Finally. We are here, on the cusp of a major announcement from Sony on February 20th. The internet is abuzz with rumors of next gen consoles just around the corner. If you ask me, these ‘next gen’ systems should have released in 2010, but that’s besides the point. People are wondering what the consoles will be like. What kind of tech will they have? Any cool features? Well, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and lay out what I think Microsoft and Sony should and, more importantly, should not do with these consoles.
What Next Gen Consoles Should NOT Do
No. Just don’t do it. Stop it. Just stop it. We’ve had enough. When did console gaming become about ‘reaching a broader audience’? Has our beloved hobby become so distilled that we’ve resorted to this?
I challenge you to convince me that that looks ‘fun’ in any conceivable definition of the word. Despite what MicroSony will have the public believe, gaming on a console should not be accessible to every demographic. We are a niche crowd. You should cater to us instead of trying to get some soccer mom and her 5 year old to throw a virtual football around a terribly rendered scene. I’m sorry, it’s a harsh stance, but it’s my firm belief that console gaming should be for the hardcore crowd (if you want casual, well, you have a smartphone, tablet, or other handheld device).
What kind of bastardization is this? Console gaming should be done with a gamepad, not with you standing in front of your TV, waving around hands, waiting for the lag, then see your horrible rendered avatar to perform a motion that isn’t even remotely close to what you intended.
Just stop it.
Social Media Integration
Become an Entertainment Hub
Let’s be realists here. It is 2013. Chances are, if you are buying a console, you’re probably already somewhat technically savvy. What does this mean? You might already own a surround sound system. You also might already own a so called ‘smart TV’, capable of streaming Netflix, music, etc.
My point is, you probably already own an ‘entertainment box’ of some kind, be it in the form of a Roku, Apple TV, or already integrated into your current TV. Whatever the case, you should be all set. There really shouldn’t be the need nor desire for your console to be your sole source of all your entertainment. Why?
The new consoles should focus on one thing, and one thing only – gaming. I don’t want MicroSony spending resource dollars on integrating Facebook when that same money could be used to creating a better gaming experience. If I want to check my Facebook status, I have a phone. If I want to download music, I have PC. If I want all these experiences at once, I have a Roku/set-top box.
Cross-integration of all these systems is not necessarily a good thing. Please, MicroSony, the consoles should only focus on gaming. I promise we’ll support you more for it.
What Next Gen Consoles SHOULD Do
Truly Next Gen Hardware
I might get hate comments for this, but hear me out. I have a point. Crysis 2 came out in 2011, meaning it was at least in development for two years beforehand (2009). It is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen, despite it being a couple years old.
What do you mean? Now we can finally play the game.
That being said, these new consoles are heavily rumored to release in 2013. This means that the hardware they’ll be using will be a couple years old in order to keep costs down. We can expect the hardware to be customized to work incredibly efficiently and provide the best possible horsepower it can conjure.
The point I’m trying to make is, in my opinion, the new consoles should provide a level of fidelity equal to that of Crysis 2 on a PC from two years ago. If the new consoles have at least 6GB RAM, and a GPU equivalent to at least a 560ti, I will be satisfied. I don’t think this is an unreasonable request. It can be done. It should be done.
Larger Game Worlds
If you’ve been following me on Twitter over the last couple days (@ShankThTank), you may have noticed me freaking out about Witcher 3. I have a couple reasons for doing so. Mainly, I absolutely love the Witcher games. Witcher 2 is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. Incredible depth, mature story, amazing design, the list goes on and on. The bigger reason I freaked out was when I read the absolutely brilliant Witcher 3 GameInformer article.
In it, the developers describe a vast open world, which they think is larger than Skyrim. This world will also reportedly take 40 minutes to travel on horseback. Now, Skyrim isn’t exactly small. When I read that this game will be larger than Skyrim, I jumped up and down like a maniac for approximately 17 minutes straight.
Why do I bring this up? There is one very important detail in this article regarding the release of this game, “Coming in 2014 on PC and ‘all high-end platforms available’”. They aren’t exactly coming outright and saying it, but reading between the lines, you can safely assume this will be a next gen title. And this makes me excited.
By taking advantage of the new tech, CD Projekt RED is creating a massive world. You all know how much I crave exploration. More powerful tech means larger worlds, more detailed worlds, more exploration…more of everything, really.
It is at this point where I remind you all that I still play consoles. Even though I fully expect the Nextbox and PS4 to not be as powerful as my PC, I don’t care. All I want is a significant leap forward from our current situation. Only by taking that bold leap forward will our industry truly make progress.
It has been too long. I sincerely hope MicroSony don’t fall into gimmicky tricks to capture ‘the broadest audience possible’. They must remember their core audience. They must remember those of us who stay up late pwning newbs in Call of Duty, those of us who delve into the deepest chasms of Skryim to find every last Stone of Barenziah, those of us who propelled Master Chief into a near-deity status. We are the players who truly want hardcore games. We want to be challenged, and not treated as second-class citizens just so Kinect and PS Move can have their say. We want the absolute best hardware possible, the best gameplay, the best gaming experience possible. We believe in you, MicroSony.
Don’t let us down.