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New iterative cycle may trigger console gaming collapse

By: Derek Strickland | Editorials in Gaming | Posted: Aug 18, 2016 10:25 pm

The faster consoles evolve, the faster they become outdated




Remember when PS4 and Xbox One gamers started to complain that PS3 and Xbox 360 ports were holding games back? Yeah, that will likely happen again, only in a different fashion. That sentiment will be expressed as the new iterative cycle moves rapidly forward, especially since older consoles will be less relevant thanks to their outdated hardware.



So pushing out new consoles every two to three years is a double-edged sword to the industry and could end up hurting the market.


Consoles used to last us for eight to ten years. But after only three years, Microsoft and Sony are already looking at ways to one-up their respective hardware. They know that the current generation consoles are woefully outdated and have caused a lot of problems for developers, so it's already time to move on.


Sure, the companies have been careful to say that original consoles won't be left behind, but we all know it's only a matter of time. The faster that tech evolves, the faster that older models become obsolete. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 had taken about ten years before they were officially retired, but now that iterative consoles promise to speed up the tech adoption rate, a console's lifespan will likely shrink.


I mean look at the jump Microsoft made with the Xbox One S. This is basically Microsoft testing the waters to see if we're receptive to the new iterative cycle and represents the first salvo in the new wave. The new S model is technically an "Xbox One", but it's also not because it has some really impressive new components.



(Photo: Eurogamer)


The Xbox One S not only 40% smaller, but it rocks an efficient new 16nm AMD SoC (down from the original's massive 28nm APU) and features an overclocked GPU and tweaked CPU to provide FPS boosts, and it even upscales 1080p games to 4K for UHD TV owners. On top of in-game performance, the Xbox One S is the cheapest 4K UHD Blu-ray player on the market.


Right now there's literally no reason to buy an Xbox One other than price. Microsoft contends that it's just giving gamers more choice with its "trio" of hardware--the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and upcoming Project Scorpio--but really the Xbox One isn't a valid option right now.


How soon until this happens to the PS4 too? I mean, with the PS4 Neo coming out, gamers really won't want to buy an original PS4, especially since the PS4 Neo will likely deliver native 1080p 60FPS in-game performance.


Once the PS4 Neo and Project Scorpio launch, their older brothers will be outdated. Sure, Microsoft and Sony won't phase them out right away, but once the sales start petering out, they'll start thinking about it. And the iterative cycle is all about looking toward the future and embracing new tech.

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