The 8th generation of gaming consoles started in 2012 with the release of the Wii U, Nintendo's latest console. Sony's PS4 console will be released at the end of 2013 while Microsoft's latest Xbox console is expected around the same time. After all 3 consoles are released, the 8th generation console race will begin. Will this generation be similar to the 7th generation? It's possible.
The 7th generation started in 2005 with Microsoft's Xbox 360. Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii were both released in late 2006. Out of all 3 consoles, the Wii completely dominated the competition. With it's innovative gameplay, nearly every living room had a Wii. Since the Wii won the 7th generation console race, could Nintendo win 2 generations in a row? It's absolutely possible. To make a reasonable prediction, we have to look at the last generation for some clues:
1. Power isn't everything
The Xbox 360 and PS3 were much more powerful than the Wii, but this wasn't a dealbreaker for consumers. Wii offered a completely new way to play games and that's what people cared about. Graphics were slightly inferior, but the experience was unlike anything else. Nintendo's choice to cut down on processing power proved to be a genius idea as they made an enormous profit off of the Wii. Timeless gameplay will win this generation. The Wii U is much more powerful than 7th generation consoles, but the PS4 and Xbox 720 will have more power in this generation. If Nintendo can continue to provide quality gaming experiences in this generation, they'll be on the right track.
2. Pricing is important
Another reason the Wii won the 7th generation was that it was priced much lower than other consoles. During Christmas of 2007, the Wii was the most affordable option and ended up being it's most successful year. Right now, the Wii U seems slightly pricey, but when PS4 and Xbox 720 come out, the Wii U will end up being the most affordable option once again. There's no planned price drop for the Wii U, but it's likely to get a small drop far before 2015. If Nintendo keeps their prices lower than the rest of the competition, Nintendo is once again on the right track.
3. Create quality online experiences
The Xbox 360 and PS3 had some of the best online services available in the 7th generation. On the other hand, the Wii didn't have that. This is one of the main reasons why Wii sales decreased in 2010 and 2011. Online gaming is becoming a necessity rather than an optional feature. With the launch of Nintendo Network, Wii U owners have a quality online gaming experience that is on par with Xbox Live. Online gaming combined with Nintendo's flagship titles will ultimately result in excessive sales and massive success.
When you think of the 8th generation of gaming, never focus on the graphics. Personal Computers will always be graphically superior. If Microsoft or Sony wanted to be above PC graphics, they would have to release a console every year. Nintendo, rather than focusing on realistic graphics, focuses on different styles of gameplay. This has been Nintendo's key to success from the very beginning. In the near future, we could possibly see the Wii U dominating in sales just like the Wii did.