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Xbox_Old_Dashboard_New_Dashboard

The evolution of the console & what the future holds for Call of Duty

2013 is going to be a massive year for the Video Games industry as the next generation of consoles will bless all of us. By 2013 it will have been around 8 years since the Xbox 360 was first released and 7 for the PlayStation 3 so we are due for some brand new and extremely powerful hardware such as the PlayStation 4 and the rumored Xbox 720, which in turn leads to brand new kick-ass games!

The processing power and graphical upgrades between the PS2 & PS3 as well as the Original Xbox & the Xbox 360 were phenomenal to say the least; it was such a massive leap in terms of quality and raw power that the consoles had access to and the with that came increased quality of games.

Take a look at the two images below, can you tell which one is from the PlayStation 2 and which is from the PlayStation 3? Thought so! We can’t wait to see how much Call of Duty will improve on the next generation of consoles.

Call of Duty 2: PS2 (Left) - Call of Duty 9: PS3 (Right)

Quality of the games is not solely dependent on the hardware though of course, for example Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′s graphical quality and appearance is fantastic compared to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare even though they were both released on the PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360. Another great example of “its not about size it’s what you do with it” is with the upcoming Black Ops II, where developers have integrated new graphical rendering techniques and optimization to improve visuals without the requirement for extra processing power.

It’s very impressive though that with Black Ops II we are still going to be getting higher quality graphics on a console which is 7 years old! A perfect example of why the next generation of consoles has not yet been released since there was still a lot of power to be tapped out of them. As we approach 2013 however we have reached the point where a games quality has become limited by the consoles, making it the perfect time for the next generation of consoles to fall upon us.

Original Xbox Dashboard vs 2012 Dashboard

Why have the current generation of consoles been around for so long then? The answer is simple, they have been kept up to date with constant hardware additions and new styles of gameplay to keep the whole experience for users fresh and exciting.

Hardware wise a brilliant examples are the Xbox Kinect & PlayStation Move which both offered completely new ways to interact with your console in order to stop consoles feeling dated and keeping users engaged.

Software upgrades have also been an extremely important part of keeping the current consoles for lasting so long, if you compare the original Xbox 360 dashboard to what it is now you’ll see how different it is (see pic below). Increased interaction with social networking sites, video playback, avatar creation has transformed the Xbox 360 into much more than a Video Game Console, it has become a complete entertainment centre offering Music Services such as Zune, Online Video Streaming from all the major players such as Netflix and BBC’s iPlayer coupled with the speech control system of the Kinect. The same goes for the PlayStation 3 as it now offers similar services.

Future Consoles: The days of optical disks such as DVD’s and Blu-Rays with computers are almost over as far as Microsoft is concerned, their latest Operating System Windows 8 will not include the required software & drivers for DVD & Blu-Ray playback. When was the last time you honestly used your laptop or computers optical disk drive? The future of digital data distribution is via the internet, platforms such as Steam and Direct2Drive are prime examples of how the video games industry is evolving in providing content over the inernet. High Street game reataliers are slowly going under, such as GAME which recently went bust.

Chances are Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 will not include a optical drive what so ever, games will run better when run off the consoles hard drive. Getting the data of the game you want onto the hard drive is the important part though, the internet would be a great way for a lot of users but there will inevitabley be complications as some users are hindered by slow download speeds and would have to spend days downloading to get their favourite game. Hopefully the consoles will introduce alternate ways of game distribution such as selling them on memory cards or flash drives instead of DVD’s.

What the next gen consoles mean for Call of Duty: It was revealed via a job posting over at Infinity Ward they were looking for a “Senior Animator with experience in game development and an interest in working with next-generation technologies.” Next-Generation Technologies being the PS4 & Xbox 720. What improvements come from a new console though for a game, take a look at just some in the list below:

  • Higher resolution & quality textures
  • Better & more realistic lighting effects
  • More realistic Physics capabilities
  • More accurate player animation
  • Higher NPC & Playercount
  • Bigger maps
  • Increased character polygon count
  • Increased model polygon count
  • Higher frame rates
  • Photo-Realistic character faces & actions

With more power also comes the ability for bigger and better multiplayer support, as we will likely see bigger maps with a higher player count.

Check out the kind of improved quality we are talking about with the image below, Modern Warfare 3 with the current generation of consoles verses Crysis 2 with a modern PC. The PC market differs from consoles because each computer differs so much and they can be upgraded constantly, a gaming PC today would trump the quality of our generation of consoles anyday but it gives us a great hint of what to expect in the future with consoles.

Facial Rendering: Modern Warfare 3 vs Crysis 2

Even with Modern Warfare 3 currently the quality difference between PC & Consoles is noticable because of how much more power PC’s have at their disposal compared to Consoles, take a look at the image below comparing PC to PS3 and tell us if you can notice the difference. The most noticable difference is the texture quality, it is so much more detailed and sharp on the PC version (Top). Crysis 2 is a prime example of the differences between PC & Console as the difference in quality is massive but it is great because it gives us an insight of the kind of graphics to expect in future console games with better optimization and higher frame rates.

Enlarge the picture to truly see the difference

Modern Warfare 3 on the PC (Top) & on the PlayStation 3 (Bottom)

Black Ops II Graphics on current generation Consoles

Black Ops II may change our opinion on this but Call of Duty has reached its limit for the current generation of consoles, we posted previously how Call of Duty could be coming to an end as it won no awards at the British BAFTA’s. Black Ops II however does look promising with a complete era change and new graphical techniques. The big change for Call of Duty will come with the release of the Xbox 720 & PlayStation 4 as we’ll be able to experience high definition textures and models with stunning visuals with a religious 60 FPS which is always adheared to by Call of Duty.

What will the next COD game be though? Could it be Modern Warfare 4? It is possible of course, the Modern Warfare brand name is absolutely massive and has always been regarded to showcase the best Call of Duty games and is set in an era which everyone is familiar with. That said however the story being the three Modern Warfare 3 titles has finally been concluded at the end of MW3′s campaign so it is unclear where the campaign would be situated should the 2013 title be Modern Warfare 4.

The World War 2 era is what made Call of Duty what it is today so perhaps we will be receiving a blast from the past with the next generation of console games or (assuming the success of Black Ops II) another futuristic game. There no way of knowing what to expect yet but one can hope for what they enjoy most!

Conclusion: 2013 is going to be a massive year and Call of Duty is going to expand like we have never seen before as Infinity Ward (The original Call of Duty developer) breathes new life into the most popular video game franchise to date. We’ve still a little while to way but the next generation of consoles are well under development and Call of Duty will undoubtebly be epic on all platforms which it is released on. The only question you have to ask yourself is: Xbox, PlayStation or PC?