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WriterSteve avatar 4:19 AM on 01.06.2012  (server time)
Predictions: The Next Generation

An article has shown up on x360a announcing a rumour of a possible announcement of the rumoured new Xbox at this Summer's E3, along with the new Playstation and the Wii U.

"If true it will mark the first time in the consumer show's history that three brand new rival consoles will be under the same roof and so directly comparable."

I got me to thinking about what the next gen might offer in terms of improvements, and just how far graphics can really be taken. It's common knowledge that PCs are (and probably always will be) the frontrunners with regards to graphical capabilities, because they are fully customisable. Any console that is released will either match what PCs are capable of at that time, or slightly exceed them, until an inevitable upgrade is released that will allow PC users to once again out-perform the console gamers.

It seems like a losing battle.

Some might argue that console gaming is a much more accessable medium, and comes with the knowledge that any game you purchase will work, because it is specifically designed to do so, whereas a PC game may require additional expense in the form of improved hardware (Crysis being a prime example). But with the rate at which technology is advancing, is a console that remains 'stuck in time' really the way to go? Then again, how much has PC technology improved since the release of the current generation? Is the difference that vast?

This argument really only applies to Microsoft and Sony, given that Nintendo decided to focus on the family-friendly, party-based, hyphen-loving crowd rather than the 'hardcore' gamers. However, it's the 'hardcore' gamers that demand the best, and the best can't be provided when the console is incapable of improvement.

So we arrive at the point. How long will it be until what we consider a console starts becoming a PC? Hardware-wise, there's little difference. The only thing stopping a console from being considered a PC is the box it's sealed in and the restrictions placed upon it by the manufacturers. With every Xbox update, more and more 'apps' are being added that are considered exciting because they're on a console (YouTube etc.), but they're the same websites we've been visiting for years through our PCs and laptops.

I've been a console gamer for 20 years. I've owned PCs and laptops, but I've never been a PC gamer, because, for a long time, it seemed that the expense of purchasing and endlessly upgrading a decent gaming rig outweighed the number of games worth playing. Over time, however, my tastes have become refined enough to know that the games I want to play can be bought on either PC or console, and that with the modding community doing amazing things, PC seems like the better (and more fun) place to be at the moment.

With the next generation of console just around the corner, what can it possibly offer that a PC can't? Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to find out and I hope I'm pleasantly surprised, but I can't shake the feeling that the console as we know it today is a dying breed.

And it may not be a bad thing.


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