These predictions are based purely on an analysis of the history of video game consoles.
First, we must remember the 3rd generation of Video game Consoles, which consisted of The Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Master System, and the Atari 7800.
At this time, Atari was a powerful innovator, and a mainstay of the video game industry. The 7800 was their third console, excepting Pong, which only played a single game, and it was ahead of its competitors in terms of computer power. The graphic component of the machine made programming difficult for game developers, however, and this led to a lack of appealing games available for the 7800. Atari would skip the next generation, producing their final console, the Jaguar, in the Fifth generation.
Sega's contribution to the Third generation is unremarkable, but it sells well. This is the second console produced by Sega. Their first system emerged amid the flurry of competitors whose lack of direction and endless option sparked the video game market crash between the 2nd and 3rd generations of game consoles. Sega launched their Sonic franchise during the Master System's run.
Nintendo is in a category all its own, by now. The Japanese equivalent to the NES, the Famicom, had already been highly successful in Japan. Before the Famicom, Nintendo briefly experimented with the "Color TV game" as a means of breaking into this market. The NES would grow to control 80 percent of the market share before moving on to the SNES. The fact that the NES comes bundled with Super Mario Bros. makes it the best selling game of all time.
Now we skip several generations to the present.
The Playstation 3 is Sony's technological Fifth Symphony and their third system. It is extremely powerful, and its Blu-ray capability is responsible in part for the demise of HD DVD. Sony is an innovator in the Game console field, by now, having been influential in the use of CD's and subsequently DVD's as a medium for games, as well as 3d graphics. Their extremely powerful graphics components are difficult to design for, and the smaller PS3 library of games makes this system less popular than its two competitors.
The Xbox 360 is the second of Microsoft's game consoles. It is technologically unremarkable, but it is the best selling of the three competitors. The first Microsoft console emerged during the loss of the Dreamcast, and a heated debate between cartridge and disc.
And through it all, we still have Nintendo. Nintendo, again, demonstrates a unique skill in remaining viable, but now there is a touch of eccentricity. Instead of going after better graphics, they innovate in the gameplay. The fact that every Wii comes with Wii sports makes it the best selling game of this generation.
The third and seventh generations of consoles are the only generations to have only three competing systems. Both of these generations were preceded by the cancellation of one or more systems.
Based on analysis of history, I predict:
Sony, having invested heavily in the PS3, will not produce another system when the next generation takes hold. The next system they produce, in the ninth generation, will be their last.
The next Console in the Xbox line will be the best Microsoft produces within the near future. The next two systems will dwindle in popularity, and the Xbox line well be replaced by another competitor.
Nintendo will have its ups and downs. The next system will be an expansion on the Wii, analogous to the SNES.
At least two new competitors will emerge in the next generation. They probably won't become part of a series of consoles.
See you on the other side
7 months ago