So with reports in recent days hinting that next gen game content is going to be so large, both in graphics and story they will therefore take a huge amount hard disc space (upto 50gbs in some cases) and for standard broadband users globally (in the west anyways) will take an age to download the latest game or DLC for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. This gets me to thinking about the need for a shift in how we look at what the next gen should or could be…
Since gaming began there has always been a need with each iteration of console or device for more power! Faster processors bigger and better graphics cards, better sound etc… but in the digital age with the wireless and broadband infrastructure needed to support gamers now, and the fact that the majority of gamers will only have access to a certain amount of speed, and with the advances in compression technologies, the power of smaller portable devices, the advent of cloud storage and gaming franchises like MineCraft using very basic graphics but very deep gameplay mechanics I think the true next gen has been overlooked by the big boys.
For me the future of gaming doesn’t rely on how realistic an explosion looks or how well rendered your avatars hands are when firing a AK47, its how how deeply involved you get in the story, the character, the puzzle, the race, the adventure, or action of the game.
How many hours of gameplay you get out of the world thats been created for you, and how and when you are able to interact with that world. I want to game when i want to game! Some of the best loved games of all time don’t have amazing HD graphics, just look at Tetris / Candy Crush Saga / Angry Birds / MineCraft / The Mario Series / Street Fighter / World of Warcraft…the list goes on. (Yes I may of missed out the COD and GTA franchises but for me these games rely too heavily on graphics alone…and in pure numbers only account for a small part of the wider gaming community. COD for example has had 100million people play the game since 2007 http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-08-13-100-million-people-played-call-of-duty-since-cod4 but Angry Birds by comparison has at possibly its highest point 263million monthly active users - http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/how-many-people-play-angry-birds-infographic/)
Keeping this in-mind, I think a true next gen gaming experience is one based on a powerful mobile console that allows you to have the option to download or potentially stream games to your device when your out and about, and then when at home synch it with your TV/monitor of choice in the lounge or special gaming room and continue the experience with the mobile device in a controller attachment or a secondary controller or even with virtual controls based on a Kinect or Wii-mote device setup, Occulus Rift or Google Glass…
Games will get deeper and richer, graphics will be HD and beyond and broadband will get faster for sure but how we interact and use games is fundamentally changing and the current incarnation of next gen consoles has really only plodded along on a path that is very well trodden, none have taken a leap that is well in grasp in 2013, and this is a shame. (Let’s face it a share button on a controller isn’t really cutting it)
I suppose Im going to have to wait for the true next gen experience, I just hope its not to long!