Thoughts on the future of Xbox One, PS4, Wii U after E3

Bill Loguidice's picture

Sony PS4Sony PS4Before the year is out, we'll have the choice of the latest console systems from the three big manufacturers, with three very different value propositions. I'll briefly break each of the three down, one-by-one, then I'd like to continue the discussion in the comments.

First up, there's the Wii U, relying mostly on the same type of technology found in the current generation's Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, with its primary hook being its tablet controller that allows for touchscreen interactions and off-TV play, priced between $300 - $350. There's a good chance, despite Nintendo's insistence that they won't or can't, that this will drop in price just before the launch of Microsoft's and Sony's new consoles. I base this on the jockeying Nintendo already seems to be doing, for instance with eliminating the $300 BASIC version of their system in favor of the DELUXE (and no doubt different future bundles). The negatives for the Wii U are that, for various reasons, third party support has already dried up, and there's no evidence that their tablet controller hook has resonated (or will) with the public. There's always a chance for things to change, but right now, I don't see how Nintendo recovers a dominant console position, particularly since there's really nothing that reeks of "next gen" in their forthcoming software line-up. Certainly with their first party software they'll continue to appeal to the Nintendo faithful, and that should be enough to help the platform stick it out for the next few years. Beyond that, it's impossible to speculate, particularly since we don't know how Microsoft and Sony will ultimately fare (it could just be the new norm, in light of smartphone, tablet, and PC competition to have a tough time with traditional consoles and gaming handhelds).

Next up is the Xbox One. Partially due to Microsoft's bungling of the message, partially due to overreaction, and partially due to just-the-right-amount of reaction, the Xbox One has proven controversial. Depending on who you talk to, the controversy stems from the Xbox One's always-on feature that allows it to interact with your cable/satellite subscription and do its other activities on-demand, the new Kinect's requirement and that too always being ready for your commands, and Microsoft's DRM policies, which requires the console to check in every 24 hours. The counter-argument is that DRM aside, the connected, always on nature of the Xbox One offers some intriguing possibilities for its functionality. It's also debatable how "angry" anyone should be about the DRM, since it's simply carrying over the same model we use on our smartphones and tablets, and on the PC with services like Steam, but the fact is, people genuinely are angry, no way around it. Whether that anger translates over to the average consumer, who could very well eat up the enhanced television and Kinect interaction, remains to be seen. Certainly Microsoft made a good showing of its next gen gaming line-up, which also made me rather more disappointed in the Wii U given that perspective. I just haven't got the same sense of next level gameplay from Nintendo's platform as of yet, even though it's been on the market for quite a while now. I'm not sure if we ever will. Finally, there's the price, $499, which is rather higher than both the Wii U and PS4, but is not entirely unjustified considered the bundling of the next gen Kinect - which is integral to the experience - and its pass-through features. We'll see if Microsoft's gamble pays off, but right now, there does seem to be a lot of anger out there, which was mitigated somewhat by the announcement of the games.

Finally, there's the PS4, who looks like the big public opinion winner to this point. It won't interact with your TV, and there's no bundled Kinect-like camera (and it's debatable whether the optional next gen camera will be able to offer anything remotely approaching a Kinect-like experience). It also won't place any restrictions or limitations on the sale of used games, like on the Xbox One, which appears to be a big plus according to the most vocal gamers out there. In theory, it should have just a bit more core power than the Xbox One, though both platforms will be enhanced by leveraging Cloud processing, and all things considered, it will likely be a wash in that area. Like the Xbox One, the PS4 is clearly showing next gen experiences, which is again, a knock against Nintendo's core technology in the Wii U. Also like the Xbox One and unlike the Wii U, it's clear that third party support won't be an issue. The kicker - and the factor that I think most endeared the PS4 to gamers to this point - is the fact that it's coming in at $100 less than the Xbox One. While I think the difference in price is justified considering what's in the respective retail packages, $100 cheaper is still $100 cheaper, particularly if those extra Xbox One features don't come across properly to the average consumer.

So, here are my thoughts on how things will go after the Xbox One and PS4 launch. The Wii U will continue to struggle and I consider it (and have considered it so since it failed to catch on even in its home country) a failed experiment, but, as long as Nintendo is able to stop losing money on the manufacture of each console at some point soon, and has a reasonable stream of first party titles at some point, it will able to stick around in its niche thanks to the Nintendo faithful. The Xbox One will have to get across its value proposition to reach out to the wider public that it's clearly going after. If it can do that, the console, in combination with its cable/satellite integration and ubiquitous next gen Kinect functionality, is well positioned for the long-term. Getting that initial traction is going to be the challenge, though. Sony's PS4 appears to have all the momentum going in, with a compelling platform, a reasonable price point, and strong buzz. The launch will be Sony's to screw up, their proverbial ball to drop. If they don't mess it up, they can stay on cruise control as the clear number one favorite indefinitely, particularly since the Xbox One will have no chance of selling well in Japan, where no US console has ever had a good showing.

As with the Wii U last holiday, this holiday will not necessarily be a good indicator of how either the Xbox One or PS4 will do. Both will likely sell out. It's what happens from roughly January 2014 on that will give us better insight into their future, and the future of consoles in general.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off below in the comments. It's on!

Comments

BitWraith
BitWraith's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2012
Yeah what hurts about Obama

Yeah what hurts about Obama is he was supposed to be better than that.

Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2006
XBox as spy? And... We fogies are Obsolete.

Matt Barton wrote:
That said, I do think Bill is right that folks are jumping the gun a bit on the whole Xbox thing. Just because a new tech offers some dark possibilities doesn't mean that they WILL be used for evil. I'd like to think Microsoft will do whatever they need to ensure that perverts or others can break into the camera and watch us playing games in our underwear.

Let's not forget that Microsoft is a business! They want to make money. If they were really going to go the route of "We're going to take secret nude photos of you" type of behavior, they're going to lose big money, and they know it! Few people will buy something they know will "tattle" on them! It really wouldn't be in Microsoft's best interest to be seen as the "I have pictures of you smoking crack with a prostitute" company. It'd be the equivalent of McDonald's saying "We're going to sell you worm-burgers, and you're going to eat it, fools!" Nobody has to buy it.

Unfortunately (for Microsoft), it sounds like that's how the story is being played out in the media.

That having been said, there does seem to be an air of arrogance in the recent XBox One media releases, even to the point of rape jokes! Maybe they're taking "Westerners" for granted.

In my opinion, I think Microsoft will hold (or gain) the lead in the next gen cycle. Sony hasn't gained much excitement beyond the "hey, we're not Microsoft' angle. XBox, via controversy, is getting all the press. Heck, I really don't know anything particularly exciting about the PS4 beyond that.

But, the real controversy for gamers is the used games angle, and the "always connected to the internet" angle. "Always connected" is a dangerous move for MS, because there's a lot of scenarios where I can see that going wrong! Look how the PS3 got hacked, look how Simcity and Diablo were rendered useless, etc. I just want to play a game without a "server down" notice. XBox will equal "server down" in the future, mark my words.

Used games..... is less of a controversy (in the long run). Little Timmy is going to whine and whine until you buy him "Call of Duty 10" or whatever, at full price and no resell, and your going to do it because he is too young to know that used games are a thing (or used to be). His generation won't know that games are not tied to their user account.

My generation went, in our youth, from Atari 2600 to the Amiga(!), but the kids in college today really have never known of anything other than the XBox360/PS4/Wii. Unlike the fluid tech of my generation, their gaming generation has been pretty much fixed.

And now the stage is set for the next generation. They won't want to play our antiquated sh*t, they don't understand our objections, and they're the ones who will spend the money on games. Right now, XBox One, PS4, and Wii U (until it's replaced by the next iteration) will be it. We may not like it, but we're not the "cool" people anymore.

On a side note: I wonder what the Koreans have up their sleeve. South Korea is a risen giant in electronics, having pretty much overtaken Japan in consumer electronics. Is it far-fetched to believe that they will have a voice in the next generation of gaming tech? I haven't heard anything anywhere to substantiate my suspicions, but something inside me makes me wonder if a Korean company will step up for the next generation. It might be their time. Just total, wild speculation on my part. Like I said, I haven't heard anything anywhere to make me think this, but it is a gut feeling. A (console) generation can be a long time, and I doubt the Koreans will stay this one out.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Apple is probably "next"

Rowdy Rob wrote:

On a side note: I wonder what the Koreans have up their sleeve. South Korea is a risen giant in electronics, having pretty much overtaken Japan in consumer electronics. Is it far-fetched to believe that they will have a voice in the next generation of gaming tech? I haven't heard anything anywhere to substantiate my suspicions, but something inside me makes me wonder if a Korean company will step up for the next generation. It might be their time. Just total, wild speculation on my part. Like I said, I haven't heard anything anywhere to make me think this, but it is a gut feeling. A (console) generation can be a long time, and I doubt the Koreans will stay this one out.

To me, the biggest forseeable danger (that's not already out there, like the cheap Android devices) to traditional console gaming (and gaming-centric handhelds) is the announcement that iOS 7 will finally be adding console quality game controller support. Smartphone and tablet stuff has already "damaged" the traditional gaming industry, and this will only make things "worse." Obviously, it's all relative and I see it more as an evolution and expansion rather than an out-and-out replacement, but it does mean more change for our industry, and certainly more uncertainty about what will and will not be successful in such a climate.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
As expected, the Xbox One Day

As expected, the Xbox One Day One Bundle has sold out already on Amazon: http://www.i4u.com/2013/06/54542/xbox-one-day-one-edition-sold-out-amazon

If it hasn't happened yet (given the one day lag), expect the same for the PS4 any moment. Again, no issues for either one through the end of the year. Early 2014 will start to tell us who has the momentum. Maybe both, maybe one, maybe neither.

n/a
Chris
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2011
And that number is????

I'm currently looking, but can't find where the actual number of available units is listed. Anyone help me out on that?

If XBox 1 had 1 million units available, but PS4 had 2 million, they can both say they "sold out" but one is definitely more impressive.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Not likely, unfortunately

Chris wrote:
I'm currently looking, but can't find where the actual number of available units is listed. Anyone help me out on that?
If XBox 1 had 1 million units available, but PS4 had 2 million, they can both say they "sold out" but one is definitely more impressive.

I don't think we'll get those specifics from either company. We'll know when the NPD data comes out in December how many each sold in November (essentially one week in November). I can't imagine either one having any more than 500K units available for pre-order at this point. I suspect they may release additional pre-order units once they can guarantee they'll have more available within the launch week.

Worldwide, I suspect they can produce and sell maybe 2 - 4 million units max between launch and the early part of January. After that, once supply normalizes, we'll see what they can sell to the non-early adopters.

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
maybe

Bill Loguidice wrote:
As expected, the Xbox One Day One Bundle has sold out already on Amazon: http://www.i4u.com/2013/06/54542/xbox-one-day-one-edition-sold-out-amazon
If it hasn't happened yet (given the one day lag), expect the same for the PS4 any moment. Again, no issues for either one through the end of the year. Early 2014 will start to tell us who has the momentum. Maybe both, maybe one, maybe neither.

took 2 days for the DAY one Xbox to sell out, took 16 hours for the PS4. Of the still avialible ones the PS4 is #1 seller.

actually right now I can still order Day one Xbox on amazon, its not sold out, the PS4 is. Guess it really depends on units.. but in amazon units the ps4 sold more on DAY one units.

xbox photo xbox.jpg

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Inventory

clok1966 wrote:

took 2 days for the DAY one Xbox to sell out, took 16 hours for the PS4. Of the still
actually right now I can still order Day one Xbox on amazon, its not sold out, the PS4 is. Guess it really depends on units.. but in amazon units the ps4 sold more on DAY one units.

Amazon has no reason to be dishonest about selling out. I'm sure pre-order stock levels will fluctuate between now and November. It's all in what Microsoft and Sony can safely promise to each of the major retailers, which will change based on manufacturing yields over the coming months. I suspect Amazon, Wal-Mart, and GameStop will get the majority of available inventory.

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
never meant to say amazon was

never meant to say amazon was doing anything hinky.. that story linked was not from amazon.. a few game website where posting that the PS4 was sold out and the 360 wasn't.. none are retailers either so.. again, who knows.. I just checked myslef after reading this.. I could order a Day one xbox, but couldn't on the PS4.. I was just posting what I could do. (and my 2-days to sell out (which i contradicted), and 16 hours where also from a game website, not amazon)

gamestop is supposedly saying they have no more PS4 but do have xboxs still ( i never tired to order so not sure on that).

I must say the Xbox is just getting hammered in the press, as i stated earlier i have never seen it this bad in 2-3 console generations. there is always hate and such.. but I have never seen it like this. I must agree most of it is pure speculation and unfounded.. but I have made it clear how i feel about used games, and after some research, you can sell used games legally in all 50 states, there is NO laws against it (and nobody said there where laws against it).. so deciding to change that is still a Huge slap in my face.. purely a "we want that used game money" I have ZERO sympathy and will not support it as I have stated..

all this big brother and the camera and always on, eh... they want picture of my hairy old body.. more power too um.. the always on or once a day check.. i don't like that and feel it screws a segment of gamers, but for me it would be ok.. but again.. not good, makeing changes that will hurt even 5% of your buyers is just not good.

when it comes down to it.. the Used game policy is the one I have a beef with.. nothing else bothers me as much.. I have been very vocal about it.. and admitted it may not be as it seems.. but so far MS has in no way said it inst.. so .. gotta stick with what I think.. and judge on that.

Nathaniel Tolbert
Nathaniel Tolbert's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/06/2010
And that is the major problem isn't it?

clok1966 wrote:
when it comes down to it.. the Used game policy is the one I have a beef with.. nothing else bothers me as much.. I have been very vocal about it.. and admitted it may not be as it seems.. but so far MS has in no way said it inst.. so .. gotta stick with what I think.. and judge on that.

And that is the major problem overall isn't it? Microsoft is saying nothing. They cancelled their roundtable press talk and they won't say anything formal. This is worse that confirming our fears. Not letting everything be completely fleshed out so that people know what they are getting into is hurting them. In the absence of actual information rumor and suspicion grow out of hand and once you have lost control of the situation regaining it can be near impossible. Add on top of that the news of PRISM hitting at the same time they are pushing XB1 with Kinect on every model, and the information so unclear on what they will and won't do (telling you they won't collect your data without your permission does not make people feel better considering everyone believes that it will be given in an EULA that most people don't read. And if there is an opt out people feel that they will change the terms of the EULA after you are fully committed to your games and to refuse the EULA will lose you everything on the console.) with any information collected has people in an uproar. The arrogance being shown by Don Mattrick really makes me feel like the XBox team has lost complete touch with their user base. They really need to sit down and explain everything. Their press release is still murky and they aren't hashing out all the fine details. And blaming the press for all the negative reaction is stupid considering they are the ones not disseminating the information properly. This launch has been the worst one I have ever seen. Technology advances forward, and is in a perpetual state of change but to go directly against the requests of the people who buy your tech to push an agenda they aren't interested in makes you (the company) look arrogant and unconcerned of what put you on the map in the first place. The E3 presentation during the announcement of price for the XB1 was almost silent expect for the Microsoft Employees in the far back. The guy on the stage looked like he was waiting for applause and when he didn't get it he moved on. What I really don't understand is how they could have missed the mark so badly when they have been working on this project for quite some time. The response to Adam Orth and #Dealwithit alone should have told them they needed to change their policies regarding online connection completely. Also on the installation to the hard drive, what is wrong with the model used in this generation? The disc has to be in the drive to play. That's simple, it works and you cannot play the game if someone is borrowing it. There was no need to over complicate the system. But everything is not all rosy in Sony Land. People have been banging on microsoft because of the Kinect, but completely miss the point that the PS4 will come with the new PS Eye. They haven't released much information about it at this point, but for the paranoids (like me :P) that could potentially be used as an orwellian surveillance device as well. Add to that they are now requiring a PSN subscription to play multiplayer which is painful for some people (although the rest of their items are not behind a paywall to use, so it's still the better box for things like Hulu and Netflix.) though this is minimal concern for the PS4 versus the XB1. As I have said several times, I'm not picking up either one at launch, have no reason to, but eventually I may pick up the PS4. As it stands, until Microsoft clears up all the murkiness regarding the XBox One or, more likely, backpedals on several of their decisions, I will not let that machine in my house. And for me, I can preorder either console at multiple locations. I don't see this day one preorder, so that must be sold out for both by this point.

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.