The Next Generation of Gaming Consoles

Courtesy of CNET

Courtesy of CNET

A couple of weeks ago, the final entry in the “next-gen” console wars made its world debut to expectant fans and press. The Xbox One, as it is officially called, is Microsoft’s response to Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s PlayStation 4. With all three finally announced and due for release within the next year, it’s time to decide which side to take in the dreaded console wars.

First out of the gates was Nintendo, releasing the Wii U to the masses back in November. The biggest problem they had was that people didn’t know if the Wii U was simply an additional controller or an all-new console. The only thing the Wii U improved upon from the Wii was a giant fifth controller with its own screen.

The concept, when said aloud, sounds dumb. But the additional controller allows you to do things with party games that weren’t as conceivable beforehand. You can have one of your friends play the villain on the handheld, while you play the hero on the big screen. You can use the handheld touchscreen to interact more with the world than if it was just on a regular television set.

And best of all — you can play multiplayer without fear of that split-screen or screen watching. While Sony and Microsoft both have additional systems or add-ons that have this same functionality, Nintendo has decided to make it a major part of their home console, changing how game developers consider making games like they did with the Wii back in 2006.

But because of the relatively boring redesign of the system, most people didn’t flock to this system. Instead, it sat on the shelves for the past six months. That has all changed in the interim.

Back in February, Sony revealed the PlayStation 4, their newest contender in the console wars. The PS4, as far as anyone knows, is just a fancier PS3. Currently there is nothing much to report on the console due to Sony’s chaste silence. I can’t tell you anything about the PS4, other than the fact that Sony’s motto when developing and selling the console was, “It’s all about the gamers.” However, their neglect of the recent outpour of casual gamers and family gamers made people think that Microsoft would be the one to beat this generation.

Microsoft came late into the game, just two weeks ago when they announced the Xbox One. Unlike Sony, they actually had a console to show off, along with all the active features that the box actually supports. However, they’ve gone in the complete opposite direction of Sony and have deviated away from a strong gaming platform completely, making this newest console the most dreaded. Things like required internet connection to play most games, no used games and no backwards compatibility, makes this console into a dubious buy.

And in about a week, the next big battle in the constant fight for dominance will occur at the LA Convention Center when the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo rolls into town. If you’re debating what console to jump ship to, watch the aftermath of this event closely. It’s where we’ll see Nintendo try to reel people in after the PS4 and Xbox One failed to impress, it’s where we’ll see Sony try to surprise and interest people with more answers about its unknown console, and it’s where Microsoft will scramble to answer all of the questions and negative feedback it’s had in the past month.

So pay attention: one of these will be your home console for the next seven to eight years.