Excess Innovation Per Iteration?


With the release of the DSi LL and Sky Player on Xbox Live, thoughts about the way modern devices have evolved over the years began to enter my head. Not so long ago, cell phones only made phone calls. Amongst other things, they allow the user to play games, listen to music, surf the net and take photos. The humble Walkman has matured into an all-singing, all-dancing media device with as much functionality as a high end cell phone- Hell, phone calls can even be made on a simple iPod.

Consoles have evolved to with online play, voice/video chat, DLC, web browsers, enhanced sound and graphics. Now with the Sky player on XBL in the UK, live-streaming TV is available (for a fee). Playcast has teamed up with an Israeli cable company to stream “PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 quality games” straight to Israel’s set-top cable boxes.

These devices are becoming more and more alike, no longer specializing in one area- instead, they add extra functions to appeal to a broader marketplace. But at what cost? My MK1 Sega Master System and Game Gear still work fine. My iPod Touch on the other hand is playing up after only eight months and am on my second 360. It certainly does seem that as these devices become more powerful and feature rich the less time they last, they have more to go wrong after all.

Extra functionality can be a great deal maker but when it comes to my next console purchase, the only thing I actually want it to be able to do well is to play games.

About Hardlydan

PC gamer, hermit and sometimes surfer living in North Devon, UK. Can normally be found on steam or in the pub.

4 comments on “Excess Innovation Per Iteration?

  1. Very true I went through 4 xbox 360’s with in a years times frame. Now I havea nintendo that still runs like new. I am going to buy a nnew xbox and we shall see how things go.

  2. Did I mention that I have been away from xbox and xbox products for almost 3 years.

  3. @Hardlydan Great lil’ piece BTW. I think you’re onto something with the “more parts, more problems” line of thought. But, also remember that IMO, one of the greatest advancements gaming platforms have made this gen is the ability to purchase decently-sized entertainment right from our sofas. That’s functionality we hadn’t seen coming as of last generation. With advancements come roadblocks as well.

    @Wheatdog75 Yeah, I agree for the most part. I didn’t own an original Xbox as the PS2 gave me all I needed and wanted. I’ve recently “acquired” a 360 but would never have paid full price for a lemon. Now that the PS3 is gaining steam and with Sony’s hardware reputation, we have further proof that there IS demand for the PlayStation brand- gamers just had to settle on an imposter for a few years…

  4. crazy thing is, as we progress technically, we actually use LESS parts in these machines. most small devices use SoCs (System on a Chip) that are an all-in-one microchip, much like your dual cores, but with gfx, ram, and bus controllers, etc. what the problem i feel is, its not the silicon, or the parts, but the implementation and corner cutting that is causing newer gadgets to fail.

    take the 360. theres no problems with powerpc processors, or amd gfx cards for the most part, but microsofts cost cutting resulted in some not being soldered in properly, and sub par cooling that led to overheating.

    @jsslifelike you really need to find some way to get a kickback from sony for shilling the ps3.

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