With the Xbox One, and Playstation 4 not even five months old, one has to wonder if somewhere deep within Sony and/or Microsoft discussions, designs, and plans are already underway for their successors. It seems odd to think that two popular systems with years of great games, updates, and events ahead of them would already be in line to be replaced by their respective manufacturers.
As premature as this seems this is how the game works. With a roughly 8-10 year life for a console as the main platform, the companies behind them have to start thinking about what will come next.
Naturally this process is two-fold as new updates will come to both consoles and in doing so, ideas and innovations will be cataloged, debated, and stored for possible inclusion I a future system. Developers will of course have to see where the sales are a few years down the road and how much income is being generated as they will be less likely to invest in a new system if sales and revenue are not where they were expected to be.
I am sure there have been a few debates internally at Nintendo as to where and if the console division should go after the less than expected sales of the Wii U.
A console has roughly a three to five year development cycle and to expect any future systems to be more than concepts and checklists at this point as both companies would be wise to keep their focus on improving their current systems.
However with rising competition from mobile games and the pending Direct X 12 helping lead a resurgent PC game market (yes I know Direct X 12 will be on the Xbox One), one must ask “How soon is too soon” when thinking about the next, next generation?
For now, I will leave that to the companies and enjoy what the future holds for the current generation.