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

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
PS4, Xbox One Help Amazon to

PS4, Xbox One Help Amazon to Its Biggest Pre-Order Week Ever: http://www.gamespot.com/news/xbox-one-ps4-help-amazon-post-biggest-preor...

n/a
Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Gaming is Alive!

Bill Loguidice wrote:
PS4, Xbox One Help Amazon to Its Biggest Pre-Order Week Ever: http://www.gamespot.com/news/xbox-one-ps4-help-amazon-post-biggest-preorder-week-ever-6410555

Very cool!

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
good news

Bill Loguidice wrote:
PS4, Xbox One Help Amazon to Its Biggest Pre-Order Week Ever: http://www.gamespot.com/news/xbox-one-ps4-help-amazon-post-biggest-preorder-week-ever-6410555

the demise of consoles may yet be a few more generations away, take that tablet /phone!!!! heheh I must say it is good to see. I wonder where it all lands, number wise with past consoles big picture ( not just amazon).

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sony reportedly nixed PS4 Eye bundle at 11th hour to cut price

I wouldn't be surprised if this were true because we all heard the same rumors of it being included: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10797_3-57591231-235/sony-reportedly-nixed-ps4...

It's a pity that it's not, because it may very well mean less support.

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
I just read that google is

I just read that google is doing its own ouya and pebble!

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
More are coming, too!

Matt Barton wrote:
I just read that google is doing its own ouya and pebble!

Frankly, they need to do a Nexus-like standard for Android consoles and watches, so this is a good move. They should do the same for Google TV.

I don't think Apple will be far behind either with some type of game console (maybe in the next version of Apple TV) or big push behind their controller support added into iOS 7. Same with the watch thing. Interesting times...

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Xbox One Unboxing (text and video)

I know the look of the console has been criticized, but I kind of like the consistent design language that even extends to the cables!: http://news.xbox.com/2013/08/xbox-one-unboxing

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
funny part is i have a old

funny part is i have a old Sony DVD player (very old) that looks almost like it.. maybe 1/2 inch shorter totally smooth on one side (clock, countdown ,etc) and a silver slot on other. the sony logo is even right where the MS logo is.. have to take a picture of it. The slot does not extend to the edge like that, and there is a eject button where the xbox has he edge slot and power button above it.. a door opens below the drive for all the buttons. It was the first DVD player i bought at Best Buy (like $300!!!).

I must admit its a very entertainment center friendly look, it will fit right in.. I hated the white xbox with is curved front.. still better then the phat ps3, or the slim. i hate that curved top. One thing i did like about eh old 360, the replaceable fronts.. something not really used.. but i think they need to makeit so you can change the console color.. why cant they sell white, black, red, green, blue, etc.. the basic colors.. I cant see it being a huge financial burden.. I can see a bunch of Yellow ones sitting.. but they should be able to judge that a bit and not get stuck with old stock to often.

I do agree.. the square simple design is just good looking, at least compared to the angled from of the sony.. curved top, angled front.. they used to do such clean nice designes.. (both ps2's where nice)..

xbox one is better looking this gen,, but it is quite a bit bigger, i do like smaller too.

edit-I tired to find a pic of it on net (as im at work).. wow.. didn't know there was so much silliness about the new Xbox look.. not even worth discussing in those terms.. and now i feel bad i mentioned my dvd player.. like i was dissing it.. I wasn't. I like the look, really do. its gooing to look just fine with my stereo and such..

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

clok1966 wrote:

edit-I tired to find a pic of it on net (as im at work).. wow.. didn't know there was so much silliness about the new Xbox look.. not even worth discussing in those terms.. and now i feel bad i mentioned my dvd player.. like i was dissing it.. I wasn't. I like the look, really do. its gooing to look just fine with my stereo and such..

Yeah, lots of tiresome comparisons to VCRs. It doesn't immediately scream "sexy" like some electronics, but I don't think the comparisons are fair. Certainly the unboxing showed it was smaller than previously suspected and certainly nicer looking "in person." It might just have to be one of those things that people will have to see in person appreciate. The look of the PS4 was NOT criticized of course, but to me, there are more similarities between the look of the two than differences. Odd, but MS has not been on a PR roll to be sure, while Sony has been virtually unscathed. I for one am loving the intense pre-release competition between the two, because it sure as hell is making both of them improve their launches dramatically. Maybe that type of intense pre-release competition was something that the Wii U needed, and didn't get, to make it better received...

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Excellent news on features

Excellent news on features thought lost. | Xbox Live's Major Nelson » Xbox One: Sharing Digital Games and Gold : http://bit.ly/1ckeFyO

n/a

Comment viewing options

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