So you’re in the market for one of those console things
It used to be fairly straightforward to explain the console landscape to a friend looking for some guidance on how they should be getting into games. In the mid-’90s, Sony’s PlayStation was a certainty to crush Sega’s Saturn from the word go, and it was difficult to recommend an N64 to a dabbler when its cartridges clocked in at £60 a throw. It was hard to put your shoulder behind Sega’s Dreamcast, too, with PS2 on the horizon, poised to steamroller both Nintendo’s rather half-hearted GameCube and Microsoft’s initial stab at this console-making lark. Then, when Sony fluffed its PS3 launch by making many of the same mistakes suffered by its competitors in previous years, it presented Microsoft with an open goal for Xbox 360. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Wii didn’t even need recommending: a quick go on Wii Sports was enough to persuade millions of people who didn’t traditionally play games that this cheap and cheerful box of fun was something they needed in their homes. And who didn’t see PlayStation 4 smashing Xbox One to pieces from the beginning?
Following E3 2016, though, describing the shape of the console scene is more of a head-scratcher. Microsoft has more or less thrown in the towel with the original Xbox One, with a revamped model due soon. Except that one will be superseded itself by something even more capable in 2017. The first of the new platforms will carry the Xbox name, but the second one’s official title hasn’t been revealed yet, although we do know its specs. And every Xbox One game will work on all three models of the console – at least initially. Oh, and all of the titles published by Microsoft will be playable on Windows 10 PCs, too. And a more powerful PlayStation 4 is on its way soon! Why? How? When? Look, we’ll have to get back to you.
In the middle of all this, it is comforting to fall back into something you can depend on: a new Zelda from Nintendo, which feels like a favourite old leather armchair that’s not going anywhere. Our story begins on p74. It’s coming to NX next year, too, you know. NX? Yeah, about that…
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