The Great Console Divide and the Conundrum of Mid-Generation Upgrades
It appears we are on the precipice of a new console generation again. With the half upgrades that are the PlayStation NEO and the Xbox One S it’s clear that even though this has been one of the most profitable generations, the big three have their eyes set on the next slice of cake. We know that the NX is due to launch sometime in early 2017, and while we still have no real idea what it is we can assume it is the successor to the commercial failure that was the Wii U. With The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild coming to both systems at the same time one can guess that it will be either a launch title or a game that comes out mere months after the NX hits store shelves. This is of course is in Nintendo’s best interest from a marketing stand point. Nintendo doesn’t want the stigma the Wii U had of, “Its got no games” That even now four years into its life still burdens it.
Then we have Microsoft and Project Scorpio, the next evolution to the Xbox One, and according to Xbox head Phil Spencer will be compatible with all Xbox One software. There is very little in terms of specs for the Scorpio that Xbox let loose. The now almost meme statement of six Teraflops and according to speculation over at Digital Foundry 12 gigs of ram. Phil has stated with some certainty it will be the most powerful console to date. Which leaves a serious question, will Sony also throw out a new vastly improved PlayStation 4? The upgrade known as the NEO will be similar to the Xbox One S in terms of focus on 4K gaming and improved performance overall, so should Sony also devote time and resources to making a competitor for the Scorpio?
I for one think that either option truly poses a huge risk to Sony. If they do make a new console–lets call it the PlayStation Capricorn for the argument–consumers who are still buying the PS4 in droves could create a massive backlash against Sony, even greater than the anger that arose from the NEO announcement. This could lead to a loss in game sales or possibly fewer exclusives, because no one wants to be associated with an “anti-consumer” console (see the Xbox One after the no used games and always online debacle,) and most importantly an overall damage to its image as a company.
Losing money happens to gaming companies all the time. However losing reputation, losing consumer trust, that is irreplaceable and in the long term more damning then a slight wallet hit. Clearly Sony should not move forward with the Capricorn right? Well that’s another problem see, people are interested and excited by Scorpio, at least for now. If the consumer base wants more power and companies develop games with that tech in mind, you don’t want to be left behind. If your system can’t run the newest Call Of Duty, or Battlefield like the other system can, people won’t want to spend money making another lower quality version for old hardware. People will see the other system is the way to go for 3rd party content and better performance and again it could stain your reputation as a company.
So, right now we face a “Great Console Divide” as I am calling it. The newest tech that might only be slightly more powerful than the current, the feelings consumers have towards another new upgrade this quickly, and the overall cost are all things Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo need to be wary of. I for one am alright with upgrading my PS4 to a NEO for VR. Xbox One S seems like a solid idea for Microsoft considering the deficit it has to Sony right now, and everyone just wants to know what in the hell the NX is.
What are your thoughts on all these “upgrades”? Are you excited, mad, sad, or something else entirely? Let me know in the comments because I for one would love to see what you the customer wants and from that maybe we can figure out this half/new generation thing we have going on.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”