Originally Posted by BuffaloBill
Looks matter. The slim PS3 looks so much better sitting next to my tv than the first model did. It was so big and bulky and collected way too much dust. There's a reason the Nintendo 64 hardware came in so many different colors. If looks weren't important, people wouldn't buy those limited edition consoles either.
The phrase should be: Looks and form factor matter, eventually.
It doesn't matter in the beginning. Sony and Microsoft will try to push the boundaries with their new consoles from a technical perspective as well as a budget perspective. They have to deliver a console that is the strongest combination of technical capability and price, they will definitely cut corners on design for their launch product because this decreases the costs per unit.
Yes, the console will be bulkier than you'd like it to be. The design won't be as good as you'd like it to be. That's because at this point it's not cost effective to do those things.
As the price of the technology comes down with time eventually that will give Sony an excuse to make a new version of the console that is more refined aesthetically.