With technology coming out faster every year it's getting harder for companies to release cutting-edge hardware at what society deems a decent pace.
Take Nintendo's Wii-U for example. Unveiled at E3 2011 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), it boasted amazing HD graphics and a controller that works like a fusion between a DS and a Wii-mote. At the time the public speculated whether it was a "gimmick" or if it was a great step forward for Nintendo. Now that a year has passed, the popular theory seems to be that the Wii-U may be fairly outdated by the time it's officially available to be purchased for your own home.
Then there are the rumours about a PS4 in the works. They started over a year ago and people are still talking about it, theorizing that it will be similar to Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox360 in that it will be able to read a player's movements without the aid of any physical controllers. Though there's speculation that production has already started, Japan's debilitating earthquake and the global economic crisis be damned, it also raises the question of whether or not the resulting product will be cutting-edge upon its official announcement.
As it is, while Sony's PlayStation Vita was an exciting addition to many a gamer's console collection, the interest in the Vita hasn't been as profound as people initially expected. Maybe it has something to do with the explosion of phones that allow you to do just about anything including playing gaming apps; you can spend hundreds on something that is mainly for playing games, or you can spend hundreds on something that plays games and is useful as other things like an MP3 player and a telephone. Whatever the reason, though the Vita is a great step forward in portable gaming, it seems to already be falling behind.
But then you look at Microsoft's Xbox 360 and, while it's been on the market for a very long time (by industry standards), it's still going pretty strong. The add-on of the Kinect almost two years ago has helped significantly, extending the life-span of the console itself by essentially updating it instead of making something entirely new. At this point they're seemingly "cruising" on the success of the Kinect; there hasn't been any news or rumours of their working on any new hardware since its release which could easily be perceived as a bad move. When technology changes and advances at the rate it does nowadays, you can't afford to sit back for too long.
With all this in mind, I'm curious to see what will happen at this year's E3 and what the public's subsequent reactions will be to these potential hardware announcements.
What will Nintendo have to showcase and how will they market an advancement (the Wii-U) that's already receiving a lot of doubts regarding its performance?
Will Sony try to keep the Vita afloat via an onslaught of new games for it and, if so, will it help? Is there going to be an official announcement for the rumoured PS4 in the meantime and how will they address the comparison with the Kinect?
And what about Microsoft? Will they continue to focus on keeping their current console alive through new games while they cruise with the success of the Kinect, or will they announce they're considering something new?
Personally, I think the advancements thus far are great for all these companies as they provide options for gamers to find the style(s) that suits them, and I look forward to what they all have in store. Something that doesn't seem cutting edge to one person may be the ideal for someone else. Not everyone likes the Wii, but then not everyone likes the PlayStation3 or the Xbox360 either. I like them all, but then, I also still like my Atari Jaguar and Lynx systems from back in the day (I thought they were the "best" at the time) and Atari fell out of the "console wars" a long time ago.
In the end, it's all about personal preference. Never forget, regardless of which is "better," without having these great choices available to compare between each other, we wouldn't know what our preferences are to begin with. What's wrong with that?
(Editor's note: The preceding article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or opinions of GamingExcellence.)