How The Newest Console Wars Shape Up

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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How The Newest Console Wars Shape Up

Now that all the pieces of the next generation console wars are in place, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at the overall market and make for a comparison of the various players in the field. Each one has some distinct advantages, as well as some fairly substantial challenges, which is going to make this particular go-round of the console wars especially interesting.

Of course, we need to consider the Wii U, as it's Nintendo's entry in the field. Though significantly behind its competitors in terms of overall technical capability--some were comparing its graphic output to that of the xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3--but it's also got its own line of very recognizable characters and a highly unusual control scheme. It's also got about a year's head start on the rest of the competition--especially since the Sony and Microsoft systems likely won't hit stores much ahead of the holiday shopping season, but it hasn't made a lot of headway with that year thanks to some issues in terms of getting the games to market.

The PlayStation 4, meanwhile, seems to have at least somewhat learned from previous issues. The system will be coming out at about the same time as the Xbox One will, and with both a fairly decent lineup of launch titles. Tech-wise, the PlayStation 4 looks to have at least a few advantages over its rival, and looks to offer some gaming connectivity with Gaikai streaming. It's a decent overall package, and it's offering one more valuable bonus in the form of assurance that used games will be well taken care of here.

The Xbox One, meanwhile, may be a little short on the power department compared against the PlayStation 4, but there are indications that Microsoft is planning to use the available power in some compelling ways. The voice control systems, the expanded Kinect system, the connection to Windows and the wide array of video content that will be coming in make the Xbox a complete ecosystem in and of itself. However, gamers are no doubt concerned about Microsoft's less than comforting responses in terms of used games.

The good news is that the overall market looks pretty sharp. Competition will likely be brisk between Sony and Microsoft, much as it was last generation, though Nintendo is likely to have a tougher time of things unless it can shore up the game counts and get the software to its user base at a much better clip than it has for the last several months. There are, however, several points that are as yet left unclear ahead of the fray. Neither Sony nor Microsoft has detailed pricing on their respective devices, and if there's a significant difference that may sway some potential owners one way or another. Additionally, there's the issue of Microsoft's potential plan to require payment for activating used games. The exact details on this plan have yet to come about, and they'll likely have something to say about the ultimate status of the market.

In the end, there really isn't a clear winner as yet, and won't be for some time. If Microsoft doesn't offer the right experience, if Nintendo can't get the games in play, if Sony can't offer a sound experience for the whole living room, then any one of them may falter. Only time will truly tell who will come out on top, but from this point, it looks like the console wars are ultimately anyone's to lose.

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