- This generation of consoles has barely got going, with the price war not really having even begun, and no sign of a winner yet being called (although the Wii is clearly the frontrunner). But, the next generation of consoles could be on their way sooner than we all think. The only question remains: who will actually be involved?
Actually I lied, the other question is when will the next-gen consoles actually arrive on the scene. We've spoken about this before, with 2010 being the earliest date mentioned in terms of when a new console could emerge from one of the big three, More likely given the state of the industry (healthy console sales but all three platforms still viable) is 2011 or 2012.
Nintendo is guaranteed to be in there. The Wii and DS have made the company so much money that it is likely to want to throw money at a new development in an effort to repeat the phenomenal success of this generation's offerings.
Whether the Wii 2 is just a souped up version of the Wii or another evolution in game controls remains to be seen. However Nintendo decide to play it, I think the successor to the Wii will be the first out of the door.
Sony too is very likely to be involved. Sure, the Playstation 3 has cost the company a shed load of money to come to market, and it'll take years (if ever) for the PS3 to earn back the money that Sony has invested in it, but that is unlikely to put the company off.
It's much more likely that the experience of the PS3 will mean Sony just scales back its ambitious plans and builds a console less graphically or processing heavy. In fact, the PS4 is likely to be based around the PS3 but offering new experiences and new gaming possibilities to help it compete with the Nintendo bandwagon.
So we come to Microsoft. According to Seeking Alpha
, the successor to the Xbox 360 is already being worked on under the codename 'Phoenix'. If this is true then it clearly shows that Microsoft understands how much the Xbox 360 has underperformed. For those not au fait with mythical beasts, the phoenix is a bird that rather than die, sets itself on fire and then re-emerges anew from the ashes.
I do think that Microsoft will "play again" and release a follow-up to the Xbox 360. But, where is it going to focus its attention? If the Wii has the innovation and casual gaming sectors sewn up, and Sony has the hardcore tech-savvy market to itself, Microsoft is going to either have to straddle to two or forge its own path.
All three hardware developers will now be drawing up their plans for the next generation, but we don't yet know when the next battle will take place, or who will be competing. Only time will tell.