Sony Says Consoles Have 10 Year Lifecycle

E3 2008

Jack Tretton launched Sony's E3 press conference today by claiming the stress of today's big Sony PR event has taken two years off his life. Now just imagine the stress for all those fretting fanboys. (Doesn't two years convert into something like 12 in FanYears?) It's the only upside to fanboy-ism: they shuffle off this mortal coil faster. But I digress...

During his intro, Tretton at one point claimed consoles have (or ought to have) a 10-year life cycle. Say what? No they shouldn't! Err, I mean yes they should? I guess whether you agree with Sony on this extremely bold assertion depends on whether you think the PS2 was a one-hit wonder or the heady prognosticator of things to come. Me, I say the PS2's going to be around into the next decade, but I'll eat my mouse and Macbook if we're still talking about either the Xbox 360 or PS3 in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The PS2 hit a window of opportunity (and then some), but, umm, err...there's this thing about technology tending to speed up, not slow 'em down.

Sony's new mantra--err, I mean Big News today is "shorter, cheaper" games. Otherwise known as Xbox Live Arcade, aka the Nintendo Virtual Console. Okay, that's just mean, and actually only partway accurate. What Sony's really getting at, and it's been trotted out by cranky pundits and developers more and more in recent years, is that the future of gaming lies not in these huge multi-million mega-epics, but in shorter nigh-episodic installments. Take "Quest for Booty," a "continuation of Ratchet & Clank: Future," according to Sony. Don't want to pay $US60 for a 15 hours of gameplay? How about $15 for maybe one or two? (Just don't tell those 60-70 hour JRPG Square Enix guys, or, you know, pretty much anyone living in Japan.)

True to their word, Sony's also got you covered with its new movie and TV download service. Effective immediately, think $2 starting for TV shows, $10 to $15 for movie purchases, and $3 to $6 rentals. Movie partnerships: Disney, Fox, Funimation, Lions Gate, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Turner, Warner, and more. Pull 'em down to your PSP as you like, though again, no surprise there, since we've been ripping audio/video on our own for years. Still, kind of nice if you'd rather not mess with optical media. I just want to know where Sony intends us to stash all this stuff. Time to start thinking about plugging an external terabyte drive into our PS3s?

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Matt Peckham

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