Sunday, 20 January 2013

Opinion: A bad year for new consoles! 4K & 8K on the way!

It's never a good time to release new technology.
Something is always around the corner to screw with your product roadmap and thats exactly why I think this'll be a bad year to release a games console.

Why? Well head on over to your favourite gadget website like Engadget, T3, The verge or whatever and search TV's. They are talking about 4K and 8K TV's.

New consoles coming this year would be looking at stable, reliable hardware thats readily available and heavily optimised. You can bet it'll be geared towards 1080p resolutions, thats OK for a good few years, maybe even 5. If though, Sony or whoever state the console is on a 10 year life-cycle then thats going to suck big time in the long run with 1080p. The Wii just about got away with it but they divided the market so people didn't consider them as much a competitor as something different. With Xbox and the Playstation, people want cutting edge graphics and are clear about that.

Personally I don't feel like current generation graphics are keeping with resolution increases in recent hardware. I'm typing this on a Retina MacBook Pro and although I love it, I don't have many games I can stick onto native resolution and whack up all the details on. To be fair this doesn't have a top end GPU but even if it did it'd sturggle with a lot of new released games on full settings. So 4k & 8k seem a bit of a pipe dream for a console right now.

One solutions... Thunderbolt.
Make the graphics upgradeable. It'd be an interesting move for a console manufacturer and it would be an awesome way to keep their console relevant going forward. Is it unreasonable? Microsoft did it with the DVD HD add on and although the format didn't take off people who bought it mostly liked it! The inclusion of USB gave them that option as well as Kinect!

I'm not aware of external graphics via USB3 so Thunderbolt seems logical to me.

Aside from the above I think the other technologies are mostly in place.

Blu-ray for the optical media.
USB3 (or thunderbolt) for wired devices.
2.4Ghz for wireless.
Gigabit Ethernet for cabled connections.
Optical / HDMI for sound.

It'd be insane for Microsoft to ignore optical media in my opinion. It's too early to ditch. Countries still have speed limitations in infrastructure / subscription policies and prices. Until this is globally not an issue they would be shooting them selves in the foot with a global product. Thats not to say online distribution isn't a force to be reckoned with. Look at XBOX live, Steam and Origin! There are also Onlive and Sony's gaming streaming service (I always forget the name of) although with OnLive's 2012 troubles that may also be a technology thats not quite ready.