The Next Step for Console Gaming?
Video games have become one of the biggest forms of entertainment in history, whether its mobile gaming on the go, putting hours into a fully realistic RPG, or simply online slots with friends, you’ll find a console in almost every home or pocket in the 21st century. In 1972, the infamous Pong was released and would go on to change the face of entertainment and computing forever. Since its release, well over a billion games consoles have been sold across the globe. Although the initial wave of retro consoles like the Atari and the NES will always hold a nostalgia factor in gamer’s hearts, the technological advancements of the last decade have been phenomenal. Within the same fortnight in November 2013, the eighth generation of consoles began, with the release of the Xbox One and PS4 completely changing the game forever. Although both consoles have passionate fans on either side of the fence, Sony completely outsold Microsoft, with sales to date of 53 million, compared to the Xbox’s estimated 20 million.
The concept of VR has slowly been creeping into reality over the last 18 months, with the initial murmurings of the Oculus Rift and it’s eventually incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $2.5 million dollars to put the product into production. Sony became the first console manufacturer to fully embrace virtual reality with the PlayStation VR, but the capabilities are still limited. Currently, PlayStation VR runs at a lower resolution than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but, as it stands, even its current incarnation pushes the original PS4 beyond its limits. Microsoft and Oculus partnered together to include the current Official Xbox One controller in every box with the Rift, so it’s unlikely that Microsoft with release their own VR anytime soon.
In 2016, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio to much fanfare from the community. Advertised as the most powerful console ever, featuring 6 Teraflops of graphical processing power, true 4K gaming and full compatibility with Xbox One games and accessories meaning that buyers don’t have to kiss goodbye to their current game library, or spend additional money on peripherals and accessories. One of the issues with the Scorpio right now seems to be the branding, as the current generation of Xbox currently has three units under its umbrella vying for buyer’s attention. The original Xbox One, the Xbox One S, which is a slim line version of the original capable of 4K, and the upcoming Scorpio, which Microsoft have said isn’t the sequel to the Xbox. The PlayStation has a similar issue, with the original PS4, the newly released slimmer PS4, and the PS4 Pro.
It’s not just home consoles that are making waves right now, as Nintendo are launching the Switch on March 3rd. Nintendo have always been the market leaders when it comes to handheld consoles, and again, they’re changing the game with the Switch, as it can be used as a home console plugged in to a screen akin to its predecessor, but if you want to leave the house and don’t feel like finishing your game, simply unplug and continue playing, as the console has both its own 6.2 inch screen and a set of its own controllers called the Joy-Con. Classic Nintendo titles such as Mario and Zelda will have releases on the new console, alongside unexpected releases such as Bethesda Softworks Skyrim, which is a first for a game of that sheer scale to be released on a handheld console.
With the competition getting stronger daily, the 21st century is proving there’s never been a better time to be a video game lover, or a more challenging time to be a video game developer.
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