This Summer In Gaming: What To Look For In The Coming Months

Today will be a break from the usual formula of this column. As this will be the last Siskiyou gaming article for the school year, I thought that I’d talk a little bit about what we’ve seen so far this year in the gaming industry, and what to look for this summer. First, let’s talk about upcoming consoles.

Probably the biggest discussion concerning gaming right now centers around the newly unveiled Xbox One (Yes, they seriously named it that). This new console, which is scheduled to be released late in 2013, is the third generation of the Xbox bloodline. It aims to be an all-in-one entertainment system, creating new competition for Apple TV and Google TV. Some of its revealed features include media inter-connectivity, voice control, multiple operating systems, and an updated Xbox Live. However, there is major skepticism over the console’s restriction on the handling of secondhand games, the requirement of online connectivity for single player games, and privacy issues surrounding the mandatory requirement for Kinect. There has been a significantly negative response among gaming websites due to these restrictions, and independent game retailers are also becoming concerned. Stay tuned for more details this summer.

It’s been several months since Sony announced their own new console, the Playstation 4, but it is still fresh in most gamers’ minds. The PS4 aims to learn from the mistakes of its predecessor. This new console (scheduled to release late this year) will have more memory, more storage, and faster loading times than the PS3. The PS4 will be the first in its family of consoles to feature compatibility with the x86 instruction set, which will make video game development much easier on the new console, attracting a wider range of developers. Sony will also utilize Gaikai, a cloud-based service that hosts downloadable content and games. The PS4’s controllers will feature a ‘share’ button, enabling  game play to be streamed live from friends. It seems that Sony plans to focus more on the social side of gameplay, but gamers should stay tuned for further details.

Now on to the Wii U. There’s not much to say here. If you are a child, or you don’t consider yourself a “gamer”, or you operate on a lower level of brain function, you will probably thoroughly enjoy the Wii U. That is, until something shinier appears in your vision. The Wii U has incredible gamepad functionality and excellent graphics, but at the end of the day it’s just a quirky piece of technology bundled with half-baked console features and a lack of any vigor or focus. The Wii U, which quietly went on the market last November, has enjoyed a slight amount of success – partially due to mediocre reception of the other two impending consoles. Die-hard Nintendo fans may want to purchase the Wii U, as it could be the company’s final piece of hardware before plummeting into oblivion.

The gaming hardware news of 2013 is a little underwhelming so far, but fortunately the software is looking better. Despite a floundering world economy, digital game sales have increased by 33% over the past year . This is largely due to monster digital distributor Steam, as well as several successful sequels to critically acclaimed past titles. Dead Space, Metal Gear, Tomb Raider, and Bioshock have made astounding reappearances (particularly Bioshock), and indie games such as Don’t Starve and Slender: The Arrival have also made successful debuts. There’s even more to look forward to this summer.

Within the next few months, we can expect to see the release of The Last of Us (a PS3 exclusive title set in the post-apocalypse), a game starring Marvel’s infamous Deadpool  (no words can describe this), the return of Splinter Cell (for all consoles), and a new, even more over-the-top Saints Row (for all real consoles). Couple that with the inevitable wallet destroyer that is the Steam Summer Sale, and it’s looking to be a good season for gaming.

Happy gaming, and see you in September.

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