Let the next gen begin

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo entering the latest console war

Since the late 1970’s, video game consoles have been a staple in home entertainment, starting with Atari introducing the revolutionary “Pong.”

Since then, Nintendo has been accredited for ushering in the standard video game console dating back to its 1985, 60 million seller, The Nintendo Entertainment System followed by many other home consoles, the most notable being Sega (discontinued 2001), PlayStation and Xbox.

The year is now 2013 and the eighth generation of home consoles is about to settle in with Sony’s PlayStation 4, Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One.

Nintendo’s next generation console, the Wii U, was released in North America on November 18, 2012. The console will serve as Nintendo’s first shot at High Definition (HD) console gaming and is not simply just an add-on for your Wii that’s probably collecting dust at your mee-maw’s house.

The Wii U is a completely new beast that boasts a 6.2 inch, HD capable tablet-like controller, dubbed the Wii U GamePad, which allows you to take the game off the TV and into the palm of your hands. The console also does everything its predecessor, the Nintendo Wii, can do and it even has the capability of displaying your favorite Wii games on the GamePad itself; allowing you to take your Wii games away from the TV as well.

So in theory, if your Wii U is in your front room, you can take the GamePad up to 24 feet away from the console and play a game or surf the web in the comfort of your own bed. If dad wants to watch football on Thanksgiving, but you want to get your Mario on, you can easily send the game to the GamePad and play while he’s watching the game.

The Wii U recently experienced a price drop from $349.99 to $299.99 while maintaining two free games inside, so it’ll easily be the best choice for your wallet. The console also comes prepackaged with a “Pro Controller,” the closest to the masterful Xbox 360 controller, with a battery life 80 hours per charge.

Since the Wii U has a year under its belt, you can expect more quality games this holiday season than on any other console because the developers have had more time to work on titles. One of the frontrunners of Wii U software is Super Mario 3D World, which has held a steady top spot on Amazon U.S. for some time and holds rave reviews all across the board.

As many of you already know, Sony shot their first fire in the console war on November 16, 2013. The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is Sony’s next gen console, engineered with power and limitless possibilities in mind.  The PS4 features HD graphical capabilities with an update of a possible 1440p vs. the PS3’s 1080p/i.

The console comes with new features including voice commands (used to tell the console what to do), built in camera, and its “Media Share” feature. Media Share allows you to share video from your game play session.

As with any new console there are potential problems that can cause a rocky start. Note that initially, the software for newer consoles comprises mostly of multi-platform ports of preexisting games also known as “shovel ware.”

Recall that the Wii U had this same problem last year with shovel ware such as Fifa 13 and Call of Duty Black Ops II. The console is also experiencing technical difficulty, much like the Wii U did, in which the console fails to start up or screen tear is visible (not pretty).

However, don’t let that deter you from getting a PS4 this holiday season. Sony has announced that “only 0.04% of the 1 million+ PS4s have been experiencing technical difficulty.” There is also a great lineup of upcoming games on PS4 including Resident Evil 7, Doom 4, and even a Mass Effect project in the works. Of course, later down the line, you’ll get your Call of Duty.

And last but not least, the Xbox One. The latest console from Microsoft aims to be that one go to console for everything: media, gaming, you name it. The console is just about everything the PS4 is in terms of power (specs) and voice commands, but everything else is up for grabs. That includes online services, first party games (i.e. Halo) and bells/whistles.

Since the Xbox 360 was released in 2005, Microsoft has incorporated a new way to play, Kinect, and it’s back with Xbox One. Kinect 2.0 is an enhanced version of Kinect 1.0 and features motion play gaming without any controller what so ever. The software can even detect how many people are in a room. Expect many creative games to take advantage of this software, only available on Xbox One.

This all-in-one device comes at a high price though. Approximately $100 more than the PS4 and $200 more than the Wii U, the Xbox One (Xbone) comes with an asking price of $499.99 price tag. Ouch.  And of course, Microsoft will be selling the console at a loss (along with Nintendo’s Wii U). This means that the console itself won’t produce any profit for the company, and instead, it will rely on software to recoup the loss.

Once again, if you can pay for it, get it. This article isn’t made to downplay any other console. Everything here is here for reconfirmation. Get what appeals most to you.

Are you excited about the new generation of games? Well, your fellow peers right here at BD definitely are.

Senior Tanner Baker, although a primary PC gamer, is most optimistic about the PS4.

“I think the PS4 is the better choice,” Baker said. “It is essentially more powerful than the Xbox One and has better hardware and software built into the console.”

Senor Cody Smith is sure that the Xbox One will land a first place spot in this console generation.

“The Xbox One obviously has the power and the games to kill the PS4,” Smith said. “It’s just the better game system, you know- everything in one.”

Overall, this is bound to be a very exciting next generation of gaming. Now that all three gaming giants have entered the HD field, only imagination will limit their productions. We’ll see the newest Mario Kart, Halo and Call of Duty in beautiful HD. Last generation (Wii, PS3, Xbox 360) Nintendo wiped the floor with their Nintendo Wii, selling an estimated 100.3 million consoles to date; 45 million of which were sold right here in the U.S. with the PS3 and Xbox 360 at about 80 million units.

With the Wii U currently at 3.91 million consoles, the PS4 breaking out over 1 million in under 24 hours (U.S. only) and the Xbox One smashing in with over 1 million in under 24 hours (all other regions except for Japan), let’s see how this console war will unfold.

Let the console wars begin!