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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Video game console war building out, not reaching up

Gamasutra's Kris Graft has written an interesting piece about the changing face of the multi-billion dollar video game console industry... and why it's no longer about building "the next big thing" and rushing it into production. Blame Nintendo's Wii for the revolution: motion control has become the biggest innovation for video gaming, and now Microsoft and Sony are working on entering the foray with Project Natal and Sony's planned motion-based controller. But rather than waiting for the next generation of consoles, these features are being implemented into the already-existing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And that's a good thing for everyone concerned...
...for Sony and Microsoft, motion controllers are their next-gen consoles. And it's a damn sight easier than launching Xbox 720 or PS4. They can debut these peripherals without needing to engineer completely new boxes for consumers, potentially bundle them over time, and they have a much better chance at getting exclusive games, thanks to the specificity of the hardware (something that's happened a lot for the Wii). Thus, both hardware manufacturers and publishers like EA see these controllers sparking new interest in Xbox 360 and PS3, which will delay the next dreaded console transition for another few years.
It also means that we won't have to be dreading the adoption of a next-gen console anytime soon... so that'll save some coin in the short term :-)