The Next Gen – what will it take for you?

We are reaching the end of a long, hard fought journey, a campaign that has lasted nearly 7 years. So many great memories lay behind us. It is quite incredible thinking just how far these little consoles have come over the years and just how much things have changed.  As we stand at the breach wondering what will come next, it is probably a good idea to ask just what will it take for you to jump to a new console?

Let’s start with the once white knight, Microsoft. Some of you may remember when the original Xbox was announced it had its sights aimed directly at gamers. Titles like Halo, KOTOR, Rainbow Six and PGR2 showed a new way of doing things. The Xbox may not have made much of a dent into the sales that was the behemoth of the PS2 but it ignited a flame in many a gamer’s heart, it did something special, it took what the Dreamcast started and ran with it. We were able to sit on our couches and communicate with like-minded gamers from across the globe and enjoy games on a grand scale. It laid the ground work for the 360 many love today.

Strangely the switch to the 360 was more imposed on the user than any other I can remember. Microsoft ceased and desisted all operations with the old black box and pushed as hard as they could to get people onto the 360. It worked, and a star was born. Sure it’s gone through a lot of changes through the years, NXE, Kinect. It also survived something that would have probably killed a lesser company the RROD, but the 360 stands tall for many people as the quintessential console of this generation. I don’t blame them, the joy that machine has brought me over the years is unrivalled in nearly all the generations I have played.

Yet something changed. The once focused strategy of making games for gamers has gone; companies Microsoft bought to create a real foundation are absent, closed or worse been put on remedial work to chase a new dragon ‘The mass market’.

‘Services’ is the new buzzword along with cross synergy, transmedia bullshit when anything comes from Redmond.  I don’t understand nor do I want to. Free to play cash shops with rental services for TV, film and music? In game micro-transactions? Avatar hats? What the hell happened?

Back in 2001 I saw the spark from Microsoft that flame burned bright into the 360 but now…I don’t know.

I just want to play games

If the next Xbox really does follow this route I dare say I will not follow it, some may say the 3rd party will pick up the slack but if the head has no idea where it’s going…

Is anyone else feeling like this? Is it the same with the other 2? Will Sony be more humbled next time? Can we not discount Nintendo? Is it really the time for something new? Steambox? Android?

So what will it be? What will make you jump to the next gen?