/ Technology

It’s too soon for a new Xbox and PlayStation

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?

Desperado Love Affai says:
9 January 2012

It’s really up to SOny to decide what is right. It certainly has been long enough to at least hear the news of a new console. 6 Years brought the new PS2…7 for the PSVita…5 years for the Xbox, 6 years from Gamecube to Wii, 6 Years for Wii to Wii U, 7 for DS to 3DS, 4 years from GBA to DS, I mean there’s no telling what is a good amount of time to announce a successor.but it averages around 5-6 years. Any electronic product that stays on the market for with not even a murmur of it’s successor is doomed to fail at some point.

I for one am sick of people (like Pachter whom for some reason everyone thinks of him as some gaming Jesus despite having said that Red Dead Redemption would not do well amongst other things he’s been wrong about). I believe PS3 got announced at E3 2005…a year and ahalf before it’s release.. Sony and MS are both under pressure in my opinion with the announcement of the Wii U…a device which is supposed to boast more power than either. This will compel a potential showing at E3 this year from both companies. Just because people aren’t tired of the PS3 doesn’t mean that Sony shouldn’t announce future plans to get us even more excited of what’s to come.

Anon the mouse says:
10 January 2012

The Wii U reveal confused everyone, even the gamers and tech journalists. Add to that Nintendo hasn’t even nailed down the specs (will it support 1 controller or more?, they keep changing their minds). It’s only just more powerful than the 360/PS3, which while nice, who wants to buy a console for a year at most?

The PS4/NeXbox is obviously pure speculation at the minute. But during the 360 development there was the $1bn screenshot from epic that caused MS to double the memory from 256mb to 512mb (that’s how much it cost MS to increase the ram in the consoles). I’d be surprised if the new consoles don’t come with at least 1gb of memory, more if there are similar pressures from developers.
Processor and graphixs are anyones guess at the minute. Rumours suggest that MS is going in the direction of ARM. This are the same as what you have in your smartphone. They are cheap, small, and take very little power. However, this means that developers might struggle to port titles to/from the PC.
The assumption for Sony is that the PS4 will be Cell processors again but also using them in place of the SPUs (7 in a PS3). This would Octuple the processing power of the PS4, without requiring a major redesign, and also make development easier. I can see 4 being used instead due to cost. Graphics will obviously be provided by one of the 2 major companys (Nvidia and AMD).
The only things we can say for definite are that they will both feature online connectivity in a major way. Buying from live/PSN, Patching, DLC, friendslist, gamertag/trophies and probably lots of things we didn’t expect.
HDs should be standard but we have already seen MS take a step back between the Xbox and the 360, but I think they may have realised it was a mistake.
Controllers are again something up in the air, will they be physical and like what we have now? Will the NeXbox have a new kinect? Will motion be dropped?

One question. Why ask Patcher? He has shown time and again that he has very little knowledge of the gaming scene/tech/history, and freuquently says things purely to be inflammatory and get his name in lights. Please find someone that has some insight into the industry.

Rampaged Death says:
10 January 2012

I see new consoles hitting 2013. While I’m content with this generation I am getting quite bored with seeing the same type of game.

Supposedly, the Playstation 4 won’t be shown at E3…at least that’s the latest rumour. Something needs to happen soon, if only to end the constant speculation!

In terms of traditional cycles, we’re certainly over due new consoles. Personally, I’d be quite happy if they didn’t appear for a couple of years. This generation has given us so much content, I’m still working through it all. Aside from the usual retail titles, this has been the first time consoles have offered downloadable only titles, from both major studios and indie developers. Getting your content onto a console and a wide audience has never been easier or cheaper, and the result is lots of great games for us to play.

Add to this new firmware updates, which enables us to add functionality to old consoles and extend their lifespan. Streaming movies and TV, and playing gmaes in 3D is now the norm, where as 6 years ago it wasn’t even a consideration. The product sitting under your TV has evolved from it’s original form, and in some ways is a different console to the one you bought originally.

Of course, in terms of raw power, nothing has changed there. The consoles still have the same processors under the hood, and they are looking a little tired now. Software developers can always squeeze ever more impressive graphics out of old hardware, but the abilities of a modern PC are putting our consoles to shame. It would be nice to get back on a (fairly) level playing field.

So I’m happy to wait for now…but I’ll be the first in line the moment a new console is announced!