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Twitch boss: ‘I’d be surprised to see another generation’ of consoles

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Twitch boss: ‘I’d be surprised to see another generation’ of consoles

Gaming consoles will soon be a distant memory, at least according to the co-founder of game streaming service Twitch.

Emmett Shear, speaking to the Guardian, said he reckons the PS4 and Xbox One might be the last iteration of game consoles as we know them.

The Twitch boss blames this lack of longevity on the consoles’ extended life cycles, which he claims is at odds with how the technology industry works.

“The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform,” Shear explained.

“It’s so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured and made and the full business model, that I’d be surprised to see another generation.”

Shear claims the console industry will be forced to ‘change form’, and will instead adopt practices of the mobile market.

“You can already see this on both Xbox and PlayStation where there’s a tighter upgrade loop for both the operating systems and the games,” said the Twitch lead.

“This is the first step toward being able to iterate the hardware platform. I could imagine a version 1.1 product from both Microsoft and Sony which adds in slightly more speed and slightly more memory very similar to how phones and tablets work today.”

He added: “I think it’s going to look more like the mobile phone market over time.”

Related: PS4 vs Xbox One

One such contender vying to supersede consoles is Valve’s Steam Link set top box.

Announced earlier this month, the Steam Link will allow gamers to stream content from their home PCs to their living room TVs via the box.

What’s more, the box costs just $49.99, which makes it a significantly cheaper alternative to games consoles.

You need to factor in the price of a PC, of course, but this system would be significantly easier to upgrade than game consoles, due to the more frequent iterations of computer components. You’ll also be able to use the PC as, well, a PC.

Frederick Flynn

March 25, 2015, 1:00 am

A modular console design where you just replace the APU/RAM module to upgrade it instead of the whole console could work to bring upgrade costs down and allow a 2 year upgrade cycle. It would be similar to the 'project ara' phone.

Alex Walsh

March 25, 2015, 7:47 am

If he's right, we'll never see 1080P60 from a home console and that's a shame. (Don't think 4K will be widely adopted in 5/6 years as far as TVs go).

Steven Clarke

March 25, 2015, 9:09 am

The issue with this is reaching a point where you have to get upgrades to play the newest games, unlike PC where you can just scale back the quality. Unless they also allowed that on consoles, but then you have optimisation difficulties.

I do not understand the issue with a new console every 4 years. Design does not have to be changed just upgrade specs, as the cost of the upgrades wouldn't be far off the price of a new console as making a console modular in a very simple way would be hard. Imagine the standard person trying to take off a heatsink, change a cpu and replace the heatsink (not going to happen).

Pg

March 25, 2015, 1:56 pm

It's business, and business follows the money. Until is stops becoming profitable, expect consoles to continue.

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