There is no more exciting time for gamers, game design students, and developers than the launch of a new generation of consoles. With Nintendo’s Wii U already on the market, the eighth generation of home consoles has officially begun. Tons of new design opportunities wait in the new generation and each new console comes with a flock of new developers.
Nintendo’s entry into the next generation has some interesting technology with an endless amount of game design options. The main gimmick of the Wii U is its tablet controller that features two analog sticks, a directional pad, buttons, and a large HD screen in the middle that features touch control. Similar to Nintendo’s mega-hit Nintendo DS, gamers use the screen on the controller alongside the action on the TV screen.
With a faster CPU and full 1080p HD support, the Wii U finally competes with the big hitters at Sony and Microsoft, while maintaining the usual Nintendo gimmick in the controller. Alongside that, the Wii-mote controller is still used for the new console, which means motion control is still possible. This opens the door for developers to experiment with the motion control success of the original Wii, the dual screen success of the Nintendo DS, and the power capability to make large games that were not capable on the console before.
Sony’s next generation console has been shrouded in secrecy with only a few rumors to push gamers along. Codenamed “Orbis”, Sony’s new console has been said to support Quad HD, the next step in high definition resolutions. Along with that, some whispers indicate it may be more directed at the “casual” audience that Nintendo’s Wii approached with its motion control, which a former employee who posted on Glassdoor.com thinks is a mistake. Regardless, if the rumors are to be believed, both Quad HD and a more open design strategy leave the door open for innovation in game design.
Microsoft’s next console has some interesting rumors surrounding it as well. One of the early rumors is that the XBOX 720 (codename) will come with a built-in Kinect, Microsoft’s popular motion control camera. The same rumor mentions the possibility of using Wi-Fi enabled glasses that displays information and even pieces of the game in the room. Another rumor mentions that the CPU won’t be too far off of what Sony will put in their system. If that’s to be believed, the use of Kinect and the glasses will push the industry even further into the future.
With these three systems, game design students have a lot to learn and experiment with. Now is the time to get on the ground level and experiment with the new technology. Whether independent or backed by a big studio, the possibilities are endless for gamers and future game developers.
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