The latest round of console wars is upon us as Sony’s Playstation 4 battles for supremacy with Microsoft competitor, the Xbox One. Both machines have been on the market for around six months, enough time for developers to come to grips with new formats and explore the vast potential of both systems.
The hottest game on both consoles right now is undoubtedly WATCH_DOGS, developed by Ubisoft. Set in a fictionalized version of Chicago, WATCH_DOGS follows the exploits of a young hacker who can tap into the ‘centralized operating system’ of the city and wreak havoc either as a criminal or vigilante. Of course going into missions guns blazing is still an option for those who choose not to engage with the stealth and hacking mechanics the game offers. Boasting cutting edge graphics, an expansive sandbox world, and a huge marketing budget the game may prove to be one of the first major hits for next generation gaming.
The Xbox One has gained a flagship shooter title in Titanfall, which has shipped over 1.2m units in its first month. Set on a future battlefield, players in Titanfall pilot enormous battle tank exoskeletons which give them enormous ability and firepower. The game seems designed to highlight the enhanced graphical power of the new Xbox console and has been a hit with both players and critics. First person shooters are a huge draw to recreational gamers, and the strength of flagship titles will be a major factor in determining the sales success of the competing formats.
Players of both next generation consoles can also look forward to Destiny, the new title by Bungie (creators of the Halo franchise). The open world first person shooter has impressive trailers and will come in as the most expensive video game in history, with a budget of over $500m. Described as a first person shooter with an extensive multiplayer element, Destiny puts the player on a desolate future Earth where the remnants of humanity battle against encroaching alien hordes.
As much as better graphics, the next generation of consoles will offer increased online functionality to their players. Adding elements of social gaming, challenges and activities that players can engage with online with their friends, have become increasingly prevalent in recent titles and is seen as key to future success.
Rockstar Games have been a pioneer in adding playable casinos to their games, notably Red Dead Redemption and the GTA series; and it may not be long before these mini games become fully playable for real money. Popular slot games like mermaids millions might be fun to play on your computer, but imagine the virtual innovations that could be added when talented game developers get involved. With the increasing popularity and availability of online casinos, game studios can’t be blamed for trying to tap into a very lucrative market!