Gaming consoles have been around for a long time now and it is pretty widely accepted that they are a great thing, but it is undeniable that they are gradually dying and that they inevitably will die. This generation has been great but the next generation isn't looking so good. Nintendo's Wii U, as incredible as it seems, is only going to be about as good the 360 and PS3 and Microsoft and Sony are being incredibly hesitant with their new consoles and the rumours that there are suggest bad things, such as no used game support, instead of positive steps forward.
Couple this with the UK's largest games retailer going into administration and you have to wonder if a conventional console can really survive. Without massive street presence new games won't sell as well and without support for used games a huge chunk of the market will die. Also Sony have already lost one first party studio to multi-platform gaming and it seems that they may lose more with Santa Monica openly considering going multi platform as well. Considering that Microsoft have lost a lot of hardcore gamers due to their exclusives mainly being Kinect games it becomes difficult to see why either console is needed if they are gradually losing exclusives.
This of course leaves Nintendo to lead the way but, as great as it seems, the Wii U isn't the next generation it's just joining this one. Add to this the rise of tablet and smartphone based gaming, along with the rising popularity of PC gaming and online, streaming based services and the future doesn't look bright for consoles.
Personally I have mixed feelings here, I love my Wii, I loved my PS and I loved my 360 and it would sadden me to see consoles die but at the same time I see the potential for my iPad to become a great gaming device and I also love Onlive and really want it to take off and change how games are played. Ultimately we'll have to wait a good few years until we know how it play out but the death of the console feels worryingly close and I can't decide if I like that or not.