Five months from now, it’ll be time for E3. As with many other people out there, I’m looking forward to it. I always do. This year is going to be great though. Most likely, we will see two new consoles. There’s also a possibility of a third coming in from Valve. Aside from the coming influx of posts online saying “599$ lel” and “remember rrod m$?” new consoles should be a great thing. The bad part?
They’re all going to suck.
The successor to the Xbox 360 will be more powerful. That’s the only concrete news we’ve got. In lieu of news, an assload of rumors are circulating the net. While most of them are dumb (wearable controllers), one is flat out ridiculous: the console will be named “Xbox.” This rumor comes from Xbox World magazine, who claims that Microsoft will follow in Apple’s footsteps with the iPad in terms of naming their new device. So, we would get a second console named “Xbox” instead of “Xbox 720,” “NextBox,” or “Fucking Anything Else.” The reasoning behind this rumor is sound (laziness), but it would just be idiotic. Names aside, which ultimately mean nothing, the NextBox is going to suck.
For some perspective on why I would make such a bold claim, think back to Microsoft’s E3 conference last June. A quick reminder: Hulu, Netflix, ESPN, Kinect, multiplatform games, Halo, and Usher dancing. Instead of blowing us away with new games, we were told that full fledged entertainment devices are the future. I suppose that if the main reason you have an Xbox 360 is Netflix, then the Xbox 720 will be for you. If you’re more into gaming, it might be a good time to worry. The 360’s lack of exclusives wasn’t great, but a gaming machine that boasts about its use for watching TV and movies more than its gaming is going to be bad.
Wait, I apologize. I completely forgot about all of the exclusives Microsoft has that they push year after year: Kinect games! Any list of best Xbox 360 games worth their weight are at least half Kinect games. Remember how excited we were when Fable: The Journey was announced? Or that one where you throw rocks at castles, Wreckateers? I can’t wait to see what shovelware Kinect 2.0 will be capable of. (Wreckateens, the mature rock throwing game for mature teenagers? Microsoft, I am available for the position of idea giver.) The future is bright for hands-free gaming.
In summary, the Fucking Anything Else will feature Kinect games and Netflix as the two main points at launch. It’s going to suck.
The Playstation Four doesn’t feature the same amount of guarantee as the new Xbox does. Sony is in the news a fair amount, but as of late, the biggest piece was their stock being rated as “junk.” For those that don’t follow news as closely, this means that investors would be wise to steer clear. A lack of investors means a possibility that Sony wouldn’t have the start up funds necessary to develop and mass produce the console. Yes, there have been plenty of rumors about development kits being in peoples’ hands, but that doesn’t mean anything. What the company would really need funding for is production and marketing. For the remainder of this article, assume that Sony is going to deliver a new console. The problem is it would suck.
To fully grasp the reasoning for this claim, think far back to Sony unveiling the PS3 at E3 2006. Actually, think to all the YouTube montages and YTMND’s (remember YTMND? That got old fast). If there’s one phrase that best sums up E3 2006 it’s “five hundred and ninety nine US dollars.” That was the price of the PS3 at launch for those unaware. The reason this launch price is so important and detrimental is the key aspect of the PS3 that made it so appealing: it was much more powerful than the other consoles. If Sony goes ahead and makes a console with as big a jump in performance, the PS4 could have the option to dominate. If they do this, the price will have to jump up and it will cost more to manufacture the product. Does the PS4 blow our minds in terms of graphics, and lose the company money and alienate lots of the market, or does Sony make a weaker console that doesn’t hurt them financially? The answer is pretty obvious.
The two biggest rumors we have about PS4 are, well, awful: no backwards compatibility and no used games. The lack of backwards compatibility makes sense. The PS3 and its various forms have featured different amounts of compatibility. It would come as no surprise were Sony to announce the PS4 would not play PS2 games, or even PS3 games. There’s little chance of PS1 games, so don’t raise any hopes. As for the no used games rumor, this one is harder to believe. The reasoning is clear: developers get none of the profits from used games, hence the online pass thing for many games. In reality, the biggest issue is that the age of bringing a game over to a friend’s house to show off would be over. Sleepovers across the world would be a whole lot worse.
In summary, the Playstation Four might not come out, but if it does, it won’t be as impressive as the PS3, and will destroy playing old games. It’s going to suck.
(The Wii U already came out, I know. Let’s pretend it hasn’t for the sake of slandering it.)
After E3 2011, many people were confused. “Is the Wii U a new console or a new controller?” I can’t blame them. Nintendo added a single letter to the end of their old console and only showed off the controller. It could easily have been nothing more than a Wii add on. Nintendo shocked the world when they said “quit being idiots, we said it’s a new console, why are all of you such idiots?”
Since then, Nintendo has done its best to prove their new console is a true successor to the Wii and not just a gimmick. They have failed irrevocably. Why does every ad feature one guy with a gamepad and four people with Wii Motes? Are you trying to confuse everyone? Because of this, you’ve lost me as a potential buyer of the U. Over reliance of the past (Wii Motes) and the ignoring of the better past (Gamecube compatibility) has got you dead on arrival, Nintendo. I’m predicting nothing near the success of the Wii. I would go so far as to say that your first Holiday season will have shelves stocked with the U, not people thunderdoming for the final Wii in town.
Let’s talk games. Because Nintendo is definitely focusing on showing off games, and not the controller and the fact that it’s not a Wii. At launch we’ve got a new Mario, Zombi U, and some games down the line. The worst part is the third party games. Mass Effect 3 and Arkham Asylum? Really? Those came out months ago. Oh, and the worst looking version of Black Ops II. As usual, Nintendo, I’m expecting all the talk you gave about third party support to be nothing but bull.
In summary, Nintendo will rely on a gimmick and first party games. The lack of graphical power will isolate it from third party support as soon as NextBox and PS4 launch. It’s going to suck.
The Steambox is a living room PC. We don’t know much about it, other than that it’s a living room PC and it’s coming eventually. Some people are pointing out that you can just hook a regular PC up to a TV, but that’s just ridiculous. It shouldn’t suck. A midway point between PC’s and consoles should be great. And for people such as myself that would love to play on a computer but can’t afford to upgrade my rig to stay relevant, it’s the perfect choice.
Why will it suck? Because it’s a midway between consoles and PC. The average console user that plays Call of Duty and watches Netflix doesn’t want a PC. A PC gamer that has all the advantages of a PC (ability to upgrade, customization, pirating) doesn't want the restrictions of a console.
“Suck” might not be the right choice. “Flop” would work better, but to investors and developers, a flop sucks.
The NextBox and PS4 are going to suck. The Steambox will flop. There are some dark times ahead of us, yet that is a good thing. Game development is stagnating right now. What are some big advances being made? Turning everything into a mature, brown shooter with lots of cinematic cutscenes. Surely younger gamers don’t remember a time when Medal of Honor, Battlefield, and Call of Duty were different games. I do. I can’t be the only one that misses games being individualistic and not put on ridiculous release schedules.
We will go back to that. There’s no choice. If the NextBox, PS4, Steambox and Wii U all fail, these giants will lose money. Developers and publishers will lose money. Instead of yearly releases and similar games, we’ll see developers vying for our attention, not appealing to the lowest common denominator. Originality will be a word that describes most games coming out, not the rare gem.
It’s going to rock.
Article by Chris Lohr
Article by Chris Lohr
Chris Lohr is a freelance writer currently in film school. If you’re looking for him to write for your website, manifesto, or Russian bride catalogue, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put today’s date as the subject line and include a picture of yourself. Must be DDD free and willing to host. All Articles by Chris.