Home consoles have been losing some ground in recent years to mobile and PC development as developers have found more cost efficient ways of producing and promoting their work, while new models like free to play have captured entirely new audiences as consoles play catch up. Sony's President of Worldwide Studios, the affable Shuhei Yoshida, believes recent waning success of consoles to be a result of the lengthy console generation, not the end of days for the home console.
"After you see sequels to the same three games people feel like they've seen everything before. That's natural, but that's nothing like the end of the consoles," Yoshida told GamesIndustry International. He has a point. Developers are working on seven year old tech with significant restrictions -- Yoshida mentioned the PS3 lacking enough memory for cross game chat. The big names are mostly iterating while the most interesting games of late are coming from smaller, indie studios.
Sony's recent push towards a great working relationship with indie developers is just one example of changing strategies that will tail into the next generation and offer some invigoration. The PS4's support of true free to play titles that won't require PS+ membership for online play is another.
I still dig the notion of dedicated home consoles. I hope they don't go away any time soon.
Yoshida also notes how advancements in the early years of a console's life can extend its possibilities: "Cloud gaming services are launching next year in the US so PlayStation 4 and Vita users will be able to play PlayStation 3 catalogue games even though there's no native compatibility on the system itself. That's just one example of how we can improve the system."
Sony: "It's not the decline of consoles, it's the decline of a generation" [GamesIndustry International]