We've been told by Microsoft themselves in 2010 that when it comes to the 360 that "we've got at least another five years of this generation where we continue to offer great experiences for people.” But there are rumours circulating already that we might be seeing the next iteration of the popular console by the end of next year. To me this raises one basic but important question: why?
I already covered the possibility of a really long current console cycle, but just this week there’s been something churned out of the rumour mill: aside from having to take this with a grain of salt, I’m also questioning that if this is true, then what happened to the previously well laid plans on behalf of the company itself.
In a way it might not come as too much of a shock; the bluster of a game company claiming that their console will last decades, but Microsoft and Sony have to this point seemed rather genuine about wanting this kind of longevity out of their technology. So if these rumours are true, then what exactly has changed Microsoft's mind about all of this.
It could be that with Sony making up the previously very large gap between the Playstation 3 and 360. More likely still is that Nintendo releasing the WiiU so early is having an impact. Nintendo is already top dog this generation -- which of course isn't to say that they don't have their share of problems but that's another thing entirely -- and releasing early does give them an edge on the competition in terms of gathering a userbase for their new product. At the same time though, to me if Microsoft really is pushing this idea for their next console forward so much earlier than previously intended it simply seems like a bad move.
Microsoft seems to me at least to be in a very comfortable position at the moment: the 360 is a console that is not going to suffer a lack of support or AAA titles for the foreseeable future, so to leap so quickly to the next generation because it seems like a bold thing to do sounds more like a risky decision than a sound one in my books.
The rumours say that "They're going the Apple route where they want this thing to integrate very tightly with Windows 8 and Windows Phone, which is a problem with the current Xbox." But wouldn't it be possible to at least attempt to integrate the 360 with these technologies? Certainly it might be easier to get the connectivity when building a product from the ground up, but it's not always the best solution either.
At any rate, I figured that it would be nice to end with something on the lighter side this week, because next week I plan to take a hard look at some of the things that have been bothering me lately. Basically, I've already pretty much made it known that I'm not the biggest fan of Zynga and their style of "games" for Facebook, but next week I plan to talk about whether this style of gaming might be a threat to the future of gaming in general, and also get a little into my personal feelings about what makes games worth or not worth playing, and what deserves to be called a game in and of itself. I'm hoping that it will be an enlightening week, or at the very least an entertaining one.