Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, made an interesting and true statement pertaining to future entertainment hardware. He states that it is no long feasible for companies and manufacturers to employ custom hardware for consoles. This is most likely pointed at companies such as Sony, which has utilized a custom processor from IBM called the Cell processor.
While the Cell was up to the task of delivering enough performance, developers were handed a headache in a box. From what we have heard, developers had a challenging time developing for the PS3, which includes understanding and utilizing the Cell processor to get the performance they needed to run their games. In addition, Jen-Hsun Huang also says the following:
You cannot make a game console such as the PlayStation 2 anymore. When it emerged, PS2 had a 100 times higher performance than the most powerful PC. I wonder whether it is possible to make something 100 times powerful than GeForce GTX 680? If possible, Nvidia will make it…
Basically, he is alluding to the fact that Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, etc are going to have to rely on off the shelf PC hardware in order to make a more feasible product. And, it many no longer be feasible to put such a high end/ cutting edge hardware within consoles. The PS2 utilized a custom “Graphics Synthesizer” GPU. On paper the GPU was suppose to be the most powerful GPU out there, but due to the complexity of the hardware that came packaged with the PS2, it was again difficult for develops to take advantage of the given hardware.
So, the era of custom console hardware seems to be at an end as companies will not focus on just raw performance, but also flexibility, usability, and the ability for developers to more efficiently make a game.