Nintendo’s Harrison: Console lifecycles? Peshaw!

225_wii_base_unit.jpgA smidgen of a tidbit of a morsel from Game|Life’s interview with Nintendo of America’s George Harrison reveals that the Wii could be disrupting more than just software libraries. The 5-year life cycle, commonly accepted by many in the industry as standard across all consoles from all time, could be next.

WN: In five years, where do you see the Wii? In the US.

GH: Certainly I think that as we get through this entire lifecycle, and already people are starting to guess, “who’s going to win the lifecycle,” two things are going to happen. First of all, I’m not sure it’s going to be a typical lifecycle. In the past, we’ve always had five- to six-year lifecycles which were sort of forced by someone jumping ahead and using a new piece of technology. And we’re finding out now that the appeal of faster processors and better graphics is really sort of reaching a diminishing point. There’s a price point and there’s the quality that’s holding the PlayStation 3 back. They’re selling so many PlayStation 2s because people are saying, “You know what? The graphics are pretty good, the price is good, and the library is good.” So we have a great expectation that this lifecycle’s actually going to last more than five years.

Very true. Just because I gave away my PS2 to my little sister last month so she could shred Guitar Hero 2 doesn’t mean that system is going away anytime soon. In fact, the PS2 is now working its way into a 10-year lifecycle. Insanity! This still presents an interesting problem however: can the Wii’s hardware keep up with everyone else for more than three-five years? This remains to be seen, but I’m optimistic due to the fact that the system’s potential has only had its white veneer scratched ever so slightly.