So with the announcement of the fancy new Xbox One the future is finally here, but what does this mean for our potential for future retro gaming?
With the current generation, things are a little ominous. Naturally, the disk-based games will continue to live as long as the consoles themselves, but preservation of all of those XBLA/PSN games relies on harddisks continuing to function and Sony/Microsoft keeping the current online stores switched on, a thought that doesn’t exactly fill me with optimism.
Now then, if this gen is a little worrying, the next one looks downright terrifying. With the console’s gaming potential tied so heavily into the network infrastructure, what happens if Microsoft pull the plug? It seems ridiculous that these shiny new consoles will effectively be bricked if they discover that some long switched-off authentication server is unreachable.
Of course, that doesn’t seem likely now, but what happens in 10 years time, when the market’s moved onto some fancy new system and MS are looking to reduce overheads? Is the future of retro destined to be rushed ‘special edition’ ports that never seem to be able to perfectly replicate the originals?
Not that this’ll matter to Microsoft, of course. it became quite apparent from the uneven focus of their presentation that gamers aren’t their main interest this time around. They should take care though. Focussing on ‘casual’ gamers may have helped Nintendo sell the Wii initially, but the legacy for the Wii:U has clearly been toxic, and that was without a brazen attempt to redefine games ownership.