The next-generation of consoles is certainly getting a lot of attention and rumors directed at it, but there is still quite a bit of time before its release. Although the Wii U has a release target of holiday season 2012, its capabilities can barely be called next-generation, and will likely be outclassed by Microsoft and Sony’s new consoles. Since we haven’t even seen a preview of the PS4 or XBOX720 (whatever they decide to name them), the current generation still has a few years on it. And you know what? Developers and gamers can still get a lot out of the current generation.
Despite some supposed insider interviews, most developers are still investing in the current generation—or at least devoting a significant chunk of their teams to making games on current-gen consoles. There is a plethora of new IPs under development, and many of them look impressive enough to appear like next-generation games (or at least compete with the quality of the Wii U). High-profile sequels and spin-offs are also getting developed, even by companies who have developed next-generation engines. Next month’s Assassin’s Creed III is an obvious example, but the rumored FFXV game would also be an interesting addition to the last few years of this generation.
The sales of all consoles are still going relatively strong, which indicates that gamers are still interested in buying games for their consoles. Normally you would expect a drop-off in sales before the next generation, but the timed price drops have kept the systems selling steadily. There are still plenty of multiplatform releases, which shows that developers also have faith in this generation of gaming, even with next generation prototypes available to them.
While it’s true that increasing the limits of what hardware can do will bring an awesome leap to processing power and graphics, this generation still has plenty of unused potential. Games like Heavy Rain, Two Souls, and Watch Dogs all show that there’s lots of potential that developers can still manage. Watch Dogs is especially impressive because it is a multiplatform game—meaning it’s been highly optimized for both Microsoft and Sony’s platforms, and both still have the potential to push out new and groundbreaking games.
It’s exciting to see the next-generation previews and rumors circulating on game networks and news sites, but there is still a lot of untapped potential and usefulness in the current generations. Since the next generation consoles of Sony and Microsoft are still a year or two away, it’s not time to start selling off your collection or consoles. Even if the next generation was to release early—for the sake of the example, let’s say all three consoles release Holiday 2012—there would still be games releasing for older platforms years into the next generation, either through XBLA, PSN, or as high-profile games. The leap into the next generation will be a difficult one for developers and gamers alike, especially since this generation still has plenty of ways to offer new and impressive games.