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The next generation? We don’t need it.

The next generation? We don’t need it.

The normal console life cycle lasts around the five-year mark, if history is anything to go by (in fact, the average time between the release of major consoles is 4.7 years, though that is admittedly without taking into account the month of release). By this logic we should at least know about the next generation of consoles to be coming out, but we don’t. We haven’t had a sniff. Why is this? And does it really matter that much?

I don’t think it does. While at this point in the SNES’s cycle my attentions had moved elsewhere, to the shiny, new 3D world of the PSone and Saturn, there’s been nothing like that to draw attention away. Instead of focusing on the graphics arms race, platform holders seem to be focusing more attention on expanding the range of what their console can do.

When the PS2 came about I was bored with my PSone – and this new console coming out could play DVDs, which was a huge bonus for me as I didn’t own a DVD player. This time around? There’s nothing to grab my interest. The PS3 is constantly being upgraded with firmware updates to be able to play about with the newest, best technology (outside of expensive, dedicated hardware of course). With Sony concentrating on updating and upgrading the existing capabilities of their consoles, I – and I know I’m not alone in this – couldn’t give a flying monkey’s about any potential next generation of consoles. Not right now, at least.

From another perspective, Peter Moore has weighed in with his opinion, stating that the current pricing of consoles shows we’re about halfway through the life cycle. Speaking to Eurogamer, the boss of EA Sports said:

“Chronologically, this is the last few years of previous cycles, but when you look at pricing, we’re mid-cycle.

“Over the years, $199 and below has been where 75 to 80 per cent of business is done. With the exception of 360 and the Wii, PlayStation 3, which seems to have a lot of momentum, is not even close to that.

“So we’re still to reach a price point across all three consoles where historically 75 to 80 per cent of business is done. Yeah, I think we’re in mid-cycle.”

It’s strange to see such a shift, but at the same time I find it exciting. When a new console comes out it’s a case of ‘rip it up and start over’, and the potential for eking out every single percentage of power from the yesterday-current generation is lost.

Now, because of financial constraints, the amount of money Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have put into their machines and the ever-improving technologies that can go hand-in-hand with the consoles, we simply don’t need the traditional life cycle structure.

When we were told the PS3 would last us ten years, we baulked. At least a bit. It was grudging acceptance that maybe, in the right circumstances, the console would be able to live for a decade. But these days, four years down the line, it doesn’t look like such a daft suggestion anymore.

Here’s to the next six years.

[US home console release dates:
NES, 1986. SNES, 1991. Nintendo 64, 1996. Gamecube, 2001. Wii, 2006.
Master System, 1986. Genesis, 1989. Saturn, 1995. Dreamcast, 1999.
PlayStation, 1995. PS2, 2000. PS3, 2006.
Xbox, 2001. Xbox 360, 2005.]

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  • NachoKingP

    I find it hysterical that you’re referencing an article that says “With the exception of 360 and the Wii, PlayStation 3…” and you don’t comment that the person is ignoring two-thirds of the current generation (and also the two highest-selling consoles of the three). You can’t say “with the exception of” and then exclude the majority of the base. PlayStation 3 is the exception, with it’s high price point and lower console sales. I think the reason why we’re not hearing about new console iterations yet is because with the exception of the Wii (see how I used that there?), the current consoles support all or most of the latest technology in HD resolution, online streaming of video, and digital distribution of game content. We will probably see a “Wii HD” before we see new versions of the other two consoles because Nintendo purposefully used outdated hardware from the outset in order to keep prices low, but I don’t think we’re going to see new consoles until the consoles we have now are no longer capable of keeping up with the game development curve hardware wise.

  • Ben

    No we need next gen now.

    The currrent consoles are NOT true HD. The 360 was designed for 720P resoultion. It only has 10MB of EDRAM which is NOT enough to render a frame in 1080P with anti-alaising.

    I would like my console games to fully utilise my HDTV! Console graphics are far still behind PC graphics.

  • Mitch

    The PS3 will go on and be supported for 10yrs but a new console won’t come out that far away.

    2016 for a new PS is ridonkulous…

    I agree completely that it will be a bit longer and that the reasons you have stated will cause this, but the rough edges are showing.

    It’s great what PS3 can do and it will continue to get better but the gains will slowly start to diminish, there are also problems with fluidity in the interface, some down to some poor design choice, but mostly memory limitations; which is saddening with an interface like XMB which has so much potential.

    As a person highly interested in GUI Design to say that the PS3 is ok as it is and that it’ll do for another 6yrs is blasphemous. It’s simply good and a great step forward.

    I think [Nov 2013 – Mar 2014] will be far more realistic.

  • Sam

    I for one am entirely happy with the current gen, if I want better graphics than I’ll improve my pc.


    All the consoles ans stuf like that are great but do we really need more? probably but ps3 has HD, wii has motion sensores and xbox is just a thing yuo play games on. Now im not complaining but do we really need more?

  • Jack

    My life is quite complicated enough without me forking up enough cash for a new system.
    I’ll gladly wait 15 years for a PS4.

  • LoStranger

    Of course we need a new console generation does anybody have any idea how WEAK these generation of consoles truly are? The GPU’s of these systems cnt even render games nativley @ 1080p most games r ethier 720p or sub HD

    These consoles cud NEVER match up to Crysis ultra settings @ 1080p and Crysis is almost a 4 year old game

    PATHETIC….and im sick of 600p games