Both Microsoft and Sony are rumoured to be unveiling their next video game consoles at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June this year. But are you ready to invest in the next Xbox or PlayStation?
Nintendo will be sharing launch details for its new console, the Wii U, later this year. We had a cursory look (complete with bizarre tablet-like controllers) at last year’s E3, and most agreed that its early graphics weren’t too far beyond the Xbox 360 and PS3.
But Nintendo isn’t the one trying to catch-up. No, Microsoft and Sony are striving to gain ground from Nintendo. They’ve already thrown out their own answers to the Wii’s motion controller (Kinect and Move) and now they might try to steal the Wii U’s thunder with their own brand-new consoles.
What could E3 2012 have in store?
The video game trade publication MCV claims that successors to both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 will be shown for the first time at E3 2012. They will then presumably be released at some point in 2013. How does MCV know? From a top secret industry source. And if you’re struggling to believe them, MCV’s editor, Ben Parfitt, posted this on Twitter:
‘Obviously we can’t reveal our sources. But you have my personal word on this – the source is exemplary, 100% concrete, ultra high level.’
Not everyone’s convinced – analyst Michael Pachter claims there’s ‘zero chance of a tease from Sony’ and only a ‘20% chance from Microsoft’. Indeed, it would be an E3 first to see new consoles from three competitors at the same show.
Is the PS4 around the corner?
Microsoft has long been rumoured to be entering the next generation, but an early move from Sony would certainly be more surprising. However, PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan has previously said that it would be ‘undesirable to be significantly later than the competition’ like it was with the PS3.
But what about Sony’s lauded ’10 year plan’? This is a notoriously misunderstood concept. By this, Sony doesn’t mean it will wait 10 years before releasing its next PlayStation. Instead, Sony will support its consoles for 10 years before leaving them to die. The PS2 launched in 2000 and kept selling well past 2010, even though the PS3 began running alongside from 2006.
The PS3 is now holding the baton, and if we take the same six year gap and apply it to the PS4, we’re looking at 2012. This very year.
I’m content with the current generation
Still, I personally feel this a bit too soon. Back in 2008 I predicted a 2012 launch date for the PS4. And as we reached 2010, my prediction had changed to the end of 2013. This doesn’t just show that my predictions are inconsistent; it suggests that as each gaming generation continues, we become more content with it.
It’s especially true of this generation. I’m perfectly happy with the graphics we’re seeing now, especially when some developers are extracting ever more power out of consoles. And if we’re so happy with PS3 and Xbox 360 graphics, perhaps Nintendo’s right to stick at this level?
Yet, as much as I feel no need to move on from what we’ve got in our living rooms now, this is how the games industry works. It’s constantly moving, tempting us to buy new technology, with fancier graphics and ever more explosions. Will you be the first to upgrade to the PlayStation 4 or ‘Xbox Next’, or will you hold on tight to your current console for years to come?