Life Cycles of Consoles

John Koller speculated that the PlayStation 3 will be supported for up to four more years. Is this true? Do video game companies continue to support previous generation consoles? This article looks at past trends to see if that is the case.

The director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, John Koller, gave an interview with GameSpot recently. In this interview, he said he believed the PlayStation 3 still had plenty of life left in it. He speculated it could be around for up to four more years.  Something like this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as Sony has a great tradition of supporting their consoles.


Sony supported the PS1 for six years after the PS2 came out. And the PS2 was supported for seven years after the PS3 came out. playstation-logoSony has a phenomenal track record for supporting their systems, seemingly doubling the life of the PS1 and PS2. As long as video games are being made for it, Sony will continue with their console as long as they can. If the current patterns holds up, we should expect to see the PS3 stick around for another six years.

Most video game companies don’t have Sony’s consistency.  Nintendo originally supported their consoles long into their next generation console. Their pattern changed around 2003.Nintendo

It’s easy to see the decline in support. The NES was supported for five years after the SNES came out.The SNES was supported for ththree years. The N64 was supported for two years. The GameCube and Wii were only supported for only one. Nintendo seems to have a pattern of supporting the next generation console over their previous generation. It helped produce one of the most successful consoles of all time in the Wii.

Microsoft doesn’t have an established track record  like Sony or Nintendo. The only data point comes from the Xbox.


xbox-logoThe Xbox was supported for three years after the release of their next generation system, which was for approximately half the Xbox’s life. It’s impossible to really predict Microsoft’s actions based on one data point. There’s a chance Microsoft will support the Xbox 360 up through  2020. Though there is an equal chance they will drop the Xbox 360 in three years like they did with the Xbox.

There are a number of factors that goes into a company deciding to continue supporting a console or dropping it. 3rd party support is one of the main factors. Nintendo stuck with the NES for a number of years because companies continued making games for it. That’s the same reason why Sony stuck with their popular PlayStation 2. It is still too early to tell if developers will continue supporting the PlayStation 3 and Xbox One, but there is reason to believe they may.

It is far more difficult to develop for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 than the previous generation consoles. As long as there’s a demand for games for the older consoles, there should be a steady stream of games for them. It could be interesting to see what happens. There are games that are being released on the previous and next generation consoles. It’s not known how easy or difficult it is for companies to do this. If this proves to be a financial success, there may be a lot more games being released on two different generations of consoles.

Dare to dream.


One comment on “Life Cycles of Consoles

  1. Pingback: Life Cycles Of Consoles | Press Start to Begin | FRONTBURNR

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