The Average Gamer

Next-Gen Incoming!

MCV sources have revealed that both the Next Xbox “720” and the Playstation 4 will be unveiled at the LA hosted E3 show in 2012. Colour me surprised.

With the Wii U promising to underwhelm with its revolutionary touchpad controller that only one player can use at a time, hi-definition Miis and another round of iterations of the exact same first party games (plus Raving Rabbids Mad Dash Touchpad Excitement!) I’m not sure I could be less excited. Microsoft and Sony throwing down their gauntlets via a mess of pre-rendered game footage, a badly mixed dubstep soundtrack and a thousand million Halo fanboys cutting their wrists as Halo 4 becomes a new platform exclusive barely registers a blip on my need to know radar.


Nintendo Wii U Controller And Console

I’ll tell you what I am interested in.

I am interested in backwards compatibility. The Wii U is confirmed, which is hardly surprising given it’s a GPU upgrade and a touchpad. The Playstation and Xbox brands fumbled this last time around – the 360 adding a paltry representation of its back catalogue over time and the PS3 actively removing components that enabled such features. With both platforms having incredibly healthy installed user bases and wonderful back catalogues, do we once again get to abandon all that which we have purchased before? Doesn’t that seem incredibly distasteful in this new age of frugalism we live in?

I am interested in ownership rights. How will the rights to the masses of digital media across each platform be transferred across? Through the Wii Store, XBL and the PSN gamers have spent a small fortune on digitally distributed content and DLC. While it’s linked, in part, to the backwards compatability question it’s much more integrated and important than that. In my mind, the necessity for gamers to abandon their back catalogue of physical media based games and associated DLC is a painful one that impacts the concept of micro-transactions and expansions post-release. The necessity for them to abandon their back catalogue of digitally distributed titles titles in full will kill that channel dead. Why would I ever buy anything again if I know the manufacturers won’t support it in the next cycle?

I am interested in the storage solutions they’ll employ. This is aimed mainly at Microsoft and the Xbox 720 Skateboarding, given the extortionate prices associated with the hard drives on the current iteration. If I can’t get cheap and widely available USB solutions to store my backwards compatible installed games, DLC and digitally distributed titles on then I’m gonna get pissy and not buy your console. Yeah I know, piracy blah blah. That horse bolted a long time ago, stop punishing me for other peoples actions.

I am interested in motion sensor support. We know the Wii U is pretty much the same again, but what will Sony do? I can’t believe they’ll stand by the Move. What will Microsoft do? A fully integrated Kinect sensor has to be the way to go – anything short of full nex-gen support kills that add-on for this-gen in my mind.

I am interested in reliability. Both the PS3 and 360 have had issues, though the RROD had it by far the worst. What are MS doing to address this? How can they guarantee that I don’t need a 3 year guarantee on my console just to make sure it gets repaired when they deny any mass manufacturing issues?

I am interested in dates. Wii U probably hits next holiday season. I’m guessing that the 720 and PS4 will hit towards the tail end of 2013 which will have an amazing knock-on effect. The 360 still retails at the best part of £150 for the fully fledged slim. The PS3 still goes for more than that. These new consoles could lead to a massive and sudden drop in price on both.

I don’t expect any of this.