One thing the Xbox 720 should not be...
Here we are, seven years into this generation's life-cycle, and we are beginning to hear talks of the next "big thing" from Microsoft. It seems like everyday there are new rumors and speculations on just what the "Xbox 720" will be, and how it will stack up in comparison to the Wii U and PS4. There's been talks of an iPad-like device, a touch screen controller, and a TV system that plays games. One idea, though, has taken the Internet by storm, highlighted by the likes of Official Xbox Magazine and renowned analysts: The Xbox 720 will specifically feature updated graphics, with no other content and improvements.
Your Xbox 720 may look cool, but does it really offer anything new?
Really? We've seen monumental growth in console sales the past seven years to only introduce a system that plays games with updated graphics, but no other new features. The idea, most likely due to the current economic situation across the globe, is to continue to support Xbox 360, but offer a console that will allow you to gain better HD support. Sadly, many believe this idea could still cost you $300 due to the manufacturing costs of hardware. I don't know about you, but I continue to see major graphical strides in games today (i.e. L.A. Noire and RAGE), and I believe a new console should offer far more than better graphics.
You may be thinking, "What's the big deal, it's something new." New, though, doesn't always mean better. Sure, folks will most likely file out in groves to purchase the system, but it doesn't mean it's good for the industry. Look at Call of Duty for example; the franchise is a money maker, but there hasn't been any real innovation since Modern Warfare. The industry, developers and fans alike, want new features to play around in. Allowing them to only make prettier games limits their creative abilities.
This idea hurts no one worse than applications, though. Dropping this "copycat" console, in terms of features, limits their push for freshness. Instead of focusing primarily on new experiences for the Xbox 720, devs will have to share focus with the Xbox 360. The biggest selling point for every console in this current generation has been its new features in comparison to the past system. Sharing may benefit those who are not ready to drop hundreds on a new console, but it strangleholds those who are ready to open a new door without strings attached.
RAGE proves that we are still evolving graphically with this console's life-cycle
Call me an old school gamer, but I want innovation, especially with a new system. I can't help but look back at the jump from my original Xbox and receiving my Xbox 360 - the difference was extraordinary, and it felt like nothing I had played before. That's where this console plan fails. Yes, the graphics would be improved, but you feel like you're just getting an update on something you already own. Hopefully this rumor is eventually debunked, and Microsoft introduces us something that will be a landmark in the "console war."
You can follow Tate Steinlage on Twitter - @SteinlageT