If we look at all the players, we have the PC, which has been around since day one - then we have mobile, and current generation consoles. Within the next couple of months, we'll see the introduction of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, too.
We already have the Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as the Wii U, but none of these consoles will compete on the same playing field when it comes to the next generation console's graphic prowess. Well, so you'd think, being a next-gen console after nearly 10 years of the current-gen consoles being on the market.
The Xbox One and PS4 will run most launch games at 720p, such as Battlefield 4, which will run at 720p at 60 frames per second. The 60 FPS part of that equation is great, but the 720p resolution? In a word: pathetic.
In a time when our mobile devices are running rings around the next-gen console's resolution, we really should be expecting Microsoft and Sony to be enforcing some minimum requirements like Microsoft pushed with the Xbox back when it was released. Back with the original Xbox, Microsoft was pushing that all games required Dolby Digital 5.1, and then online functionality started to get included, as the Xbox pushed outside of its first year on the market.
The next-gen consoles should have a minimum requirement of all games running at 1920x1080, or 1080p, at 30 FPS. Some of the better optimized titles could push this up to 1080p at 60 FPS, and first-party titles such as a new Halo, Uncharted or Gran Turismo game could have two options: 1080p at 60 FPS or 4K at 30 FPS.
But no, we receive a slap in the face: 720p at 60 FPS in a game like Battlefield 4 shows just how much of a limp upgrade these new consoles are. Enough about consoles, what about new platforms and technologies? You know, something exciting...
Oculus Rift is just one part of this equation, where we're going to see virtual reality become the next big thing in 2014. Not just virtual reality, but augmented reality like CastAR, and modifications and extra bells and whistles that will be made available for the Rift.
The other side of the Rift equation is the issues with current control mechanics - mouse and keyboard play is not viable for VR, as you can't see your hands at all. This is where we're going to see a fork in the road: augmented reality, so you can partly see your surroundings, and secondly, we should see better motion controls introduced.
We're already seeing the birthing stages of this, with Sixense's STEM controller. Sixense being the company who helped Razer with its Hydra motion controller, are coming to the market to introduce something quite revolutionary to the motion controller world. STEM is going to be the Oculus Rift of the motion controller world - mark my words.
That about wraps up the players going into 2014, with one massive, massive player left for last: Valve. Valve seemingly came out of nowhere to the mainstream world, announcing SteamOS, Steam Box and the Steam controller.
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