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The Xbox 360, the first console of this generation, recently reached its 5th birthday while the Wii and Playstation 3 have both hit their 4th. Console lifespans normally last 4 to 5 years, and consoles are, of course, lauded and hyped well beforehand. This cycle of death and rebirth cost millions of dollars to the individual companies and exponentially more to their fans; such is the sacrifice to get the latest and greatest in gaming technology. Obviously in this, the seventh generation of consoles, we haven’t reached a sublimation point where game consoles can never improve, but it has become more expensive than ever to do so. With major corporations reluctant to strike out and release another console, it will be the first time in gaming history where we can see a series like Mass Effect begin and end on the same console.
It’s not a secret that developers need time and resources to tap the full power of a console. The difference between launch titles and recent titles for the Xbox 360 and PS3 are night and day in almost every category. This fact is even more evident in PS2 titles made in 2001 and those made today. Developers have still not tapped the potential of the big 3 consoles, the reason being is that it is incredibly difficult to create titles for them. The longer that game makers can have with a console and the development kits, the more proficient they become at creating titles for a console. The practice really pays off as we are able to enjoy masterpieces that are refined and beautiful.
Making a game looks something like this I think,it’s either this or magic.
The release of both the Kinect and the Move, and their subsequent ad campaigns, has assured that Sony and Microsoft aren’t looking forward to the next generation just yet. High sales numbers are also sure to dissuade the companies from taking a gamble on an untested system while they can just as easily cash in on their current systems. The next big innovations for gaming, 3D and direct downloads, are two things that could find their way into current generation consoles. Of course, both of these advances could be made to current consoles with the PS3 already announced as being updated for 3D, it is likely that Microsoft could roll out a similar update in 2011. With the ability to update on the fly, these consoles have the ability to evolve as no video game consoles have before them. The interfaces are constantly changing, and everything, minus hardware, can be tweaked and molded to change with the times.
The way things are going now, we are looking at an 8 to 10 year lifespan for these consoles. There are no signs of slowing for this generation of consoles, and every day the legions of fans grow. Suddenly, gamers aren’t worried about when their system will become outdated; they are no longer worried about having to buy new controllers, games, wires, and peripherals. Gamers are now able to concern themselves simply with having fun and maximizing the investment on their consoles.