Who Shall Rule The Throne ? – By Gavin Muirhead

A storm brews in the icy hills of Nerdagoria (bad title, we know), and a new heir to the throne is upon us. Hey, we know a lot of people have done the whole, Game of Thrones/whatever your writing crossover, so we figure. Why not us too?

Wallpaper-Game-of-Thrones

 

Five Houses of glory, are making their way through the icy summit of Nerdagoria. Looking to usurp the previous generation, these formidable clans of majesty are planning their roots of attack, building their armies and decapitating the leaders of all former rulers of the land. Theses new titans of the estate are:

OUYA – Open source Android based, Kickstarter-funded gaming console.

Xbox Infinity – Follow up to the best selling Xbox 360 from Microsoft

Playstation 4 – May or may not actually exist. It’s Bigfoot, By Sony.

The SteamBox – Valve is cracking into the console cookie jar, and it could be promising.

Nvidia Project Shield – The Gameboy we all deserve, but may not need right now?

Wii U – Oh yeah, This happened didn’t it?

Now, I’m not going to get into a long drawn out reasoning on why or why not these consoles will or won’t sink like Leo in the Atlantic, but I will give you a small bit of insight on what could happen.

We all know the Wii U came out and by all accounts it’s flopped, pretty hard, but with all the new features over the original Wii, no one would have suspected it to tank like it did; the original Wii outsells the Wii U by about 2:1 right now.

What does this mean for the other consoles coming out this year?

• The OUYA console really peaks my interest personally. Sure, it will never be a high end system running 4k graphics – but for $100 and the ability to create your own games and hot rod your console – all under manufacturers warranty – I see this having a good chance at carving out a niche for itself. All it needs is a good stable of games and good support. At a price point lower than Wii, with Android flexibility, this will make a great splash come holiday 2013.

Xbox Infinity (720) is the follow up the highly successful Xbox 360 made by Microsoft. Powered by the same X86 chipset as the PS4, but with a different memory configuration the new Xbox seems to be focusing more on the overall entertainment center, instead of being a core console with apps like the current generation of consoles are. This isn’t a bad thing in the case of Microsoft, luckily for them Sony is going the opposite direction with its console, so they may be able to coexist peacefully within the same space.

Sony’s PS4 seems purpose built to leave all other consoles in the dust when it comes to game performance. With the lackluster response to the PS3 and its slight graphic bump to the Xbox 360, Sony is setting out to make sure no confusion between the gaming experience can be had. Rocking much faster memory, and more of it, over the upcoming Xbox, the PS4 is poised to stun even the PC gamer with its particle rendering capabilities, the new level of realism and probable 4k display support.

• The enigma of the group has to be the Steam Box, by Valve. While it has been confirmed to be in the making, it also seems to be in a small niche of its own. Valve is planning on running this as an open source PC platform, running off a Linux operating system instead of Microsoft (Ha! Take THAT Bill Gates) and fully tied in to the Steam service which carries and develops most, if not all Valve games. The great part about this, is that Valve has said there won’t be just one Steam Box, but instead it will come in different models. Think of it as a car with a base model, a sport package, and a premium package. Different price points for each, but with the graphic power of a purpose built gaming rig at the “Premium” level. Being a PC essentially, it also offers the idea of upgrading hardware as more support and development goes on through the consoles life – would    have loved to upgrade my Xbox 360 – The only problem with this is the rumored pricing, with an entry level of $500 and upwards of $1000 meaning this had better be damn well worth it.

• Last, but certainly not least, is Project Shield by Nvidia. Two quick things:  #1 Awesome name. #2 Nvidia is no slouch when in comes to PC hardware specifically in the graphics department. Those familiar with the GeForce family of GPU’s or the Tesla’s know Nvidia can do some amazing work when they apply themselves. Project Shield is another Android powered console, that is portable. Currently resembling an Xbox 360 controller with a small flip up flat screen  at the forward face of it, rocking a Tegra 4 processor unofficially clocked around 1.9ghz (Editor’s note: GIGAWATTS?!!!!!) it should have no problems running some in depth games while your on the go (Editor’s note: Or traveling through time!!!!). With the right price point this could be the stocking stuffer of the year for the kids getting tired of the Nintendo DS, but not quite ready to drive around and date girls.

Out of the 5 consoles mentioned in here, they all seem to be working in tandem and filling small niches within the overall world of video-gaming and console entertainment. While Nintendo continues to suffer loses, everyone else is poised to capitalize on their own slice of the proverbial console pie. There is no clear console that will take the throne, but five kings of different blood lines are all in the mix to become ‘King of the Realm’.

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