It looking more and more like both Sony and Microsoft will be announcing next gen consoles, PS4 (Orbis) and Xbox 720 (Durango) this year with Sony going first next week. With the relase of next gen consoles, the video game landscape could change dramatically.
With Nintendo already beating everyone to the punch (some would say catching up), the industry is already splintered with the lines between current and next gen blurred.
According to Gamasutra, John Riccitiello, EA’s CEO recently stated that the company is heavily investing in “gen-four” consoles (next gen). As to why EA is adopting the term gen 3 instead calling it gen 5 (the case for Nintendo), is most likely pinning the first PlayStation as the beginning of the console cycle.
Riccitiello stated that he felt that Nintendo’s Wii U is not gen 4, but did not elaborate except stating that there was a “sharp distinction” with what’s coming soon.
Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that the what we’re describing as "gen 4" is yet to come. It’s that that we’re excited about, and that’s what we’re investing in. And frankly, we’ve been quite consistent with that for some time, while recognizing the frustration our inability to articulate precisely why causes for you.
EA’s CFO, Blake Jorgensen recently spoke at a Q&A session at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. While Jorgensen was careful not to reveal any actual information about the next gen consoles, he did drop some compelling hints that would indicate that Xbox 720 and PS4 will be launching this holiday.
Jorgensen revealed that the company has earmarked under $100 million for R&D on next gen games which will be spread out through this year and into 2015. He also expressed his belief that games such as FIFA will help push next gen console sales as gamers will want to play with their friends and will need to switch gens.
As to if gamers should be excited about next gen consoles, Jorgensen has seen them and believes that people will be “pretty excited.”
No one’s really seen [gen 4 consoles] yet… I mean, we have internally, but no one externally has really seen what the look and feel will be like on the new consoles. So I’ll reserve judgment other than to say that I think people are going to be pretty excited.
The last topic of discussion was around the used games market, which actually left a sour taste in my mouth. Jorgensen stated that he “can’t really comment” on how next gen consoles will deal with the used games but states that the trend has always moved towards “always-on connectivity” which could become an issue with used games in the future.
I can’t really comment on where the next generation boxes are going to be relative to used games. I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market. But I do believe that the consumer likes it, and it’s been good for the retail channel.
A rumor reported recently by Edge indicated that the Xbox 720 will have some sort of always online requirement that prevents used games from being played on the console.