Here’s Why The Next Console Generation Will Only Have Two Contenders

Oh boy. Microsoft. We’ve established that Microsoft isn’t really going for the gaming crowd anymore. Their proudest announcements that aren’t third party games are new apps and additions to Xbox Live. And their four first party games, over and over again. They’re sort of on the same train that Nintendo was on about seven years ago, except with an added focus on entertainment instead of games that everyone can enjoy.

The recent Xbox offer, allowing gamers to pick up an Xbox for $99 if they enter into a two-year Xbox LIVE contract for $15 a month, confirms that Microsoft has streaming boxes like the Slingbox and Roku in their sights. And why not? You literally make money off of other people’s services. How is that not brilliant?!

It’s likely that, rather than being like the Xbox 360, which is a game machine that just so happens to have a ton of streaming capabilities, the next Xbox will be a streaming machine that happens to have gaming capabilities. It’ll have Kinect 2.0 built into it to provide ease-of-use through voice commands and gestures. It’ll also, of course, be powered by Bing and the infamous Metro interface. It’ll support the recently revealed Xbox SmartGlass and specifically link up perfectly with Microsoft‘s more recent announcement, the Surface tablet.

They’ve always enjoyed a majority of their success in the gaming industry based on third party games. So, with little investment into games in the way of their own personal efforts since, unlike Sony and Nintendo, (Microsoft doesn’t have any in-house developement studios of their own, they just own several studios,) Microsoft can afford to focus entirely on their infrastructure for Xbox Live, and simply allow a medium for other studios to put games on their system. Which is pretty close to what they’re already doing already.

Microsoft wouldn’t release a game console next generation. They’d release a box that happens to play games, but to call it a game console would be an incorrect statement.

How Likely Is This?

Incredibly. As in, Microsoft is actually almost already doing this. We just need to wait and see what the focus of their eventual new hardware will be. Although, given leaked documents that look fairly real, the NeXbox, as I’ve dubbed it, is going to have some serious power under the hood anyway, supposedly wielding six times the power of the current Xbox 360. And given that Microsoft is going after those documents and trying furiously to get them taken down wherever they pop up, I’d say they might have some truth to them. Sadly, only time will tell, but it certainly sounds like Microsoft is focusing on a device that can do everything, rather than something that can be used strictly as a game console. Extra features are great, but when it gets right down to it, I really just wanna play games with it.

The Future

I can’t tell you for certain what’s going to happen with the next generation of consoles. No one can. Of these possible futures, these could happen. They could not. Heck, two or three of these could happen. They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive. You never know, you might see a fourth contender enter the ring too. But as much as we all want to see the glorious return of the Dreamcast, only time will tell what we’ll be talking about in terms of video games in the next several years. Until then, that’s what we have speculation and discussion for.

With that in mind, what say you, gamers? What do you think is next for us in the video game world? Do you think the traditional console might be on its way out?