TSA Talks #5: Next-Gen, Battlefield 3 vs MW3, PS Vita

We’re back again, and this week we’re back to normal with our top trio of hot topics in the video game industry. Not only do we convey our expectations for the next generation of home consoles, we also pick apart this year’s most iconic rivalry between FPS behemoths, Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. Touching on the European launch of the PlayStation Vita as well, the TSA crew talk if and when they plan on picking up Sony’s next handheld.

If you fancy sounding off on a relevant topic in the gaming industry let us know as next week we’ll be bringing back Critical Hit which will also feature guest opinions. Simply send your entries to jim[at]thesixthaxis[dot]com with the tagline “TSA Talks” making sure you don’t exceed the 125 word limit to be within a chance of getting featured in our next news round-up.

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According to Develop, both Microsoft and Sony are working on the next generation of home consoles which could be with us as soon as 2013. It’s becoming clear that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are currently being pushed to their maximum potential but is it really time to move on?

Dan: I’m really interested to see what Sony and Microsoft come up with for their next consoles. I’m hoping it’s not just a case of better, shiner graphics because that’s not going to make me want to part with £250+. As it stands I’m perfectly happy with my PS3 and Xbox 360, and with games such as Uncharted 3 coming out who can blame me?!

Peter: It’s past time to move on. I think that if it wasn’t for the global economy diving off a bridge two years ago, we’d already have the next Xbox hardware and would probably know what Sony is bringing to the table. The 360 is at the very top of its limits in terms of power and media capacity and the first party software has slowed over the last 18 months. In a sense, it has already entered its casual old age, something the PS2 did exceptionally well (and financially successfully.)

The PS3 still has a bit to give and they’re still hard on the first party software but I’d expect that to start slowing next year as attention within the company switches to Vita software. Once that little pocket wonder is finished and with retailers, Sony’s hardware development team will have a lot of returning members with not a lot to do…

Aran: I’ve had 2013 pegged as the year the next Xbox comes out , allowing a crossover period. I can only imagine that the next Xbox will have built-in Kinect and the obvious graphical update. 3D capability will also be a standard feature. The PlayStation 4 will launch in 2014 in my opinion, again the graphical update as standard and probably tech similar to Kinect implemented. In my opinion the next generation leap won’t be as big as the difference between the Xbox and Xbox 360 or the PS2 and PS3.

Jim: At present I feel comfortable sticking with my PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, mainly thanks to a gigantic backlog of shrink-wrapped “must-plays” that haven’t even left my shelf. In my opinion the next wave of consoles won’t be as much of an evolution over their current counterparts, only pushing the bar in terms of graphics, and perhaps, network capabilities.

I keep telling myself that improved visuals won’t be enough to convert me into a day-one purchaser of either the next Sony or Microsoft system, though given Sony’s recent onslaught of first party titles, both for the PS3 and the Vita, they will secure a launch line-up that any self-respecting gamer simply couldn’t turn down.

Even more interesting is the fact that the Wii U is billed for release in 2012. From what we’ve seen it appears that this is Nintendo’s portal into the current console generation but with the PS4/Xbox 720 due for 2013, this could be another step in the wrong direction following the fairly lifeless launch of the 3DS.

Kris: I honestly don’t feel it’s time to move on. I think we’ve reached the point now that graphics are more than good enough for 3D polygonal games that they don’t detract from the experience, and other more unique art styles typically don’t require as much power. For me though the raw power of a system isn’t all that’s interesting, it’s the games, how they play and the stories they offer gamers that tends to appeal more. I’m not going to say graphics and art direction have no effect or don’t impress me, I’d be lying, but for me to really love a game it’s the other aspects that matter to me. That’s one of the reasons I still love Sonic so much.

If we start to see developers saying they can’t create the gameplay they want to then I think maybe it’s time to move on, but most complaints now seem to be about graphical horsepower. I honestly don’t feel like the consoles are holding any game back in terms of gameplay, at least not significantly, so I’m not really feeling the urge to move on.

Blair: I’m not ready to get rid of my PS3 just yet, I feel it’s really at it’s peak and it should be a few more years before the PS4. It’s good that Sony are focusing on the PlayStation Vita first and I think when that’s out of the way, it should be a good time to begin moving on.

As for the new Xbox, I think Microsoft need it; the constant multiple discs is becoming ridiculous and the 360 is far beyond its peak now, though this would mean Sony would need to rush to make a move – something which I don’t want to happen. I think Nintendo will have a tough time keeping up with both of these newer consoles as they’re making the first move with the Wii U next year.

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17 Comments

  1. About next gen, it’s a pickle. Xbox need to upgrade, but I feel Sony don’t yet.. but they’ll have to if xbox do, otherwise xbox will get the drop on them again… I also don’t want to upgrade just for new graphics, yeah, it’d be lovely if they look nicer, but it’s not necessary. Not being a technical person, i get a bit confused, but people seem to complain about the PS3’s RAM a lot, maybe that’d be nice if it was upgraded, but we don’t need a new console for that. A second slim is therefore all i can suggest. eh?
    I’m also a little confused by N’s decision with the Wii U, it looks good now, but then won’t it just be outdated immediately by the other two consoles if they update..? I don’t understand Nintendo’s motives.

    • I agree, we definitely need more RAM, too, and a better browser please, for the love of God.

    • More RAM would be useless unless every console had more RAM, as Sony wouldn’t want a situation where a launch PS3 couldn’t play Uncharted 4 could they?
      They’d either splinter the user base or find the RAM a waste.
      More any hardware performance spec changes, a brand new console would be needed.

  2. I agree on the Next Gen arguement that graphics are getting to the point where they’re so good that we are just going to take great graphics for granted. I think for Sony the PS4 is more about really getting the network up to XBL standards – Party Chat, better in game XMB and just smoother network as a whole.

    My only problem with the PS3 is how slow it can be to load up the in game XMB or to let me use the Store. This just needs to be tightened up, give the graphics a little overhaul and you’re done.

  3. Interesting. I honestly don’t know what is going to happen for the next gen consoles. Xbox 360 is long in the tooth simply because it uses DVD tech for its games discs, but the PS3 still has a lot to give. Microsoft risks coming out in 2013/2014 with a very expensive console (much like Sony did with the PS3 in 2006/2007) and all as Sony needs to do is drop the price of the PS3 on Xbox Next’s launch.

    With the global economy as it is, great games still coming forth on current gen consoles, I just wonder is there really the appetite for the leap on to next gen?

  4. Have to say, I think that Microsoft need to bring out a new console, it is definitely at it’s limits. Sony can afford more time, but they will obviously not want to give MS a head start, so as soon as we see a new Xbox, we are going to have to see a new PlayStation. Unless Sony want to sit out the next generation and come back for the one after?

  5. I really want the the next gen to come soon!! Not because of better graphics but what we always see in the consoles is NEW IPS. Just look at this year,so many sequels at 3….

    Oh and I will easly buy a PSV, It’s a great price. I mean a Iphone cost twice as much as a PSV.

  6. From a technical standpoint new consoles arriving in a couple of years is perfectly reasonable. However like quite a few have mentioned, I can’t quite see what generational leap they will bring apart from storage, performance and network upgrades.
    In my opinion there should be a standard for a minimum level of quality for the next generation of games – if possible – to likes of Full HD rendering at 60 fps. Now obviously this would have to come from both the hardware and the games developer, but if it was implemented then I would be happy to say there was a next-gen ‘leap’

  7. Whilst I have no problems with this gen’s graphics, I think its the actual hardware performance that needs upgrading. Just using a good engine can make a massive difference (just look at the graphical differences between Sniper Ghost Warrior 1 & 2), but the PS3 isn’t powerful enough for what it should be able to do. Should the XMB take ~10secs to load mid-game? No. Should the internet browser crash constantly? No. Should we be able to have cross game chat and other features of the like? Yes.
    Regarding the release of the next gen, Sony really need to make sure they release almost simultaneously as the competition. I can see myself weighing up between which one comes out first, and the price of it. If say, the new xbox comes out 12months before the PS4, and is £100 cheaper, I can’t see myself waiting for the PS4.

  8. I can see MS annoucing the next Xbox next year as it’s been nearly 8-10 years since it has released and the DVD format that it uses is starting to struggle to contain the mutliplat games.(Judging from the recent releases of some games). But i can’t see Sony annoucing the PS4 any time soon as in my opinion it still has a bit of juice left in it.

    I personally prefer BF as it’s balanced in it’s MP and is the only game that i will get for it’s MP. Plus i like to kill my mates and TSAers with a helicopter or tank. :) I played COD MW and i found it to be boring within 20 minutes IMHO. I can see myself getting BF3. But it will be interesting to see how the two giants of FPS fair in the sales. Although i’ll probably get Skyrim if i manage to somehow get a job by then.

    I’m still undecided about the PSV as there are a few games that i want on the PSP but for some reason, PSV is not BC with it along with the PS1 games. Which is an odd choice to make as it has everything that is required to play the PS1 games. O-o I’ll probably wait for the reviews and a year to see how it fairs just in case it turns out like the 3DS(during the first few months and i think it is slowly gaining momentum) or even worse, the PSPGo.

  9. I’d happily buy a PS4, so long as it played PS3 games.

  10. I suspect MS wouldn’t have needed to update so fast if they had backed Toshiba’s HD disk format. I’m very much of the opinion that, had they done that, sony would have lost that format war, as more and more 360 games would have used it.

    With regard to what to expect, I think both need to up the RAM in their consoles considerably. Graphics probably don’t need too much improving currently, as games like Uncharted show.

    I have noticed that children tend to play the COD games, but have no interest in the BF series, but this is partly due to their peers. My grandsons (with considered parental acceptance) both play Black Ops, but won’t ususally touch BFBC2. Why? Because all their friends play Black Ops. When none of their friends are online, the oldest *might* consider playing BFBC2 if I am. They are not too happy that I have pre-ordered BF3, but not MW3!

    As for the PSV, I have already persuaded my wife that it will be the perfect delayed birthday/christmas present… so day 1 for me. :D

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