Originally Posted by NrGx
The other issue is that the incremental increases that have been realised in PC gaming include things like volumetric smoke, ray tracing, depth of field etc. All of these are wildly graphically intensive. I'm just not sure a console could effectively pull that kind of power off.
Two thoughts on this:
1. This is actually one of the arguments for why a new console generation is probably due. The hardware in the current console gen is just so outdated that what should be "basic" effects in 2011 are difficult, if not impossible, to pull off because of the old hardware.
The devil's advocate counter-argument, however, is that incremental graphical improvements that do not actually improve the gameplay are unlikely to spur mass adoption of a brand new console that won't play the customers' existing games, especially if said console has a $500 (plus accessories like extra controllers etc.) launch price.
So even though I am on the record repeatedly as belittling the importance of backwards compatibility, I think it actually might be a good thing if the next generation is really just the incremental hardware improvement we are all expecting. Potential customers might view it as an upgrade, not a rip-and-replace. (Maybe.)
2. Responding to your last two sentences: If the kind of effects that they need to pull off are the ones that require $600 video cards that raises the temperature of your house by ten degrees, then I would argue that PCs should not be doing those effects either!
(The argument being that one gamer in thousands actually buys those expensive cards, so it's a huge waste of developer time to spend significant effort using "all" of those cards' potential.)