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Epic and Naughty Dog prove PS4 isn't needed yet. So why rush it?

Opinion: New IP shows there's plenty of life left in current consoles, reckons Andy Robinson

From the forward-looking statements currently being spouted by gaming luminaries across the land, you'd think creativity on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 had all but dried up.

'Current consoles aren't powerful enough for my new game', cries Braid man Jonathan Blow. 'PlayStation 4 is needed to make the next Uncharted as impressive as the last,' adds Naughty Dog, and even a veteran of Activision - the company making an absolute killing out of the current-gen install base's craving for Call of Duty - concedes that it might be time for new hardware.

But off the back of one of the greatest ever years for games, do developers really need expensive new hardware in order to innovate and surprise the masses? I don't think so.

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It's seems it's every other week that a new Xbox 720 or PlayStation 4 rumour report splashes across the pages of a big name gaming publication - and Assassin's Creed house Ubisoft reckons the transition is already happening.

But despite the platform holders' obsession with getting to market first, I hope Sony and Microsoft see there's no need to rush their next billion dollar boxes out the door.

There are plenty of signs that developers can still surprise and excite on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - as this weekend's VGA reveals showed - and the public has voted with its wallets to suggest it'd like an extended stay in office for current-gen consoles.

Last month Microsoft sold almost a million Xbox 360s in a WEEK, making it the console's best seven days in history, while Sony shipped almost four million copies of Uncharted 3 in a single day, breaking franchise records.

Third-parties saw similar success, with FIFA 12's record launch for a sports game and Modern Warfare 3's entertainment launch record smash spelling out loud and clear that not only are Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 far from waning, they're bigger than they've ever been.

It's not the numbers that have me convinced though, but instead the genuinely stunning quality of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 titles clogging up my 'to play' list

I really cannot remember a year with more triple-A stunners than this one; Skyrim, Portal 2, Arkham City and Battlefield 3 are just a few of the genre-stormers that've made 2011 one of the standout 12 months in gaming history - and 2012 already looks incredibly exciting.

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BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, GTA V and The Last Guardian (I hope) are enough to headline any games of 2012 list, and that's before you sprinkle in titles such as Dishonored, Halo 4, Max Payne 3 and Borderlands 2.

With technology finally taking a backseat in design documents, developers seem to have hit a creative sweet spot, strengthened by this weekend's new IP announcements from Naughty Dog (Last of US) and Epic Games (Fortnite) which succeeded in surprising and delighting.

The fact that third-party studios can still manifest a giddy smile with their current-gen wares suggests there's potential left in these trusty boxes, and they still seem capable enough of delivering the visions of our industry's top minds.

We've all seen what can happen when a platform holder rushes through its next console hardware. Putting aside the very big issue of the red ring fiasco, the Xbox 360's launch line-up was - especially compared to second and third-gen titles - in my opinion a bit mediocre.

In the rush to get their games up and running on the new consoles, third-parties commissioned a wave of upscaled PS2 ports and Microsoft's own in-house offerings definitely felt like they could've benefited from an extra year (or in Perfect Dark Zero's case, two).

Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have finally come of age, with developers releasing the best games yet for the systems. Let's not spoil that with a pre-emptive console rush - because what's ahead on our current boxes still has us gripped.

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