AF Tech Thursday Series :: The Future of Gaming Consoles

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Battle of the consoles

Battle of the consoles

Maximizing space in a small living environment can be a pretty eye opening task. Ask any former college student who has lived in a dorm and they’ll nod their head in agreement. That being said, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice having a home entertainment system in order to have some extra leg room. One excellent way to avoid techno-clutter is to have a video game system able to do more than just play video games.

 

With the highly anticipated release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Apartment Finder will take you on a 3-week #TotallyTechThursday look at the capabilities and limitations of each, including the Wii U, and how they can help make your gaming device an all-in-one entertainment hub.

 

What was once considered an amazing console feature, Sega Genesis’ headphone jack and audio equalizer, is now considered a dinosaur of antiquity. The same can be said of Nintendo’s Power Glove. And the infamous Rumble Pack. And the list goes on. But as technology has zoomed into hyper speed since the late 80’s, video game consoles have built an impressive pyramid of features that continuously rise to the sky. For the 8th generation of video game consoles, the public will have access to new features that will continue to change the gaming landscape for the foreseeable future and beyond.

 

First on our list is Sony’s PlayStation 4. The system scheduled for release on November 15 comes at a launch price tag of $399. Alongwith the sleek black design of the newly designed shell comes a standard 500 GB hard drive that can be removed and upgraded at any time. To take advantage of that space, users will want to dive into Sony’s online PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store, which make a return from the PS3.

 

When gamers are not in the mood for console play they can purchase or rent a wide variety of movies and television series right to their system for on-demand viewing. Popular apps such as Netflix and Hulu Plus are also back for an encore, giving consumers more viewing options than possible. All this is in addition to the built in Blue-ray Disc drive that won out over its HD DVD competition in the format wars.

 

At the same time, if movies and TV is not your thing, gamers can play up-coming releases and even download full disc games purchased from their PlayStation Wallet. Just as the MP3 player made CD’s obsolete, video game systems are trying to eradicate needless software. And not forgetting our music fans, the PlayStation 4 includes numerous apps to build your own playlists and keep them in one convenient location.

PlayStation 4 Concept Design #2

PlayStation 4 Concept Design #2 (Photo credit: GeekInSpace)

The one major drawback of the PS4 is the system’s designed inability to play backwards compatible PS3 discs. Now before you cross the PlayStation 4 of your list, Sony has plans to rectify this disappointment. Although not available at launch, the PS4 will usher in a new era of cloud gaming via their new service called Gaikai. Plans are under development for this newly purchased company in which users can play previously purchased games on a server that will further eliminate the need for physical discs. The logistics of pricing and numerous other details are still unknown, however, the popularity of Gaikai could do for cloud gaming what the Sega Dreamcast did for online play.

 

Be sure to return for next week’s #TotallyTechThursday when we preview Microsoft’s Xbox One and its spin on console – TV integration.