Well the cat’s out of the bag. We’re on the verge of the what could quite possibly be the LAST generation of console based gaming with the Wii U (bleh), Playstation 4 (announced), Xbox “Durango” (???) along with a few other newcomers, such as the rumored “Steambox” from Valve, the Ouya (Kickstarter phenom/ Android gaming), and nVidia’s “Project Shield” (Android/PC). 2013 is looking to be a pretty big year actually for us geeks. We haven’t had THIS much to choose from since maybe NeoGeo and Sega Saturn!?!……. Exactly!

You should be fairly well versed with our 3 main consoles of today. They do have a very well budgeted marketing and social programs. The Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and the…. Wii are pretty synonymous with getting your geek on. The first 2 have had a strong shelf life for the past 8 years. The Wii U is Nintendo’s attempt at next gen gaming, which had decent sales this last holiday season, however with numerous software glitches, backwards compatibility issues, and a funky, expensive new controller… this might be the big N’s swan song. Say hello to Sega for us, eh?
Sony is looking forward with it’s PS4. The specs are pretty impressive, especially when compared to the PS3’s.
The upgrade in RAM alone is amazing. From 256 main/256 Vid to 8gigs of RAM!?!? Will this thing be able to time travel too? (Sony has yet to get back to me on this unfortunately.)
Sony has also followed Wii U’s & Xbox’s footsteps with PSVita integration. (Mom kicking you off the TV? No problem! Some games will have the ability to be transfered from the big screen to the Vita for continued play… right where you left off!) Pretty cool actually.
By the way, I’m a happy owner of an Xbox 360***

Not just for gamers! Sony looks to make this the most social of consoles to date. Live streaming your game, video and screen capture, and a pretty groundbreaking feature of allowing another gamer remote access to YOUR game. Are you having trouble getting passed the boss in level X and your friend “Bob” has already beat the game? He can literally take over your character in real time via his own console and help you!
(To be quite honest, I don’t even like someone touching my controller at home when I’m in a game, but I can see where this might come in handy for some…. I suppose)
The PS4 will no doubt look and play amazing. For more in depth analysis, check out the official presentation itself here:
The next gen Xbox will also be a powerhouse. I’m still amazed at what they can do with the current model! If you’ve played the campaign of Halo 4, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The graphics make you second guess yourself to what’s real and what’s CG.
Although, not much is known about the actual console, there are leaked specs from developers. Someone even tried to sell a “Durango” developers kit on Ebay! I’ll let you find the numbers on your own until they are officially announced by Microsoft. I will say this… 8 cores @ 1.6gHz each… WOW.

The biggest controversy that has been stirred up with all of the new hoopla and internet buzz is the used game market. 60 dollars for a new game is pretty substantial. Physical media is on it’s way out the door in my opinion, but it’s nice to be able to go to GameStop and pick up a previously loved game for 20-40 bucks less than paying for a brand new disc. There has not been a definitive answer from either Microsoft or Sony on whether either console will block the use of used games. Let us hope not, eh?

This would definitely open the door for Valve, Ouya, and Project shield though. Valve offers a service called Steam where you can download literally thousands of  AAA gaming titles that can then be played on your gaming PC for CHEAP. We’re talking $10-30 for games like Call of Duty. The only problem is the most gaming laptops cost in the neighborhood of $2000 and up. Top of the line rigs run about $5k. It is rumored that Valve may bring there own console to the table with streaming services that would rival Playstation and Xbox. I have not run across any known specs yet, but they’re a player I’d like to see come to the table for sure.

Ouya is a Kickstarter project that met with great success on a funding standpoint. It is scheduled to be released this summer for about $99 and will allow you to play games from Google’s Play Store. Android! I’m sure you are thinking? Why do I want to play the games from my smartphone on my TV? Well, it’s going to be a little more than that. It is going to have big name titles too…. or it is supposed to. We’ll see though. It’s aim is not directly at the big consoles. My guess is that it will pick up the consumers who are jumping ship from Nintendo. It has a great price point, super cheap games (IE: FREE), and it will have that  fun-to-play factor.

Project SHIELD is a funky little creature that I’m curious to see as well. It will be running Android 4.1 Jellybean out of the box and run the full gamut of Google services. Not to mention, it “gives you the power to wirelessly access your GeForce GTX powered computer from the comfort of your couch. Play your favorite PC games, including great titles from Steam, on a full size game controller.

This is definitely intriguing to my inner-geek. We really haven’t had this much to choose from in quite some time. I say GREAT. The last generation of consoles should go out with a bang! With the way technology has been progressing and seeing how long we’ve had our current gaming platforms, it’s pretty safe to say there will be a completely new medium for gaming in another 8-10 years.

This begs the question though. What do we do with our old gaming systems? Don’t let them die please. Don’t make them collect dust in your attic. Trade them in. Make a little money and allow someone else the pleasure of playing the games that you used to love. Keep the geek alive in OUR next generation.