PS4 and Xbox One: the trends ready to shape the next generation

Monday, 26th August 2013 13:34 GMT By Patrick Garratt

The next console generation has, finally, dropped its pants. We can now see its bits. Patrick Garratt sums up the trends you can expect to see emerge in living room gaming after PS4 and Xbox One release in November.

Wii U spearheaded the idea of controlling the TV action in tandem with a second screen, but PS4 and Xbox will take the concept further by natively synching with phones and tablets. Watch Dogs is a prime example of how fast this is going to become the norm. The possibilities here, especially taking a new focus on console indie development into consideration, could be awesome.

Mystery be gone. With E3 and gamescom behind us, we know what PS4 and Xbox One will and won’t do. The next console generation is going to look markedly different to the current. How? This.

Downloading. It’s coming. The FIFA 14 copy inside European Xbox One pre-orders is a download, and we’re likely going to see day-and-date parity – price included – of digital versions with discs very quickly. Most second tier games will move away from discs altogether in the next two years (at the most). Steam-like sales and a focus on retailing the type of games which floundered on discs in the current gen will become normal on PSN and XBLA after November.

Indie. Unless you’ve been watching the games media through a steel shield for the last year, you’ll know independent console development is a serious focus for Sony, with Microsoft finally playing catch-up. Digitally self-publishing games created by singletons, large teams and everything in between will be one of the great differences between the coming console generation and the last. We may well see Steam’s monopoly on indie eroded in the years to come. This’ll be a big deal.

Always-on. Xbox One and PS4 are designed to be constantly connected to the internet. It doesn’t matter how much you rail against it, game-makers are now going to be assuming you’re online. Those UI’s you’re seeing are online. You are online. You may not have to be to play, but you will if you want to use all the social networks you’ve implanted into your brain. Get used to it. Offline’s done.

Free-to-play. Free-to-play will become normal to console users within the next year, with games like Planetside 2 and World of Tanks being early examples. A good indicator of just how much the world of business models is changing in the triple-A space is the reaction to Bethesda’s announcement that TESO will need a sub. The word “free” will be heard regularly in relation to PS4 and Xbox One.

The console MMO. Persistent online play is going to be an immovable next-gen feature. While “straight” MMOs will be available, there’s going to be an inexorable drift towards instance-based multiplay with friends, Guild Wars style. GTA Online, Destiny and The Division are all early examples of this: they aren’t “mass” in the traditional sense, but more about smaller groups enjoying persistent worlds.

The living story. Console gaming is about to suck up a lot of the attributes of PC. Service-style games are to be constantly updated with smaller pieces of content, as opposed to whopping great packs and sequels after multi-year waits. Guild Wars 2 is updated every two weeks with small-ish bits, and you can expect the same from the always-on triple-A console titles. Anything with a persistent world on PS4 and Xbox One won’t be a static product.

The second screen. Wii U spearheaded the idea of controlling the TV action in tandem with a second screen, but PS4 and Xbox will take the concept further by natively synching with phones and tablets. Watch Dogs is a prime example of how fast this is going to become the norm. The possibilities here, especially taking a new focus on console indie development into consideration, could be awesome.

Streaming. Both PS4 and Xbox One have Twitch integration, and, thanks to that always-on thing you’ve been doing for the past 15 years, you’re going to have the option to stream next-gen console play from day one. Sony showed how simple it’s going to be to drop into the game of a streaming friend in its gamescom press conference. Watching tournaments is bound to become more popular on console. This isn’t going away.

Cameras. Xbox One may have had a bit of a nightmare with Kinect’s messaging this year, but it’s in the box for a reason. Whether or not you use it for motion-tracking, having your face on the screen, for telephony as well as games, is about to become standard. When was the last time you bought a laptop without a camera? They’re going to be just as ubiquitous in the living room.

Social networking. Like, dur. Twitter, Facebook and whatever else you use to show your borked name on a Starbucks cup are so integral to internet life that leaving them out of the next console equation would be a darker shade of ridiculous. Everyone shares everything. Expect your triple-z web stardom to follow you onto Xbox One and PS4 as assuredly would a hungry puppy into a butcher.

PS4 and Xbox One release in November.



  1. Hunam

    I can see the second screen being the first thing to go by the wayside as time progresses. It’s a nice idea and all, but it’s very faddish.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. TheKeyPit

    I’m glad they chose to put in a Download for FIFA14. This enables all the multi-tasking features of the xbox one. Playing FIFA, answering a skype call, going back to the game without delay etc.
    Playing Forza 5 and start preparing an online match for FIFA14. SmartMatch makes it possible. I’m really excited for the next gen xbox.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. cozican2013

    I may sound really lazy but changing disks is so exhausting now days I like being able to change what game I’m playing without having to get off my fat arse.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. MFBB

    #3 digital sales are still often to expensive.

    I always look for the cheaper price and sometimes I can get the game on PSN for 8€ and retail stores/online shops want 30€.

    Sometimes its the opposite and a retail game for 15€ is in the PSN store for 69€.

    Same with my PC games on Steam.

    That is the only thing keeping me from going digital only, the prices are all over the place and you always have to compare with retail or you might pay much more.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. taternuggets

    @3 I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not, but I agree entirely.

    #5 1 year ago

    All of the second screen stuff I’ve seen so far looks like a waste of time.

    Things like sitting on your own, using an iPad just to call in an air strike, or spot enemies, while your friends are actually busy playing the proper game seems like a terrible idea.

    I am looking forward to doing away with discs, entirely, though. Day one downloads FTW!

    (Yeah, yeah, welcome to PC 2005, blah, blah, blah… Save your keystrokes, PC fanboys.)

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Hcw87

    Social networking, Cameras and Second Screen features have no place in my games.

    Fuck that shit.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Cobra951

    @7: My feelings exactly. If a second screen is required for full enjoyment of a game, it better be included in the box.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Froseidon

    @5 – I don’t think it’s sarcasm, I feel the same :P

    @7 – Agreed, I have a Wii U for second screens, I don’t want this crap clogging up my games on other consoles.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Sadismek

    I like disks… :( They’re circular, emit rays out of their backsides when in sunlight, usually have a nice print on the other side. What more do you want? Heard they’re great when you’re lonely too…

    #10 1 year ago
  11. ps3fanboy

    the ps4 will shape it…. this other tvbox will not… its a fact!

    #11 1 year ago
  12. tracyis300

    I agree with the digital DL. Disc are starting to build up and its taking up space. And the fact that i don’t have to drive, worry if i have enough gas, wait in line and deal with maybe someones BS, and drive back home, then DL the game on the console cause you have to anyway. This is going to make my life a little easier.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Bomba Luigi

    I love the Indie trend, I spend now a lot of Time playing Indies.

    But the rest… I don’t care or don’t want that stuff. But I guess that is where the Big Gaming Industrie is going. Too much online and Social Stuff, and the Big Budget Games are getting more and more the Same. It is getting pretty boring lately in this Part of the Gaming Industrie, but thats just my Opinion.
    And it is probably one of the Reasons why I spend so much time with Indies.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. fearmonkey

    The 2nd screen thing would be great for someone not into gaming or not good at it to play with someone who is.

    However, I’m not sure it will be prevalent in next gen games, I could see
    a few games really use it though.

    I’m sure the cameras will have their neat moments, but I dont see it being a big deal long term, though MS could surprise us.
    Not sure if Sony can really impress me with theirs, Kinect is the better camera but again we shall see.

    Social networking (Facebook and Twitter) is boring, but the share your videos would be great. It would be nice if screenshots would be possible as well.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Francis O

    @Patrick Garratt

    Please explain to me how a Watch Dogs optional app takes the second screen gameplay further than the Wii U, that has it integrated in most games?

    #15 1 year ago
  16. Phoenixblight


    The fact that it keeps the game relevant longer. You can take it with you where the Wii U you are stuck in your house. Can you take that pad with on the bus(Ha!) play an app that works with watch dogs or Battlefield 4? No you can’t. Not to mention that Game Developers are making them work across all mobile and tablets and not being forced to a single device.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Metroid455

    Alot of those things are the reasons that im seriously considering ignoring the so called “next gen” and just sticking with my current platforms (PS3/Wii U/Vita/3DS). It’s funny that looking at my Wii U It might very well be the last console I ever purchase.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Dave Cook

    @15 Because of Watch Dogs tablet multiplayer mode. I played it at gamescom and its insanely clever.

    Open the app, log in to a friends world, touch to drop race checkpoints and start/finish line. As soon as Aidan gets in a car and goes through the start point your tablet chopper spawns in, you can use touch to hack anything near it to stop Aidan from finishing the race, including spawning in police cars. The person controlling Aidan can get out their car and try to shoot your tablet chopper down. Its insane how it works.

    Why better than Wii U? You can’t take the Wii U gamepad our your house and still play it.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. theizzzeee

    Who knows Dave the app may be compatible with the Wii U too.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Phoenixblight


    Except you can’t take it with you and I doubt that Ubisoft will make a local Multiplay just for Wii U’s version and for a console that is dragging its feet in sales.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. theizzzeee

    @20 You can’t take the game with you on any version except maybe the PS4 if. you have the Vita and Vita Version of the game. Contrary to many opinions the full game versions of PS4 and XBOX ONE are not made to be played on smart phones and tablets. One thing to consider is what percentage of smartphones or tablets would be capable. They are made moreso to supplement the game with maps, info inventory etc. It’s possible they might have local multiplayer because UbiSoft is probably Nintendo’s biggest supporter.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. JenniferAuburn

    oh man, i never seen such hype, rumors, and marketing what it is done for these so called next gen console, seriously people are got confused what to buy or what to not.
    Payday 2 Glitches

    #22 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.