With the 3DS, PS Vita and Wii U have been released, we can now safely say that the next generation of gaming is underway. The 7th generation has not quite ended yet, though. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 are still going strong- too strong- and it doesn’t look like that will be changing in just a year’s time. But 2013 seems to be the year that completes the launch of the 8th generation of video games, with new home consoles from Microsoft and Sony both probably coming out next year.
Of course, we don’t know that yet. We do know that Sony and Microsoft are both working on their next generation home consoles, but at the same time, they haven’t made any such announcements so far. Release date speculations have been rife for both systems, and most of them have the systems landing at the end of the year, but there’s no official word on anything yet. The two consoles have not even officially been announced.
However, it’s only logical that they do come out in the fourth quarter of 2013. Why? Because first and foremost, the Wii U is already out. If the PS4 and the Xbox 720 do come out by that time, the Wii U will have had a 12 month headstart on them, and if they wait longer, the headstart will have increased. And they don’t want that, especially when they’re going up against Nintendo.
Also, the PS4 and the Xbox 720 have been in development for a few years now, and the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are clearly nearing the last stages of their lives. Sure, they still get great games, but they’re both over half a decade old, and that kind of hardware doesn’t have much of a place in the market anymore. Developers have squeezed out every last drop of juice out of the two, and there’s very little the two HD consoles can provide anymore- creatively or technically.
So it’s logical for MS and Sony to announce and reveal their new consoles as quickly as possible. They don’t want to rush it though. People shouldn’t have a lot of worries about Microsoft, but Sony has recently become very lax when it comes to advertising and marketing their products. If there’s one thing a console does not need, it’s poor marketing.
The PS4 and the Xbox 720 should be announced something before March, because that would give the two publishers enough time to market the systems and their launch titles properly before they release later in the year, which they ideally should (as I said before).
But what would the launch lineups be? We’ve already seen with the Wii U that fans want more than just ports and limited editions of games that have already been released. Can we expect maybe a Halo 2 remake for the Xbox 720? Or a new Forza game, seeing as it is, after all, an annual franchise. We already know developers such as Rare are working on major AAA titles for the Xbox 720.
And what about the PS4? I can completely see The Last Guardian becoming a launch title for it, seeing as it’s taken forever to come out for the PS3. But I don’t think Sony will be going all out with the PS4 to begin with. Remember when the PS3 was released? Sony still supported the PS2 for a few months after that with some heavyweight releases.
And we could always expect motion controller games for both, since we’re all pretty sure that if there’s one thing Microsoft will include in the next Xbox for certainty, it will be an enhanced version of Kinect. What about the PS4 though? We have no idea what kind of controller input it will use. The PS Move has been pretty successful, but we don’t know if it’s been successful enough for Sony to use it as their main controller in the next generation. Maybe a finetuned, slightly tweaked version of the motion controllers? Recent patents suggest so.
But of course, we shouldn’t forget about the console that kicked off the ninth console generation- the Wii U. Nintendo’s new system had a few problems at launch, but it’s been selling well, and some of its games, such as Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U and ZombiU have managed to grab plenty of attention. But will Nintendo’s new system have a better year come January 1st?
If Nintendo’s record in the console market in the last decade is anything to go by, then no. But Nintendo’s really been going from strength to strength recently. They’ve been performing strongly in the handheld market as usual, and the console side of things is looking good too. Titles such as The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, Pikmin 3, Dragon Quest X and Rayman Legends are all coming out exclusively for the Wii U in 2013, and multiplats like Aliens: Colonial Marines are lined up as well. Maybe we could have a new Zelda announcement too. And a Metroid one. Please, Nintendo, a Metroid one!
2012 was a transitional year in gaming. It’s been described as that by many people, us included. And 2013 seems to be a startup year for the next generation, the year when the foundation is put in position for the next six or seven years to build on. It doesn’t seem logical that Sony and Microsoft would wait more than twelve months (ideally, not even that much) to release their consoles after the Wii U has already launched, so here’s hoping that we might get to see some actual next generation games in 2013.