With a Wii U that’s only slightly better than current generation consoles (and bogged down by its gimmicks, on top of that), the potential of next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft is still filling the media with buzz. What will the graphics look like? Which engines will run best? What kind of processing power will be backing the next-generation? Since the Wii U is already showing what kind of controls and integration will be possible in the next generation, gamers can only wonder what the other two major companies have to offer. While the next generation will bring plenty of innovation with it, there is one bad thing about it. It’s overdue—well overdue—and game developers are the ones taking a huge hit because of it.
Development costs are expensive compared to PC and phone applications, and with mobile phones and tablets getting more and more impressive graphics and specs, development costs are a major factor when developing a game. On top of that, PS3 developers have stacks of coding manuals and instructions that they have to sift through before they even consider developing for it. While XBLA and the PS Vita partially assuaged the initial commitment to developing for larger launches, the next generation could be even more simple when it comes to development (and hopefully cheaper, too).
But development costs aren’t the only things bothering developers. Developers have already mentioned that they have met several limitations with the current generation—an easy one to spot is the disc capacity of the XBOX 360, but several other limitations abound. The 720p limitation of the PS3 and the inability for the XBOX to run 3D at all are major hurdles for developers interested in 3D development. Since Microsoft and Sony are focusing on their peripheral hardware, games which do not feature some kind of Kinect or PS Move features are less likely to be accepted by the large publishers. Th
By now, most major developers have voiced optimistic hopes for the next generation. Some larger companies such as EA have even stopped developing new IPs for older consoles, unwilling to risk launching a new concept on a dying console. All of them want to develop for the next generation not necessarily because it will have better technology, but because they don’t want to waste development costs and time on a game that might end up switching consoles in the last half of development. Along with that, the number of new customers becomes lower with each game as fewer and fewer people buy consoles. At this stage of the generation, anyone who wants a console probably has it already.
The next generation will define how games are experienced for decades to come. With the rise of tablet computers and smartphones, consoles have some unlikely competitors for time and money—and whether they can hold their own next generation remains to be seen. This is something that has developers worried, and the relatively slow holiday season reflects this. Whether the next generation brings amazing leaps in graphics or not, hopefully the Wii U’s launch really does harken the next generation. That way, developers can finally have some new tools to use.