Video game consoles: 1 door closes, 2 more might open sometime in 2014

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Yesterday was a big day for video game hardware news and rumors.

First Sony confirmed rumors that it is ending production of the PSPGo. The PSPGo was the 'slider' version of their handheld gaming system that was introduced in 2009. It never really gained any kind of traction primarly thanks to a too-high price (it had a smaller screen than the standard PSP, no way to play the existing library of UMD-delivered games, and yet it cost more) and low interest in the PSP in general (at least, in North America).

Sony says both that it dropped the PSPGo in order to focus on the NGP handheld, as well as that it will continue to support the PSP-3000. Sounds like marketingese for "Yeah, it was a flop."

[Update: There now seems to be some confusion about this. Yesterday Sony Japan said the PSPGo had stopped production, but today (April 21, 2011) Gamasutra is reporting that Sony US claims PSPGo production continues.]

Meanwhile, back in the living room, Kotaku posted an article saying that Microsoft and Sony probably won't be launching their next generation consoles until 2014. Or at least, that's the current plan. If the Wii 2 (or whatever Nintendo calls their next console, rumored to be showing at E3) starts to get too strong they might have to speed up their timetables.

Keep in mind the Kotaku piece is based on 'industry sources' and analysts and of course Microsoft and Sony aren't talking. It does make sense though. Sony has its new handheld to focus on, and Microsoft is still riding high on the popularity of Kinect. As long as neither of them starts to push for new hardware they'll both be content to extend this console cycle a bit farther. That assumes Nintendo doesn't upset the balance of power and start siphoning off the 'core gamer' market with its new console.

It's fun to think about what a console will have inside it in 3 years. Will it support physical media? Probably. That seems too early for a pure digital delivery system. But I bet they'll have either terabyte hard drives or some kind of cloud storage for digital media. Lots more RAM of course, but I can't even imagine what the video capabilities will be like.

Or...maybe they won't arrive at all. In rather more sobering news, Epic Games President Mike Capps talked to Industry Gamers and said "We have not been this uncertain about what's coming next in the games industry since Epic's been around for 20 years. … Will anyone care about the next console generation?" and "If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps." Capps worries about how to make a $60 game look like a good value when everyone is used to buying $1 games on their phones and tablets. He even worries about whether gamers will bother with the next generation of home consoles.

Will you? Assuming you're an Xbox 360 or PS3 owner, are you ready for a new console or do you think your existing hardware has plenty of life still in it? Please share in the comments!

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