This has been something that's been running around in my head for some time. It seems pretty plain that Sony has settled for six-year plans for its consoles (PS1: 1994-2000, PS2: 2000-06, PS3: 06-?) and I think most people will agree that we can expect to see the PS3 until around 2012. But Microsoft killed off the Xbox after four years. Now, I imagine most people will state that they simply wanted to get their next machine out before Sony's, but I wonder if there's a larger plan to it. Consider for the moment that Microsoft has decided to sell their consoles in cycles of four years. That means that the 360's replacement will be out in the fall of 2009 and then the next on in 2013, close enough to challenge the eventual PS4. Now, I think that there's some evidence to defend this assumption. The fact that Microsoft declined to include a 'next-gen' media device in the 360 could show that they planned to release a truly next-gen console in 2009 and the 360 would be a stepping stone to that one. It would also explain Microsoft's reluctance to redesign the 360 since it would cost a lot of time and money to retool the manufacturing lines if there's a replacement coming in a couple of years. They would have a couple of years of development time to analyze the PS3 and make a more powerful machine and again, 2013 would be a suitable time frame to release a competitor for the next PlayStation. Now, at the risk of sounding too harsh towards MS, it does somewhat seem to fit their pattern of 'planned obsolescence' that they follow with their software. So when do you think the next Xbox will be released? 2009, 2010, or 2011?