Inside sources speaking to Kotaku claim that Microsoft and Sony are waiting to release their 360 and PS3 successors in 2014.
Nintendo’s much rumoured Project Café is expected for 2012, which would leave the Wii with a traditional six year lifespan. Nintendo made money on that console from the outset, however, while the other companies initially sold at a steep loss they are only now making up for.
A slow-to-recover American economy and the refreshed outlook for 360 and PS3 brought about by the recently released Kinect and Move add-ons are also cited causes.
A two year head start could be a huge bonus or hindrance for Nintendo. If Project Café proves to be a full technological generational leap over its competitors and/or catches on with an innovation on par with Wii’s motion controls, the company’s lead could rapidly become insurmountable.
If the company launches a system only marginally more powerful than the older systems or fails to capture much interest, it could be stuck with up-ports from third parties, and many gamers happy with the features and communities built-up on their 360s and PS3s might not bother moving a “half generation” ahead, choosing to wait it out.
Early movers have gone both ways in the past. PS2′s early launch (relative to GameCube and X-Box) made Sony’s victory all the easier. Dreamcast, meanwhile, came out so much earlier than even the PS2 that gamers and developers viewed it as stuck between two generations.