10 Observations From Really Smart People On The Next Generation Of Video Game Consoles

photographers take pictures of xbox one

Last week Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One.

A few months ago Playstation gave us a glimpse at what we can expect from the Playstation 4.

The Wii U is already available. 

What’s it all mean for the future of video game consoles?

Smart people Marco Arment and John Siracusa have both recently written about it, and have some thoughts worth sharing.

Those thoughts:

  • The Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U lack the clarity of purpose enjoyed by the previous generations of game consoles.
  • Consoles are now more than just a way to play games. They are a way for us to watch Netflix, play CDs/DVDs/Blu Ray discs, chat with friends, and even exercise.
  • When the Xbox 360, Wii, and Playstation 3 debuted all video game makers were aiming for the same prize: video game fans. Today each console is attacking a different type of person.
  • Nintendo went after a new market: people who were not interested in—or were too intimidated by—traditional game consoles. Expect Sony and Microsoft to now aim at this demographic too.
  • The Wii U is dramatically less powerful than the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but this means that there’s a good chance the Wii U will end up being the least expensive console in this generation.
  • Game consoles are being attacked and marginalized by cheaper, simpler smartphone and tablet games, and many people are reallocating former game-playing time to social networking.
  • Consoles are being pushed harder than ever into being media players and offering easy social gameplay, and they’ll likely remain far more popular as TV-connected computing devices than media-only boxes such as the Apple TV and Roku. 
  • The Wii U has changed almost nothing, and is selling very poorly. 
  • The PlayStation 4 is pushing slightly toward a media-centre role, but is mostly still a hardcore gaming system.
  • The Xbox One is pushing heavily into a media-centre role, but is compromising slightly on raw gaming power.

Our thoughts:

  • As things stand now, Nintendo is losing, but there is still hope for the Wii. It is the only system that offers a new, fun gaming experience that’s not available on other platforms. 
  • We still don’t know how much Sony’s Playstation 4 will cost, when it will be released and what it will look like.
  • The Xbox One doesn’t have a price or release date and that could be a determining factor for the success of the system.

We’ll only have to wait a few months to see how things shape up.

Which next-generation console are you most interested in?

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