Sony is widely expected to confirm the PlayStation 4 release date in just a couple of weeks and Microsoft’s Xbox 720 is apparently earmarked for a fall launch. Or to put it another way, this year is going to be one of the most exciting in history for console gamers.
However, pure gaming as it has come to be known may to some degree be coming to an end, as consumers and manufacturers alike continue the swing toward all-encompassing home entertainment and away from gaming-only consoles.
Microsoft’s Xbox is a testament to the way in which the market has shifted over recent years. Upon its launch over a decade ago, most pretty much ruled-out the likelihood of the Xbox having any chance whatsoever of standing up to the might of the PlayStation, which by in large seemed to be the case in the early days at least. However, interest in the Xbox grew at a steady pace and the Xbox 360 came along to take the torch in spectacular style, having now chalked up no less than 76 million sales to date.
The not-so secret secret behind the success of the Xbox is undoubtedly the combination of Kinect and Xbox Live – both of which took the appeal of the console far beyond pure gaming and deep into full-scale home entertainment. Both Kinect and Live are expected to be enriched and enhanced to a spectacular extent when the Xbox 720 rolls around, which according to some will include a new feature whereby games can be projected onto walls for the most immersive experience in gaming history.
What all of the above amounts to a situation whereby the one rank underdog has become the front runner for the new-generation console wars and it is in fact the PlayStation 4 that’s facing a rather steep and sizeable mountain to climb.
Sadly however, it would appear that there’s little to no room left for the Nintendo Wii U, which even at such an early stage in its life is beginning to look somewhat outdated when compared to this year’s biggest releases.