What the newest generation of console, be they already born (XBOX 360) or in gestation (Wii, PS3), bring to the party is compatibility. The point could be made that what these consoles really are is a standardized version of what the high end PC gamers have been building for years, without the compatibility issues. You could call it a hybrid of game console and high end game PC. As I see it, the high end gamers are the only real market for these so-called consoles, especially with their prices. Or maybe those that want to be high end PC gamers who almost, but can't quite afford the hardware. Either way, the market is very limited compared to the multitude of household console gamers around the world.
The PS2 can be purchased all day long new or refurbished for under $100, and can be repaired with a new drive for $60 (retail) or less. It will continue to lead a healthy life for years to come. The useful life of a game console is over 20 years, and depends mostly on the availability of compatible software and parts (the same goes for cars: parts and compatible fuel). I'm sure if anyone has an old Atari game system in storage somewhere, they could plug it in and it would function just fine. The current generation consoles have now reached a new market: those who couldn't afford to be console gamers at the retail prices. And there are many, many, of those people. Just as many middle class people become poor as become wealthy in todays economy.
The keys to profits in any service based industry are customer quantity and customer retention. You get more new customers by having affordable and reliable service. You keep more customers by having affordable and reliable service. Just think how many new customers ANY cell provider could have by just having an affordable service plan. There are thousands upon thousands of disabled and elderly people who can't afford a cell phone even for emergencies. And they are the ones that need them the most.
Good, neat, cursive writing is no less than good art. The fact is, everyone cannot be a good artist, yet everyone still drew pictures as a child. The visual quality of those "refrigerator" pictures and the visual quality of a child’s cursive writing basically correlate to a stage of development. Technology has greatly reduced the need for many people to progress their manual writing skills beyond that stage. Cursive writing came about as way to write faster, just as the typewriter came about as a way of producing legible print much faster than any manual writing method. The mere fact that this was necessary, besides economics for printers and publishers, hints that throughout history the legibility of the average person’s writing needed improvement. That is why typewriters, and now computers, became household tools instead of being relegated to commercial use only.
Writing is a tool for communicating. The form and method of producing that writing has evolved with technology. This shows the need for written communication has not diminished. I distinctly remember a time in my childhood when I was upset that when writing I couldn’t write down my thoughts fast enough using cursive, but it was definitely faster than printing each letter individually. The keyboard, and the technology attached to it (be it typewriter or printer), facilitates speedy writing. Hopefully technology will produce something one day that will bring writing much closer to the speed of thought.