So here we are in the first year of the so-called next generation (a contextually relative term, if ever there was one). We’ve all gotten the chance to see XBox 360. Pretty graphics. Some nice online play. But also some disappointment. More often than not, gameplay has been sacrificed for graphics…and we all know how that turns out.
Nintendo has chosen to emphasize gameplay over graphics with the Wii. But the question still remains: will the Wiimote be just another gimmick or will it truly enhance gameplay? Time will tell.
Sony seems to have chosen to define a new home entertainment niche with their forthcoming PS3 system. Not priced to sell, the system hopes to eventually rule your entire home.
Really, what we have are three different approaches to the next-gen with different degrees of overlap between systems. What this article will aim to do is identify five areas of “promise” that the next-gen systems bring along with them, but also 5 areas of potential failure.
1. Lack of leverage of online capabilities
To put matters bluntly, we need systems that allow games to be updated after purchase. Madden 2007. Take the Philadelphia Eagles. Jabar Gaffney is a starting wide receiver. Dante Stallworth is still on the Saints. This should be fixed with transparent roster updates the moment you log your system on to the net.
But that’s just the beginning. Gamers should be able to buy and download their games online. Games should be made with brand new tasks defined on a daily basis. The possibilities are limitless.
2. Games that are pretty but not very good
XBox 360 hasn’t gotten off to a good start in this area. However, let’s not let PS3 or Wii off the hook. When I use the word “pretty” I’m not just talking about visuals…I’m talking about “style over substance.” The Wii could certainly come out with a lot of style, but be empty when it comes to substance. I’ve sort of got the sense that their bundled sports title will be like this… very two dimensional where the novelty will run dry quick.
3. Games that require monthly payments
With the emergence of online play, I could see game developers abusing this system by literally forcing gamers into a recurring payment business model. If a few developers do this successfully, we could see it become the norm faster than you might think. Profits dictate any business and the video game market is just that: a business.
4. Video game consoles that cost more than $500
If Famitsu is correct, the Playstation 3 will eventually surpass the Wii in total system sales worldwide. In other words, if Famitsu is correct, Sony will set precedent for mass market video game systems that cost more than $500. That would be a terrible thing for gamers and would usher in a new era of class-based gaming.
The same could be said for high-priced games. Just like oil companies like it when the price of oil goes up (because they get more profits) the gaming companies will love to see the success of $60 games.
5. Failure to keep the emphasis on gaming
Both Sony and Microsoft have shown keen interests in taking their gaming market to the next level by conquering the whole home entertainment market. Nintendo, on the other hand, is focusing totally on expanding the gaming market. If Nintendo were to fail, and Sony/Microsoft succed, one has to wonder the direction in which gaming would go and whether it would be diluted in favor of functional convergence.