It's become fashionable to upgrade and revamp existing gaming hardware before the rush over the original version of the console starts to cool. Nintendo DS Lite! Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite! Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP! Even Sony may be climbing on board with rumors of a third PlayStation 3 variation and there's that ongoing rumor about a PlayStation Portable redesign. Even Nintendo is supposedly hard at work on a second Wii that offers DVD playback. Is all of this console update business of any benefit to us, the loyal gamers who are expected to buy this stuff over and over again? Over at AMN a bunch of us sat down and shared our thoughts on the matter in this latest roundtable discussion. Here's a sample of my thoughts on the matter.
It's been hard enough to developers to design games with different system variations in mind, but now there's a third type of Xbox 360 hitting the market. Players who bought a Core system may feel disappointed in the product believing that developers will now target the Elite model for development (optional hard drive upgrade for the other models aside). Meanwhile, Elite owners may feel that developers aren't squeezing all the power of the console since they must develop games that fit with the Core's limitations. That's an awfully black and white way to look at the situation, but in the end my concern is that everyone would look down on the Xbox 360 line because it is perceived that games are being developed with one of the other models in mind.
Will I ever buy a DS Lite? Provided the price dropped low enough to make it an impulse buy I might take the plunge, but most likely I'll hold out until either my original DS goes to that big hidden temple in the sky or some manner of highly superior third DS variation appears (DS Micro?). Of course, then I'd just be setting myself up to get burned by the inevitable Super DS Lite 64.