Game Producer Quest, Part 09

So there’s been rumors flying about here-and-there about the next generation Xbox and Playstation (codenamed Durango and Orbis respectively).  An article at gameindustry.biz suggests a $400 price point for both consoles.  Now, I’m no Nate Silver, but since we’re talking about rumors, I may as well make predictions based on…nothing really.  Observation?  Personal life experience?  Who knows, but it makes sense in my brain, and like it says in the title, then again, I’ve been wrong before.

  1. Both Durango and Orbis will be revealed in full (with their official names) at this year’s E3, 2013.  Probably a pretty safe prediction; they have to be announced at some point.  Why not E3?
  2. Both will be released in the Fall of 2014.  I know everyone is saying this coming Fall, but I think it’s too optimistic to release so soon when both companies have announced nothing official.  Also, I think both companies are monitoring the Wii U sales closely to help guide them in this decision.  Without going to look specific numbers up, my understanding is that it hasn’t sold like original Wii has.  In fact, I just opened a tab and went to Gamestop.com, and can order the Wii U right now, and it’ll will ship in 24 hrs.  I can guarantee that the original Wii was practically sold out (at least online) when it came out, as I was monitoring that situation closely at the time, since I wanted a Wii.  Other questions to consider regarding this optimistic release date: Has the hardware even been finalized yet?  Has the physical design been finalized yet?  Are the factories (probably in China) prepping to start producing these consoles?  Do the companies have their finalized dev kits in place to produce launch software titles?  Speaking of launch software:
  3. Both consoles will be fully backwards compatible.  In doing so, both consoles don’t necessarily require a super-strong launch line-up.  What they need is a competent one, and then they can rely on the final title releases of the previous generation to get them through.  The last Gears of War (that can be played on Xbox 360 and Durango), the last God of War (that can be played on PS3 and Orbis), etc.  It would be puzzling if they decided to launch new consoles and nix the backwards compatibility entirely.  It would basically require a strong launch line-up, and again, I’m not sure that developer’s have had enough time to develop anything for the next generation.  It’s rumored the Grand Theft Auto V is coming out late this year.  Imagine if it came out, and could not be played on Durango or Orbis?  Keeping backwards compatibility would basically guarantee that the hardcore audience would at least consider upgrading.  Imagine: “Wait, I just bought GTA V, and I can’t play it on this thing?  Why did I buy it again?  Where’s my 360?”
  4. Both consoles will have 2 launch versions, one at around $349.99, the other at around $399.99.  I can’t imagine either company, especially Sony, even considering launching a console at the $599.99 price point.  I think everyone found out with the launch of the original PS3 that the $599.99 price point was simply too rich even for the most hardcore.  When one considers the current state of the economy, it would be…interesting, if not risky to go into $600 territory.  In my opinion, at least.

That’s it for my predictions of the upcoming rumored consoles from Microsoft and Sony, which probably means they’re all wrong.  Oh well, c’est la vie.

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