GAMING Rumours and speculation regarding the next generation consoles are flooding the gaming press at the moment. Especially since Sony released their mysterious video suggesting something big is about to be announced tomorrow, on the 20th of February, 2013.

Will the PS4 & Xbox 720 Not be backward compatible? - Will they ban pre-owned games? Will they demanding a constant Internet connection?

No used games for the PS4 or Xbox 720, huh?

Used games sales - soon to be history?
It's already been feared that the next Playstation and Xbox incarnations won't accept pre-owned games. How infuriating that may be, it's just simply a natural, inevitable step towards digital distribution. No discs, no second hand games. It's nothing new, really. Services like Netflix and Spotify already conquering the turf of traditional movies and music sales -- as well as piracy, to some extent. No one seems to bother about that.

And it's already been going on for years in the realm of gaming, where developers deliberately leave a lot of their games' content out, for the sake of DLC. And when you think about it, it's really their only safe way of getting paid for their work these days. Downloadable content is the only part of the game you cannot share with friends, buy second hand, or even duplicate easily. And for a smaller publisher or studio, those extra nickels could as well be decisive whether they'll keep afloat financially.

Requiring constant online connection?

At the end of the day, them crackers will probably find their way around these imminent obstacles as well. They always do, don't they? Even if they make the games or hardware demand an Internet connection, once the consoles and their games are out, they can be tampered with just the same. And hardware that demands you being constantly monitored will probably be the crackers' highest priority to jailbreak. If there's anything people don't like, it's getting their privacy compromised - unless its on their own initiative.

WHAT? No backwards compatibility either?

No-one expected this to work, back in the day...
The latest rumour, however, is that the upcoming Playstations and Xboxes won't be backwards compatible with PS3 and Xbox 360. At all, not even in multiplayer games. For instance, PS3 users won't be able to play with their more fortunate friends that have already moved over to their fancy new PS4's. How is this so shocking, though? It's not like PC gamers were ever able to n00b pwns on the Wii in a match of Call of Duty. They're different systems altogether, with games running differently, using different hardware, different online services, different controllers and offering user experiences that are entirely different. Even though their differences are blurring out more and more each generation -- gaming consoles are still very much proprietary hardware, they're not PC's.

But apart from the social aspect in multiplayer, the next-gen systems are supposedly not able to run any games of the current generation; ie. the PS3 and Xbox 360. The main reason for this would be to keep the manufacturing cost at an acceptable level, so that they can be sold at a competitive price point. Once again, I'm not the slightest surprised. It's not like anyone bought a Super Nintendo, back in the day, expecting to be able to play their old NES games on it? Of course, they used different cartridges and all, but we've seen this happen in recent years also. The PS2 compatibility was slashed from the PS3, and Nintendo eventually went the same road with the Wii, cutting out the GameCube compatibility it originally had. Sure, the Wii U does indeed play the original Wii titles, but not without Nintendo taking one step ahead only to then take two steps back. In its initial production runs, the system was apparently more costly to build than Nintendo had the nerve to demand from its clientele. Thus they actually went negative from console sales alone, only relying on selling games (which they unfortunately didn't have many of).

The alleged new PS4 controller prototype is apparently your standard Sixaxis, with a touch pad. Sony aren't known for making huge redesigns on their gamepads over the years, so it may as well be legit. Let's just hope they'll add some proper L and R triggers this time...

If it ain't broke fix it anyway!

Some things just need to go, and building a new system based around the old just one doesn't seem like the way to make any new progress and break new ground in terms of technical innovation. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" some might say. Well, fine, then - stick to your PS3's and 360's. No one's gonna stop you. The rest of us have been dying for something new for several years already. But instead, what some people cling on to so desperately, is a technology and a graphical standard that's nearly a decade old. In the rear view mirror, can you imagine people were still dragging on with their old Pong games when they could be playing Mario, Metroid and Zelda?

Even if something as revolutionary probably won't happen in this forthcoming cycle of consoles, then still -- isn't it time for us to move on from the way we played games in 2005? Can't honestly say that a whole lot has happened since Nintendo brought motion controls to the table. Who will have the balls to something as revolutionary and risky this time around?

Maybe Sony's got something creative up its sleeve, with their overly hyped new Playstation announcement taking place tomorrow. Either that, or it's just a new Vita with a smaller screen, larger price tag, and no support for used games.

/theJo
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