Hardware is Gimmicks

Thanatos2k

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RandV80 said:
From the article:

Except that the gaming controller was basically perfected with the Dual Shock.
Says who? Now I'll never excuse gimmicky implementations of new controls, but to me this seems like a generational thing. You make Nintendo seem like the outlier for not going along with the 'standard' implementation, but if you actually looked at their console lineup every control has had a significant change from the previous, with the intent of enabling greater gameplay. It's only Sony and Microsoft, who were late comers to the console market, who decided on one primary design and stuck with it, and now have fanbases that start frothing at the mouth if you try and tinker with it.

Read that quote above there. Could I play say... Starcraft 2 with a dualshock controller? Not bloody likely. You could say that's PC gaming and this is console gaming, but at the end of the day it's all just software, what separates them is the control input required. The dual shock is perfect for a specific subset of games, and that's it. It's not the perfect controller period.

Thankfully we have the fine folks at Valve who are showing us what actual creative innovation can do with their new Steam controller. It still may not be perfect for my Starcraft 2 example, but it should likely bring us much closer.
He said the gaming controller. You're not going to play an RTS game - any RTS game - with a controller. Controllers are good for one thing, keyboard/mouse another, and joysticks/fightpads/whateverelse another.

But of things best controlled with a controller, the Dualshock is indeed perfection. Valve hasn't showed us anything, because they keep changing the design of their prototypes BECAUSE that innovation wasn't doing anything useful. Plus, I find Valve's vision of a symmetrical controller troubling to begin with.....
 

IrisNetwork

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I wonder what are Yahtzee's thoughts on the Steam Box controller. Gimmicky or greater functions?
Clitoral stimulation simulation? I gotta check out Japan.
 

Veylon

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IrisNetwork said:
I wonder what are Yahtzee's thoughts on the Steam Box controller. Gimmicky or greater functions?
Clitoral stimulation simulation? I gotta check out Japan.
I second this (and was in fact Ninja-ed). That's something that's sitting on a different evolutionary branch than the Dualshock and it'd be interesting to see what he makes of it.
 

Deathlyphil

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Thanatos2k said:
Deathlyphil said:
Thanatos2k said:
Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
NES to SNES added four buttons. "Deeper complex games" is just a function of what developers can do with the hardware. There is nothing inherent about the SNES that produces "deeper complex games."

And it had no backwards compatibility, which is now the most important thing ever!
No, there is nothing about the SNES that means the games are inherently better than games on the NES.

However, if you were to run Super Mario Bros o n the NES next to Super Mario (Land?) on the SNES, it is very, very obvious which one has better graphics. And the games industry has spent the last 30+ years drumming in to us that better graphics == better game...

Now, take a game on the 360 or PS3, and a game in the same series on the X1 or PS4, and it is not immediately obvious what the difference is. The only obvious difference are the gimmicks, the touchpad and the Kinect.

As for backwards compatibility, as more and more games are spawning inter-connected series, it's very frustrating to know that in a few years you won't be able to play several games in that series unless you still have the old hardware. Take Halo for example. If you want to play the Halo series you need and Xbox, and Xbox 360, and soon you'll need an Xbox One. Compare that with the PC, where I have games I bought in the 90s that I can still play on the same machine that I'm currently playing AC4 and Borderlands 2 on.
 

vhailorx

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Yahtzee is correct that the game controller has been more or less standardized since the dualshock 2. And the drag factor of a standardized layout has definitely stifled innovation for cross-platform games. But standardized is not the same thing as perfected (see beta-max v. vhs).

It seems to me that the touchpad offers a real opportunity to improve one of the really serious drawbacks of console gaming: navigating a large menu is a pain in the ass with dpads or analogue sticks. This is why it sucks to type in promo codes, or why menu heavy genres like RTS and large RPG inventories are a such a problem. The touchpad potentially solves this problem. link it up to a mouse pointer for menu inputs and voila! Sure, it's not as good a real mouse and it won't make entering text on a qwerty menu as easy as typing, but it would be so much better than the default.

There are plenty of gimmicky hardware things in all the new gen consoles to complain about, but the touchpad seems to me to be a rare example of a potential improvement that will likely die out in the face of an inferior, but widely accepted standard layout. (Also, yahtzee seems to be picking on the touchpad in particular because he doesn't like touchpads. That's fine, but it doesn't strengthen his argument that the ds4 touchpad is a gimmick).
 

IrisNetwork

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Veylon said:
IrisNetwork said:
I wonder what are Yahtzee's thoughts on the Steam Box controller. Gimmicky or greater functions?
Clitoral stimulation simulation? I gotta check out Japan.
I second this (and was in fact Ninja-ed). That's something that's sitting on a different evolutionary branch than the Dualshock and it'd be interesting to see what he makes of it.
To say dualshock is perfection seems very close minded of him.
Reverse compatibility? Steam Controller is compatible with ALL games on Steam. Touch screen? Its got that. Also its supposed to be moddable.
 

Vigormortis

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Thanatos2k said:
NES to SNES added four buttons. "Deeper complex games" is just a function of what developers can do with the hardware. There is nothing inherent about the SNES that produces "deeper complex games."
Exactly true, but you're missing the point. This is precisely why this new line of consoles is a marginal improvement on the last generation. At best.

And it had no backwards compatibility, which is now the most important thing ever!
Again, you're missing something in this assertion. Or rather, ignoring something.

Namely, context.

Back in the NES and SNES days, consoles were still new. The very concept of gaming consoles, and even video games in general, were viewed simply as fads, kids toys, gimmicky play things that no one would care about in ten years. As a result almost no one was thinking about the "future" of gaming nor the methods of playing them. Certainly not at a consumer level.

However, over the years, the number of games we've all accumulated have built up. At the same time, and more crucially, the number of devices we need to use to play these games and the variety of devices we need to use to interact with them have also increased. There comes a point where this sort of limited, locked-in system of hardware iteration becomes both stifling and tedious.

This is one of the primary reasons people are demanding backwards compatibility with newer consoles. The notion of effectively having to "abandon" virtually their entire back-catalog of games, especially in the realm of todays more social gaming environments, is unacceptable to many gamers; as well as being both antiquated and ridiculous.

So sure, complaints about backwards compatibility would sound ludicrous and petty "back in the day". However, today they are very much legitimate.
 

Vzzdak

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vhailorx said:
There are plenty of gimmicky hardware things in all the new gen consoles to complain about, but the touchpad seems to me to be a rare example of a potential improvement that will likely die out in the face of an inferior, but widely accepted standard layout. (Also, yahtzee seems to be picking on the touchpad in particular because he doesn't like touchpads. That's fine, but it doesn't strengthen his argument that the ds4 touchpad is a gimmick).
I agree that a touchpad on a controller might be a doable improvement. On a macbook, it's easily a mouse replacement because it has a nice wide working area, is sensitive to feather-like taps, and none of the tap area is taken up by wholly unnecessary left- and right-buttons.

If Yahtzee doesn't like trackpads, then his experience probably comes from most non-macbook implementations, which are hands down crap in comparison to a macbook.
 

Vzzdak

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Hardware gimmicks seem to come out the "used car saleman" line of thought, where the development emphasis is upon having bullet/talking points that can be used to sell down the supply chain (i.e., convince distributors to pick up a given item). As opposed to developing products with a consumer-facing utility that drives people to buy out of an easy perception that the product has value.
 

Aardvaarkman

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The touchpad on the PS4's controller is shitty as a trackpad, but brilliant as simply a button.

Seriously, it's one of the best-feeling buttons, ever. It's large, smooth to the touch, and has a satisfying click, without being stiff or rigid. It's a real pleasure to use. It's so much better than hunting for the "select" or "play" buttons. I've become addicted to it by using it to bring up the map in Ass Creed IV.

As a trackpad, though, it really is a gimmick. The trackpad is too small to correlate well with the increasingly large TVs we typically use with consoles. Yahtzee's general distatse for trackpad is not well-founded, though. A well-implemented trackpad on a laptop is a joy to use, and I like using an external trackpad on my desktop, to give my hand some relief from the RSI that using a mouse gives me.

The Macbook Pro's trackpad is a good example of it being done right - and this is the exact opposite of the PS4 use case. They made the trackpad as large as possible by eliminating the space taken up by separate buttons, and the screen you are looking at, if you are not using an external monitor, is only a short distance away, so the trackpad correlates well with the screen. Also, the gesture, particularly two-finger scrolling, are really nice - a lot more comfortable than using a scroll wheel on a mouse.

So, yeah, the trackpad function on the PS4 is gimmicky and fairly useless, but I still think the controller is a decent improvement, even if it's for the trackpad being only ever used as a button. Because it's that good of a button.
 

Aardvaarkman

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Deathlyphil said:
Exactly this. For new users, the immediate difference between generations is very slim. Even if you are invested, the difference is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Is there anything wrong with that though? Why do people keep expecting every new generation of tech to be a revolutionary change? Some things work fine the way they have been. For example, you don't expect your next PC to be radically different than the previous one - it's just a bit faster than the previous one with better graphics. The basic mode of operation remains the same. Much as we still operate our cars using a steering wheel and foot pedal, as it's an extremely well thought-out user interface.

I'm personally enjoying that start-up and game loading times are so much faster than on the PS3, and little things like providing USB power while in standby mode. It gets rid of some of the things that were the most annoying things previously. In fact, I'd be pretty pissed if Sony had decided to be "revolutionary" and make the PS4 use some kind of Kinect or Wii-like motion controllers, rather than the well tested and familiar game pad.

Not everything needs to be a revolution, and often revolutionary ideas are not so good.
 

Something Amyss

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I think the biggest problem really does come down to the coding across multiple consoles. I guess it's seeing some nominal use in some games, but the track pad isn't going to be seriously integrated even if it is good, because that's extra consideration and effort needed for one specific console for limited returns. And I say "even if" because I have no experience.

Motion controls are different enough across the three consoles that it's got to be nuisance more than a boon, though I wouldn't miss them if they vanished. I wouldn't mind seeing improvements, or more buttons, or new design ideas, but these aren't necessarily good ones and they likely won't be adopted.

medv4380 said:
The only thing I can think of the touch screen being good at on the PS4 controller is sports games in the same way the VMU was good on the Dreamcast at keeping the other player in the dark about the play wanted picking.
The controller doesn't display anything tough, does it? I could see this being a useful thing for the Wii U, but not the track pad on the PS4's controller, unless I'm missing something.

Evonisia said:
So long as the gimmick doesn't have a mandatory presence in the gameplay I really don't mind if it's there, bad or good.

Example, the Kinect 2.0 is essentially mandatory to use in Ryse, as the "Fire Volley" thing is replaced by a 5 second button press otherwise. If your Kinect understands you this is a massive advantage.
God, I hated those sorts of things last gen. Sony seemed hell-bent on shoehorning in Sixxxxxaxxxxxis functionality into their titles for a while, and it was annoying. Especially when it was used in a way you'd forget about it until you were supposed to do it.
 

immortalfrieza

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Deathlyphil said:
Now, take a game on the 360 or PS3, and a game in the same series on the X1 or PS4, and it is not immediately obvious what the difference is. The only obvious difference are the gimmicks, the touchpad and the Kinect.
That's probably because we're nearing the point where graphics can't really get much better than they are. Graphics are getting advanced enough that it's hard to tell the difference between it and reality unless you look closely, and once we hit truly realistic graphics that's pretty much as good as they can get.
As for backwards compatibility, as more and more games are spawning inter-connected series, it's very frustrating to know that in a few years you won't be able to play several games in that series unless you still have the old hardware. Take Halo for example. If you want to play the Halo series you need and Xbox, and Xbox 360, and soon you'll need an Xbox One. Compare that with the PC, where I have games I bought in the 90s that I can still play on the same machine that I'm currently playing AC4 and Borderlands 2 on.
Thank god for emulators eh?
 

Branindain

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I don't know Yahtzee. It seems like you've decided to be against the new consoles before you even start and are now really stretching to find every possible criticism. Granted, that's basically your whole schtick, but imo most of the punches aren't landing here. But then, I'm still trying to reconcile the people who mock consoles for their inferior graphics with the people who mock new consoles for having nothing but improved graphics. Or the people who mock consoles for being too much like PC's with the people who mock every differentiating factor as a stupid gimmick. Haterz gonna hate I guess.
 

GonzoGamer

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Of course they're going to add crap to the controller, its been happening every generation since gaming started. We seem to have settled on a preferred format (the ps/xb layout) but I expect them to keep trying to cram more onto it because that's what's been working for them since the 70s. It doesn't bother me that much actually because while these things usually mess up the launch titles, by the time I get around to buying a console, devs have either integrated it properly or choose to ignore it.
Really the feature I hate the most about the ps4 is the ability to pay a monthly fee to play online. So much content in new games revolve around online play so it just seems like a way to hike the console price by hundreds of dollars.
 

RicoADF

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Deathlyphil said:
Thanatos2k said:
Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
Graphics as in screenshots might not be getting better but the improved hardware does allow more objects (aka civilians, cars, enemies etc) and longer view distances than the last generation. I'm also hoping this will push devs into investing into better AI since graphics aren't changing much thus showing them off wont get sales, but a game with great AI would stand out. This gen opens the doors to more than just what looks nice in trailers, and honestly it's about bloody time consoles caught up as games I play on PC that aren't console ports have far better AI (see ArmA series as a great example)
 

Sanunes

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RicoADF said:
Deathlyphil said:
Thanatos2k said:
Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
Graphics as in screenshots might not be getting better but the improved hardware does allow more objects (aka civilians, cars, enemies etc) and longer view distances than the last generation. I'm also hoping this will push devs into investing into better AI since graphics aren't changing much thus showing them off wont get sales, but a game with great AI would stand out. This gen opens the doors to more than just what looks nice in trailers, and honestly it's about bloody time consoles caught up as games I play on PC that aren't console ports have far better AI (see ArmA series as a great example)
I agree, but at the same time I am not sure how many people really feel that way. Look at the issue with the latest Grand Turismo game and the amount of people are upset about how the civilian bystanders look. The problem with AI programming is that it takes a lot of memory really fast so again they are going to have to pick their battles on where to focus their development, for the consoles still don't have enough memory for that since they have to dedicate a lot to other functions that run in the background with no room to upgrade.
 

Colt47

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Well, reading over the entire thing, the point of the new console generation was to move to x86 and away from proprietary formats, as the proprietary formats were making it costly to develop for multiple consoles. With the PS4 I'd assume the reason for the touch pad is due to the PS Vita having a touch screen of it's own, and they may have had plans to make the Vita double as a controller much like the Wii U pad.

The big problem we have right now is that the last generation lasted so long that it is partially responsible for generating complacency in the development world.