With all of the advanced engineering that the consoles promise, they are a technology on a budget that simultaneously needs to promise a long lifespan. That's why during a panel on processing technology, NVIDIA VP and engineer Jonah M. Alben. had this to say about partnering in console design... speaking for both his own company, and putting words in the mouth of his biggest competitor:
It's important to not forget the PC side of the business to innovation. The PC provides the revenue stream every year for the team. If it was only a console business, we [AMD and NVIDIA]would not be here...
[With consoles]every few years you can reach out and do an interesting thing, but if you didn't have development every six months on the PC, you couldn't sustain your team.
I wonder what the subtext is there. Maybe, 'PC gamers are willing to drop more money on hardware and upgrade more often, plus we get a bigger cut on those hardware sales.' Either way, I'm glad someone is pushing the envelope, and that someone is there to foot the bill as it's happening.
The panel actually had a lot of interesting points for hardware geeks. Hit the link to give it a read. And if you're really a hardware geek, maybe you can name this video card.