Gaming Industry – Is it Time for Consoles to Make Like Cell Phones?

With last years mid-generation release of the PS4 Pro, this fall’s release of the Mid-Generation Xbox One X is it possible that now is the right time for gaming consoles to take a page out of the cell phone manufacturers handbook and offer these consoles at a reduced price for locked in 1,2 or even 3 year contracts?

To me the answer is pretty obvious. Yes.

Insiders to both Sony and Microsoft seem to be saying that incremental upgrades and changes to the consoles is likely to be the norm going forward into the future so why not? An article from GamingBolt a few weeks ago suggests that MS is already well into investigating what the next console will look like (which is no surprise) but the insider, thinks it just may be an Xbox One X refresh, which, is what the Xbox One X is to the Xbox One S, which was a smaller form factor/hardware refresh to the Xbox One. See a pattern? We all got used to the idea that consoles would release and then 3 or so years later the machine would receive a refresh hardware wise to make it sleeker, thinner, consume less power etc. We accepted it and then began trading in our still relatively new consoles for newer prettier versions. Feels to me we’re doing it all over again only now we’re not looking at just a design refresh. We’re looking and more powerful specs as well as a slightly more refined look.

I’m largely OK with incremental upgrades so long as the software from one to the next works  and the devs don’t just up and abandon the people who can’t necessarily afford to do these upgrades every 3 years or so. Cell phone companies make it work. They release new hardware/software every few months, and those devices work with the previous software, perhaps this is the right time for companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to jump onto the wagon. Chances are very good that most people don’t have their phone after 5yrs and if they do some newer applications likely will not work. Maybe this is the business model console manufacturers should consider adopting as well. They could partner up with internet services across the nations, or just get people to lock into Xbox Live/PSN memberships at an increased cost over that same time period and I think everyone is happier. Parents/consumers are able to provide buy these machines at a much lesser kick to the pants as opposed to laying down the full amount, they can turn those customers over onto their new hardware with relative ease every few years.

If this could be the case, sign me up.


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