If Capcom’s European COO, David Reeve, is right, we could be seeing the next generation of consoles as soon as 2012 or 2013. In an interview with Game Industry, Reeve – the former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – claims that the new batch of gesture based controllers are nothing more than a stop-gap measure for the next generation of consoles, which he suggests will be out in two-three years.
Despite his 14 years at Sony, Reeve claims that he does not have any insider knowledge about hardware development, but something has to be on the way.
“All the first-parties have got to be working on something,” he said. “The tricky thing is when do you put a stake in the ground on technology? That’s the problem. You can be waiting a few extra months to implement something, but you’ve got to set a date to go with a certain chip at a certain point otherwise you’re going to miss the key milestones.”
Both Sony and Microsoft have stated that they are planning on a ten year lifespan for the current generation of Xbox and PlayStations; the Xbox 360 is currently in its fifth year, while the PS3 is in its fourth. Both seem to be going strong, with new titles and new hardware on the way, plus the PS3 has only recently begun to turn a profit on each console sold. When you consider the addition of downloadable software- both in terms of downloadable games and firmware updates that can expand the potential of the system, the current systems seem to be increasing their potential, and there doesn’t seem to be a need to upgrade systems yet. The Xbox Live continues to expand – ESPN will soon be coming to the Xbox 360 in a move that could be the first step to an exclusive channel on XBL, while the PlayStation Plus service debuted today, so the current gen seems to be just hitting their stride. Mix in the new push for 3D gaming, and the demand for new systems just doesn’t seem to merit the potential investment from the companies. When a new system is released, the companies that release the console generally lose money on the system for possibly years, while relying on licensing and other means to recoup the money. And then there is Nintendo.
If the DS and the Wii have taught us anything, it is that the systems with the most power under the hood aren’t necessarily the best-selling. Rumors of a Wii HD have continued to float around since the Wii’s release, and yet the current, under-powered, non-HD Wii is killing both the PS3, and the Xbox 360 in consoles sold, plus Nintendo is unique in that they will not release a new system until they can turn a profit on each unit sold. So is there a demand for new consoles, even if the cost and technology make it worth the upgrade?
Even with the continued expansion of the current gen, that doesn’t mean that we won’t necessarily see a new generation in the next few years. The PS2 continued to sell extremely well around the world even after the PS3 was released. If Reeve is right, and the next generation of consoles is only two or three years away, expect to start hearing more about them in the next year or so.