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What can we expect from the next generation of consoles?

David Cullinane 22 November 2019

We are fast approaching the end of the current generation of consoles. Next year, we will most likely see the gaming landscape move into a new era. Both Microsoft and Sony will reveal and potentially release their newest offerings, and with Google releasing Stadia, the next generation could be less of a ‘war of the consoles’ and more a ‘battle of the streaming services’.

We don’t know what the future of gaming will look like but we can make some assumptions based on the trajectory of the market at the moment. So let’s don our hypothetical hats and delve into the potential future of the games industry.


Console wars

When it comes to the next generation of consoles, we’ll no doubt see the same game of Top Trumps we’ve seen before. Each will claim to have bleeding-edge graphics, unbeatable processing power, and a tantalising frame count. There are plenty of buzzwords already floating around in relation to the new consoles – ray tracing and SSD drives were particular highlights of Microsoft’s E3 wink-and-a-nod reveal of what they are currently calling ‘Project Scarlett’.

But what will the games be like? We’re already seeing a shift towards a ‘games as a service’ model with ongoing support planned for future releases like Square-Enix’s ‘Avengers’ game. Coming so late in the current cycle’s life, we may we see it become a cross-gen release. Will the next generation have fewer sequels, instead choosing to focus on advancing just one game? Or will a game continue to be relevant up until the point the sequel releases, meaning players have no downtime from said game?

It will also be interesting to see where VR fits into the landscape, which was, at one point, all the rage but has since taken a backseat. PlayStation hasn’t said much about their VR unit in recent months, though that may only be a feeling exacerbated by their no-show at this year’s E3. Of course, will consoles even stay relevant?


Enter Google

In Google’s own words, “the future of gaming is not a box; it’s a place”. While we have yet to see the long-term effects of Google’s efforts, you can’t deny they have the power behind them. What separates them from previous attempts to bring game streaming to the masses is their sheer size. The future of gaming could move from Microsoft vs Sony to consoles vs streaming.

How they fight that remains to be seen. Microsoft is planning their own streaming service; Sony already has one in the form of PlayStation Now. The alternative might be a ‘games-on-demand’ sort of service. Microsoft has Xbox Game Pass and if their E3 presentation is anything to go by, it will play an integral role in their future plans. They aren’t alone; EA has EA Access, Ubisoft will have Uplay+, and PlayStation Now allows you to download PS4 games to your console for offline play.

It all depends if Stadia can be truly stable. It’s biggest mountain to climb will be delivering a seamless, lag-free experience. If it can’t accomplish that for the majority of people, they may well stick with something that lets them avoid that issue. Stadia also doesn’t have the Netflix-esque subscription model other services have. In this age of binging, could a service that delivers hundreds of games at the touch of a button win out?


The future is bright

Regardless of which way the games industry goes, it’s good news for the consumer. Having multiple options is never a bad thing.

Whatever happens, there will always be new games. Traditional releases, games as a service, free to play – there’s something for everyone. What won’t change is the need for a quality trailer. With more options comes more competition, so you need to think now about how you will separate yourself from the pack. A quality trailer is your way of making your game known to the masses and could be the big difference between a successful launch and a damp squib.

At Realtime, we have worked with many great developers and helped them deliver a quality trailer befitting of their game. If you have an upcoming project and want to discuss it, get in touch with me at [email protected].