Xbox birthday signals death of 5-year console cycle

When the Xbox 360 turned 5 years old this week with no known successor on the horizon, and no new imminent PlayStation or Wii either, it may well have signaled the demise of one of the video game industry’s most longstanding truisms.

Since at least the mid-1980s, major console makers have generally come out with new models every five years or so. For example, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) came out in 1985, followed by the Super NES in 1991, the Nintendo 64 in 1996, the GameCube in 2001, and the Wii in 2006. Sony put out the first PlayStation in 1995 and followed up with the PS2 in 2000 and the PS3 in 2006. And Microsoft introduced the original Xbox in 2001 and released the Xbox 360 in 2005.