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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New consoles change video game landscape

    Brace yourself, new consoles are coming. That means uncertainty about almost everything. Until a console is on the shelves, nobody can claim to know any of its features. Even if Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony makes an official announcement, the company could always change it at the last minute. Some things are more likely than others, of course, but that doesn’t keep people guessing about everything.

    That’s where the industry is today. The Wii U is set to be released later this year, and a few details have been mentioned, but all the recent talk is about the Playstation Orbis and Microsoft’s new console — which will not be referred to as the Xbox 720.

    After the online video gaming news site Kotaku broke news of some rumors about Sony’s next console — including the name — the Internet has been buzzing with discussion about its implications.

    The biggest one, which could drastically change the video game industry, is the Orbis’ potential to be incompatible with used games. Yes, while Kotaku’s source wasn’t clear on how used games would be restricted, it did seem to be clear about that fact.

    How does this change things? Well, for one, stores like GameStop could lose a big source of revenue. Of course, considering the fact that no one likes how much of a profit GameStop makes buying used games for nothing and selling them for prices close to what they cost at release — except GameStop — it may not sound so bad.

    But it affects you too.

    Buying used games for a cheap price will be a thing of the past. Now, at best, gamers will have to not only pay for the game itself but also an extra fee to unlock the full experience.

    Don’t buy used games? You’re still going to be inconvenienced. To authenticate a game as both yours and new, the Orbis will have to connect to the Internet for the game to even start up. Want to bring your game to a friend’s house and play it there? Better hope the Internet is working so you can recover your PlayStation Network ID. It’s not that rare of a problem, but it seems unnecessary.

    What’s more, there’s also speculation that the Orbis, and at some point possibly all consoles, will no longer have physical games. That means players wouldn’t actually own a disc, but just the right to play the game — a right that could be revoked under certain circumstances. It will also require connectivity to the Internet, which will still be an inconvenience for some.

    Even if these are the only changes to the industry, they’ll make it almost unrecognizable from how it was before. No more discs, no more used games, games being reliant on hard drives susceptible to being wiped clean accidentally or hacked — all concerns to fall on the shoulders of the gamer and not the industry.

    That’s what the matter really boils down to in the end. These next consoles could shift control away from the gamer and into the hands of the console and game makers. And, just like any system of government, taking control away from the people is terrible.

    It’s important to remember that these possibilities are just that — possible. They may never come to pass, especially if there’s enough uproar. Gamers still have enough power to sway even big companies like Microsoft and Sony, but that may not last for much longer. Only time will tell.

    — Jason Krell is the assistant copy chief. He can be reached at arts@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatArts .

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