With E3 quickly approaching we've started to hear a lot of rumbling about the upcoming cycle of consoles. I think it's fairly obvious going into the next cycle of consoles that the three manufacturers are going to take very different approaches compared to this generation. A lot of money was lost from both Sony and Microsoft -- and that business model is no longer ideal in the current global economic climate.
Since we already know a bit about the Wii U, I'm not going to focus on it in great detail. It's going to come with this tablet controller, it's going to have a revamped online system, a revamped digital market and strategy. Nintendo is going to try to get more third parties on board. This is all stuff that we've been hearing throughout the past year and a bit.
In terms of console power, we've heard conflicting reports. Developers have said that they're disappointed with the consoles capabilities, citing the power of the machine to be weaker than the current generation of consoles. You also have reports that state the console is pretty powerful, well above those of the current generation. You also have developers who have stated it's basically at parity with the other two platforms. We won't know the definite answer until E3. However, we already have a ballpark about where the Wii U is going to stand.
Sony's been in deep financial trouble and is now stating that one of their core focuses will be the gaming market. Sony's going to do something that will set them apart from the competition. Whether that's a Wii U like tablet that does something 'more', a focus on motion controls, or a focus on multimedia capabilities (which seems more like something they'd excel in).
What I said above leads me to believe that the PS4 won't be a powerhouse machine, it'll be a slight upgrade from the PS3. The first reason is that Sony can't really afford to take a huge risk anymore. They have to be smart with their projects, thus launching a new console with slightly improved hardware and selling it for profit from the get go works out better than waiting 4 years for their machine to be profitable. Secondly, if they do make a more powerful machine, it's going to cost a lot of money and there's better alternatives out there. I'm pretty sure the average person would rather spend $599 on a new gaming PC, laptop or tablet that offers so much more than a console.
With Microsoft, I think they'll follow suit with what Sony's doing -- a console that's not a graphical power house, but has a focus on a certain areas that are their strengths. Xbox Live has always been one of those things and Microsoft will continue to push the boundries with that. I think they're also going to be pushing boundries with the console being a multimedia hub. They already have a lot of partners with the 360, so I see that continuing in the future and possibly people resorting to a console instead of cable to get content.
Secondly, I think whatever console Microsoft creates, it's a box that's always going to be connected in some way. You're always going to be on the box doing something, even if it's not playing games. I definitely can see the the thing being compatible with Windows based tablets, computers, phones and more. I also see Microsoft having a newer version of Kinect that will be improved, however will still under delivery on the initial vision of the original Kinect hardware.
So to you gamers who are all about powerful machines I'd honestly just recommend a Gaming PC. PCs are just so much better in terms of power, performance, flexibility, online and more. If you want a machine that's high end and provides you with the best experience, it's not going to be a console. If you want a machine that has fairly good power to it that does something more, get a console.
Overall, I feel like the power of these machines won't matter next generation. I think next generation is going to come down to who can innovate the most with their box in terms of control schemes, digital content and overall software experiences. I also don't see any of the three console manufacturers selling their boxes for more than $399.99.