All This Next-Gen Talk Has Me Thinking…

Over the past week we’ve been hearing so much about Project Café, Nintendo HD, Wii 2, and my personal favourite, Super Wii, has me thinking.  Are you really ready for the “next-gen?”  I ask only because it feel like yesterday when we were writing about the newly announced Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3.  We were all saying how incredible this generation would be, etc.  It also caused a rift because the Wii was so similar to “last-gen.”  We continually referred to PS3/360 games as “next-gen” and Wii games as well…Wii games.  So here we are around five years later and this term is being passed around again.  I don’t know about you, but I actually like where we are in the game market right now. Sure PC games can look quite a bit better than our console games, but for the most part we’re at a point where gameplay is trying to innovate and advance and graphics are simply incredible in nine out of every ten “next-gen” games released.  So where do we go from here?

For those who have been reading the site for several years will likely remember, I wrote an article that said the future of gaming would be all about physics.  For the most part that has occurred this generation what with games like BioShock, Portal and so many more.  Thing is, I really thought it would be deeper than it has been seen thus far.  For every game that uses advanced physics, there are far more that don’t.  Do you think this is where technology can advance video-gaming?  I mean, graphics alone can only take you so far.

What about all these extra features?  I’m talking motion controls, innovative designs, casual-based games, etc.  Will the emphasis be placed on these “extra” features over the technology, or will the two coexist?  I only ask because it’s highly likely a million and one articles will be written about the new Nintendo hardware in a few months time, and I’d like to get some of your thoughts before the flood arrives.  Where would you like to see Nintendo and the others head?  Are you content with what we have now, or do you want more innovation, less emphasis on graphics and technology or some hybrid of the two?

I’m at the point where time is my biggest factor against me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll just stop gaming.  I don’t foresee that ever truly happening.  Instead I think I’ll just stick with what I know and try the occasional heavily hyped game.  So, now it’s your turn; what do you think the future of gaming holds?  If you want to stick with Nintendo, by all means give us your best guess.  If Nintendo plans to use a touch screen-enabled controller, what do you think the purpose will be?  Take it with you outside?  Then what’s the point of the 3DS? Use it as a VMU, well again, don’t we already have a portable offering by Nintendo?  Maybe you can come up with the answer to the riddle, or maybe think completely outside the box to the next big innovation.  We want to hear your thoughts!

4 thoughts on “All This Next-Gen Talk Has Me Thinking…”

  1. We subconsciously have our 6-year-cycle mentality caps put on since the dawn of time. So once that time comes, it’s just like any other hardware cycle out there. I will say this though, this generation certainly broke the tried-and-true cycle…and it’s not only because of the Wii’s different approach to everything. It’s the first time I feel that that the 360 and PS3 can keep on going more than the usual hardware cycle. These are definitely the most complete consoles I’ve ever owned. Maybe it’s because they feature stores to download games and ever-luxurious online multiplayer.

    The Wii’s case is different obviously. Despite the fun times I’ve had with the system, it’s really time for it phase out and move on with the regular 6-year-cycle hardware change. Obviously this is because it went with a last-gen architecture. However, it could’ve easily xtended its lifecycle and played with the big boys a bit more if they had released a simple HD upgrade of the Wii two years ago (mid-cycle). This has to be Nintendo’s only big mistake with the Wii. HDMI upscaling alone could’ve done wonders despite not having power.

    Ironically though, even though Nintendo’s going through its regular hardware cycle, it certainly broke the trend of upcoming next-gen cycles. Since the n64 era, the big N had always put method of control hand-in-hand with console architecture. After all, they’ve coined analog control, 4-player split-screen and pressure-sensitive buttons, but these were never essential elements in the eyes of the general consumer and developer. All analysts and hardcore gamers who look back at Nintendo’s control innovations now will find them revolutionary. But the truth of the matter was that everyone waited for hardware specs and hardware specs only. These are what made or broke consoles, hence Nintendo’s failure with the n64 and GameCube in contrast to Sony’s offerings. If the specs were powerful and easy to develop for, then this would be the console of choice for gamers and developers alike.

    However, our current situation is not the same at all. Even though Sony continues to fight for the hardware specs mentality, it’s no longer the deciding factor thanks to the Wii. The deciding factor is the extra “oomph” “that’s packed in with your console, particularly controls and online infrastructure. Everyone is required to think outside of the box. Who knows what will be “in the new” when looking into the future? 3D and motion controls are our current buzz words, but maybe they’re not enough for next-gen.

    That’s why I commend Nintendo for whatever they’re trying for Project Cafe. According to the current rumors, I really don’t feel that they’re reinventing the wheel so to speak. It sounds like an expansion to GBA-GCN connectivity…which, to me, is awesome…because that has to be the most underrated experiment they’ had ever come up with in the previous era. Personally, I don’t see them marketing the controller as a portable, since you do require the console to upload the games to it. Aside from that, I see myself using it more for quickie and simple gaming in your household…before, after or even during playing your big console game. I always get the feeling of not feeling like playing an epic game or powering up a console, so perhaps using the controller would be just the right thing for me…and who knows, maybe playing these small games on the controller will unlock stuff in the console counterpart, which in turn will give me more incentive to play the console.

  2. Yeah Ahmed I hear ya. For me, I’m just looking for that omega high-def Zelda adventure I’ve been dreaming about since OoT hits back in 98. Who knows if I’ll ever get it, but perhaps one day.

    If the rumors about the technology are true and that Rockstr will be porting GTAV to the console then that could prove to be quite something. Imagine a new GTA where the most powerful version is the Nintendo one. I doubt anyone would have ever thought that possible.

    I’m excited for E3 just to hear a little more on exactly what this machine is all about. I’m hoping the extra features co-exist with the technology because I am a huge tech fan, and don’t want it to be ignored.

    Time will tell.

    1. Funny that you mention Zelda. With Nintendo’s new console coming up so soon, I’m wondering if Nintendo’s going to pull off a Twilight Princess with Skyward Sword? Will we see it delayed to 2012 so that this game simultaneously launched on both the Wii and the latest console, with the latter featuring HD graphics? I personally don’t mind this at all. What do you think, man?

  3. Yeah I was wondering the same thing. Add in the fact the new console apparently makes full use of the Wiimote and it certainly seems within the realm of plausibility. I’d rather get a Zelda built from the ground up using all the system’s features, but hey, Zelda is Zelda right?

Leave a Reply