We've heard from a few non-Microsoft sources that the Xbox 360 is heading for an extremely long console cycle, but last week's CES found Microsoft saying exactly that. David Hufford of Xbox product management mentioned during a briefing that the 360 is "the console of the long future for us," and that he doesn't yet know "if we're at the midpoint" of the console's timeline. Which sounds pretty amazing, since the console actually released in 2005, but the numbers support that theory, with adoption only recently passing the rates of the last generation.
In other words, the mad dash from 8- to 16- to 32- to 64-bit and beyond gaming has apparently relaxed for the moment, and Jack Schofield of The Guardian says it's because all three major companies at the moment (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) have all achieved a viable place in the market. Without feeling constant pressure to outdo each other, the major console companies can settle into their own niches and expand their own markets. Which, as Hufford said at CES, is exactly what Microsoft is planning to do in the coming "Natal era."