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Special Game Reports

How Long will the Next-Gen Consoles Last?

In this special game report, we discuss the question: How Long Can The Next-Gen Consoles Last?

We know that the next-gen consoles are on the horizon with Sony and Microsoft both gearing up for this holiday season. With that said, many are wondering about the potential life cycle of the arriving generation of gaming. It is quite legit to discuss how long this generation will stay before they’re replaced with their future successor. Xbox’s boss Phil Spencer himself isn’t promising anything big. But during a recent podcast to AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook, it seems that he doesn’t think of cloud gaming as a killer for the consoles. 

As Phil Spencer stated himself “I think I’m going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus.”

Improving Backwards Compatibility With Each Launch

However, the better news for gaming lovers is the impacting increased ratio of backwards compatibility. Both for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. This means that these next-gen consoles are going to have much wider catalogues of games. Something that’ll definitely increase their long-term viability. It’s especially true as Smart Delivery was revealed by Microsoft. It’ll let you buy an Xbox game once while allowing you the enhanced version on succeding consoles. All that without any extra expenses making the consoles more and more like the PCs.

To get a glimpse of the duration cycles of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, we’ve analyzed the archives of the gaming industry’s history. Examining the history of the console’s hardware releases. The good news for the customers trying to coincide with their budget is that the duration cycle of each console has increased. Increased with each succeeding generation only with some notable exceptions. And to keep things compatible, we’re gonna dive into each console’s earliest entry which mostly held in Japan. Let’s look at how long PlayStation and Xbox and their generation spanned. And how it can give us a glance at the future of PS5 and Xbox Series X’s duration cycles.

Potential PlayStation and Xbox Life Cycles

Sony PlayStation


Release Date: 3rd December 1994
Replacement Date: 4th March 2000
Lifespan: 5 years, 3 months, 1-2 days (Approximately)
Sold Units: Above 102 million units were sold

The pioneer of Sony’s entry in the gaming industry as well as the first one to reach more than 100 million users. Sony’s original PlayStation was the first of its name. The console delivered a stable and solid gameplay system while allowing many franchises to prosper. Presently after, the arrival of the PlayStation 2, Sony launched a much smaller white unit labelling it as the PlayStation One. The console debuted at $299 within the U.S. And Sony was praised for being analogously affordable when compared to the famous $399 Sega Saturn. Later on, it was marked down even more to $199. Not to mention that Sony also tweaked with the backports of the PlayStation. With gutting the RCA ports at first followed by removing the wide Parallel I/O port making it even more catchy.

Sony PlayStation 2


Release Date: 4th March 2000
Replacement Date: 11th November 2006
Lifespan: 6 years, 8 months, 8 days (Approximately)
Sold Units: Above 150 million units were sold

Inaugurated less than 5 years within the span of the OG PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 made its charming debut. In September 1999 during the famous Tokyo Gameshow. Following the years up to its release, it was leaked that Sony was planning to introduced backward compatibility. With PlayStation One games and controllers which set the entire gaming industry on fire. Sony tweaked and made the PlayStation 2 even more appealing to the audience. By adding additional perks such as a DVD player as well as the inclusion of internet connection. The PlayStation was pioneering online gaming from Sony. A much more slender and elegant PlayStation 2 made its way. About two-thirds in the duration cycle of the console during 2004.

Sony PlayStation 3


Release Date: 11th November 2006
Replacement Date: 15th November 2013
Lifespan: 7 years, less than a week, 4 days (Approximately)
Sold Units: Above 87 million

Sony launched the PlayStation 3 for up to three times during its lifecycle. Slightly changing and modifying each time. By slimming the external shape of the console with each launching update. Its introductory release during 2006 was followed by a long wait of near two years. Only some time away from E3 2005 where it made its first appearance. Sony received a well-known number of attendant points for their exceptional choice. The choice for the correct media formatting as the PlayStation3 was featuring the support for Blu-ray discs. Something which is still being sold in thousands today. While their competitor Xbox 360 had HD-DVD which failed ina subtly fast manner.

The PlayStation 3’s 7-year lifespan was nearly 4 months more than of its predecessor PlayStation 2. And also suffered quite some problems with developers. Arguing the difficulties for development and programming efficiency. Its cell processor was received quite uniquely. But, later on, it developed many backwards compatibility issues for the owners of PlayStation 4. Not to mention that PlayStation 3 owners were relieved to hear from Sony that the next PlayStation will support existing PlayStation 4 games.

Sony PlayStation 4


Release Date: 15th November 2013
Replacement Date: Holiday 2020 (Scheduled Date)
Lifespan: 7 Years (Approximately)
Sold Units: Above 106 million

Assuming the release date of the next PlayStation as “Holiday 2020”. And keeping in mind how this time of the month often ends up in November. It would be legit to state that the successor of PlayStation 4 will make its first arrival nearly 7 years after. After Sony launched the conquerer of the console war of the current generation of the gaming industry.

The PlayStation 4 quite firmly dominated this generation of 7 years. Because of Sony’s poise and rationality with smartly ditching the Cell Micro-architecture. All of that alongside their firm focusing on the deliverance of high quality fan-favourite exclusive titles. With notable highlights with the inclusion of Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Gran Turismo Sport and many more to name. The PlayStation 4 was modified only two times. With the eye-catching arrival of the modest-looking PlayStation 4 Slim alongside the 4k UHD-supporting launch of PlayStation 4 Pro.

Microsoft Xbox


Release Date: 15th November 2001
Replacement Date: 22nd November 2005
Lifespan: 4 years, 6-7 days (Approximately)
Sold Units: Above 24 million

Microsoft made an impressive entry within the gaming hardware industry as well as the console wars with the Original Xbox. It wasn’t only a big brash from Microsoft and didn’t just make only an entry in the gaming culture. But, later on, it would go on to become something more. The official unveiling of the Xbox was done by iconic eye-catching personalities. Including Dwayne Jhonson with Microsoft’s father Bill Gates himself.

With an impressive number of 1,5 million sold units within the inaugural month of its release, Xbox succeeded in making an impressive entry within the industry. Not to mention it thrived off of the well-received title of the year which was Halo: Combat Evolved. During the second year, Xbox Live was included by Microsoft. It was an online gaming platform that increased the status of the Xbox even more. By allowing players all around the globe to seamlessly connect and play together. For this purpose, it was the first console that came in mind.

Microsoft Xbox 360


Release Date: 22nd November 2005
Replacement Date: 22nd November 2013
Lifespan: 9 Years (Approximately)
Sold Units: Approximately 80 million

When looking back trying to decide whether the Xbox 360 was a hit or just a recollected miss, there comes some level of confusion. Since the console was already in announced development only sometime after Xbox start generating its life. Microsoft competed Sony very stably with its own wins with Sony’s exclusives. While Sony PlayStation 3 had its eye-catching exclusives, Xbox wasn’t also empty. Its biggest hits had many games. Including the most well-known Gears of War as well as the success Xbox Live had.

It had the potential to hold more than the number of sold units it had. Even though it was a massive 80 million number. Arguably, it could’ve crossed the 87 million recorded mark achieved by Sony with the PlayStation 3. The thing that caused this obstacle for Xbox 360 to outpace Sony’s console was the Red Ring of Death Failure. It was the only thing that caused the financial success of the console to stay behind Sony’s machine. And made the console less user-friendly and unusable to more extents.

Microsoft Xbox One


Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Replacement Date: Holiday 2020 (Scheduled)
Lifespan: 7.5 Years (Approximately)
Sold Units: No Release of official reports

Xbox One is the console which got a big defeat by Sony’s PlayStation 4. In the console wars of this generation even though it will last as long as Sony’s console. Microsoft stopped officially reporting the details related to the sales while Sony’s PS4 crossed 106 million units. Not to mention that many additional releases weren’t also able to help Microsoft in this war. Including the digital-only Xbox One S as well as the 4K Based Xbox One X.

The reason behind its defeat was simply Sony’s grasp over a large number of exclusive games. Xbox wasn’t able to counter Sony’s exclusives even though having solid exclusives themselves. It is legit to state that Forza Horizon 4 and Gears of War 5 didn’t match the level Spider-Man or Uncharted 4 delivered. In response, Microsoft bought all the studios it was able to. In order to gain more exclusives than before to counter its competitor Sony. They’re taking every precaution to make the Xbox Series X thrive for as long as possible.

How Long Will The Next-Gen Consoles Last?

If directed by the statistics we discussed above. There’s a strong chance that the next-gen consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will have a lifespan of up to 7-8 years at most. Expectedly, by the year 2027 or 2028, they will also have their own successors to take notes of. If we drag streaming-only gaming into this, then services like Google Stadia and Project xCloud already feel dead. Despite all the streaming services coming, the console still has a firm role within the industry. And it seems that with each upgrade in the console generation, the impact maximizes the distance they will deliver.

You may find interesting: Sony is struggling to keep the PS5 pricing low

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