Sony recently unveiled its next generation console, which has already taken on the moniker of PS4, to much excitement and applause from Sony fanboys and girls the world over. But both this author, as well as other Microsoft XBox aficionados, now wonder what this could mean for the next generation of XBox, which has been referred to as both 720 and Durango.
As both consoles will feature very similar hardware, the main point of contention has become the online experience of console gaming. It has long been rumored that the new XBox is strongly anticipated to run on a constant internet connection. ( www.geek.com/articles/games/xbox-720-will-require-an-internet-connection... ) This article also lays claim that the PS4 will be far easier for developers to work with due to developmental freedoms and licensing.
Sony and PlayStation have already verified that their new system will not require an online-only experience and will allow for its users to engage in offline play. ( kotaku.com/5985874/ps4-will-not-require-an-always+online-connection ) This admission by Sony has already been seen as a hint that Microsoft will be forced to follow suit for those gamers who choose to play offline, or simply have no internet connection available to access.
The real question in all of this, however, is one that the author has been pondering during the creation of this particular article. One that he is also sure other gamers must be thinking, as well. That question is, does the option to play offline or be tied to an internet connection hold any real relevance anymore in today's interconnected world? The vast majority of games already require some sort of online access for downloadable content, as well as the all-important patch factor that is necessary for developers to fix glitches post-release date. Those of us who have played through enough of Skyrim in its early days to experience equal parts of hilarity and frustration when trying to fight an airborne dragon who seems to have some form of digital epilepsy know all too well that patches are a requirement for today's games.
This question, as well as many others, will most likely be both addressed and answered in San Francisco, California later this month at the Games Developer Conference. This is expected to be where Microsoft will initially reveal its new console, nipping at the heels of Sony, who have already done so. ( http://www.techradar.com/us/news/gaming/consoles/ps4-vs-xbox-720-which-i... )
The GDC runs from March 25 to 29, and more information on the conference itself can be found at www.gdconf.com
Within the next few weeks, the console gaming world should know exactly which side they will choose to stand on. The only question that remains is how many, if any at all, will switch sides and abandon their time-tested and beloved platform for something altogether new and exciting in its own way? Or will it even matter? Only time will tell, but one thing remains certain. The future of console gaming seems to be getting only bigger and brighter!