Long hardware cycle will prompt more price cuts - EA

Software sales are also yet to peak this generation, says CFO Eric Brown

Electronic Arts' CFO Eric Brown has said that the expected longer lifecycle for current generation consoles means there's room for more hardware price cuts in the future.

And as price cuts on hardware drive the uptake of games, the current generation of machines have yet to enjoy peak software sales.

"We've seen one major price drop thus far in this console cycle," said Brown of the last Xbox 360 price drop. "We feel that we have a long ways to go, and a lot more of the unit sales will occur at the lower price points," reports Gamasutra.

"History holds more [hardware] units translates, times tie ratio, to more software units and software dollars for third-party publishers. Those are the key takeaways in terms of where we see this console cycle at this point in time."

Brown noted that once the Xbox 360 dropped below USD 200 in North America, hardware sales helped Microsoft's console jump ahead of the competition.

"We look at the data and what we can see is that that actually had a pretty interesting catalysing effect on their unit sales."

"In the first half of calendar 08, there was rough parity between PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Second half of the year, [there is a] 40-plus percent sales advantage to Xbox versus PS3, potentially as a result of that price drop."

Platforms will also grow due to the delivery of content digitally, said Brown, and with tech in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 delivering high-end gaming experiences, advancements in consumer technology may be slowing.

"I myself am not quite sure where we go from here," he said.

"There's just no broadly-available consumer viewing technology beyond HD. You have to be a PC technophile with an ultra high resolution monitor to get past that."

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Latest comments (3)

Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd13 years ago
Not sure where do we go from here? We haven't even got started imo.

Current HW is still hopelessly inadequate and require mamoth down-rezing of assets and severe restrictions to developers. We still spend far too much time, trying to make things "fit" rather than make things shine.

In the last generation, it felt like all the gains made in memory and GPU were all but wiped out by going to HD.

Next gen should give us some truly amazing visuals/simulation capabilities but with 3D coming along (LDC glasses will be a winner sooner than 3D TV I reckon), we'll need to be able to render stereo HD @ 120fps to avoid nausea.

So we'll still struggle with GPU performance, despite the 100 fold increase we will probably see over this generation.

For this to truly take off, it would need to go portable. Combined with download services, multiplayer, GPS and such, new apps and abilities such as augmented reality gaming will come to pass.

That's the next 10 years or so...I think there's plenty of places to go from here.

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Franck Sauer Creative / Tech Art Director, Fresh3d13 years ago
'In the last generation, it felt like all the gains made in memory and GPU were all but wiped out by going to HD.'

That is so very true.

Now let's stick to HD, and hopefully stereo 3d (shutters or polarized filters) will only be niche for the next few years, until auto-stereo/holographic really is ready for the next-next gen (probably 10-15 years from now). I'm not sure anything that requires glasses will ever be mass market (or mandatory anyway). But I'm no analyst...I don't have one of their crystal ball, you know...
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.13 years ago
Tameem, you touch upon and issue which I call the introduction/perfection cycle. Every odd generation number introduces the industry to something that throws us all off. The proceeding even number generation perfects that previous generation problems.

Oddyssey - 2600.
PS - PS2.
HD - ?

Hopefully next generation will follow the trend and is more an extension to the current generation and will allow for a smoother transition.

This current generation will last longer because publishers (including hardware makers) need more time to recoup initial investments and higher production costs than ever before. Jumping to a new generation too quickly would bankrupt half of the industry in the first year.
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