We’ve heard quite a bit of speculation and wish lists for the next consoles from Sony and Microsoft, but what about what we won’t be seeing? The next Playstation and Xbox are expected to be announced and released this year- and they aren’t going to live up to everyone’s expectations. Here are the top 7 things not to expect from new consoles:
1. 1080p at 60fps standard
Nintendo 64, Playstation, Gamecube, Xbox, PS2, Dreamcast. These consoles ran great looking games (at the time) at a fluid frame rate. 60 solid frames per second is a benchmark for smooth gameplay. Consoles have been able to pull it off for a long time, yet the majority of games released for these consoles aim for 30 and often fall short.
And there’s the resolution question. Some people have the idea that the next Playstation might be able to run games at 4K resolutions. Yet many believe the next round of consoles will run 60fps games at 1080p. We will be lucky to get most games runnin at a 1080p resolution next gen. The fallacy here is that people think more power equals better performance. The reality is that developers almost always choose more effects and better textures over smooth gameplay and resolution. The top selling console games of this gen run at 30fps or, in the case of Call of Duty, sub-HD resolutions. Expect this trend to continue.
2. Anti-used game technology
The recent Sony patent made to prevent play of used games sent a lot of people into an uproar, and rightfully so. Such a move would be extremely anti-consumer and heavily tarnish the reputation of any console maker that adopts such tech. Which is exactly why you’re not likely to actually see it get put to use.
Not only do consumers hate the idea, but so do retailers. Gamestop, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart all sell used games. None of them would be thrilled with Sony or Microsoft if that source of revenue was suddenly taken from them (Gamestop, especially). Lack of retail support can kill a console.
3. Numbered consoles
Outside of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo has never been big on using numbers for their consoles. It’s looking more and more Sony and Microsoft might follow suit next gen. Microsoft named their current console the Xbox 360 over “Xbox 2” primarily because they did not want their system to look inferior to the Playstation 3. That move has pigeonholed the company into a tight corner for the Xbox followup, however. Many are suggesting that Microsoft will be adopting the iPad naming scheme and simply call the next console “Xbox.”
Likewise, the next Playstation is likely to abandon numbers as well. While “Playstation 4” sounds fine to western audiences, 4 means “death” in several Asian cultures, Japan included. It’s considered unlucky. It would be like naming a console “Playstation 13” in 2060, it’s just not likely to happen.
4. Backwards compatibility
The Wii U is likely to be the only console on the market with full backwards compatibility during the next 4-6 years. Both companies are rumored to be adopting new tech for their next consoles, all but eliminating the chance of real backwards compatibility (outside of including 360/PS3 hardware in the next consoles- a costly move). Microsoft found themselves in a similar situation in 2005. The company ended up promising limited backwards compatibility only to abandon the idea early into the 360’s life.
5. Xbox Live to offer online gameplay for free
Some people are grasping to the idea that Microsoft will suddenly offer free online gameplay (not services) to Xbox Live Silver members in order to compete with Sony. This will likely never happen (and it certainly won’t when the next Xbox launches). Microsoft has people right where they want them. They’ve got friends and Gamerscores on Xbox Live. For many, paying to play online is just a necessary cost in life, like buying cereal.
Console gamers had their chance to make Xbox Live free when the service was just beginning. When Microsoft tried to get PC gamers to pay to play online (something they’d been doing for free for several years), the community outright rejected it and Microsoft made Xbox Live free for PC gamers. Console gamers, instead embraced it. And now they’re stuck with it.
6. Cheap consoles
It’s been clear that console prices have been on the rise for years now. In the past, successful consoles usually rode in on the $200 – 300 price point. The Wii U Basic SKU is probably the last mainstream console we’ll ever see launch at $300 (and remember, that’s a $50 bump up from the launch price of the original Wii).
Now we’re not going to see Sony attempt to sell a $600 console again this year. That didn’t work out so well for them the first time. But multiple SKUs from both MS and Sony are likely. A high-end SKU could very well reach $450 – 500.
7. The Kitchen Sink Approach
Regardless of whether or not Microsoft and Sony offer high-end SKUs, the new consoles aren’t likely to throw every possible feature at you this time around. Sony did this with the first 60GB PS3 that retailed for $600. The console had ports for all kinds of media, fully integrated hardware-based backwards compatibility, and a Spider-Man font on the front. This approach was expensive and Sony quickly cut it out. Neither Microsoft or Sony did a great job at making money on their hardware this generation. Microsoft paid dearly for the poorly designed 360, losing billions of dollars to extended warranties. And Sony was losing almost $250 on each 60GB PS3. Expect the majority of new features from both consoles to be software based.
There you have it! Disagree with the list? Let us know in the comment section below.