Although the chatter around the games industry indicates that E3 will bring a new console from Nintendo — and its rumored features are getting a little ridiculous. But what of the Xbox 360 and PS3? Is it time for them to get a refresh? Not quite, says one insider.
First, it’s important to remember that it was only last year and a half that we got the revised 360 and PS3 Slim — both significant improvements, and both heralding new accessories intended to extend the life of the consoles. And then there are statements on the record showing how Microsoft and Sony execs don’t really feel any pressure to upgrade the machines, since they’re selling well and the competition isn’t really doing anything new. And there’s word from the games development industry that a new generation of even more powerful consoles would make games even more difficult to develop and sell at reasonable prices.
So really, nobody should be expecting a new console from Microsoft or Sony this year, and even 2012 would be something of a stretch — the way we felt about the possibility of a WiiHD being released last year. It would have been surprising.
But 2013 — by that point it will be clear (whatever Nintendo does) that the consoles need a refresh. Why? Well, pressure from the rest of the industry, I’d say. More focus on integration with other platforms, adoption of new media and display standards, attachment to new markets.
Yet the insider quoted at Kotaku seems to think 2014 is a more likely time. Why? Probably just to save money. A year spent on squeezing the last drops out of the old generation is a year they save a billion dollars on R&D, marketing, manufacturing, and so on. And since Sony and Microsoft want to release around the same time (unlike last time, a staggered launch wouldn’t provide much advantage, only give the other an opportunity to respond), it’s likely they’ll both delay as long as humanly possible, unless they get some serious push from outside.
Some may be disappointed, but personally I think it’s just fine. The current consoles are quite powerful, though whether they have much room to grow is a hard question. At any rate, it’s $400 you won’t be spending this year or the next, and that’s something.