Current console cycle could be last of its kind, Twitch CEO says

The console cycle as we know it may be at an end, according to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.

In an interview with The Guardian, Shear predicts that hardware makers like Microsoft and Sony will shift their console release strategy to fall in line with the more frequent upgrade cycles of smartphones and tablets.

"The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform," Shear said. "It’s so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured and made and the full business model, that I’d be surprised to see another generation."

Shear added that he expects Sony and Microsoft to make slight improvements to their current console releases, rather than focusing on any next-gen plans.

"I could imagine a version 1.1 product from both Microsoft and Sony which adds in slightly more speed and slightly more memory very similar to how phones and tablets work today," Shear said. "I think it’s going to look more like the mobile phone market over time."

Shear also touched on Amazon’s acquisition of his company for nearly $1bn, explaining that the deal allows Twitch to collaborate with a major player in the games market as well as maintain its independence.

"They sell video games effectively, they have a platform for producing video games, what Twitch brings to that is the missing piece of the puzzle: a community. We provide that reach, and it made a lot of sense. We also gained access to a lot of things through the purchase that it would have taken us a long time to build ourselves, if we ever actually could."

"Amazon was committed to Twitch remaining independent," Shear said, adding, "I don’t think I would have gone with any deal that didn’t give us that level of independence."

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