For those who may have missed some of the latest gaming rumors both Sony and Microsoft are reported to be developing their next generation of consoles. With WiiU by Nintendo already being announced and presented.
I do however have one big question which Nintendo has already addressed very well in a nice package of just putting the answer in the hands of the players at e3.
What need or want does this new console fill that was missing in the market?
Obviously with the WiiU much like the wii this answer is control and new game-play mechanics implemented via some new form of tech. This is a model Nintendo tried with great success with both the DS and Wii and unfortunately with the 3DS. It's going to really be a hit or miss concept with every new try and when the WiiU comes out we will see how this particular idea has fared.
Of course Sony and Microsoft have to answer the same question as Nintendo did at this years E3. What would we as gamers even want out of a ps4 or 720 that we are not capable of getting with a ps3 or 360?
Let me digress a moment to give some example of past systems filling a niche so you have a better context for the question.
Systems like the playstation and n64 came into being simply to allow new styles of game-play that were not currently possible on a snes or genesis such as fully animated and rendered cut-scenes and 3d game-play. Miyamoto of Nintendo dreamed for years of making a 3d Mario game and even tried the concept on the SNES before settling on having to build a new system capable of doing the job. The Playstation on the other hand tried a new direction with pre-rendered movie like cutscenes and giving a console the ability to do more then just game by playing audio cds.
The ps2 and xbox gave us the additions of Internet play and more complex controllers along with more open and graphically defined worlds with shorter loading times and on console storage of data. The ps3 and 360 added more complex on line interactions and the addition of DLC with streamlined patch updates to games (something the PC market by this point had long mastered). It also tried to introduce new methods of control with mixed success.
Every new generation of consoles fixed problems with previous hardware and introduced new artistic options not previously possible. This brings us back to the original question. What do we as gamers (game developers as well) want from a new console that currently would be impossible to do with current technology we already have.
What would a ps4 add? What would we really want from a new console that would be impossible to add right now? What would dramatically improve our experiences? Until this question has some clear and decisive answers the next generation of consoles should not have any kind of clear identity or even be in development. What makes a new console a necessary innovation in the market?
This question my dear readers I put to you.