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The current TV console generation has lasted longer than most, by the design and general consent of all the console makers, and the interesting question there has been what will convince them to do the next generation of hardware for the Wii, XBox 360, or the PS3? And now I have my guess: A portable gaming system that can hook up to a TV and push 720p that is effectively indistinguishable from the current generation of console.

By "portable gaming system", I mean either a dedicated gaming console, or a cell phone. The interesting thing about the cell phone option is that while dedicated gaming systems come out rarely, cell phones are increasingly on the PC-style plan of coming out as rapidly as possible with as much hardware stuffed in them as possible. So while guessing when the dedicated portable gaming systems will pass the XBox 360 requires reading minds, guessing when cell phones will actually pass the XBox 360 is not so hard.

Using this logic, I think we can expect the PS4 and XBox 720 by 2013 at the latest, not because the cell phones will be quite there by then, but because the cell phones on the horizon in late 2012 to 2013 will be able to exceed them. And especially for the PS and Xbox line, that's an embarrassment I don't think they can put up with and still maintain their image, no matter how unhelpful the next generation of graphics will be to their market or how expensive it makes the games. Unless they just throw in the towel, which, honestly, isn't necessarily a bad bet for the PS5 or Xbox 1080, but I think we're going to have one more conventional generation of consoles whether or not it's a good idea, after which we may discover they don't have a niche anymore.

No offense, but you're not making any sense. The current generation has not lasted longer than previous generations, and pretty much anyone in pre-algebra could plot you a graph that would show "we can expect the PS4 and XBox 720 by 2013 at the latest."

PS1 - 1994 PS2 - 2000 PS3 - 2006

The average works out roughly the same for Nintendo, and since Microsoft only has two data points it's not really worth including them.

Also note that the PS2 is still in production.

Yep, and the PS1 was discontinued March 23, 2006. So we might expect a new PS4 in 2012, and the PS2 to be discontinued that same year.

PS: The XBox was discontinued early due to licensing issues. Microsoft was unable to drop the production costs as far as they would like so they decided to release the XBox 360 early.

Don't think cellphones can surpass the PS3/Xbox that easily. While technology is constantly making progress, we're about to hit two giant brick walls, that will somewhat slow that progress. These are: A) Power-Consumption and directly related B) heat accumulation.

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