid.
Pricing and Timing Mistakes: The new consoles have to get the pricing and launch timing perfect. A perfect example of this is the release of the PlayStation 3 which was released in 2006 at a top price of $599. handed a large advantage to the Xbox which launched in 2005 and at a top price of $399 undercutting Sony by $200. This led to the PlayStation being more of a luxury console and meant that it did not catch up to the Xbox for a long time afterward, until they released the Slim versions. Neither manufacturer can afford this problem, ESPECIALLY Sony, as consumers may grab the first product they see advertised.
Hardware Issues: The ‘Red Ring of Death’ and ‘Yellow Light of Death’ have caused many consumers, including myself, to spend a lot of money on replacements. But on the manufacturer’s part, Microsoft had to put its hands up and admit to the problems. It then issued an extended warranty, free repairs to Red Ring sufferers and an apology. This will have cost them a ton of money and they have to make sure that this does not repeat itself to save both money and their reputations.
Constant Sequels & Prequels: Talk of an Uncharted 4 or hopes of a new Halo game should not be welcomed. As much as I love the games that have been released in this generation, there must be innovation and imagination for the next. The examples I have given of Uncharted and Halo are the games that come to mind because they have had enough time. Microsoft has saturated the market with Halo titles for too long and it needs a break this generation, it may have even needed a break before the fourth game was released for the Xbox 360. Uncharted, as much as they have given me some of my most memorable moments in gaming, had peaked at number two and the third game was not at the same level. Give all the great series that have graced this generation (and the previous) a well-earned break. A great example is the way Nintendo release some of their games: every generation they release one or two games from their main franchises. Utilize the new engines such as Unreal 4 and Luminous to create grand new universes for us to explore. I am happy for games such as Killzone and Borderlands to finish off their trilogies, but new ideas must be allowed to flourish in place of tired franchises.
Ignoring Gamers: The beginning of the current generation was focused on the gamer. Sony and Microsoft catered to their main demographic. Nintendo brought along a raft of new people to the gaming world with the Wii, but also ushered in more casual games for these people. Later in this console cycle, all the manufacturers have these types of games in their library (remember the sleep-inducing length of Sony’s Wonder Book presentation?). With the Blu-Ray drive in the PlayStation, people began to buy consoles for more than just gaming, and both companies followed this interest up with apps for Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer and many others. These created pieces of technology that were no longer for gamers but for everyone, and this has made the manufacturers lose sight of who is important and who has supported them through thick and thin. This also comes under the banner of focusing on mobile gaming: don’t.
Focus On Motion Control: Yes, Kinect, Move and the Wii all use revolutionary technology. Yes, the new consoles seem to need the motion controls to work. But have we really seen any games that push our imagination and live up to what we thought motion control could be? If you have a good example, please contact me. Integrating upgraded motion controls into next generation could continue the recent trend of casual games that have flooded the market. If there is a convincing way that motion will add to my game and not just using unnecessary actions in serious games, or the voice control which amounts to swearing at a TV screen or shouting commands that take less time to click in-game, I will be first in line to play.
Is there any other ideas you think I have missed? Have you got a different opinion? Let me know!