Just a glance over at the Dell specs for home gaming units these days, a thing I haven't done in a long time I must admit - there is no way the average Joe might consider upgrading his pathetic Geforce FX 5200 to a new Radeon 9800XT with 256MB of dual channel 256bit Direct X 9.0 card with 8 fully functional 32-bit rendering pipelines. (Each cycle can render 8 pixels)
I bit much to imagine the average person actually knowing that - but then again, the average person possibly wouldn't know the difference. Or that an Audigy 2 sound card not only renders sounds in the game, but can also process those sounds bouncing off of objects and your hearing them indirectly!
Naw, that just purely for the geeks! ;-)
TOD and TED.
Anyhow, it would appear that many products in the PC industry are in the process of diverging at the moment - i.e. to keep the R&D going on various components, the average user will not need the sophistication of the highest end parts. That means, that only a small community of dedicated followers will actually spend more money to get the high end.
So in a way, the market for 'The enthuasiast desktop' (TED) could be like all PCs were in the beginning - something that only a few will afford. While the technology contained in 'The office Desktop' (TOD) will be much more crippled and divergent from the higher end.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out anyhow. I would expect to see TED running much faster that TOD in future, or TOD just politely bowing out and becoming the sealed platric box, that Microsoft/XBOX wants everyone to have, rather than the open Architecture made available presently.
It looks as if consoles will become very sophisticated too
But consoles do not have to be backwardly compatible, which means they can throw out everything and the kitchen sink, every few years and start with a clean slate. Unlike the Desktop, which has to remain backwardly compatible to x86 and its gigantic installed software base - circa early 1990s.
While the demand for high end pcs for games will just fuel a very small but elite sort of demand
AI is an interesting study - the best way to think about a game, is just like a very complicated database.