Opinion: What I Want From Next Gen Consoles

Wii U

I want quite a few things from the Wii U. It’s the first console to hit us in this new generation that everyone seems so excited about (I personally think our current consoles are still packin’ heat, but whatever). Reggie Fils-Aime really likes to emphasis that Nintendo is all about the games, and that’s my one true hope for Nintendo’s new console. People smack the Big N for its less than stellar hardware that the Wii U features, but as a big fan of Nintendo, it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest.

As I already mentioned, I think the current consoles are still relevant. Some people disagree, but I’m not a nitpicker. All I care about is seeing my favorite Nintendo Games in High Definition. I’ve been a huge Nintendo fanboy my entire life. It doesn’t matter what series I play, Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Star Fox, Animal Crossing, Metroid, Pikmin… I love them all.

That being said, I was quite disappointed by the Wii… but really for only one reason, it wasn’t in HD. In hindsight I liked my Wii quite a bit. I really enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Monster Hunter Tri and a few more. With that on your mind, I’d like to mention I’m really excited to play another group of games that I am just now starting to pick up including Super Mario Galaxy 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Mad World and more. Luckily for me they’re starting to appear in the bargain bin because I waited so long.

But, I digress. The Wii U is what we’re talking about, not the Wii. I played the Wii U a couple times, and both times I enjoyed the touch pad and thought there was a lot of potential. All I want from the Wii U is solid Nintendo titles with new innovations and gameplay formulas that we have yet to see. Luckily, Nintendo also clearly wants that as they demonstrated from Skyward Sword. Some people want to see more from the Wii U, and it’s understandable. What it comes down to is this: Are first party Nintendo games worth the $300-350 investment? For me, certainly. For others, not so much.

Durango/Xbox 720

What I want from the new Xbox is essentially more of what they’re giving us now. I love the Xbox Live service and their batch of exclusives (Halo, Gears of War, Forza, Various Arcade Titles) are some of my favorites from their respective genre. One thing I would LOVE to see more of is their “Dead” or “Unused” IPs. Banjo-Kazooie, Kameo, Perfect Dark, 1 vs 100, and more are all games I would love to see make awesome comebacks, especially Banjo-Kazooie.

Obviously Microsoft has amazing Shooters and Racers, but they don’t have “that much” diversity when it comes to exclusives. I, for one, would LOVE to see “Banjo-Threeie” come out of nowhere and live up to the first two games. I would also like to see Fable make a game on par with other western RPGs (Sorry, Fable fans! They’re not that good!). If they pinned the tail on those two genres, Microsoft would have a devastating arsenal of FPS, TPS, Racing, Role-Playing AND Platformer!

On the hardware and service side of things, if the hardware is anywhere near double of what we have in the current consoles (and I think it will) I would be MORE than satisfied. I think Microsoft is going to go the extra mile in terms of creating a universal entertainment system. They aren’t creating the next gaming console… they are creating the next entertainment console, one that provides a powerful and diverse arrangement of entertainment. We’ll see a lot of focus on Movies, Music, Television, Applications, Browsing the Web, and of course, Gaming in all shapes and sizes.

Orbis/Playstation 4

Sony and I have a less-than-stellar relationship. I never owned a PS1 until recently, and although I loved my PS2 (who couldn’t?), I really only “like” my PS3. Despite this, I think there is a lot of potential for the new Playstation. I think Sony is going to have to recover from mistakes made this last generation. They lost almost $6 BILLION from 2011 alone, and the four years previous also generated loses. However, I have faith that Sony can learn from those mistakes and generate enough hype with their dedicated fanbase to strike brilliantly again.

Sony needs to refocus on third party. The Xbox 360 was a popular choice this generation because it came out first, offered better services, better accessibility, and because third party games often ran, looked and felt better on the Xbox. One of the reasons the Playstation 2 thrived so viciously was because third party games worked amazingly on the console, as well as the incredible first-party support with Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, God of War, Twisted Metal, and more. This generation was much less received in the first-party department with the exception of Uncharted. I want to see a new, fresh group of IPs and as well as some of our old favorites reline the pockets of the PS4’s Gaming Catalog all while having the great third-party support that made the PS2 as good as it did.

In terms of hardware and service, I want PSN to evolve. Copy Xbox Live, I don’t even care, just become a slightly better service. It’s not BAD right now; it’s just not as good as Xbox Live. Yeah, you have to pay for Xbox Live, but I would definitely pay for PS+ if they offered the same kinds of communicative and accessible services XBL offers. The hardware would have to be equal to or slightly less powerful in comparison to the Xbox 720 for me to be satisfied. The reason I say slightly less powerful, is because the company really can’t take much more hit financially and if that means water down the power a bit, go ahead. It wouldn’t even start to show in our games until the end of its lifespan anyway, no harm done.

Steambox/Piston

I want an easily accessible gaming device that is cross platform with steam players on PC, is inexpensive (a fraction of a gaming PC’s cost), and powerful enough to run games on the more CPU-intensive side of the spectrum. In a world where almost every PC gamer is a fan of Steam, I think most will agree that Valve has truly done PC gaming a momentous favor with their platform. I love Valve, and I think they can do a great job in the console business if they play their cards right.

Valve already has a solid set of exclusives, and if you add in the indie support that Steam has, it could make for an extremely (really infinitely) diverse catalog of games to choose from. This is something you have to weigh in considerably, because if they continue to have good alliances with indie developers, then a console where they have complete freedom would be a wrecking-ball of creativity. Sadly, Valve itself, although has good exclusives, doesn’t have much variety. Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead and Portal are ALL First Person Shooters. Sure, they’re all very different, but nonetheless, they’re all FPS titles. That would push away some people who aren’t big fans of the genre.

In terms of hardware, it would have to have pretty high specs in order to stand up to the Powerhouse Gaming PCs people are rockin’ nowadays. Luckily, if it’s dedicated to the Steam software and has no other function, this would mean that it could still be a powerful piece of gaming equipment while keeping its price lower than a powerful PC. No Music, Movies, Television, Applications, Internet Browsing… this thing could be a dedicated gaming platform, and I’m okay with that as long as the price fits the match.

Overall

I am quite excited to see what happens in the years to come. It really feels like gaming is going above and beyond this time. I feel an evolution on the horizon, and I like that feeling. In the coming days of E3, we’ll see if these gaming platforms of the future will live up to my, as well as your own, expectations. In 2013/2014 we’ll make new friends, alliances and enemies to the gaming consoles to come. We’ll see new companies take interest in gaming and might even see companies drop out. Hopefully whatever happens, it’s for the good of Gamers and the future of gaming.

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