I've been gaming since the ZX spectrum days - which means I've seen the transition from 2D to 3D, and from standard to hi definition. One of the things that has struck me most about the Xbox360/PS3 generation of consoles is the way the experience has grown and changed unlike previously generations. The strong connectivity in the consoles have brought us frequent, and major, updates to games and the console interface. We've seen rapid growth in innovative indie downloadable games, downloadable content and of course online co-operative play. What I'm trying to get at, is that unlike previous consoles, current ones have gone through a number of successful iterations in terms of features and graphics.
I'm very comfortable and content with the current gen, and I think there is even a little bit more to get from them before the hardware starts to show its age. You just need to look at upcoming games such as Bioshock Infinite, and recent titles like Bulletstorm and Gears of War 3 to see that graphics are still holding up. So, we've got an adaptive console of sorts - which is why it's held out for longer than previous console cycles. When you also start to factor in the price of developing, and buying, new consoles in the current economic situation - you start to see why, in general, I think we are not ready for next gen consoles.
That said, there are a number of reasons that I do think we need a new generation of consoles (but not-just-yet). Firstly, I feel like the variety in games is starting to stagnate. Much like the film industry, developers are investing time and money in safe games, and tried and tested formulas. This means we see a lot of sequels, and a lot of first person shooters. This is by no means a complete problem, because some sequels are great! I just feel like there is little innovation at the moment.
A new console would inspire developers to take risks - because they have to have something new and exciting for us to part with our cash. Something sufficiently different from current consoles - else why would you jump ship? In my view the innovation won't be in terms of graphics, as we're hitting quite a nice peak at the moment; and to be honest, do we really need any better graphics? I think the innovation will be in terms of AI in games, real time physics and descructible environments - and I look forward to this happening.
For now, I'm content with the consoles I have. However, there are advances that I would like to see but they have to be sufficiently different to justify the cost of buying a new console, and abandoning investment in current consoles. Unfortunately, in my opinion, I don't think technology or developers will be in a position to provide a sufficient jump for a number of years yet.
Lucky for me I'm happy with current consoles!!