Ever since the next PlayStation and Xbox were projected to come out in 2013, video gamers have been entangled in a massive web of speculation and rumor. At the center of this web, there have been rumors about graphics capability, physical media elimination and of course motion/touch controls. All of this wide-eyed optimism and conjecture, however, begs the question. Where are all the games? Game consoles are nothing if there isn’t anything to play. Everyone buys the pricey hardware for the love of one thing. Video games! In this current round of pre-release rumors, it is frustrating to be bombarded with specifications of the next gen consoles without purpose. Even though Sony is going to showcase something related their next console on Feb 20, there is a good chance that it won’t be a playable video game. Blockbuster titles for the next gen look barren so far. If Microsoft or Sony wants to secure an early victory in this round, they had better bring out the games. And soon.
Meanwhile, Sony also has key franchises making their mark in the coming months as well. They have God of War: Ascension due in Mar while their triple A title, the Last of Us is being released June 14. This poses an interesting dilemma. Naughty Dog, a key first-party developer, is tied down developing and finishing up a major title smack dab in the middle of the year. Given that, it is unlikely that Naughty Dog will have a next gen Uncharted title or (one can only hope) a Jak and Daxter game up and running on the PS4.
With these exclusive titles having been released or being released so soon. Opportunities to create a buzz in the community might have been squandered. Despite ensuring that current owners are not being displaced in favor of sparkly new tech. There is nothing like having a bonafide, day one purchase, that has been brewing in gamers minds when they think of the future. Not having a Halo or Uncharted game emblazoned on billboards or internet space doesn’t help either company’s cause. But there are still possible avenues to explore and expand upon.
All rumors point towards Sony ensuring that they will release their console before or just after the next Xbox. With the Wii U launch settled in and interest piqued in the next hardware. Now would be the perfect time to launch a campaign of teaser game trailers, graphics screenshots and a solid list of titles planned. Sony has excellent first-party support on their side and Sucker Punch has been fairly quiet as of late. If an Infamous game were to be announced or shown in the precious coming months, Sony would stand to gain quite a bit of momentum.
Microsoft has a strong following and a key strategy of securing downloadable content before the other platforms receive access. The next Xbox has a strong ecosystem to build upon and selling the idea that their network is the one to play on when the next Call of Duty releases is going to be a boon for Microsoft. While first-party title speculation is sparse, a possibility of Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios announcing a new Fable game will put some wind into Microsoft’s sails. Even if the allure of Xbox Live draws potential buyers in, they still need the games to seal the deal.
If gamers bought systems for the potential of their hardware, the Atari Jaguar and 3DO (pricing aside) would have been more successful. But as it is, video games drive the market and those two systems provide cautionary tales. While Sony and Microsoft will definitely not fall into that category, there still remains a lot of work to be done. Especially if they want gamers to move from the PS3 and Xbox 360 to the next consoles. So while new hardware goodies excite the electronics community, gamers aren’t necessarily in the same camp with them. It’s all about the games and the experiences. E3 2013 is going to shed light on all of the mystery surrounding the hardware and games. However, if Sony and Microsoft remain silent about their games until then, they are missing out on a valuable opportunity. Show the gamers the goods, and the gamers will follow.