The three next-gen game consoles  (Source: punchbutton! blog)
EA wants a single, open game platform, but will probably not get it any time soon

Just one open platform would likely remove a lot of the headaches that now plague both gamers and developers, said Gerhard Florin, Electronics Arts senior executive in charge of international publishing.

"We want an open, standard platform which is much easier than having five which are not compatible," Florin said during the interview.  "We're platform agnostic and we definitely don't want to have one platform which is a walled garden."

Even though a single gaming platform would be ideal for gamers and developers, console manufacturers will not go down without a strong fight.  Both Microsoft and Sony have invested large amounts of resources to offer next-generation game consoles featuring cutting-edge technology that has previously been unavailable for consoles.  Even though the Nintendo Wii's hardware is not superior when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it has already sold more than 9 million units and will help Nintendo generate more than $11 billion in revenue for the 2007 fiscal year.

Florin predicted server-based games and/or set-top boxes will play bigger roles if game consoles begin to fade out of the picture.  Gamers will not "need an Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii - the consumer won't even realize the platform it is being played on."  The popularity of set-top boxes continues to increase as the technology inside them becomes more powerful.  

Games consultant Nick Parker agrees that video gamers will simply need a set-box that will have a hard drive, WiFi connection and a game engine.  However, Parker does not think that a truly open system will be able to please gamers and developers.

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