An article at Eurogamer argues that even with a successor to the Wii on the horizon, the console arms race we've watched over the past few decades is in the process of changing dramatically
, with base hardware taking a back seat to software and peripherals.
"Even the most basic yardstick for console improvements has become a little hard to read. It used to seem like a reliable idea that every five years or so, consoles would catch up to the PC — a platform which sees advancements every few weeks — and remain competitive for a while, before the PC's cutting-edge accelerated away. ... However, the upgrade cycle appears to have slowed considerably — with games that actually demand cutting-edge systems being few and far between, and core gamers far more likely to continue happily playing on two-, three- or even four-year-old PCs than they were in the past. ... If not a halt to progress, this is certainly a slowing — and probably one which is welcomed in most quarters. Consumers love improvements in graphical quality, but most would probably prefer to see any major increase in development budget being spent elsewhere — more detailed content, more expansive storytelling, more progress in areas that have been neglected in the former headlong rush to cram more polygons and effects onto every screen."