The Xbox One and PS4 are mere weeks away from being released, and the Wii U is trying to fight its way back into the race with the release of some of its heaviest hitters in the next few months, so it's high time I threw down the gauntlet and made some bold predictions about where I think the future of consoles is heading.
Check out the gallery below for our 15 predictions for the future of the Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U.
PlayStation 4 will trounce the Xbox One across holiday period
After the PR disaster that was the Xbox One's unveiling, I predict that the PlayStation 4 will shift the most units across the holiday period by a wide margin . Sony is simply offering the most enticing package, with its console being more affordable and marketed much more proficiently than its rival.
Nintendo will sell cheaper Wii U bundles without the GamePad
I love the GamePad. Considering its size it fits nicely in your hands, in the few games that have incorporated it into their gameplay it has worked magnificently and it offers a wonderful combination of console and tablet gaming .
Unfortunately, it is being underutilised, and this has led many to question its significance. While I would love for Nintendo to convert the non-believers, with their next three big first-party games seemingly failing to use it any notable way, I'm wondering whether the console manufacturer may start to release bundles that replace it with the Pro Controller, instead selling the GamePad separately with games that require it such as Wii Party U.
Microsoft will win ground back from Sony in the long run.
While I believe Sony will win the holiday 2013 battle, Microsoft has a good chance of winning the war. We've all praised Sony for its courting of indie developers and the like, but Microsoft is making a beeline for that most profitable of markets: the bro.
Thus far, Microsoft's pushing of sports to the forefront of the Xbox One's priorities has been a curious business decision, but it is indicative of the demographic they are looking to appeal to. That demographic, the one that will attend a midnight launch of a Call of Duty game and spend an obscene amount of money on Ultimate Team packs on FIFA, is an extremely profitable one which Microsoft also had a firm hold of in the current console generation.
The Titanfall series will dethrone Call of Duty
Many are becoming tired of the Call of Duty franchise, with the fewer pre-sales of Ghosts indicative of this, and while Battlefield 4 looks great that series' focus on more strategic gameplay has always stood to alienate those who prefer their action more fast-paced and, let's face it, dumb.
Fortunately, from the looks of the various previews and gameplays demos we have seen of it, Titanfall looks to bridge that gap. I believe that by the time we see the inevitable Titanfall 2, which unlike its predecessor will no doubt be released on the Xbox One, PC and PS4 simultaneously, we could actually have a CoD-killer on our hands.
Bayonetta 2 will flop
The announcement that Bayonetta 2 would be arriving exclusively on the Wii U divided opinion. Nintendo fans loved the fact that developer Platinum Games was showing such support to the new console, while fans of the original Bayonetta who weren't planning on picking up the Wii U were understandably more than a little frustrated.
I personally believe that Bayonetta 2 should absolutely have been a multiplatform title, and I think the fact that it will be releasing solely on the Wii U will prove to be its unfortunate undoing. Even though I'm of the opinion that 2014 will see Nintendo change the public's opinion of the Wii U, I simply don't think that owners of the console are Bayonetta 2's target audience and, as was the case with Platinum's The Wonderful 101, its lack of sales will reflect this.
Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. U will turn around the Wii U's fortunes.
Much in the same way that the two-hit combo of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 improved the 3DS's fortunes, I believe that when Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. U release next year they will prove to be system sellers for Nintendo's console.
Nintendo has struggled to gain a foothold on the market in the Wii U's first year on sale, but with the big hitters out of that starting gate they have a great chance of converting many more to the console's cause.
Quantic Dream will start developing for Xbox One
Beyond: Two Souls has been receiving mixed reviews, with many still not seeing the appeal of Quantic Dream's "interactive movie" style of game design. But while David Cage and his crew are already planning a game for the PS4, I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually take their talents over to Microsoft.
Microsoft's strong push of the Xbox One as a multimedia centre that will attract sports, TV and film fans as much as it will people who just want to play video games would surely be a perfect fit for Quantic Dream's vision, even if they have made their allegiance to Sony abundantly clear.
Quantic even released an app that allowed Beyond to be controlled by smartphone for people unfamiliar with the dual analog setup which, considering Microsoft's continued push of Xbox Smartglass, would just make sense.
Xbox Fitness will (unfortunately) be a huge hit
Wii Fit proved to a be a monstrous success for Nintendo, and Microsoft is looking to jump on that bandwagon with Xbox Fitness. The app will be included with Xbox Live Gold memberships until December 2014, with it then becoming a paid service.
While I personally prefer to do my exercising outdoors rather than sweating in front of my TV, I think this will prove to be huge for Microsoft, and if they keep that subscription fee low enough and frequently update it with new workout videos, it could see the Xbox One worming its way into the living rooms of people who are uninterested in video games, similar to the impact Wii Fit had on the Wii.
PlayStation Plus will offer up top PS3 titles for free
Sony has already announced that PS3 games will be streamed to the PS4 and Vita via the cloud gaming network Gaikai, but that will inevitably come at a price - a price that those who already owned the games will probably be unwilling to pay.
The PlayStation Plus service has offered subscribers a fantastic array of free games over the years, and this trend will likely continue with the PS4. However, seeing as how the PS4's library won't be large enough for this to be the case in its first couple of years on the market, I'm predicting that the PS3's best games will be made available for free to Plus subscribers.
Rare will bring back a few of their most popular series as Kinect games
Rare used to be everybody's favourite third-party developer. Creators of Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007 and Conker's Bad Fur Day, there was a time when it looked like the company could do no wrong. Now is not that time.
Since 2010, Rare's main focus has been on developing Kinect titles, the derivative Kinect Sports being chief among them. The company will continue its focus on motion-controlled titles with the Xbox One, too, but seeing as how every owner of the console will mandatorily own a Kinect, there's a chance that we could see Rare undergo a revival of sorts and bring back Banjo and the crew to entice those of us who have been begging for their return to take on chance on purchasing a Kinect game or two.
The PS4 will revive the Vita
The PS Vita's a great handheld console but is simply lacking the games. Fortunately, Sony hasn't given up on it, and are really pushing the connectivity between it and the PlayStation 4, along with unveiling a whole bunch of great looking new titles for the near future. I'm predicting that the PS4 will inject some life into the Vita and a whole bunch of people will finally be introduced to the considerable charm of Persona 4.
We'll get a great Wii U Pokemon game, but it won't be the RPG we're all hoping for
Nintendo won't allow developer Game Freak to release a Pokemon RPG on the Wii U, because doing so would have a negative impact on the series' hugely successful portable games.
However, I think we'll definitely see a Pokemon game make its way to the Wii U, with the smart money being on either a beat-em-up or a Skylanders-esque platformer complete with tons of expensive figurines for fans to collect.
The PlayStation Eye will become completely obsolete
The PlayStation Eye was removed from the PlayStation 4 bundle to lower its price point, and I have no doubt that this will render its use completely obsolete save for its implementation in a handful of games, similar to the PS3's Eye.
Downloadable multiplayer-only titles will become the next big thing
Titanfall is an online multiplayer-only title, but that little fact hasn't prevented it from becoming one of the most heavily anticipated next-gen titles. This marks a huge change in the public's perception of multiplayer-only games, as they have thus far only found notable success on the PC, and could mean that we'll see smaller studios incapable of devoting enough time to the creation of a single-player and a multiplayer mode still being able to find considerable success.
The Kinect will win over the casual crowd and be fundamental to Xbox One's success
The first Kinect was a great concept but a flawed final product that lacked decent software. However, the market for it was there and it sold like hot cakes, so I'm thoroughly expecting the improved Kinect 2.0 (which is bundled with the Xbox One) to prove itself as a big selling point for the coveted "casual" audience.
While I'm personally not excited by the prospect of controlling my video games by flailing my arms around, as Nintendo have now moved towards a more traditional controller setup with the dual analog sticks of the GamePad, I'm predicting that the Xbox One will top many a kids' Christmas list in 2014 when Microsoft has rolled out a few more motion-controlled titles.
Header Image: Grindd