Next-Gen: Are Gamers Ready To Do It All Over Again?

With the internet crackling with rumors in recent weeks in regards to the Playstation 4, the next Xbox, the Wii U, the possibility of Apple throwing down the gauntlet in the next console race, and it’s clear that the presence of the new gaming generation can be felt looming on the horizon. This begs the question: Are gamers ready to do it all over again?

There’s little doubt that 2011 was an absolute monster year for game releases. Some critics are even going so far as to declare this entire generation the golden age of gaming.  And 2012 is shaping up to be yet another stellar year of triple-A releases such as Assassins Creed 3, Resident Evil 6, Max Payne 3, and The Last of Us. These games not only look fantastic, but from what we’ve seen of them so far, appear to be on track to incorporating some truly memorable gameplay experiences.

Yet, the current consoles have been out on the market for more than six years now which in hardware lifecycle terms means that the end may be nigh. And the most recent NPD report reveals that system sales are down this quarter.

Pile on the ongoing economic turmoil, massive developer and publisher layoffs, a rumored $10 retail price hike of next gen software, ballooning development budgets, and it’s abundantly clear that the big 3 (maybe 4 if rumors are to be believed) have quite an uphill battle ahead of them in persuading consumers to splurge on shiny new systems.

Traditionally, the market pattern has always been that the hardcore consumers are the Day 1 adopters of which I must admit have been an active member of since the Playstation 1 and N64 days. But, for the next round, I may have to turn in my membership card and reconvene to one of the more sensible, “wait and see-ers.”

However, E3 is just a little under 2 months away and should provide a bit more clarity to some of the next gen proceedings. And if the software is more than just updated eye candy (not just bloated tech demos) and show signs of genuine innovation then that special kind of “fever” that every gamer knows all too well will infect our cells and make our thumbs ache for more.