Thursday, November 17, 2011

Console Post Of The Week: Fuel For What Is Still A Tiny Fire

From Edge:
Ubisoft Montreal is hard at work on 'target boxes' based on the intended specifications of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 successor, according to an Edge source. Delivery of the first iteration of genuine devkits, running custom hardware, is expected to reach studios before Christmas, and all signs point to the finalised console arriving at retail in late 2012.

...We can also reveal that one major Sony-owned studio has now ceased PlayStation 3 development, its entire focus having shifted to the console’s successor. The studio is also said to have been involved in the development process of the graphics technology adopted by Sony’s new hardware.

It's about time.

We all knew this was coming, but just didn't know when. And while this report might be premature, it has the ring of truth this time (unlike earlier reports that always seemed a bit sketchy).

This could be the last generation of standalone consoles--at the very least, I think it's the last generation with three major players. However, it is also fair to say that the Xbox 360/PS3 aren't really "standalone"-- they both have so many different possible functions that they already qualify as convergence devices. It's probably more accurate to say that gaming is the centerpiece of these consoles.

The new consoles will extend the functional diffusion, and quite possibly, their chances of success will depend on taking an approach like the one taken by the Kindle Fire:
Instead of having a standalone shopping app the entire tablet is a store -- a 7-inch window sold at a cut-rate price through which users can look onto a sea of premium content.

Certainly, that's the future, and Amazon, as usual, is pushing ahead with low-cost hardware to get the "device that buys stuff" into the hands of as many people as possible.

In this era, I think that's the way to make money, because each unit can be its own revenue stream, with almost unlimited downloadable content available. That's why it's stupid to charge a fortune for the hardware, or design hardware that costs a fortune. It's unnecessary, and it gets in the way. It's not exactly selling the razor at a loss and making it up (and more) on the blades, but it's in the ballpark.

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