Console Predictions 2004!

Picking the winner of the Super bowl? Easy. Guessing when Elysium will break down and buy a game he'll never play? Child's play. Predicting the shape of future consoles before this year's E3? Maybe a little tougher if you ask me, but that's all part of the fun. We're reaching that time of year now where whispers o­n the wings of news whores begin to take shape into rumors of what the big three are up to for their next-gen consoles.

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Today is the day when the real men and women step forward and tender their predictions for the next generation of consoles. It just so happens that I'm o­ne of them. O­ne of the men that is, just so we're clear.

Nintendo's Plans For Potential Fruitiness

I've always liked the Gamecube. That plucky little underdog with big dreams and promises of even bigger games was enough to warm anyone's heart. A couple years into the consoles life has proven o­nce again that Nintendo has good intentions and the ability to make good games but they just can't seem to crawl out of this 12 foot rut they've dug. Good exclusive titles are few and far between and third party support continues to suffer from sloppy ports if they even get o­ne at all. Again, I still love the Gamecube but now it's mostly like someone loves their crazy Uncle Steve who still wears sweat bands and listens to Glass Tiger.

So what does Nintendo plan to do to shake things up? Here's something Satoru Iwata said recently as posted over at 1up:

"We want to create a product and an experience that hasn't been experienced before." Whatever it is, Iwata is outwardly very confident in its potential, saying that "this is the year when we'll join the fight in earnest with this new product."

Iwata went o­n to explain that he doesn't necessarily expect this product to be an immediate hit upon its announcement -- he's prepared to see a lack of applause from some of the audience, is how he puts it. However, if even o­ne-tenth of the audience is interested, he said, that provides a base from which the appeal of this new offering can spread.

I was kind of in "benefit of the doubt" mode when the Gamecube launched, I don't know if I have it in me for something that o­nly 1/10th of people at E3 may think is a good idea. So what is it? I think Nintendo sees Sony and MS moving towards more of an all-in-one solution so they're going to veer off into some sort of game device that is more unique to Nintendo and highly interactive. Think Virtual Boy without the sucking... hopefully.

Microsoft Looks to do the Tivo

Semus Blackly and Ed Fries, two of the driving forces behind the creation of the original Xbox have moved o­n but then a console is bigger than just two men. Already "Xbox Next" sounds like it may be able to record TV shows, play DVD's, have built-in wifi access, play windows media files and it may even play video games! I'm all for fancy new features but not if it neglects the game side of things or drives up the price. Remember, most people have DVD players, computers to play media files and surf the internet already. Making them pay extra for features they don't need won't move units.

Will the Next Xbox slice bread and vacuum the floor? I don't know, I think Microsoft will offer more features o­n the next version but my prediction is that in order to keeps costs down and make a deadline they won't cover all the bases.

Sony Gets More Xboxy

Not that Sony has had a very difficult time this generation but you can bet Microsoft and Nintendo's promises not to give the PS3 a o­ne year head start have been heard by Sony. I believe that the PS3 will feature a built-in hard-drive, broadband adapter and a few other nice things but it won't match what Microsoft may come up with. Will Sony be able to continue their dominance next generation? No, they simply can't. Impossible. Being number o­ne now certainly has its advantages but you can't ignore the amount of market share both Nintendo and Microsoft have gobbled up. Good foot holds for the future I'd say.

One thing I wouldn't look for is any fancy "multi-processor sharing" stuff coming in this generation. Things improve with leaps and bounds but we're just not there yet. 

So, When and Where?

I believe initial announcements of some kind will be made by all three console makers this May at E3. When will the consoles actually launch? Not until Christmas 2005 if not sometime in 2006. I predict that Nintendo will beat both Microsoft and Sony to the shelves and to some degree they'll suffer from a lack of titles and people waiting for the Xbox and PS2 successors.

Lay it o­n the line, what do you think will happen?

- Certis

Comments

Awwwww, did you make that logo all by yourself?

I think Sony will reveal at E3 that it is indeed, Microsoft's father.

Also Nintendo will continue to be Japanese and fruity.

Next!

Awwwww, did you make that logo all by yourself?

You must be able to tell by the high level of quality and artistic achievement in the piece. It took me days to nail that sucker down.

I think Sony will reveal at E3 that it is indeed, Microsoft's father.

And Atari will find out after years of believing that they were some innocent French company, they will discover that they were in fact...Atari!

Poor underdog Nintendo. Probably best not to discuss the total commitment to avoiding innovation that put them in that spot.

I believe that the PS3 will feature a built-in hard-drive, broadband adapter and a few other nice things but it won't match what Microsoft may come up with. Will Sony be able to continue their dominance next generation? No, they simply can't. Impossible.

People have been talking down the PS2's "inferior hardware" since before it came out. As long as backwards compatability is a cornerstone of Sony's Playstation they will continue to eat their competitors' lunches and give them wedgies while they are at it.

I don't know, Gorack. In the time that I had a PS2, I never once played a PS1 game on it. In the end I traded my PS2 in for the superior hardware and better online connectivity of an Xbox. I'm not sure in the end that I'm that much happier with the Xbox, but it certainly fulfills my console gaming desires at least as well as the PS2 did. I really feel like Sony is coasting with the PS2, and unless they stay comitted to being in first place, Microsoft's determination to be the industry leader could play a spoiler factor.

That's fine. It's a feature you don't use. I don't play online console games, so connectivity is no draw for me.

You may be right about Sony coasting on the PS2, but what more can they really do with it besides replace it? When the PS2 was drawn up it had basically the Dreamcast to compare/compete against. As soon as the hardware was finalized, Nintendo and Microsoft release their specs to show how much better their systems will be. The buzz from gamers "in the know" was that the PS2 would be a flop. Then Sony had an atrocious staggered launch due to scarcity of parts for the units. Experts predicted the end of Playstation dominance.

Where are they now? Predicting doom for the PS3/PSP. It's gotta happen sometime.

I predict it will be a long wet winter followed by a long dry summer and very little of interest will happen with the main consoles. Oh yeah and the phantom will still fail to materialize.

I didn't by a console new till the PS2 and it was the backwards compatability that got me to buy it over Xbox.

Knowing that there are "X" number of great games for the system is a pretty big thing.

PC gaming will rise again untill the new consoles come in 2 years...

Backwards compatability is one of those things that everyone wants, but noone uses. It's 100% PR. Kind of like putting an unusable back seat in sports cars so that 40-somethings can justify the purchase to their family. Think Audi TT or Lexs SC430.

I think this time around, Sony will continue to dominate, but the distance between it and its competitors will be much smaller. Will there be room for 3 consoles? Yeah.

Xbox2 will own the 21-30 demographic as people in that range are more aware of hardware specs and more tech-savvy. PS3 will be the choice of college students and the default console that parents buy for their *older* kids simply because it's a household name. Nintendo will dominate for little kids and Japanese people, and they like it that way.

My prediction:

PS2 hardware will continue to break, Xbox will continue to gain ground, and the Gamecube will approach their goal of coming with every happy meal.

I'm with Flux. Let me know when they do that happy meal thing, okay?

Or if they start giving them away with a full tank of gas or something.

I'm IN!!

I have deep misgivings about the next generation of consoles. The problem is that this 3-way race is killing profitability for the entire industry. Publishers hate having to put out 3 expensively developed versions of their games, and console makers have to lower their prices way below break-even AND reduce their royalties to compete with the other consoles. While this kind of competition is great for gamers right now, I'm not sure that it's good for the future of the industry.

I agree about the Xbox2. I don't need to buy another DVD player, TiVo, Media player, etc. I want it to focus on being game machine. Now if it vacums the floor, like those little frisbee robot things... Just imagine your little black Xbox driving around your house, bumping into a wall, turning a 180, and continuing on its vacuming duties while you're away. Sold!

Well, not everyone has access to TiVo so I'm all for a TiVo-ized XBOX.

Besides, doesn't TiVo have crappy resolution?

If the next XBOX can record in HDTV or at least DivX quality w/ decent sound, that'd be pretty sweet..

Also, it's nice that you can play media files on your PC, but nicer if your video file will play on the big HDTV sitting in the living room via the XBOX2.

The thing to remember about Nintendo, at least in my wife's very specific case, is that it will probably continue to score with the ladies. Which is very important as at our current rate we may well be out of games for her to play by Xmas '05.

I'm going out on a limb and predicting the big N is going to have a break-out year, they are now number 2 and should be gaining some momentum.

Hopefully Sony will fall flat on their face with the PSP

Microsoft well, does it really matter ? they can just continue to throw money at it. But I hope they start getting a little respect.

Backwards compatability is one of those things that everyone wants, but noone uses.

I use it. A lot of my games for my PS2 were originally for the PS. I never owned a console before the PS2 and the backwards compatibility was what really made me save money and get it.