A reader ponders the likely lifespan of the Xbox One and asks what shape the next generation of consoles will take.
I was struck this week by the talk of how long Microsoft would keep at it this generation and whether they would seek to retire the Xbox One early, since it’s obvious now that they’ll never beat the PlayStation 4 worldwide. Although there doesn’t seem much danger they’ll ditch it as quick as Nintendo has the Wii U I do agree that logically they won’t want to keep supporting it for eight years, like they did with the Xbox 360.
But wasn’t this supposed to be the last generation of consoles? I remember every pundit and his dog claiming that before a single machine was sold, but two years in and suddenly you realise that the Xbox One could quickly be heading for middle age (if you take the normal life expectancy of a console to be five years).
I’m not a tech expert, and a lot can change in three years, but it doesn’t feel to me like we’re in a position to suddenly be giving up consoles.
As I understand it the original idea was that by the time the Xbox Two and PlayStation 5 came round streaming games would be a reality and consoles would be like OnLive, in that they used the cloud to do all the processing and the only hardware you had was a controller and maybe some kind of set-top box/modem.
I don’t see that happening any time soon. Sony still haven’t rolled out PS Now to all of Europe, because their Internet connections are so variable, but these theoretical new consoles would not only be always online they’d have to be a really fast, consistent connection too.
I know video games companies aren’t too hot on learning from previous mistakes, but surely Microsoft has realised that making a console based solely around American needs is a bad idea, especially as the reason they keep losing to Sony is that they have no foothold in Europe or Japan.
So surely they’d be wary of it, and seeing as Sony can’t even get PSN to run straight I’m sure they wouldn’t be up for it either. So the next next gen is probably going to be… more PCs in a box.
And I’m fine with that. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed it’s how easily distracted console makers are from actually making games, and like motion controls before it I fear that cloud gaming (and probably virtual reality) is going to be another technology that’s not quite ready and yet they’ll spend all their time and effort on it instead of taking care of the basics.
But a more powerful console that runs even better games? That I can get behind.
By reader Planetstrike
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