How does my OS discussion relate to hardware replacement cycles? Are you becoming senile?
Also, Nintendo has used some Android functionality in the back-end. However, it did not lead to a larger OS varient similar to Amazon's Fire OS. Though, I still think it is a miss in Nintendo's part to bridge its mobile aspirations with console including instant mega-app support. But that is a different topic than my point in bold.
Bolded point is that console manufacturers are moving to a more constant revision of hardware that is continually building on a similar architecture. This is self-evident with PS4/XBone this gen, 3DS/2DS/*new*DS this gen, and what I'm betting we'll see with Switch going forward. This concept is completely opposite of the fully new/different console architecture found in each new "generation".
Your OS discussion was a huge bust because you applied premises of a different market to the video game market under the belief that things will work the same. Your idea of revisions falls into the same category. It's not going to get close to the refresh cycles of smartphones because the scale of game development simply won't allow it.
But let's keep this to the Switch only. I'd like to read your ideas for how Switch could evolve until 2025.
I agree that my OS discussion didn't pan out due to 1) Nintendo / Sony wanting to keep their own OS build and likley not wanting to incorporate others (Google) app store in any fashion to their devices 2) MS mobile aspirations failing horribly. I knew #1 was always a possibility, but I figured with the move to more and more entertainment beyond just games in consoles would let them see the big benefit of having more Android in their device. However, I'm actually very pleased with Nintendo's opposite approach and keeping Switch purely gaming related.
As for the hardware cycle itself. I didn't state we'd see new hardware on a yearly cycle which is what I feel like you are insinuating in your last comments. I've stated this would instead by closer to 2~3 yrs wich is exactly what we've seen with MSony and the 3DS. In all camps we've seen revisions of different scale that included significant increases in power and functionality (Pro, X, "new").
These types of revisions are really no different than mobile manufacturers which will go a few years where their revisions are largely the same as the prev year version but with more power. iPhone does this with 'S' variations and will wait one or two revisions before there are significant asthetic or other changes. Android manufacturers do similar, if less obvious, changes. Example Pixel and Galaxy latest phones are very similar to last years and both are reacting to the bigger shifts seen in iPhone X with hints to something bigger next year.
I expect MSony's next revisions to be called "next gen" and have the PS5 moniker and whatever Xbox moves on to post "One" (unless MS decides to pull out as "X" doesn't rebound their marketshare and they realize that like phones, this has become a 2 horse race). These will then change the physical look/feel, but keep the same PC based architecture so that software is easily BC and extendable (OS software primarily).
I expect Nintendo to realize the value of their new Switch platform's form, fit, and funtionality.
- In 2018 we'll see Nintendo focusing on this single line and let 3DS start dieing off.
- In 2019, to compete with new hardware from MSony, Nintendo will create variants of Switch. An battery life improved and lower costing base model plus something more powerful and with some other new functionality I can't pretend to guess at, but $300+.
- By 2021, we'll start being prepped from next revisions from everyone. Nintendo at this time may focus on what would be considered a "next gen" while MSony are more of "slim" / "pro" / etc types of revisions.
At this point this model will have continued to be refined. But the core elements are the same. These manufacturers have realized the increasing costs of making games, they are looking for ways to continually streamline this process, especially for 3rd party manufacturers which drive a good foundation of content benefit for any hardware. (yes, I agree Nintendo can survive almost entirely ln their own, but it still a benefit)
That streamlining process has shown itself right now as focusing hardware on a more PC-like build where the various engines have a far easier time porting and scaling to meet the various unique differences in each platform. That will continue to be refined and improved so that Nintendo doesn't need to change its philosophy on a tech race with MSony. They only need to continue to be unique or blue ocean in some fashion. Provide that area of expertise the others know that cannot truly compete. For Nintendo, this has always proven to be mobile and its unique IPs.
What this means is that gaming is realizing the "why" behind mobile market's approach to new hardware. That realization is driving their hardware decisions long-term to be more similar to incremental changes more often without losing all the R&D put into their OS and other software between the larger revisions that will still be marketed as "next gen". Another benefit you can see already is that the bottom price point for hardware doesn't drop off to nothing. PS360/PS4/XBO have kept relatively stable prices even with new variants. We're not really seeing any urgency for them to race to $99. Even the 3DS kept prices around $200 with their most popular XL models. Similarly, PS4/XBO are keeping things regularly around $250~$300. That is also a benefit to this model as we've seen in phones that the prices are actually incremently increasing. I doubt Sony/MS/Nintendo have missed that long-term benefit.