How the Next Generation of Gaming May Blow Your Mind

It’s coming. And it’s sooner than you think.

No, I’m not talking about premature ejaculation. Get your mind out of the gutter, you sick fuck! I’m talking about the next generation of home game consoles.

The rumor mill is working overtime lately on the upcoming systems, although most of the “unconfirmed” information is flying around about the Big M and the Big S. We haven’t seen a lot of word about Nintendo’s Wii U lately, and what we have seen has been facts, rather than speculation.

But who cares about facts?! That’s no fun! We’re here for the rampant, unsolicited, baseless conjecture! Wooooo! U-S-A! U-S-A!

I mean, what kind of news outlet would we be if we reported only on facts instead of making shit up and running with it?

Ahem. Anyway. The point is that there’s a lot of possibilities flying around right now. Here’s some of the juiciest bits so far: (after the break, of course)

1. The PS4 Will Have a Kinect-Style Interface

Reportedly, the current manufacturers of Sony’s Playstation 3 hardware, Foxconn and Pegatron (also the name of Megatron’s flying horse?), will be doing the work on the PS4 as well, and with it will come a sensor built-in for a Kinect-style body-controlled user interface. Does this mean that Sony is giving up on the Move? Well, this is the same report that claims that the PS4 is due out in 2012. Grain of salt factor: 7

2. The NextBox May NOT Be Backwards Compatible, but Windows 8 is Your 360 Savior

Microsoft will do anything it can to keep its Windows brand on top, and they may have a severe edge if this latest rumor proves true. The word is that the new Xbox may NOT be backwards compatible with 360 software, for multiple reasons. It’s turns out it’s not just a time or compatibility issue, but a licensing issue for the ATI graphics chip, and any emulation of it thereof. It costs MS money to get the license to use that feature, so rather than just making it built into the system, the word is that it will be SUBSCRIPTION based, and that it may, in fact, be built into Windows 8.

I’m not certain how MS plans on getting around the issue that some people use Nvidia graphics cards, but if anyone can figure out how to put DirectX and its various dev tools to work on it, it’s Microsoft. Grain of salt factor: 3

3. The NextBox Will Be Able to Render Avatar-Level Graphics

Speaking of graphics, AMD has been mouthing off lately to Official Xbox Magazine, and it’s glorious. Though they have not blatantly said that they are working on the graphics chip for the NextBox, they have said that it will be capable of not only Avatar-level graphics, but that individual non-player characters in games will each have the capability to have their own personalities, reacting uniquely to situations as opposed to mob mentality. Of course, that’s dependent on the game developers, but if the CPU can handle it, you know games like Assassin’s Creed and GTA will be all the better for it.

The main concern about this is… is this really possible. Recall that Sony once said that the PS2 would be able to produce Toy Story level graphics, and we all know how that worked out. It didn’t. Graphical claims on new systems, especially ones this early in development, should be treated with distrust in general. Some have said that the independent NPC personality concept is even less feasible, but it certainly would be doable with controlled randomization and localized computation. Grain of salt factor: 5

4. Sony and Microsoft ARE Working Together… One Way or Another

At least one press outlet has speculated that MS and Sony may actually team up for the next console (yes, that’s right, team the fuck UP). To a degree, the argument makes sense. Each company specializes is certain aspects that the other has notable failings in. Sony has better hardware and more exclusive IPs, Microsoft does online and dev tools better. Assuming they could get past their history and the financial negotiations, such a partnership could be incredibly lucrative for both companies, and would be almost certain to establish a dominance over Nintendo in the years to come.

But is it actually going to happen? Well, reportedly, Microsoft has already purchased the domain, and there are already reports of talks between the two on how each is approaching their release date strategy. Sounding more and more likely at this point, right?

Still, we have to consider that both of these companies are hugely competitive, multi-billion dollar monoliths, and that any money made on this kind of partnership would likely have to be split more or less down the middle, a concept I think neither one relishes. Many people by this point own both a PS3 and a 360, but if there’s only one console, there’s only one sale per household, and only half of the normal profit going to either side. Economically, this is likely to not be favored by either company. Sorry folks, but it’s just a dream team. Grain of salt factor: 9

5. The New Consoles are Due in 2012… No, 2015! No no no, 2014! 2013?

The bottom line on release dates is… nobody knows. Hell, I doubt even MS or Sony know for certain right now. Every report coming from an “insider” claims a different date. So either none of these people actually know, or they’re all being told different things. And if they’re all being told different things, it’s either because MS and Sony or doing it intentionally, or the right hand isn’t talking to the left. One way or another, a date is one of the most unreliable things you can hear about these upcoming machines right now. Take anything you hear with many grains of salt unless it comes in the form of a news conference or press release. Grain of salt factor: why bother?

  • Don Jaime

    Wow, that brings me back to the golden age of riding the school bus.
    This doesn’t seem much different than the tripe spewed by the kids who claimed they had Super Nintwodos and Sega ReGenesises or whatever they called ‘em. I’m not about to trust anything anyone says until they have the pudding out for all to taste. (even though I previously had faith in Nintendo with the Wii-U…oh well!)

    And you wanna talk about baseless conjecture? I think a lot of rumors about possible next gen systems are purposely thrown out there by the respective parent companies just for stock investments and to lure developers/publishers into making future business deals. That’s a pretty stupid move though by investors if all you’ve got is vaporware to go by, and most trends indicate no one thinks long term anymore anyway in those regards (another reason why the economy is in the shitter but that’s neither here nor there). That might just be me blowing smoke out my ass, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Anyhow, I find the idea of a Sony-Microsoft alliance to be ridiculous. I mean, yes, it’s a damned golden idea for each company to complement each other and Voltron the hell out of Nintendo. For reasons you stated about “financial obligations” (think possible conflicts of interest with each company’s respective side dealings and product lines regarding console related stuff and whatnot) and splitting profit 50/50 though, there’s just no way in hell that’s going to be a plausible alliance in reality. They’d be able to put those boardroom brawls on pay-per-view. We’re talking about two evil corporations battling to the freaking death. I know I’d watch!

  • RurouniQ

    Keep in mind that each of these “rumors” has been posted on major websites such as Kotaku, CNET, and even the Wall Street Journal. School bus material this may be, but it’s material being reported on just the same.

  • Don Jaime

    Then I doubly stand by my long shot regarding premature investments/dealings.

    Whatever though, as long as Valve/Steam keeps being awesome, I won’t need any more consoles unless they’re just plain mind blowing.