By this time next year, the gaming industry will be an entirely different animal. This generation's biggest games will be in the rearview mirror, and we'll have a slew of new consoles to wrap our brains around. This is the type of transitionary year that could kick off a new golden age, or destroy the industry altogether (hopefully, that second prediction doesn't come true).
Either way, it's going to be a big year for console releases. Here's what the developers have in store:
PlayJam launched their Kickstarter campaign just two days ago, and they've already eclipsed their goal of $100,000. At the time of writing, they've raised 150K, and they still have 27 days left in their campaign. And considering the same thing happened with the Ouya, there's obviously a market for tiny, Android-based consoles.
Plus, with its pint-sized price tag of $79 and the promise of a 200-game library, it's worth the cost of admission even if only as a novelty.
The GameStick will make its market debut this April, a month after the Ouya. It'll be interesting to watch how the addition of two little systems shakes the gaming industry. After all, the console market has been dominated by three major players for almost a decade.
We've all become pretty well acquainted with the Ouya. Boxer8, the developer behind the little console, set out to raise $950,000 and ended with $8.5 million. So far, only about 23 games have been confirmed for the system, but developers only recently got their hands on the development kits, so we can probably expect that number to grow.
The Ouya is slated to hit the market this March, and should give indie developers a platform to showcase their work without getting tied in the miles of red tape that Xbox LIVE Arcade is known for. Along with the GameStick, the Ouya has the potential to redefine the gaming industry in favor of indie developers and cost-conscious pricing.
I'm still a little skeptical about the project, but I'm crossing my fingers that the additional competition will force big-name devs to change the way they think about their customers.
Plus, while Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft probably aren't losing much sleep over the Ouya or GameStick, the Steambox is an entirely different story. A Valve-based console would redefine the industry and, if the price is right, has the potential to elbow its way past the big three with very little effort (Sony should probably be the most worried).
Either way, a Steambox is something that we should all be pulling for. Valve loves gaming more than any developer on earth (certainly more than Microsoft) and placing them at the center of the console industry would be good for everyone. Well, except for Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.
To be honest, I'm not holding my breath for a PlayStation 4 this year, but it certainly has the potential to make an appearance. Rumor has it that top secret development kits have already made their way into a few devs’ hands, which means that release is definitely close. But Sony's not stupid, so they're probably not going to release a system at the same time as their biggest rival, Microsoft.
Either way, PlayStation lovers should keep their fingers crossed. The current generation of console is probably going to start getting a little stale as big-name releases begin to slow down. Timing is everything, and gamers aren't exactly known for their patience.
While Microsoft hasn't officially made the big announcement, industry experts are already predicting another Microsoft system by the 2013 holiday season. Just yesterday, Major Nelson posted an enigmatic countdown on his blog, which presumably will tick the seconds away until Microsoft delivers the news.
A $299 price tag has already been discussed, which would put it in the same bracket as the Wii U. Microsoft's system, however, is reportedly much more powerful and has the potential for nearly endless hardware expansion via peripheral add-ons. It's all very exciting.
No matter what happens, 2013 is going to leave the industry different than she found it. And for those of us that have been playing with the same consoles for the last seven years, it can't come soon enough.
Which system(s) are you look forward to the most?
Date: January 4, 2013