Sony vs Microsoft vs ?

The life of current gen consoles is winding down slowly and, with the absence of PS4 and Xbox 720 at this year’s E3, a question arises: Who’s under more pressure to release a new console?

E3 honestly was sub par showing for the big three collectively, with Sony in my opinion edging out solely on the mind-blowing experience that was The Last of Us. Wii U already has a 2012 holiday season release window targeted and Sony and Microsoft will be next in line. But who needs to come out swinging first?

The 360 has expressed heavy support for content outside of gaming, adding a new browser, and a couple exclusive deals for tv. The big hitting game titles came from the usual suspects. Halo and Gears of War both made strong showings. Forza even impressed everyone this time around with its impressive in-engine display.

Sony had a big third-part showing as well, nagging the exclusive debut of Assassin’s Creed III’ naval warfare. The big titles though, were exclusives: The Last of Us, All-Stars Battle Royale, and Two Souls made great appearances.

We have no details on what the big 2 are coming with in the next few years, but a couple analysts and theorists have chimed in. Analyst Michael Pachter recently added his two cents to an idea involving a subscription based Xbox 720. Apparently Microsoft is adopting a “smartphone” style model involving deferred costs and Pachter is a huge advocate of this. He goes a bit further, even, expressing potential 720 function. “Console will have to be multiple purpose devices, though,” he sasy. “The Xbox 720, this is my prediction, is going to be your television as well. You’ll be able to tune into television through it.” He also believes Windows will finally be integrated into the console and be able to deliver television to multiple screens throughout a household. Most shocking is the price point. Pachter thinks the new console will sell for $99 with a subscription model through a partnered cable tv company added. If this were true, the gaming world would change drastically.

Both Microsoft and Sony have been aggressive in their expansion of the consoles. PlayStation and Xbox have evolved beyond mere gaming consoles and will continue to do so. This theory for the next Xbox would put immense pressure on Sony if the next PlayStation simply continued the usual console trend and pricing model, but don’t count Sony out just yet.

Over at Kotaku, writer Stephen Totilo offered a theory of his own based on a huge move recently made by Sony. On June 29th, Sony spent $380 million on Gaikai, a cloud gaming service. Gaikai is already established in its field, but Totilo threw out a tantalizing idea: What if the PS4 was already in your home? Consider your PS3 streaming PS4 graphics and gaming from a server source, and you’re on the same page. This idea is simply brilliant because it would reduce the hardware cost vastly (possibly even eliminating them), a handicap Sony has always come out of the door with in this gaming war.

There are a few limitations with both these theories, but imagine the possibilities. The foundation of the gaming world, the console, could become much more affordable, free form, and tailored to the needs and wants of the individual. Or, it could become wholly obsolete with a decent internet connection. With either option, developers would be freed up a bit also, guaranteeing a larger amount of titles for the consumer. Now, these ideas are all well and good. Ideas as ambitious as these have been presented before, but no pressure has truly been put on Sony and Microsoft to apply these things. Until now.

Enter Ouya

Ouya is an ambitious idea helmed by Julie Uhrman. Via Kickstarter, she is asking for $950,000 in 29 days to develop a fully hackable Android-based gaming console that will retail for only $99. It will adopt the current Android Market model, with all titles available for demo and some even free-to-play. All titles will be download only, no disc drive, and every console will also be the development kit. This eliminates a great deal of cost to consumers and developers AND takes the used game market out of the equation. Ouya is aiming to perfect the console market instead of completely changing it to something else entirely. If big developers pick this up, the big 3 would be in a tight spot and would HAVE to evolve with the times instead of coasting on its current monopoly, especially with the projected release date of Ouya on March 2013.

But, their asking for $950,000 through Kickstarter and that is a lot of money. Who would put in this amount of money on an unproven device? No one right? Wrong. Ouya reached its goal in less than 10 HOURS and has just crossed the $2.6 million mark with 28 days left. Yea. Consider the landscape terraformed.

The ideas presented with just $950,000 seemed astounding and very beneficial to consumers and investors. With them potentially reaching $4 million by the end of this, the potential is endless. The big 3 best beware, resistance is futile.