With the Wii U already out and having moderate success. Sony, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Valve, are gearing up to bring out their new systems to the marketplace in 2013 & 2014. With five separate consoles/handheld hybrids out in the market, things are starting to get crowded really quickly. Can five consoles co-exist? This is a rare occasion in the gaming industry were five major console manufactures will be competing against each other at the same time. However, five choices of where to spend your money might be too much for some gamers, and one of these consoles will likely not see a successor due to lack of sales. Playeressence’s Furious Francis takes a look at what each console offers and who he thinks will not make it out of next generation.
We do not believe this is the last console generation. Nor do we believe in the tablet/smartphone take over of dedicated gaming handhelds.
Project Shield – Nvidia
Nvidia, the makers of PC graphics cards, is entering the console/portable market with a bang. The Android based system features an Xbox 360 like controller with a 5″ 720p screen attached to it. Nvidia has stated the system will be able to stream high-end PC games straight from your PC to the Project Shield device. Major developers like Ubisoft, Epic, and High Voltage Software are already in talks to develop games for the system. Breaking into the console market is tough, but Nvidia seems to have a solid plan to make money, stating Project Shield will not be sold at a loss.
Steambox – Valve
Valve has announced a partnership with Xi3 to bring a new PC based home console to living rooms across the world. Valve, the company who already runs a successful PC games service called Steam, looks to take advantage of the millions of users who already play games via Steam. Not much is known about the power of the Steambox, or when it is coming out. However, we do know users who already have Steam will have an instant backlog of games. Valve also has some high selling killer apps like Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Half Life that will sell consoles, and Steam is a fantastic service that rivals Xbox Live. Valve should have nothing but confidence going into the release of their system. Valve has the network, games, and know how to be very successful in the console business.
Wii U – Nintendo
Many analysts are counting Nintendo out when the other more powerful consoles release this year or next, but Nintendo’s knows what they are doing. Out of all the companies, Nintendo has the most popular and highest selling IPs. Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, Mario Kart, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Smash Bros, Donkey Kong, and Metroid are all big time exclusive franchises. Nintendo will always have a huge franchise to fall back on if things get rough. If things get really bad, Nintendo could always make a Pokemon game for the Wii U. That would be guaranteed to sell systems like hotcakes. The Wii U is already outselling the PS3 and 360 respective to their launches, but software sales are lagging behind. Thankfully, Nintendo has some big games coming out this year like Aliens Colonial Marines, Pikmin 3, Lego City Undercover, Bayonetta 2, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Nintendo needs to have a big E3 this year to fend off the announcements of the PS4 and Xbox 720.
PS4 – Sony
Sony is in a bit of a pickle. They had the most technically advanced console in the current generation, but still are hovering around 3rd place in an almost deadlock with the Xbox 360. The PS3’s expensive technology, and high launch price point screwed Sony out of the gate. Don’t expect Sony to make the same mistake again. The PS4 will be a powerful system but it won’t be the dramatic leap the PS3 was over the PS2. We should expect a price point around $399.99. And in all fairness, I don’t think the Xbox 720 is going to be a massive leap either. However, were still going to see some impressive games on the system. Sony should focus on what they do best, first party software. Uncharted 4, Killzone 4, Infamous 3, Resistance 4, and God of War 4 should all be launched within the first 3 years of the PS4’s life.
Xbox 720 – Microsoft
Microsoft has been dominating the US sales charts for the past two years but they will always have one glaring flaw, little to no Japanese support. Microsoft spent a lot of money paying for big budget RPGs to come to the Xbox 360 like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and Star Ocean. None of those games broke 300K in Japan. And since we didn’t get a sequel to Lost Odyssey or Blue Dragon despite being released at the beginning of the Xbox 360’s time frame, I think Microsoft has thrown in the towel for Japan. Microsoft will focus on Europe and America, with games like Halo 5, Forza, and exclusive DLC for multi platform games. The Xbox 720 also might be the strongest system on the market, yet still be sold at a loss. Microsoft charges their users to play games online, so they can make up the money lost on the sale of the console with $50-$60 a year subscriptions to Xbox Live. Kinect will be back and probably come built into the system this time. Expect the usual array of dancing and kids games to take advantage of Kinect 2.0.
All of these systems will offer something unique to gamers. However, there has never been five different console makers to survive more than one generation. One of these companies will not have a successor. Although anything can happen, we still don’t know the price, games, and features of all these systems. And based on history, known games, and experience, I think Project Shield is going to be the console/portable to not have a successor. Nintendo has too many franchises to bow out. Massive franchises like Wii Fit U, Pokemon, Mario, and Smash Bros all sell upward of 10 million units for their respective systems. It would be hard to say the Wii U won’t get a successor. Microsoft has the Xbox Live cash cow security blanket. They make so much money from advertisements and subscription fees, plus their dominance in America makes them sure bet to continue on. Sony is a bit shaky. While they have excellent first party software, their games don’t sell as well as Nintendo’s and cost millions more to make. If you compare the development budget of New Super Mario Bros Wii to God of War, its not even close. Yet Nintendo sells millions and millions more units than Sony does with their first party lineups. However, Sony does have good IP that do sell. If the PS4 can hit the ground running with a killer app launch title like Uncharted or Killzone, they should be just fine. Steam is the most prepared company to enter the console race i’ve ever seen. They have an established platform to deliver games digitally, millions of fans who use and love their service, and first party IPs that can sell their console. The Steambox should have a lot of success when its released. The only downside is games like like Left for Dead that sold millions on the Xbox 360, obviously can’t be released on the system anymore.
What do you guys think? Which company will not make it past next generation? Please put your comments below.
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