It isn’t always obvious until the following generation that the previous generation was hindering developers. We know that many of the gameplay types available now were an impossibility on consoles like the Megadrive. If a console has more power, it can do what those before did better and with imagination things they couldn’t do at all.
Right now it is blindingly obvious once you think about it how knackered and old the PS3 and 360 are. Most smartphones have more ram than the PS3 and can output at resolutions that the Xbox just can’t do. Most releases now run at sub 720P and have to be scaled up due to small frame buffer of the 360 and the crappy amount of ram in the PS3. Blu-ray promised freedom from compromised repeating textures, but the tiny amount of ram means you haven’t anywhere to put it. Mandatory installs on the PS3 are more and more common as it has to swap information in and out of memory all the time just to draw level with the 360. Games like Rage need 3! DVDs for the 360 and that DVD drive is really noisy.
Also don’t mention patches to me as a PS3 owner I know the pain of Sony’s stop everything for a patch. Doesn’t help I use PlayTV on my PS3 for TV! I can’t watch a recording whilst the thing is in use. Things are similarly, but not as bad on the 360.
However as I said that’s not the main reason for a next gen. With the recent spate of HD remakes running at 1080P or 3D the question is asked why aren’t today’s games running at that res, framerate or no of dimension? Because the consoles are so frackin OLD. Seriously the PS3 uses a modified 7800GT, that’s 5 generations older than the GTX 560 Ti I have in my PC. The 360 is similarly ancient.
I can’t wait for the next gen of consoles and they had better have a proper OS like Android or Windows so it can do everything else a £300 box in my living room must do well to earn it’s place.