Here we go again....
<specs of latest Sony/MS/Sega/Nintendo console get leaked 1 year early>
"PC gaming is dead, consoles have better graphics, this console will do real-time animation thats indistinguishable from real life, wah wah wah"
How many times have we gone through this? Basically, add up the total number of console releases... from the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 2 and thats how many times we have heard "PC gaming is dead". I'm too lazy to count them all right now.
Ill give up my PC when we get a console with a big harddrive, lots of ram, that is upgradable, has a keyboard and mouse, and has a native VGA connector at the back so I can plug it into my monitor, has an OS flexible enough that I can nude patch all my games, make mods (or nude patches), download and listen to music and watch videos in any codec of my choice (even ascii-art if I so choose, dammit), runs emus and allows me to surf the web... but wait, that would make it a PC.
Xbox was almost getting there, you can make a linux PC out of it and upgrade the harddrive etc. (though not by design choice of MS). The Xbox 2 may not even have a harddrive, so its not the direction the console market it taking. Consoles will always just be a box for playing games on a TV.
TVs (even HDTV) are inferior displays to a PC monitor. Not that consoles will support HDTV anyway. 99% of American's still have crappy low res NTSC TVs in their homes and are lagging way behind the UK and most of Europe in their adoption of wide-screen and high definition displays. That 2006 law will never happen either, unless we have a democratic president who will buy everyone new TVs. Consoles are always targetted at the lowest common denominator (the American Walmart shopper) which means games will run in 640x480 (interlaced) for players on low res TVs. Technically new platforms like the XBox 2 will support higher resolutions, but most games won't take advantage of them. We have seen this before. The Dreamcast could output in VGA and you could hook it to a PC monitor with a small dongle, it looked sweet, but 90% of games didn't support it.
Display limitations aside, console games will never grab the complete attention of the PC gamer because of the types of games on those platforms. PC gamers tend to be into FPS, RTS and some RPGs. The PC is ideal for these types of games. Try playing a FPS on a console controller, or playing an RTS without a mouse. There will always be more of these types of games on the PC. Console game tend to be for the idle gamer who just wants to sit back in the couch and play some brain dead EA sports game (again, appealing to the lowest common denominator - the American Walmart shopper).
I don't always feel like setting aside an entire evening to play an RTS on the PC. Sometimes I am in the mood for a simple, idle game. I enjoy the occasional shooter, racing game or beat-em-up. Games like those I play on the console because its the best platform for them. But few PC gamers want to restrict themselves to just those types of games. Aslong as there are FPS and RTS games, there will be PC gaming.
BTW we are still a long way off from games that look like "real". We heard "games will look pre-rendered" with the release of the GeForce 1. Now where are we? Games look a lot better sure, but they still look nowhere near "real". Polycounts and texture resolutions aren't even 1/10th of what they need to be, real-time soft-shadow lighting is still too CPU intensive, fill-rates still aren't high enough to do accurate DoF and blur affects along with high quality anti-aliasing.
Core2 Q9400 @ 3.0, eVGA GTX 260, 4G DDR 800, Vista64