The next generation of consoles starts in 2013, if all goes according to developers’ plans. In an anonymous questionnaire, multiple industry professionals told IGN that they plan to release games for the next Microsoft and Sony consoles before January 1, 2014.
Multiple developers also intend to launch software for an unannounced platform next year.
The end is nigh.
To further signal the winding down of the current console generation, approximately 60% of respondents have no plans to release games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii after 2013. Of course, this means some 40% intend to keep at current-gen releases after next year. To that point, an anonymous developer told IGN, “I would not be surprised if something atypical cannibalizes the market, maybe even the Xbox 360 itself.”
From a hardware perspective, nearly 80% of respondents said Microsoft’s next console is the easiest to work with, and the overwhelming majority suspect it will be the sales leader over the next five years.
This presents an interesting opportunity for the next Xbox: It could come out of the gate with an established online framework in the form of Xbox Live, of course, with the potential to launch with a strong software lineup from eager and capable creators. After the self-destructive launch of the PlayStation Vita, Sony may not be able to convince developers that their games will sell. Having an impressive opening must be on Microsoft’s mind more than ever, and having a console that's easy to work with could help.
The ease of use compared to other consoles is assuredly attractive, too. By comparison, 63% of developers who spoke to IGN said the Wii U would be the most challenging platform to develop for. One creator went as far as saying, “we won’t be working on Wii U due to these complexities,” while another lamented the difficulty of moving innovative games unique to Wii U to other platforms. This poses the question: Will Nintendo once again need to rely primarily on first-party games to propel platform success? At any rate, the Wii U’s 2012 release window gives it a distinct advantage: time.
If the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation really starts next year, Nintendo will have given developers such extensive time to work on Wii U titles prior to another platform’s release that they may adapt to and embrace the platform regardless of complexities.
Microsoft has said outright the next Xbox will not be at E3 2012. Sony said the same thing about the PlayStation 4. But with developers meeting about Durango, and Orbis rumors running rampant, we know the wheels are in motion. While we may not see hardware, or even learn the names of the inevitable next-gen consoles at E3, that's not to say Nintendo's push for 2012 will keep everyone else quiet about progress.
Hardware successors are on the minds of developers using them, so you can bet it's on the minds of Microsoft and Sony -- and with titles tentatively launching next year for new consoles, you can expect to learn more sooner than later.
This information is based on survey responses from 35 video game developers IGN trusts. Look for more information on next generation consoles at IGN soon.
Looks like Nintendo's latest attempt at appeasement has fallen flat again, at least out of the gate. What do you think? Are these 35 developers right, and the NeXtbox be the future?