It’s 2019 and I thought it about time to discuss the elephant in the room, the next generation of consoles. What can we expect from the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo? After the five to six years we got out of this console cycle, it’s tough to say what to expect. Nintendo is apparently already working on some sort of refresh of the Switch, Microsoft is talking big about games as a service, and Sony has more or less come out and stated that they won’t talk about a new console until 2020.
This got me thinking about what we can expect from this coming cycle. Sony pushed hard for ease of use and sharing of game content, Microsoft took a big hit with their initial false start, and Nintendo saw a rebirth in a “take this anywhere” console. In short, it’s really hard to predict what we’ll be playing in 2020.
VR, while still pretty niche, did see it’s best year in 2018. And by my assessment, I still think it would be worth it to buy one just for Tetris Effect. But other than advancements on the clarity of those headsets, I still think a larger part of next generation rests solely on the quality of what games come out. I just finished God of War (2018) and now I’m wondering if we have something to expect for PS5 or whatever it may be called.
Microsoft will likely be pushing more streaming of game content, which, if coupled with the same price structure of Playstation Plus, could make a strong argument for games as a service. It does remain to be seen if most players internet will be up to it. That and data caps and it may turn into some futuristic nightmare. I’m obviously not completely sold on this idea.
Nintendo’s refresh will probably be slight to keep it in line with the already strong attach rate. I can see Nintendo being short sided and forgetting that they don’t have a great relationship as of late with fans and services, but this upcoming console probably has a longer battery life and a brighter and richer screen. Personally I’d feel slighted if they simply fixed the kick stand.
Sony has me wondering most of all. Personally, the next generation likely means a bigger push into 4k 60 FPS content. If you go to any Target, Walmart, or Best Buy, you’ll see a wide selection of reasonably priced 4k TVs. Considering just a few years ago I paid around $550 for a 55″ 1080 P TV, it’s actually about the same jump if you’re replacing a TV now. So Sony moving further into 4k has to be a big part of their next move. Other than that I’m just hoping for a larger hard drive. Just give us like, 5 Terabytes. And make sure the damn consoles are backwards compatible.
It would also completely blow my mind if any company would go the route of “no more backwards compatible games”. Again after a rough start, Microsoft ended up making their service a bit better by offering a wide selection of backwards compatible titles, ones you can play with your old discs. Sony offers Playstation Now, but only through a subscription based model, which means you are still paying to play your old games. They have got to get this right. Sony, Microsoft, ESPECIALLY Nintendo, don’t drop the ball on this one. Make sure everyone can play their games from five years ago, it makes absolutely no sense not to include it.
Ultimately, these next generation systems are going to be judged solely on the game content we receive. I can see PS5 doing what PS3 and PS4 did before them, offering games that straddle the line between one generation to the next. They did this with Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, as well as with GTA V, so I have to think that this model will work again. What I’m really hoping for is for a continuation of giving more power to the player. Whether that be in the general quality of the games we’re all playing, or in the environment we choose to get our games. Basically, make it easier and that’s what we’ll all gravitate to. I’d also like to request two-factor verification for my purchases on PS4, I think one of the least talked about aspects of modern gaming is how our information is being protected. I’m sure most of you would agree that we give these companies a lot of money, and generally we expect our information to be protected. What I’m getting at is to make it safer to purchase games so I don’t have to freeze my credit over some future information hack.
These are all generally small requests. I think this next generation of consoles will be marked by quality of life upgrades: generally not bombastic, but they will make a new console slightly more attractive. But who knows? We have only a few ideas of games that will be around come the end of this cycle, but no ideas what to expect for next generation. All I have to say is, keep the good games coming and it won’t matter.