Have you all noticed just how frequently the rumors have been leaking about the next Xbox (codename Durango) and the PlayStation 4 (codename Orbis)? Just last week Kotaku broke the latest rumors about the PS4, which Charles was kind enough to detail in his news report on the subject. Before that we had heard some rumblings about the next Xbox. So what’s going on here? Well if you’ve been keeping up with the site for a long time you know that where there’s smoke, there’s fire!
Today IGN posted updated rumors from VG247, which state that the next Xbox will require an online connection at all times. This is apparently being done for two reasons, one to combat piracy, and two because it would help kill off the used game market, which is something the PS4 is going to be doing away with as well. The console is rumored to ship with a Blu-ray drive, Kinect 2.0, and is gearing up for a Christmas 2013 release. That’s not exactly what we heard before, but close enough.
VG247 also scooped more details about the PS4, which they say will now ship before Christmas 2013, meaning Sony plans to beat Microsoft to the punch. VG247’s sources say the specs were finalized over two years ago, and that a large number of dev kits are already out there, obviously spec-form only. The actual finalized kits would likely ship out sometime later this year.
So here we are, at a crossroads in the gaming industry. We’re hearing more or less the same rumors from both consoles, and that can mean only one thing, the next-generation is quickly approaching. So what can we take away from all of this? Here’s what I think.
1) Kiss the used market goodbye, at least in its current form. GameStop, EB Games, and all the rest are going to have to drastically change their business model because it’s clear that each console manufacture outside Nintendo will have some sort of secondary market lockout or restriction in place.
2) An online connect will be required. I still don’t know how they plan to do this given broadband isn’t available all over the world, but the rumors are simply too loud to be ignored. Will this affect you, or are you prepared for the inevitable?
3) Backwards compatibility is likely going bye-bye. I’ll say it right here, right now, I think both Microsoft and Sony are going to officially kill backwards compatibility and simply put their entire PS3/Xbox 360 catalog on their respective marketplaces and let the masses download everything. Financially this makes the most business sense.
4) This next generation will be forever known as the transitional era of consoles. This will be the last time physical media will be used in consoles. I’m expecting both consoles to offer digital releases of every game the same day they’re made available at retail.
Each of these different aspects will fundamentally change the industry in one way or another. Whether these rumors turn out to be 100% true remains to be seen, but it’s clear the landscape of our industry is changing.
The question I pose to you is this, are you prepared for all of these changes? If so, are you looking forward to this new industry?