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Discussion Starter #1
http://www.develop-online.net/news/35315/Sony-Watch-our-rivals-go-next-gen-first

"Successors to the Wii and Xbox 360 are more likely to arrive before the release of the PlayStation 4, according to a top Sony exec."

I wonder if Sony should try to go head to head at all? Sony has a well documented 10 year life cycle. The chances of Sony being first with the next gen is highly unlikely. The PS3 is far and away the most future-proof console. Releasing the PS3 1 year after the 360 proved to be problematic as MS already had a hardcore fanbase that was firmly rooted. I wonder if instead of releasing a new console 1 year later than MS they actually wait and release it 3 years later, maybe 4? Now maybe the value proposition is there as customers no longer look at the 360 and PS3 as competing products but perhaps they consider the new PS the "next" gen and instead of switching sides they upgrade.

This generation of consoles introduced HD resolutions and turned the console into a true multimedia device. Will the next gen usher in such game changing experiences? Unless 3D goes big next gen it may be an incremental upgrade which adds more fuel to the fire for Sony to wait even longer for the PS4. Personally I can't think of what the next gen of consoles would have that would make them as influential as this generation. Better graphics are an obvious answer but it takes a while to learn a console and I'll bet year 1 of MS's new console won't look that much better than Sony's offerings year 7 or 8 of the PS3.
 

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What the PS3 and Xbox 360 have that previous generation of video game console did not have was is the ability to upgrade firmware via the internet in an quick and easy fashion.

The result is the products that shipped years ago really have been significantly improved thanks to many firmware upgrades. In terms of feature set and functionality, the current units are almost next gen already.

The result is I see video game lines that are continually evolving rather than big incremental changes.

As long as the current hardware has the horsepower that allows developers to keep adding features and making firmware changes, why bother bringing out a next gen machine?
 

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Not to mention the complexity of developing games for this generation of consoles already means that it takes years and millions of dollars to produce a game. I don't want to have to wait five years for a sequel to my favourite PS4 game.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The cost of development is paramount. Every generation thus far makes game development exponentially more expensive and the industry as a whole may have jumped the shark in that regard. Video game budgets rival movie budgets as is, they can ill afford another leap.

An obvious reason for Sony to be able to hang in there longer is because of Blu. The DVD drive in the 360 is considered it's great limiter. What I find funny is that it seems very taboo to make multi-disk games for the 360 yet the original Playstation had games that spanned 4 discs and instead of berating Sony for such storage shortsightedness people praised the developers "4 DISCS=BEST GAME EVR!!!!11". Perhaps people took it easy on Sony because at the time the CD was cutting edge whereas for the 360 going DVD was playing it cheap and safe. Regardless of why multi-disc gaming was a staple of previous generations but is a faux pas this one.
 

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While it's true that the development costs (and time) for your typical high-profile, big-name title is going through the roof (and bound to get even higher), internet connectivity and publishing content via DLC gives smaller developers a very healthy space to both work and thrive in, especially when you consider how word-of-mouth via social media can get the news out if there's a hidden gem out there.

Once you factor in the significantly lower price most of these titles sell for compared to your typical disc-based game release, I still see a lot of room for growth for the DLC market segment. In the same way you see a lot of budget titles on Steam which focus more on gameplay than graphics, I think there's an opportunity to tap into that market on the console gaming side of the business.
 
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