Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter says console manufacturers could make their consoles upgradeable, but are deterred by the prospect of allowing pirates to easily insert mod chips into their machines.
"I think that one of the problems with upgradeable consoles is that anything that would be an upgrade would have to be external."
He goes on: "I say that not because it's technologically impossible to allow you to open the box or have a card slot, it's just that the boxes right now are made to be tamper proof. They're intended to not allow people to open them up and put mod chips in them, so the idea is that if you can open it and upgrade components, you can figure out a way to overcome digital rights, put in a mod chip and then rip off all the software. The console manufacturers have no interest in allowing that to happen."
Pachter says that the 360 hard drive is an existing example of an external upgrade, and that a graphics upgrade would actually benefit console makers, over releasing whole new consoles. He also positions the upcoming motion controllers Natal and PlayStation Move as 'upgrades'.
As for graphics upgrades though, he concludes: "I don't think it's gonna happen but I think it could."
Piracy aside, console upgrades like the Mega Drive's (Genesis') 32X, or N64s Expansion Pack upped graphical capability but only worked to split the console's user base, with games that only worked with particular devices and whatnot. We hardcore gamers love (and understand) how it all works, but on mass scale, hardware expansions usually fail.
Move is hinted for a September release, while Natal is slated for October.
Consoles should be upgradable, even if it splits the userbase... Determined gamers should have the option to upgrade, whilst the companies that make the consoles should ensure that their consoles will not be hacked for piracy related reasons by offering gamers the options they require to play the latest and greatest games like never before.
Do we really want this again?:
LOL, that's insane! All Sega Genesis stuff stacked in one package! No I don't think we need to come to that. We have computers instead. Okay sure you can't class that strictly as a games console but they can be upgraded anyhow.
Because in their current existance, the motherboards for console systems are to cheap to justify the cost in creating a more upgradable motherboard which would in turn be more expensive for the consumer. When a console manufacturer picks a motherboard, they never ever pick a top notch board that is going to support any upgrades. They simply pick the most cost effective motherboard set to a spec that never changes that the masses can reasonably afford. This set spec exists for one reason: To lock you in and to create mass profits. Creating an open board poses a few financial problems in these companies perspectives. The more expensive your motherboard and internals to support it, the higher the price for the base of the console. Also, console makers want to lock you into their firmware/OS and only their firmware/OS. Giving consumers direct access to the motherboard make it much easier for average consumers to try to hack the system and run unsigned code.
tldr; to lock you in and generate mass profits
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