So, the three proverbial cats are now long out of the bag, the E3 being over a good while ago. There’s ample linkage to information about the next generation consoles at the usual suspects, and the newest magazines provide facts as well.
And while each and every one of the new consoles seems to have its saving graces, it’s ultimately the games that decide the future. And the game may be over quite rapidly, as the first wave of release games is bound to be buggy, expensive, technically inadequate and ultimately disappointing – if the previous big roll-outs are any indication. The snazzy graphics will suffice for a while, but soon or even much sooner, the shallow nature of the initial bunch will be apparent.
And in that respect, it’s the backwards compatibility that can make or break a console (unless a miracoulous truly kick-ass launch game is discovered somewhere).
Nintendo Revolution seems to hold the lead in this category.
With the long tail of the company’s sizable ludography, this product has immediate access to countless classics from day one. Distribution mechanisms and prices are, of course, still up in the air, but the potential is very much present.
A good number two is Sony Playstation 3. With backwards compatibility to PS2 (and supposedly the original Playstation as well). But unless some on-line mechanism for purchasing ancient games is launched to mimic Nintendo’s, the forgotten classics will remain so.
Microsoft Xbox360 remains firmly in the last place.
Switching CPU architectures (x86 to PPC) does not bode well for backward compatibility. And the company has been wisely silent of the topic. Perhaps they’re just counting on the newest instances of the Halo and Gotham Racing franchises being available just in time.
Of course, the preceding list is nothing but hype, based on more hype. But it at least looks beyond the looming big-hair era of games. And it is indeed pleasant to note that a mainfesto about bad things in games has been drafted. Unfortunately, the odds given for the elimination of the listed annoyances with the inbound seventh generation are not promising at all. Nintendo, again, seems to have a mesage about its consoles being reachable by small teams, even individual coders, rather than the blockbuster-class budgets demanded by modern games. After all, I’d much rather have a new Tetris, than sixteen indistinguishably photorealistic firstperson-shooters.
Me? Plans to purchase any? Wait and see, definitely. But it’ll be a while before the actual tide rolls in.