It’s that time again, gamers. With E3 just around the corner, it’s no surprise there are so many rumors floating around within the community. With talk of new additions to our favorite franchises, to totally new [exclusive] titles – E3 is definitely the queen bee when it comes to game gossip, and putting the rumors to rest. Every year we see new titles and other additions to our current generation, but it’s been nearly seven years since we’ve had a “console war”. This year marks the first in seven that we’ve started to really hear some next-gen console rumors, and it’s only a little suspicious that it all starts a few months before E3 is set to open its doors.
Many people feel it’s “too soon” for next-gen, saying that our current gen is more than capable of going strong for many more years what with DLC and downloadable games from new studios giving our current-gen more staying power. Others argue it’s been seven years and that’s the longest we’ve gone between a console war, and that we are due for “next” next-gen, so to speak. My personal opinion? I don’t necessarily think we need next-gen within the purported year they are speculating, but I think now is a good time to start “thinking” about new consoles. The Xbox 360 was released in 2005, with the Wii and Playstation3 released a year later in November, and for some this feels like eons ago while for others it feels like only yesterday. I do feel that with the addition of DLC and online capabilities, that it makes sense to put more time between new consoles. Ultimately, companies want to make money. Even with the inevitability of new consoles, how many people would be able to realistically afford it? If they plan to push the technology of new consoles to the limit with expansive hard-drives and pricey memory, how many people would even be able to afford the launch price? One of the rumors going around is the consideration of doing away with disc drives, and proceeding with games just being downloadable. If that is the case, the price inflation of adding a larger hard drive alone would be caustic, not to mention not being able to play any of your previous consoles games that you’ve already paid for. Also, what if the competing console keeps their disc-drive as incentive to buy their console instead? Would that sway you? While Steam is successful in their download only set up, I feel that success is based largely on the fact they cater to a PC audience. While more downloadable options is never a bad idea, going solely downloadable could prove to be detrimental. Why not just get a high-performance PC, then? In defense to our current generation of consoles, I feel more people would rather play a game that gives an overall fantastic and provoking experience over a game that just delivers gimmicks and impressive graphics. So why the rush to next-gen? I feel we have so much opportunity with our current systems. That isn’t to say that I don’t get excited at the thought of new systems, the very idea of new games or technology within this industry makes my heart flutter. As a matter of fact, I was at E3 in 2005 when our current gen was at its peak right before release!
As E3 approaches, the collective imaginations and hopes of gamers are running rampant with just what possibilities lie in wait just around the corner. For a lot of gamers, E3 absolutely feels like the pinnacle event of their year, with overwhelming announcements and insights to the gaming industry, a plethora of informative press conferences and the honor to go hands-on with unreleased games and technology. This E3 will no doubt give us some solid perspective on what to expect in our gaming future.