With the big three powerhouses of gaming having released or announced a new platform in the past year, the question must be asked, how real is too real?
Nintendo’s Wii U was released late last year and has shown dismal sales numbers, much to the surprise of CEO Satoru Iwata. The 3DS boasted glasses-free 3D technology and the Wii U released a controller/tablet mash-up. The 3D handheld platform came with stern warnings about the dangers for children under the age of six and advised gamers to refrain from using the 3D option for an extended period of time. Both casual and hardcore gamers everywhere would be confused about what to do with the “Controlablet” that came boxed with the system.
The original Wii and PlayStation franchise also suffered criticism regarding the controllers. Due to some hidden markets (nursing homes and bars), Nintendo and Sony rebounded quickly. Microsoft announced the Kinect, which knocked the socks off casual and hardcore gamers alike, pushing its “You are the controller” ad campaign. The Kinect has been hailed as a revolution of the gaming industry and won a Parent’s Choice gold award.
Two weeks ago, Sony unveiled the PS4 which has the gaming community in frenzy. So far the system is boasting impressive new hardware, and a controller redesign. Gamers were upset that the PS4 will not have backwards compatibility function. This means that games for the PS3 will not be playable on the PS4, which many in the industry see as a complete money grab. Regarding the controller, it is clearly evident that Sony has decided to push buttons, and not in a good way. The Dual Shock v4, has slightly redesigned buttons one of which included on the center back portion of the controller, for sharing. This “magic” button allows gamers to stream their gameplay to various social media outlets, with UStream.com being one of the main examples. If you don’t have social media accounts, you can still share the video over PlayStation Network so people can watch you play videogames instead of actually enjoying the games themselves.
This doesn’t discredit the work of hardware developers, whom have solved so important issues gamers have with their current gen systems. Gamers whom hate load time will rejoice when they learn that due to upgrades to various components; faster computing power, larger RAM, and an enhanced graphics card, load time will be nearly instantaneous. Details regarding the upcoming Microsoft Xbox 720 announcement are still in the shadows, with the only rumors surfacing stating that the console; might have nearly identical hardware specs to PS4, integration of windows 8, tiles on the home screen and Blu-ray compatibility. The question remains with the future of gaming changing into a faster and more social integrated entertainment outlet, will gamers plug-in or un-plug?