It’s no big revelation that the successors to the current generations of PlayStation, Wii and Xbox are in development. The graphical and processing functionality of the present-day consoles will max out eventually and no platform holder wants to be the laggard in a tech arms race. Recent rumors offer up some tantalizing hints as to when we might expect new gaming set-top boxes and what their capabilities might be. (Sony Exec Says PS4 Will Still Use Discs)
1. Wii 2 at E3?
First up is a wild report that says that Nintendo will be unveiling the Wii 2 at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 would be the place for such an announcement but the purported specs of the Wii successor sound crazy. Pocket-lint.com says that the next-gen device will have Blu-ray playback capability, a built-in projector and a quad-core processor.
The Sniff Test: This one smells fishy. Nintendo’s a company that rarely takes risks on bleeding-edge tech so the parts of the rumor concerning a projector, Blu-ray and quad-core have the ring of truth at first blush. These are all technologies that are widely adopted and that wouldn’t be too risky to integrate into a new machine. But, Blu-ray is a proprietary Sony technology and one wonders if Nintendo would pay to license it and if Sony wound grant such a license to a competitor in the gaming space. The projector bit sounds just like the kind of left-turn thinking that Nintendo specializes in–especially since it’d allow them to circumvent HDTV/3D specs–but projected video doesn’t seem to line up to the company’s commitment to motion gaming. Standing in front of a projector would just make a big shadow.
Until the Wii came along to kick everyone’s asses, Microsoft grabbed a commanding lead in the home console market by bucking the five-year console cycle. The Xbox came out in 2001 and the Xbox 360 followed in 2005. Job listings have popped up on LinkedIn (here, here and here) that indicate the next console from Redmond might still be a ways off.
The Sniff Test: Well, those are actual job listings and LinkedIn is nothing if not reputable. So, some development is likely happening. It’s probably just ramping, though, and seems to represent the kind of work that would have to have been well under way if we were going to get a new Xbox console anytime soon. Microsoft execs have talked about extending the console cycle for a longer stretch and, with Kinect and the 360 Slim providing a micro-refresh, they seem intent on doing exactly that. (Hold On To Your PS3: Sony Not Developing PS4 Yet)