The end of 2009 marks the Xbox 360’s fifth birthday, but the chances of Microsoft launching an Xbox 720 style machine after the five year cycle look slim to none. While the console has sold well and had many hits the three red lights situation cost Microsoft a lot and most importantly of all it really does not feel like the 360 is done yet.
The reason I titled this post 360i is a reference to Nintendo’s model with their handhelds. If we look at the gameboy and DS over their life span, newer models have come in and the older ones faded out. Each time bring new features and improving the console over all. So what’s to stop Microsoft launching a smaller 360 down the line with say a 500GB hard drive built in? Maybe a bit faster to improve loading times, WI-FI, water cooling and a few other new features or older ones implemented a lot better.
If you want to keep your current install base and add to it there is a limit to what you can do in terms of offering more processing power to developers. However with newer versions of the PSP Sony did improve the processor which dramatically increased loading times. So instead of making a smaller version of the console like the PS2 slim line (or the possible slim PS3, which could be announced next week), you are releasing a new model a bit like car manufactures do with new features and improved performance to keep it interesting to the market.
A lot of people still look to past generations to see how it’s going to play out and who is going to sell the most units. But the fact is that we are no longer in that era, the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube where the last in the old style of the games industry. Not to hit on Sony but Microsoft’s success and Nintendo’s massive change in style, changed our industry for ever.