Posts Tagged ‘Phil Spencer’

Will Nintendo rule the world?

Next Generation consoles..

While we have a pretty good idea about what the Wii U is and what Nintendo’s strategy is going to be, details about Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles have been very limited. However, based on comments made by these companies, I believe that the next generation of gaming will feature three very different consoles with separate strategies and functionalities.

Now one could say the same thing about this generation to a certain extent. Microsoft has focused on strong online play and multimedia functionality; Sony has released lots first-party exclusives and focused on being the “gamer’s system” with services like PlayStation Plus; and Nintendo has achieved great success by reaching a huge audience with innovative new motion controls and a cheap price tag while sacrificing HD graphics and some of its hardcore audience.

However, I would argue that the PS3 and Xbox 360 are fundamentally similar consoles, thus why so many games were released on both platforms. Both are HD systems with traditional controllers, robust online functions, and are both focused on giant AAA games, especially shooters. Nintendo’s decision to revolutionize how we play games while remaining in SD separated it from the other systems.It’s already apparent that the Wii U will also be unique in its controls and graphical fidelity, but I think people might be surprised by how different the Xbox 720 and PS4 could be.

In an interview with IGN during E3 2012, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer couldn’t talk directly about Microsoft’s future plans. However, when asked about what they have up their sleeve for the next-generation, Spencer gave some hints of what’s to come.

“We really start looking at the Xbox as an entertainment product, plugged into the biggest screen in your house, the TV, and a unique display surface in the TV. That’s why I try to focus on SmartGlass, trying to light up other things that are happening in the house, because we understand that it’s a connected-device ecosystem.

It’s a little bit like Kinect when it came out. We got Dance Central 3, the kind of game that didn’t even really exist before Kinect came around. I think now we look at SmartGlass and these other opportunities, and I think the kind of entertainment that we’re building will continue to push forward, multiple devices and opportunities to play anywhere, asynchronous multiplayer gameplay. We’re trying to come up with new terms for these connected experiences. I think you’re going to see just a ton of growth.”

Based on this quote as well as Microsoft’s recent trends, it would appear that the next Xbox will continue to emphasize multimedia connectivity like Netflix, ESPN, and Internet Explorer while connecting with other devices through technology like SmartGlass. Maybe it will even come bundled with some kind of Kinect 2.0 that uses more accurate motion and voice controls to help you navigate the menus and play games.

IGN’s Colin Campbell mentions the likelihood of “new models for buying and playing games and priced, at least as an option, on a smart-phone subscription model, with a low entry price and further payments over a couple years”. This seems like a good possibility given Microsoft’s strategy of selling a 360 for $100 along with a two-year contract for Xbox Live. While they don’t seem to be in any hurry to move to the next generation, we have seen pictures of alleged 720 dev kits and know that some developers have them, so it can’t be too far away. A late 2013 launch time seems likely, but Microsoft could wait until 2014 for launch and announce it at the next E3.

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