Has Kinect’s success come at the expense of next-gen consoles?

Microsoft’s Kinect platform is truly a success on multiple levels. To be sure, Redmond meticulously designed, engineered and marketed the next-gen wireless controller to the masses – offloading a total of 8 million units as of January 4, 2011.

As expected, the Kinect soundly beat its cheaper rival – Sony’s PlayStation Move – which only sold 5.23 million units by the end of 2010.

IHS iSuppli attributes the Kinect’s success to a well-executed marketing campaign, noting that Sony’s PR investment in Move was “dwarfed by Microsoft’s.”

Clearly, Redmond deserves major props for Kinect. 

No one can dispute the impact of such a device on the future of gaming (all genres), not even Sony fanbois or FPS diehards.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if Kinect’s success was partially responsible for the extension of the current console cycle, thereby delaying next-gen systems by four, or even five years.

Of course, hardcore gamers will simply shrug their collective shoulders, laugh and say:

“Dude, people who are serious about gaming wouldn’t waste their time on a console that can’t be upgraded – ever.

“Besides, consoles lack serious horsepower compared to a PC. And don’t even get me started on the whole controller versus mouse and keyboard thing. And then there are the games…”

All good points, yeah.

Nevertheless, there are those of us out there who – *gasp* – like to game on both consoles and PCs. 

And yes, there are even some people who have despaired of PC gaming, and just prefer to switch on their consoles and dive right into a good FPS for an hour or two of fun.  

Either way, it seems as if the Kinect has temporary alleviated the clamor for a new console. 

Which, in my mind, is definitely unfortunate, because it illustrates how the gaming industry is caught in a downward spiral of stagnation. 

We desperately need a next-gen console STAT so that console titles can be pushed to the next level, both in terms of graphics and AI. 

No, I’m certainly not talking about a 3D-enabled console that will inevitably lack serious content and suffer from numerous “issues.”

Really, I’d be perfectly content with a next-gen Xbox and an upgraded Kinect.