The Next Next-Gen Starts in 2013 – Who’s Ready?

The Next Next-Gen War?This spring’s console sales decline has plenty of people (including myself) wondering when the next generation is coming. According to Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter, we’re going to be waiting a while. Pachter thinks we won’t see new hardware until 2013 at the earliest, citing profit margins that have yet to catch up to manufacturer’s expectations.

The good news is extended console life-cycles mean more time for developers to learn each generation’s ticks and tricks. The bad news? Developers are left guessing just as much as we are. Ubisoft’s CEO is recommending everyone start beefing up, investing in new blood and new toys to handle the next generation now. Nothing pays like preparation, but four years of it? Four years that could be spent making new games? Better games?

This is the paradox that makes me rub my temples. I still think games could be better, and much better. They could certainly look better, which means better hardware, or possibly more intelligent use of the current hardware. Of course, games could also play better, have more intuitive control schemes, more immersive gameplay, which means more time for developers to learn the hardware and adapt to its possibilities/limitations.

So which set of rules should decide? Personally, I side with game quality. Graphics and performance be damned. I would wait five minutes for a loading screen if it meant the next twenty I spent were going to be truly engaging and interesting, instead of repetitive but gorgeous. I’m sure there are plenty of people, though, who want Deus Ex remastered in ultra-lifelike 1080p (I want that too, but Deus Ex would be tough to improve).

I like to think Nintendo sides with me. Nintendo has made gaming fun enough to take the lead in this generation of consoles without giving in to the graphics craze. There are rumors, though, of a hi-def Wii coming as early as 2010. It’s not exactly a new generation, but it could signal some nerves on Nintendo’s part, and I can hardly understand why. Of the four Gamestops within 10 miles of my apartment, all four are sold out of the Wii, a situation that seems fairly common.

Why give in? Unfortunately, that’s where the money is. Despite the Wii’s widespread appeal, we’re all suckers for aesthetics at some point, though I don’t think it’s entirely our fault. We’ve been conditioned for it, taught to expect prettier things since Atari gave way to the 8-bit NES. And since that time, has the quality of the game improved, or do our games just look better?

I still have hope, though, that Nintendo can stand their ground and continue to teach the gaming community a thing or two. By changing the gameplay, altering the way we think about and interact with games, Nintendo took control of the market and taught both Microsoft and Sony a financial lesson they won’t soon forget.

Source: Joystiq


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