PAX Prime begins on Friday, and even though I’ll be there taking it all in, I have to admit I’m a little nervous.
Not about making a good impression or finding my way around the exhibit halls. My concern rests with the specific game developers themselves and whether or not I will be impressed. This is a big year for gaming, not only for Sony and Microsoft, but for the individual game studios as well. As we enter “the next generation” of gaming, and with the bar already set pretty high this year thanks to games like Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, and The Last of Us, expectations are sky-high. As a gamer, I will be majorly let down if these expectations aren’t met.
It’s All About the Games
I won’t be writing to you from PAX, but rest assured I will be tweeting like crazy (follow me @silentfury007) and will be taking a very close look at what the developers have to offer. How is progress coming along on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? I’m not completely sold on Titanfall yet, and I want Respawn Entertainment to convince me I need this game. Most importantly, as a huge graphics nut, I want Forza Motorsport 5 and Driveclub to blow me away, so you better believe I’ll be all over those two games.
It’s important for these early next generation games to represent a huge leap forward. If we can’t tell much of a difference between games from the current and next generations, what’s the point in having a new system? And that doesn’t just mean graphics, but also in-game options, gameplay, and more. For example, The Witcher 3 is switching to an open world format, something that wouldn’t be possible in the way they want to do it on the current generation of consoles. This is an example of a feature I want to see implemented more in next generation games. I want them to take us places we never expected or thought possible.
Pay Attention, Sony and Microsoft
It’s not just the developers I’ll be putting under the microscope though, but Microsoft and Sony as well. We know the specs of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are supposed to be pretty good, and a great leap forward from the current consoles. But both companies are promising a lot more than just pure gaming bliss. Microsoft expects to take over your living room with Kinect and TV watching features. Sony wants to be the ultimate gaming console by making it easy to share your gameplay, connect with friends, and explore new titles. Even though I don’t necessarily care about some of those things, if they make grand promises like these and don’t deliver, I will be sorely disappointed.
The original Kinect and PlayStation Move technologies were novel ideas, but both were a failure due to lackluster performance and support. If the Kinect 2.0 is really that great, I will be happy – not because I want to use it, but because it means Microsoft was firing on all cylinders when designing this console. If Sony has improved their user interface and made finding new games on the PlayStation Network store easier, then that will mean they finally listened to their costomers and got it right. Frankly, whether you are an Xbox fanboy or PlayStation fanboy, you should be rooting for your competitor to knock it out of the park this holiday season. If Sony can push Microsoft to be better and vice versa, then everyone wins.
Honestly, it truly seems like it is happening this time around. It seems like Microsoft is learning from their mistakes as they go, and Sony has applied the lessons they learned from their disastrous PlayStation 3 launch. Is it possible that they are actually trying at this late stage to make their consoles better and more attractive to buyers? I know it seems far-fetched, but for the future of our video game enjoyment, let’s all hope it’s true.