The lights are on
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Note: The following is entirely speculation and educated guesses.
There have been a lot of rumors and information leaks about the next generation of consoles on the horizon in lieu of official announcements. Without Microsoft or Sony to confirm or deny any info that appears in these uncertain times, anticipation is growing and the stories coming out are getting wilder and wilder. I don’t generally make predictions on upcoming console features, but I am willing to try to debunk some of the more outrageous rumors that have been tossed out.
I think that, especially in Sony’s case, people have come to expect that new consoles mean new, higher resolution forms of media playback. The PlayStation popularized CD based games, the PS2 did the same for DVD, and the PS3 won the format war for Blu-ray. 4K is the newest thing on the block and is supposed to run at four times the current resolution. The next PlayStation and Xbox aren’t going to feature 4K. Why not? Well, for starters, Sony is gearing up to release a 4K player. Guess how much it costs. Guess. It is going to cost around $25,000. I fully expect that next-gen consoles are going to be expensive, but I think $25,000 is a bit too steep a price point for them to sell very well or to expect that console manufacturers will absorb the financial losses of selling below that price. It is much more reasonable to assume that next-gen consoles will be running on Blu-ray. They’ll still play fantastic looking games; they just won’t cost you your kidney.
Shoddy Backwards Compatibility
One of the major missteps following the launch of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was the half-hearted attempts to implement backwards compatibility. The 360 received some updates that made some original Xbox games playable, but those updates soon stopped. The PS3 launched with backwards compatibility for PS1 and PS2 games, but later models of the PS3 lacked compatibility with the PS2’s library. While many games from previous generations have seen remakes or HD collection releases, I don’t think that we will see faulty backwards compatibility at next-gen launch. The next batch of consoles will either be completely backwards compatible with this generation’s library of games, which will cost more for Sony and Microsoft to implement, but will ease the transition into the next gen, or eschew that functionality altogether to reduce the cost of developing a new console.
An Always Online Requirement
It feels like people have been discussing an always online console since before the current generation of consoles was announced. Unsurprisingly, the reason this will not happen remains as true now as it did at the beginning of this generation: Not everyone has access to online services all the time. That fact alone means that Sony and Microsoft won’t implement an always online console. It would limit their market reach and send consumers into the arms of their competitors. Instead, what we can probably expect is to see a heavier emphasis on downloadable titles and online services on consoles. Perhaps in the next-gen we will see more attention given to downloadable release dates and indie game development.
Used Game Restrictions
While it is true that patents have been filed on technology that would restrict used game sales, remember that a patent does not equal a physical reality. It is also true that publishers lose money on used game sales, but numerous methods have been implemented to increase revenue in the form of downloadable content, microtransactions, etc. Microsoft and Sony are the ones controlling whether or not used game restrictions are put in place on their new consoles and, in my opinion, they have too much to lose by trying to eliminate used game sales. They need to maintain good relationships with retailers like GameStop, that profit from used game sales, in order to move their consoles and they don’t want to risk alienating a wide swath of their consumer base by outlawing cheap alternatives to expensive, full-price games.
Here is hoping that we get some more information about what is coming in the future during the Sony event on February 20!
What new technology or services do you think the new consoles will feature?
I agree with you fully on everything but the backwards compatibility.Only because the stupidity of Sony and Microsoft never ceases to surprise me and this would be a small enough fault that it wouldn't have drastic effects.Although I still think you have good chance of being correct.
4k resolution as it stands right now is just a gimmick. You're not going to notice any significant differences unless you're watching on a huge projector screen. But, let's be honest here, none of us know what we're talking about when it comes to transfer rate. Transferring the data that allows for 4k resolution could be quite easy and cheap, while displaying that resolution is why 4k TVs cost so much. I'm just trying to provide a different way of thinking about it.
Backwards compatibility is another situation that you really have to think about. When the PS3 and Xbox launched, Sony decided to put hardware backwards compatibility while Microsoft used software emulation. Which do you think is more expensive? Sony eventually switched to software emulation and then dropped it altogether. Also, the technology leap from PS2 to PS3 was quite large, and programmers were not used to developing for multiple cores. My point is, it may be easier to make the leap to next gen and therefore may be possible for backwards compatibility. Who knows!
Always online is a little hard to believe, but it is quite possible.
I think that the next gen consoles will feature backwards compatibility. Also, feature online capabilities too.
I want backwards conpadiblte
Good points. I'm sure "the big three" are looking at these ideas, but until they can be proven to be financially sustainable, no one is going to pull the trigger. If they can work out an online pass / activation code pricing scheme that strikes the right balance, I can see the used game restrictions put into place. Good point about the "always online" idea, how it would alienate customers. It'll be interesting to see what Sony and Microsoft do, either way.
Concur with all the above points and offer my own opinion on backwards compatibility...both Sony and Msoft have huge libraries for their current consoles...backwards compatibility makes sense in the first iterations of the new console in order to provide "stop gap" coverage while the new lines of games roll out...However, when the 9th version of the ultra slim, bigger hard drive 720 and PS4 roll out, doesn't make as much sense to keep the hardware, if it's a hardware type, or the software license/rights if they go that route. Thus, the examples already listed in the blog that happened to current generation consoles.
I hadn't even thought about the 4K aspect, but I agree. (And I particularly liked the comment about the system costing you a kidney.) Here's hoping that they do go with backwards compatibility, as my PS3 was recently repaired after a YLOD, and I'm not sure how long that fix is gonna last.
Mass Effect games featuring all of the DLC in the disc.