Choices We Make Now And The Impact They Will Have Next Generation

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the next generation of gaming consoles, I still think we’re probably a couple of years away from seeing anything from Microsoft or Sony and I look at the Wii U more as Wii HD (something that is long overdue in my opinion). So when I was thinking about what the next generation of consoles might have to offer I began going back to when this current generation was kicking off, all the hype, promises and expectations. While I was looking back, I noticed that we had quite a few different things that were promised but ultimately were left unfulfilled. This isn’t really so much about that though, it’s more about how during this console generation we were told in some ways what to like and how the choices we make this generation might affect us in the upcoming console generation.

Buying HD remakes and game collections

This should be obvious, I think we’re all guilty of picking up at least one HD remake. I have always been against these for the most part, though I did purchase the God Of War collection and I have my copy of Halo CE Anniversary already on reserve. This is a clear way for companies to make money by simply remastering old titles in high-definition, though some go beyond that and actually remake the game with a new engine, like the aforementioned Halo Anniversary. There seems to be a new HD collection announced every other week and the people continually open their wallets to purchase these dated, yet updated games. The effect is going to be that we probably wont see backwards compatibility in any form next generation, the big companies are going to see dollar signs and they already know we’ll fork over the cash for remakes. So how long into the next generation before we start seeing remakes of current generation games? Maybe they will have games like Halo 3 and God Of War 3 in full native 1080p and that would be all the hook they’d need to draw in hundreds of thousands of customers. Another often overlooked negative effect would be that companies are going to be more willing to sink money into remastering older games instead of investing in and making new and inventive IP’s.

Buying motion controlled devices

This could be a good or a bad thing, I think it depends on which side of the fence you are standing. I personally enjoy motion controls on a limited basis, I wont ever want to give up my standard controller, but I do enjoy using all the devices available at the moment in moderation. Now the potential downside to supporting motion controls now is that we might start seeing less and less games that support the standard controller, which is a very bad thing in my opinion. Another potential drawback is that the next batch of consoles that launch might have these devices built in and or bundled with the consoles, which isn’t a bad thing by itself, but if it drives the cost of the consoles up, I think we the consumers would end up the losers. I would match rather have a smaller cost up front for the next generation of consoles.

Buying Season passes, DLC content

This is a given, it’s almost like fast food, we know it’s bad for us and yet we continue to buy it. I can remember a time when DLC was free and it was just a little something extra developers gave us to enjoy. Those days are long gone, and when you take into account that eighteen million people purchased Call Of Duty Black Ops map packs, you tend to understand why DLC isn’t going away anytime soon. The newest trend is the “Season Pass” which is a flat rate fee that allows you to have access to all of the future DLC for any given game, usually this comes at some sort of a discount however. The negative effect from this should be pretty obvious, were starting to see games combined with DLC price reach almost double the standard retail price of the game itself. Not only is the price an issue, but were seeing content that is already on the games disk release as DLC. The whole point of DLC is to get added content that IS NOT on the disk already. So this is definitely a new and disturbing trend, yet we as consumers seem to be apathetic towards this horrendous business practice.

Buying digital download games

This one could go either way, I personally am a huge fan of physical media. I still buy CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s and pretty much every other kind of physical media available, actually I have a nice collection of vinyl albums, you haven’t heard the White Album by The Beatles until you’ve heard it on vinyl. Anyway, the point is I like physical media, but you can’t dismiss the fact that downloadable arcade titles sell very well and things like Microsoft’s “Games On Demand” let you download full retail games. There are some drawbacks to this of course, my internet isn’t really capable of downloading things very fast, I also have a limit on how much I can download per month, which means if consoles ever went strictly digital download, I’d have to pretty much give up gaming. Another drawback is that with more digital content being made available, the next batch of gaming consoles is going to have to have some massive storage devices included. The negative to that is that it will drive up the costs for us. I mean right now I have a 250 gig HDD in my Xbox 360 and I still have 150 gigs of open space, I don’t really want to pay for something I’m not going to use. I actually don’t think we’ll get digital download only anytime soon, mostly because of the lack of quality internet and for the fact that not everyone who buys and plays consoles does so with an internet connection. Still the threat is there, obviously companies will be able to cut out the middle man and cut costs on production as well, so I would expect a steady increase in digital download options.

At the end of the day, some of these worries might not be worries for everyone. That being said, I don’t know anyone who actually likes to waste money and I fear that when the next generation of consoles comes out we might actually be wishing for the days when we heard $599 US dollars.

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