This generation of consoles is still very much alive and kicking, with many consumers not yet having upgraded to a PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start thinking about what will come next.
After yesterday urging everyone to take a look back at the history of videogames, and remember the old consoles that have been and gone (but still remain alive in our hearts, mind, and living rooms), I thought it would be fitting to now concentrate on the future, and look ahead to the next-generation consoles. In particular: which will come first, the PS4, Xbox 720, or Wii 2?
The first place to look to try and predict which company, Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo will jump first is to look at what happened last generation. The Xbox 360 was released just four years after the original Xbox became available. Nintendo waited five years between the Gamecube and the Wii. And the PS3 first came available six years after the launch of the PS2.
Based on that data, and the fact that Sony seems wholly committed to the 10-year-lifespan plan for every new piece of hardware, I would suggest that the PS4 is completely out of the running, and will probably be the last of the big three to launch. There’s also the fact that Sony is going to need that long to claw back the huge amount of money it spent on developing the Playstation 3 in the first place.
Which leaves the Xbox 720 (hopefully not its final name) and the Wii 2 (probably accurately named) to be the first out of the traps.
We’ve already heard from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata that the company is working on the next hardware release, but with the Wii still selling in huge numbers, what would the reasoning be behind planning its release any time soon? Sure, the Wii’s phenomenal sales figures can’t be sustained forever, and there will come a time when they drop off substantially, but until then, Nintendo is earning billions of dollars in profits and would be mad to make a change to the matrix.
Microsoft doesn’t have that security, with sales of the Xbox 360 stalling in recent months. The company seems to be embarking on a round of endless price cuts to try and generate some sales, but if that fails to have the desired effect, what next?
It’s for this reason that I think the Xbox 720 will be the first next-gen console to see the light of day, possibly with Halo 4 making it as a launch game. And when will all this be happening? It could be as early as 2010, but more likely is either 2011 or 2012.
As always, we’re interested to hear what you think. Which console will be put out to pasture first? When will the next-generation console battle begin in earnest? Let us know in the comments section.