A rumour has begun circulating the internet which suggests that Take Two will be announcing Grand Theft Auto V for next generation consoles next month. The announcement is supposed to be coming during an upcoming investor event on May 16th. Whether this means that a Wii U version of the game will be announced remains to be seen, as the next generation consoles mentioned in the report are presumably the next Xbox and the PlayStation 4.
U.S. market research firm NPD Group believes that around 29% of core gamers are looking to buy the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox console at launch. The data for this survey was conducted by U.S. respondents age 9 and older who currently play games for five or more hours per week on an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, or Mac. Out of the of the 6,322 respondents surveyed, only 887 qualified as a core gamer. The survey suggests that just over one in four plan on purchasing the PlayStation 4 or the next Xbox.
Cliff Bleszinski, the former Epic Games design director and creator of the Gears of War franchise, believes that Nintendo could well become a software only company in the next few years. Bleszinski says that the state of the entire games industry is currently in turmoil and both Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. Here’s what he had to say.
“This business has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the ’80s. I really think we’re in a massive state of turmoil. I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward. I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad. The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now. I think we’re ready to do digital download games all the time…I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it’s like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins.”
Yves Guillemot, the CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft, has reiterated that it will be difficult to support current generation technology once the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 have found their footing. Guillemot says that once you push the next generation towards its limits, the more you will have difficulty in adapting to the older generation consoles. Guillemot also says he isn’t entirely satisfied with current Wii U sales and says that they’re monitoring the situation closely.
You will then continue to feed two generations of consoles at the same time with the same games?
“We won’t be able to do it on the long term. More you push the next generation towards its limits, the more you will have difficulty in adapting to the “old gen”. So we are going, little by little, to migrate to the new generation of consoles. I think that by 2015 we will have completed this transition.”
To rephrase: you have nothing to say about the current sales of the Wii U?
“We can not say we’re satisfied with the sales of the Wii U. They were good in the United States in November / December, but did not go well in January 2013. We’re waiting to see the evolution of things, we look at this closely.”
Mario Wynands, a Sidhe dev, believes that one of more of the big three will end up dropping out of the console market by the end of the next-generation. Wynands previously stated that the Wii U is in serious trouble and that next-gen will fail. He followed this up by telling Now Gamer that the market can not sustain three dedicated game consoles. Wynands says that the video game industry is hostile enough to the traditional console and so he thinks that one or more of the big three will drop out completely. Here’s his thoughts on the video game industry.
“In my opinion, the market is now unsustainable for 3 dedicated game consoles, much less the myriad of new players jumping in. Indeed, it might not be sustainable for any dedicated consoles.”
“The environment is hostile enough to the traditional console that I think one or more of the big 3 will drop out completely, but I’m expecting all 3 to make losses without radical change to their business models (hence my calls for revamping of their digital offerings).”
“This new generation is arriving with all the challenges of the last generation unresolved in terms of low margins on hardware, high development budgets, limited shelf space, used commercial game sales, piracy etc.”
“On top of that they arrive facing increased competition for consumer attention via smartphones, tablets, and a resurgence in PC gaming.”
Epic Games’ founder and chief executive officer, Tim Sweeney, believes that the next generation consoles provide a substantial leap over the current generation consoles on offer. Sweeney says that todays high-end PCs are representative of what players should expect from next-gen. He concluded that the team at Epic Games are more enthusiastic now than ever about the future of what he calls, high-end platforms.
“We’re more enthusiastic now than ever about the future of high-end platforms. What we’re doing on high-end PCs is going to be representative of the future consumer gaming experience and it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be a substantial leap over the current generation.”
Crysis 3 Producer Mike Read has said that Crytek is after more power from video games consoles, and hopes that both the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox can achieve this. Read says that the studio wants to be able to deliver a similar experience graphically to console gamers as they currently achieve on the PC. He went on to say that the whole team is asking for better graphics and raw processing power, from the developers to the art design team. Here’s his thoughts.
“I think that whatever they end up delivering there are a lot of things that we want, and as you said more power is originally at the core of what we want. We want to be able to deliver a similar experience graphically to console gamers as much as we do in pushing the PC.”
“Being a producer, I deal with all different people, so I’m sure talking to the Art guy they’ll be like “Yeah, we want more graphics!” talking to the Level Design team, “We want more processing power!” and the Technical guys they want a little bit of everything,”
Stringent hardware analysis site Digital Foundry have discovered the exact specifications of Wii U due to detailed polysilicon die photography of the Wii U’s GPU being released on the internet. The publication says that we can rule out any next-gen pretensions for Wii U, as they claim that the GCN hardware in the next Xbox and the PlayStation 4 is in a completely different league. Here’s their thoughts.
It was ballpark speculation at the time based on what we had eyeballed at the event, but the final GPU is indeed a close match to the 4650/4670, albeit with a deficit in the number of texture-mapping units and a lower clock speed – 550MHz. AMD’s RV770 hardware is well documented so with these numbers we can now, categorically, finally rule out any next-gen pretensions for the Wii U – the GCN hardware in Durango and Orbis is in a completely different league.
All of which may lead some to wonder quite why many of the Wii U ports disappoint – especially Black Ops 2, which appears to have been derived from the Xbox 360 version, running more slowly even at the same 880×720 sub-hd resolution
While there’s still room for plenty of debate about the Wii U hardware, the core fundamentals are now in place and effectively we have something approaching a full spec. It took an extraordinary effort to get this far and you may be wondering quite why it took a reverse engineering specialist using ultra-magnification photography to get this information, when we already know the equivalent data for Durango and Orbis. The answer is fairly straightforward – leaks tend to derive from development kit and SDK documentation and, as we understand it, this crucial information simply wasn’t available in Nintendo’s papers, with developers essentially left to their own devices to figure out the performance level of the hardware.
According to a rumor posted in an IGN board, Half-Life developer Gearbox Software is working on a new first-person shooter, which may be a new IP and is supposedly being developed for Wii U as well as for unannounced next-generation consoles. The rumored game is said to be in its first stages of development, and it is apparently being developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, which is a game engine that Nintendo’s Wii U is capable of running.
Nintendo has already begun planning its next generation consoles beyond the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. The company hopes to be able to build an architecture that allows the firm to “make software assets more transferable” between their home console and their next handheld device. This will make it easier for Nintendo to reuse assets, and will avoid the software shortages the company has seen on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Development regarding the architecture for future Nintendo platforms began late last year.
“Last year we also started a project to integrate the architecture for our future platforms. What we mean by integrating platforms is not integrating handhelds devices and home consoles to make only one machine. What we are aiming at is to integrate the architecture to form a common basis for software development so that we can make software assets more transferrable, and operating systems and their build-in applications more portable, regardless of form factor or performance of each platform.”
“They will also work to avoid software line-up shortages or software development delays which tend to happen just after the launch of new hardware.”
“Some time ago it was technologically impossible to have the same architecture for handheld devices and home consoles and what we did was therefore reasonable.”
“Although it has not been long since we began to integrate the architecture and this will have no short-term result, we believe that it will provide a great benefit to our platform business in the long run.”