Seriously, Console Wars Are Pointless

QuadFish

God Damn Sorcerer
Dec 25, 2010
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Scow2 said:
Some people like the standardization of format - but that standardization also comes with losses in innovation, as everything's forced to conform to the same system with its own inherent strengths and weaknesses. But, gamers have become completely divorced from and ignorant of the underlying electronic architecture (Hardware and firmware) that operates the software they take for granted.
Only in a closed, rigidly made format though. In an ideal world, a standardised game system would be both well-made (i.e. highly funtional) as well as extensible. Look at USB. 2.0 was designed at the start of the millenium and it's still more than capable of most jobs. What minor issues it has barely matter compared to the ease it's given developers. And when the boring tedious bits of your job are made easy you get that much more room to make something interesting. Likewise with Havok. Programming physics mechanics is anything from boring to nightmarish based on seemingly tiny things, like slight changes in decimal precision following a port that make your characters fall through the floor. Havok pretty much nailed it, and even then it's still extensible enough to allow for unexpected mechanics like the Portal gun.

So yeah, stagnation absolutely COULD happen if said standard format was badly made. But at the end of the day, most engines have a pretty similar entity-renderer sort of design going on and as long as that foundation is stable and extensible most of the creative work is relatively easy. If you think about it, it's ridiculous that we have so many different 3D model formats being used right now when they all achieve the same thing: they draw and they animate. Everyone studio's doing the same thing differently, which is a pretty good summary of the whole situation. But if you look at something like the UDK, you get a vision of what a standard engine/format would give us. Sure, Unreal sucks in a lot of ways (jesus Epic, do any of you own a gaming mouse?) the amount of awesome, low-budget games that have come out of it as a launching platform more than makes up for it.

If you ask me, the big roadblock right now is that what we've got is standard TOOLS rather than FORMATS. To make a Source map you have to use Hammer editor, and to make a game on Engine X you have to use X's tools because no one can make them 3rd party. It'd be like having to use mspaint if you wanted to create a .gif because none of the other tools are allowed to touch it. But obviously that's a complexity thing: images are simple so they nailed the formats (and made them freely available) a while ago, videos are little more complicated so h264 had a long development road before it started giving us all the youtube videos in the world, and video games combine all of that with sound, music and dynamic interaction making them just about the most difficult creative act in the world. We have a way to go before people stop reinventing the JPEG every time they make a shooter, basically.
 

Aaron Sylvester

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If you could play Nintendo exclusives on anything other than a Nintendo console, the company would go out of business.

As I've said earlier, the only reason Nintendo consoles are still relevant in today's age is because they are boxes which allow you to play their exclusives...nothing more. Before anyone brings up "good" third-party games on the Wii (or Wii U), 95% of them handle better on an MS/Sony console.
 

JudgeGame

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Aaron Sylvester said:
If you could play Nintendo exclusives on anything other than a Nintendo console, the company would go out of business.

As I've said earlier, the only reason Nintendo consoles are still relevant in today's age is because they are boxes which allow you to play their exclusives...nothing more. Before anyone brings up "good" third-party games on the Wii (or Wii U), 95% of them handle better on an MS/Sony console.
I Nintendo stopped making consoles and focused only on making games for other platforms, it would probably be making more money than it does now as hard as that is to imagine.

If I could buy Nintendo games on my PC I'd have bought about half the games they've ever made by next Tuesday.
 

JudgeGame

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I agree with everything Yahtzee is saying. One thing I'd like to note is that it's embarrassing how little the average gamer understands about computers and technology standards. I have to wonder how they survive in the modern world if they think one machine can't run almost every single videogame ever made with little effort.

I don't like sounding like a PC elitist but yeah, [Insert elitist comment about PC superiority here].
 

Narcogen

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Jul 26, 2006
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Pebkio said:
Narcogen said:
Sniped because my post is too long...
Okay, let's go through a few basics with you:

Consoles seem more powerful than lesser rigs, true, but because they're made to be specialized. Meaning that they can ONLY do the small amount of tasks a console is designed to do, generating less software overhead and letting the processor run more efficiently. The invisible hand of money didn't make it that way, it was just the design of the hardware.

No, that's wrong. Consoles seem more powerful than comparable priced rigs *at launch* because they are subsidized. Before economies of scale kick in, before the refined designs and processes make the manufacturing cheaper, before later in the cycle, consoles cost the manufacturers more to make than they sell them for. That, combined with being single purpose devices lacking many of the parts and features that general purpose computers have, is what allows for hitting the $300 and below price points that enable both mass adoption and repeated upgrades for users who are not PC gamers. It is unlikely that one or the other alone would achieve it. The revenue is eventually made up because the platform holder gets revenues from developers in various ways, without which, those developers cannot access the market.

Console makers subsidize their hardware development and initial deployment with the portion they get from being the single channel through which software can be made available.

Pebkio said:
You say that like it's supposed to make sense. That's insane. Acer isn't losing mad cash by selling personal computers so why is Microsoft losing mad cash by selling proprietary computers? This is one of those "God works in mysterious ways" statements. You aren't really thinking about it, you just accept that companies HAVE TO use exclusive software because hardware is too expensive for them.

Case-in-point: PC users didn't put up with that nonsense from Microsoft in the 90s.
I say that like it's supposed to make sense because it has, and does, and likely for the foreseeable future will make sense. In this case, "makes sense" means that it functions in the marketplace, not that you personally like it.

I've worked in mobile communications for several years, working with manufacturers of mobile devices. That market also heavily subsidizes devices. The majority of users for both of these services will not pay the manufacturer's full price (cost plus margin) for these devices. A third party-- in one case, the console platform holder, in the other, the mobile operator) needs to make that up with a subsidy. That party needs to make up the difference somehow, which is what leads to distribution channel monopolies and consoles that have a single manufacturer rather than an open design and many OEM partners.

I am really thinking about it. I've thought about it and dealt with these pricing issues every day for years. The razor and blade model is still around after all this time because it works. It hasn't gone away because no matter how many pundits have put forth this "universal machine" idea, it hasn't gone away. That's because the universal machine was always here: it's the PC. The parties that have been trying to add the console's advantages to the PC market (ease of use, curated distribution channels, stable hardware targets) end up making that platform more like a console. First, Valve introduced Steam, which is a curated channel, and now they're working on hardware. It's possible that Valve's warchest may allow them to take that step without making Steam the only distribution channel for the platform may be true, but it doesn't mean anyone could do it; it may also just be a vote of confidence that they believe Steam is the only digital distribution channel on the PC that matters anymore, and therefore is a de facto monopoly anyway. Given that the Piston doesn't have an optical drive, that may be restriction enough. We'll see.

Acer isn't losing mad cash? Are you sure about that?

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/26/acer-2012-q1-financials/

In the first quarter of last year, Acer made a mere $11.2M in profit while being a top 5 computer manufacturer. They are absolutely one of the best examples of a victim of the race to the bottom, along with Dell and HP. Other preeminent makers, like IBM, got out of the business already.

Q3 got even worse, as net profit dropped to a mere $2.3M:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/22/acer-q3-2012-financials/

Given that Acer lost $212M in 2011, those kinds of results are a move in a positive direction, but it may be too little, too late. Q4 results are not out yet.

Raise the fees, and you'll have no OEMs, so the openness of your platform is for nought. Lower them, and your partners will kill you.

Pebkio said:
Well gee, Batman, why doesn't every company ever just form a small monopoly then? I'm pretty sure if we made a road system that only let American cars drive on it, GM wouldn't have needed a bail-out. Let's just forget the fact that GM needed that bail-out because it's competition was better in the eyes of the market.
Why don't they? Because not every company can. There's no need to invent an imaginary and impossible-to-build "GM-only" road system when you can have import tariffs on foreign automobiles-- which we do. Of course, US citizens who want to purchase foreign cars, or be in the business of importing foreign cars, don't want those tariffs to be too high, so it's not a monopoly, just a barrier to entry.

Even if such a road could exist, GM would have to spend money to "upgrade" enough of the roads to this new system for the monopoly to exist. They'd have to pay for it themselves, or find revenue for it. That brings us back to subsidy. If there's no incentive for end-users to pay the "GM road toll" to drive their GM automobiles on, then they won't. If not, then you need someone else to subsidize you, and in this case, that's the US government, because they have an interest in not seeing GM become insolvent and put all of its workers out on the street (just the ones it wants to, when it wants to, when it's profitable for GM to do so).

Creating a walled garden ecosystem on the internet, by contrast, is not technically difficult. Convincing users to invest in it is difficult, and convincing developers to create apps or games for it without users is impossible.

Again, if what you doubt is that a subsidy is necessary, look at the discussion at NeoGAF. Valve and xI3 I think have miscalculated a bit given that they've announced no final specs or pricing, which means that journalists have filled in the gaps by looking at current offerings. PC and console gamers alike are scoffing at the specs and pricing of those offers-- console users because the prices are too high ($500 and $1000) and PC users because the specs are too low. Without a subsidy, there is no market for this product at those price points. xI3 either needs to lower their margins and eat the difference, and without volume guarantees there's no reason for them to do so, or Valve needs to subsidize them. Perhaps that's what their investment is, a form of subsidy. Obviously they don't know how much of a subsidy is involved here, or they'd have announced pricing-- or perhaps they didn't anticipate current reaction; but they should have.


Pebkio said:
Finally, Valve is a publisher who is dealing mainly in digital distribution. Nothing about that automatically forms the same monopoly as Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Pile O' Poo. They just happen to be the most successful broad-range digital distributor and shouldn't be compared to what consoles are doing.
Not automatically, no. Although without an optical drive, there's a slight (very slight) barrier to entry for your traditional PC gaming brick and mortar distribution. Of course, there are plenty of other digital distribution channels as well.

The real question is just whether or not Valve makes enough from its existing streams of revenue to pay a subsidy on Steambox hardware, and whether that will grow Steam enough to make it worthwhile or not. It may be that they're willing to make less in order to steal marketshare. It's interesting to note, though, that so far the big 3 console manufacturers have not. Sony and MS both use the razor and blades model, while Nintendo makes its hardware specs low enough that subsidies are not necessary to hit the low price points (and consequently are far more dependent on first party development and close partners than either MS or Sony are).

As I wrote above, Valve may consider Steam to be so dominant in digital distribution that it doesn't need a technical exclusive to function; a de facto one may be good enough. That's a clever strategy, in that it allows them to tick the "we're an open architecture" checkbox that's politically important in certain segments of the market (PC gamers) and save the cost of actually maintaining any technical barriers to entry. Of course, they're still spending on just about all the other things that those platform holders have to do, except API development. MS is still doing that, and perhaps if Steambox owners end up shelling out for a Windows license, they'll be happy with that take.

It's still an open question whether the Steambox will really grow the market for Steam, or just cannibalize existing PC gamers. We'll see.



---
Pebkio said:
But since you asked, okay, I'll give you a system:

In a world, in which all consoles could play all games. Each company would have to hire an analyst. That analyst runs several tests of their particular target consumers (every year) and comes back with a sliding scale of features-to-cost... with the mean of the scale being what their patrons would most likely be willing to pay for. (We'll guess as to what each company would be doing)

Nintendo would make the cheap pieces of crap. [snip]

Xbox would be in the middle. [snip]

Sony would be the high-end producers. [snip]

Then there would be the pretentious open-source console, Ouya. [snip]

Now, since exclusivity is a lie in this world, each company would do the same thing: Make a child company to publish games.

Each company would have it's own market, not through exclusivity, but through what that market's consumers wanted from the console. There would still be new controllers and even motion control, but it would be up to game developers to provide working facsimiles. And they would be able to, because the encoding for each console would have to be the same. There would be those gimmicky games, but efficiency would drive true innovation.
---

There, a system that works. Sure it doesn't produce the most amount of profit, but I think we're worshiping money a bit too much as it is. We don't need the MOST profit... just profit. Oh yeah, and consoles wouldn't be under-priced. Remember when I brought up that console producers are losing money on every console? It's because consoles cost more than what they're selling them for. Ask yourself why they're doing that. This post is long enough as it is, so I won't get into it here. But I'm hoping you can come up with the reason yourself.
Just like Yahtzee, you've described the surface appearance of how a system works-- who makes what, and who sells what to whom and how much for.

If I'm Microsoft, why do I like the above model better than the one I have? What would possibly make me switch to it? What about Sony?

That's what I mean by a model that works. It has to be a model that is demonstrably better than the current one, not just for the end-user but for the manufacturers and developers as well. Since you've admitted above that this model doesn't maximize profit, those guys are out and this whole idea is a pipe dream. Even if the companies above entered into a anti-competitive cabal to divide the marketplace-- which is exactly what you've described above-- unless they could keep everybody else out, you'd have a new entry in to use the old razor blade model and undercut them on price right away, and nothing would have changed.

While that's going on, you'd probably have at least MS and Sony trying to figure out how to cannibalize each other; MS would come out with a high end unit to try and steal some of Sony's margin, and Sony would come out with a budget unit to take some of Microsoft's volume. Current exclusivities are what allow both companies to play around with similar price points without diversifiying their product lines too much, but if everybody's on the same software platform, that goes right out the window.

Your model also completely fails to account for platform development costs and online services. Since there are no Xboxes or Playstations anymore, what do these new machines run? Who develops it? How do they get paid, and by whom? Who develops platform-wide online services for these games? This is essentially having Sony and MS divest themselves of their OS and online services division and spinning them off into an integrated unit. How will they be compensated for that? Wouldn't each seek to exert undue influence over the actions of this newly independent third party that has such sway over this new supposedly open platform?

The stratification of hardware capabilities above will lead to user dissatisfaction; think of the flamewars we see now regarding the varying performance of cross-platform titles, and now factor in the idea that these differences are intentionally created by the hardware manufacturers in order to hit price points). It also adds additional complexity for developers who no longer have static targets to work on. Again, we have this magic universal platform already-- it's called Windows (for better or worse). The model you suggest above isn't better than either of the existing console or PC gaming system. It combines the best and worst of both in a way that maximizes user convenience, minimizes user cost, and shifts those burdens onto the manufacturers and developers, without compensation.

Unless forced at gunpoint I think the industry would evaporate first-- there's simply no reason to do it. None at all.
 

Hoplon

Jabbering Fool
Mar 31, 2010
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Narcogen said:
the big snip
That implys that there is no piracy on consoles. Not even a little bit true. If anything it seems worse than the PC, since PC games are way more available digitally.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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In a truly competitive market I would be allowed to play Uncharted with a 360 controller, because my preference is for something better suited to my big hands and without those squidgy PS3 triggers I hate.
Yes. Yes. YES. GOD YES. The 360 controller is the best controller I've ever used (for size of hands and preferences).

JSW said:
One thing that gives me hope is the recent trend of Android-powered gaming devices like the Archos Gamepad [http://www.archos.com/products/gamepad/index.html?country=ca&lang=en]
Someone else knows about that! SWEET!

Not mu cup of tea, but still.

Archos is also offering up TV Connect, which is sorta kinda somewhat similar to Ouya.

DVS BSTrD said:
But as long as there are different console options, they ARE going to be competing with one another. That's what drives them to create better hardware. Without competition, quality stagnates.

And thanks my spell check sucks.
They're not really competing to put out better hardware, though. Nintendo's off in its own little world, and has just barely come up with an answer to the 360/Ps3. Microsoft and Sony have both opted to extend this generation for as long as they can. Microsoft seems to be shying away from actual exclusives save for Halo and Gears, because those two franchises are enough to move dated hardware. Sony's better off in terms of putting out first/second party titles, but they've still got a lineup of must-haves that would keep people buying the PS3 for another 10 years. And hell, Microsoft's entry into the "lifespan extending" motion hardware? They radically scaled it back instead of actually trying to create a superior product.

I'm not trying to spark a PC vs console debate, but the platform that doesn't have exclusive variants is getting all the best new hardware. This is, in part, because it's not a closed box style console, but it also is because the competition isn't artificially locking it off. And I'm a console gamer, primarily. I buy some games on PC because of Steam/Amazon/GoG sales or their lack of presence on consoles, but most of my library is for the 360. That doesn't change the fact that the most open system is the one with the most competitive hardware.

Quality has stagnated. It's kind of weird to discuss what would happen if they didn't compete in hardware in terms of what already happens.

Sony/Microsoft are an effective duopoly. Again, I'm not counting Nintendo because their current line of products is focused elsewhere (except maybe WiiU, but I lack experience sufficient to talk about it). That's the exact sort of thing that truly stagnates business. It's why American internet sucks, too. Primarily, your choice is Comcast or TWC. There's not much in the way of competitive dealings going on there. And yeah, maybe Google breaks that up eventually, or maybe it makes it worse, but currently, we have a market share that's roughly 70% run by two companies.

For the "core" market, MS and Sony own even more than that.
 

Oskuro

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THIS ARTICLE A MILLION TIMES.

Sadly enough, PCs were on the path to becoming generic game boxes back when consoles had the pot-16 bit era slump. But then Microsoft and Sony happened, which is all Nintendo's fault actually (They screwed up Sony regarding the CD extension to their new console, which lead to Sony rebranding the thing as the Playstation).


Consoles are, after all, specialized gaming PCs, although it doesn't surprise me people don't realize this, seeing how many still believe that Macs are technologically different from other PCs (hint: they aren't, same hardware, just an overpriced casing).


To further enhance Yatzhee's comment on this being a 1984-style deadlock between monolithic entities, a key factor of the "console wars" (and PC-Console rivalry, or Mac-Common Sense rivalry) is a cultural one: People build their identity around the technology they use, and defense of said tech becomes personal.

Really? Of all the sad things to build a sense of society that are out there... Consumer electronics?
 

JudgeGame

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Oskuro said:
THIS ARTICLE A MILLION TIMES.

Sadly enough, PCs were on the path to becoming generic game boxes back when consoles had the pot-16 bit era slump. But then Microsoft and Sony happened, which is all Nintendo's fault actually (They screwed up Sony regarding the CD extension to their new console, which lead to Sony rebranding the thing as the Playstation).


Consoles are, after all, specialized gaming PCs, although it doesn't surprise me people don't realize this, seeing how many still believe that Macs are technologically different from other PCs (hint: they aren't, same hardware, just an overpriced casing).


To further enhance Yatzhee's comment on this being a 1984-style deadlock between monolithic entities, a key factor of the "console wars" (and PC-Console rivalry, or Mac-Common Sense rivalry) is a cultural one: People build their identity around the technology they use, and defense of said tech becomes personal.

Really? Of all the sad things to build a sense of society that are out there... Consumer electronics?
People understand nothing about computers and think consoles are magical artifacts with special powers that you couldn't just replicate with a PC and an emulator. I guess Turing Complete means nothing to these people. This argument is ridiculous. It's like saying the medium of cinema was held back by consumers embracing VHS over Betamax. So much ignorance on this thread.
 

Pebkio

The Purple Mage
Nov 9, 2009
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Narcogen said:
Oh wow, it was a bigger post than mine!
I've worked in mobile communications for several years, working with manufacturers of mobile devices. That market also heavily subsidizes devices.

So have I, just on the CS side but enough to know that most of the money for the subsidies are coming from the service providers. Not all, but most, and for the specific reason of getting as many people as possible onto their subscription service.

Given that Acer lost $212M in 2011, those kinds of results are a move in a positive direction, but it may be too little, too late. Q4 results are not out yet.

Right, okay, did not know that Acer lost so much, bad example. However, given that they seem to mostly post profits... I'm going to out on a limb and suggest that something freakish happened. Even profits for 3 months at 2.3 mil? Sure, it's not the 15 billion that Exxon put up one quarter, but I've already said that we worship money way too much. It's 2.3 million dollars for 3 months... on mostly hardware... it can be done.

...which brings me to my next point:
Again, if what you doubt is that a subsidy is necessary, look at the discussion at NeoGAF. Valve and xI3 I think have miscalculated a bit given that they've announced no final specs or pricing, which means that journalists have filled in the gaps by looking at current offerings. PC and console gamers alike are scoffing at the specs and pricing of those offers-- console users because the prices are too high ($500 and $1000) and PC users because the specs are too low.
There's the crux of your arguments: software sales paying for hardware losses is absolutely needed because people don't want to pay the real price for the hardware. Under that assumption, you'd never be able to just sell hardware for a profit, much less to pay for development. You go on to imply that the gaming industry would implode because we, as consumers, would stop paying for stuff if it got more expensive. I have to disagree, because Acer posted profits last quarter. And the Quarter before that. And before 2011...

Companies can turn a profit on hardware without subsidizing costs with software sales. Just not as MUCH PROFIT! ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD! WE MUST HAVE MORE COWBELL! MONEY! 20% GROWTH YEARLY OR WE GO BANKRUPT!

Ahem, sorry, I was slipping into the corporate mindset. Seriously, money shouldn't be everything as long as you're making enough. I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the whole subsidizing hardware sales thing.

...

Oh, except this:
No, that's wrong. Consoles seem more powerful than comparable priced rigs *at launch* because they are subsidized.
I don't view things compared to straight price costs. I live by that cost-to-function ratio I mentioned earlier. At the very least, I compare average consoles to average computers that were for sale during console release. Of course you aren't going to have a very functional (gaming-wise) computer for $200, because they're not subsidized. It's not appropriate to compare something after subsidizing, ie, the information gained from such comparison is erroneous.
 

Tim Chuma

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Jul 9, 2010
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There are entire online communities devoted to running old hardware and making sure that older games can still be run in their original form. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has a dedicated games section and recently had the "Games Masters" exhibition that ran older hardware.

Some of the games hardware can be surprisingly fragile. The Dreamcast had a well known hardware issue where the console would stop working due to some of the contacts inside of it needing to be pushed back and WD40'ed after a certain period. If you are opening consoles and looking at circuit diagrams of previous technology, then it is a whole other level.

SEGA is also a good case of a hardware manufacturer that supposedly "lost" the console war, but is not making games for all the different consoles instead.

The main problem with relying in re-issues and remakes is that only the most popular games tend to get re-issued and a lot of good content will fall by the wayside. Perhaps the model that some of the entertainment companies are doing know with releasing DVD-R's of particular movies instead of doing a wide release could be used.

The lifespan of consoles seems to be getting shorter each generation. I remember playing my Atari 2600 for almost 10 years before I got a Megadrive and then another 10 before I bought a Dreamcast. Not sure how long I will have my Xbox 360 for as I do not really play it enough.

There are emulators that can play older software, but some of these have problems and cannot really match up to playing the original in a lot of cases.
 

Batou667

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I'm almost 100% behind Yahtzee on this one (no homo). It makes almost perfect sense. However:

1) The DVD player analogy would break down if DVDs came in different technical specifications that required progressively better hardware to run - like games do. The reason DVD players are standardised is because DVD technology isn't getting better any time soon (well, it kind of did with BluRay). Games consoles are still progressing in power and capability - for the time being, although I can see a point where the extra man-hours required to add a seventeenth layer of bump-mapping to Master Chief's instep cease to be profitable, and at this point hopefully devs could just concentrate on making good games.

BUT, while consoles are still improving in power, making a standardised system would create an artificial technical plateau. I can't see how this is a good thing.

2) Yahtzee has often mentioned that a lot of Nintendo's hardware strategy is a solution looking for a problem. Dual screens, then Wiimotes, then 3D screens and now the Wii U tablet. Yes, it's a very "forced" kind of innovation, yes, it completely turns off most 3rd party publishers. But hasn't some good come of it? Both Kinect and Playstation Move took off after the success of the Wiimote, and although the technology still isn't perfect (and it sure as hell shouldn't be shoehorned into games that don't benefit from it), it's an avenue that I think should be explored. Motion controls are our next-gen lightguns and dance-mats, and when voice recognition finally gets half-decent I think we'll see one of the next true revolutions in how we interact with games. Isn't it for the best that we have our eccentrics and innovators alongside the mainstream?
 

Treblaine

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medv4380 said:
Treblaine said:
Ultimately the risk is spread around this way and is much more like how all other consumer electronics are made. And it IS a bullshit model selling your hardware at a loss then the consumer has to shill out an extra $15 per game for every new game they ever buy.

I think Sony and Microsft would much rather focus on the software side than agonise over hardware, just come up with a single good chipset that works with their software plans.

Consortium licences dynamically with more convenient board sizes, big industrial manufacturers like Foxconn use economy of scale to drive down costs, the end buyers tailor the form factor to the user's needs.
The risk is spread equally around? So you think this Super System would be able to be sold at a loss so that consumers could afford it, and that they would be willing to spread that loss equally? Nintendo would easily be in position to demand that the other pay a higher share since they make, and sell more games than Sony or MS. Sony and MS are dependent on 3rd parties to make the bulk of their AAA games.

It's not BS to sell the hardware at a loss, and you don't get an extra 15$ Sony or MS tax for it ether. AAA PC Titles cost 60$ at launch, and your PC isn't subsidized by selling at a loss. Most of the lack of Price cuts on the Console market comes from the Publishers and Game Stop figuring out how to properly meet demand. They don't over print their games by 50% anymore resulting in an early grave in the bargan bin. What does happen is that the developer get access to an Install base that wouldn't have been able to afford the equivilant hardware profile for a PC. Which means more sales, and that extra 15$ goes to the developer of the Hardware for making that possible. It means more sales to more people that you wouldn't have been able to sell to otherwise.

If your system wasn't sold at a loss then some Nobody can come in and steal a significant portion of the market. Just like how Sony and MS tried. Nintendo is the only developer that tries to sell at a Profit from the start, or with a modest loss easily covered by 1 or 2 games. That's why they always end up looking "slower", but end up with the more stable hardware. Sony went with the "Great Leap Forward" approach with a massive 300$ loss and a 500$ price point. Problem was MS did the exact same thing, but went with Cheaper RAM causing the RROD. Heck MS even stole the R&D Sony paid for from IBM by going to IBM and saying "We want the same processor you're making for Sony but a Year Earlier with XBox backwards compatibility". This is what makes it a WAR and not a friendly competition. But that's what is meant by Competition in Capitalism.

Anyone can enter into the Console market and try to become the next best thing, but if all you are is some generic nothing then someone else can come in with your exact hardware, and beat you by doing the simple things. Better Developer support, marketing, some novelty motion control, an exclusive must have game, or any little shinny bobble that gets Developers or Gamers.

There was, and probably still is, a very good reason people believed that the gaming market only could support 2 consoles. The Conservative model that Nintendo follows requiring good 1st party support, and the Razor and Blade model Sega and others have followed to the grave. They both work and they both move the market forward in their own way. The 3rd system was always supposed to be the PC for those too rich who could afford a new 1500$ system every 5 years or less. Great for testing new concepts. Bad for reaching a mass audience. The lines have blurred over the years, but the concepts is still there.

Your method sounds like it would more likely follow the model the lead to the Crash of 83. Dozens of nearly identical console with no reason to buy one over the other. Heck, you've even removed the profit motive to even make the hardware so it would be hard to see any reputable company following you on the death march.
"The risk is spread equally around? So you think this Super System would be able to be sold at a loss"

It doesn't bode well when the VERY FIRST LINE of your post TOTALLY MISREPRESENTS MY ARGUMENT!

Look, home computers aren't sold for a loss, HDTVs are not sold for a loss, speakers are not sold for a loss, mobile phones are not sold for a loss... EQUALLY THIS UNIVERSAL-CONSOLE WOULD NOT BE SOLD FOR A LOSS EITHER!!

PS3 is currently not sold for a loss currently, Xbox 360 has been breaking even for even longer before that.

"AAA PC Titles cost 60$ at launch"

Very few. A lot of PC games are free to play. Steam have higher stock prices than most and yet here is a typical lineup:

Deus Ex: human Revolution = $49.99
Bioshock 2 = $29.99
Assassin's Creed 2 = $39.99

Black ops 2 is not a "AAA PC title" it's a shitty port that is overpriced and ridiculed.

A "triple A" PC game would be something like Team Fortress 2, which is free.

A universal-console means developers only have to develop ONE console version and it sells to everyone who has that version. The current situation of so many games being made identically on PS3 and 360 while arbitrarily separated is just a waste.


"If your system wasn't sold at a loss then some Nobody can come in and steal a significant portion of the market."

Yeah, it's called capitalist competition. You got a problem with that?

The ENTIRE ARGUMENT for capitalism is that if someone comes in doing a better job and/or for a better price then they should be allowed to succeed.

What you are talking about is not capitalism, but what Mussolini defined as Corporatism, where established companies have absolutely protected monopolies that avoid any sort of competition, just domination and forced conformity.

Steal the market?!?!?!? THE MARKET WAS NEVER PRIVATE PROPERTY OF CORPORATIONS!

"Problem was MS did the exact same thing, but went with Cheaper RAM causing the RROD."

So it is confirmed you don't know what you are talking about

Heck MS even stole the R&D Sony paid for from IBM by going to IBM and saying "We want the same processor you're making for Sony but a Year Earlier with XBox backwards compatibility". This is what makes it a WAR and not a friendly competition But that's what is meant by Competition in Capitalism.

but if all you are is some generic nothing then someone else can come in with your exact hardware
The hardware would be protected by intellectual property and licensed out.

And precisely WHO'S hardware would it be?

The Design of the microprocessors and integrated circuits would be by companies like Intel, AMD, ARM, IGM, Nvidia and so on.
The integrated circuits would actually be made by companies like Siemens in Germany
The bare dies would then be assembled into complete chipsets by companies like Foxconn in China
The hard drives would be made in places like Thailand (where flooding there alone caused HDD prices to double from interrupted supply)
They may all be assembled together by another contractor in a plastic case.

All Microsoft or Sony does today is pick and choose the components they want and get someone else to build it to their specifications.

And the only component set that REALLY MATTERS is the main motherboard chipset, which is where any change there will mean software will perform differently. A different hard drive or optical drive will only change loading-speed, the presence of a wi-fi or Ethernet port has no effect on game development. Power supply just has to be in the specified range, any can be used.

"Better Developer support"

Best developer support is by having ONE piece of hardware to work with. What they don't need is multiple different and redundant console designs of near identical performance with a sticking plaster solution of "I'll make a lame attempt at helping guide you through the labyrinthine differences".

The consortium would have it in their very best interest to help every developer who is seriously making games to work on their hardware as that makes their hardware more desirable so it will sell more. And the consortium would not just be Microsoft and Sony, it would also be the chipset designers who may be ARM or IBM or Intel on what software works best with the hardware.

Console game development the operating system is quite irrelevant, games are coded "right down to the metal" but to get officially licensed their games must be responsibly coded, so they can't overclock the CPU to a level that destroys it to get the performance they want.

"There was, and probably still is, a very good reason people believed that the gaming market only could support 2 consoles."

That's because it is a PROBLEM having multiple different consoles of different exclusivity.

Just as 2 platforms is better than 3, a single universal platform is better than 2.

We don't have two different DVD standards. We don't have HD-DVD competing with Blu-ray.

"PC for those too rich who could afford a new 1500$ system every 5 years or less."

Okay, you are free to ignore this guy, he's talking about stuff he knows NOTHING about. It's like getting advice on your love life from a celibate priest.

"likely follow the model the lead to the Crash of 83. Dozens of nearly identical console with no reason to buy one over the other."

That's not true, that was not the cause of the crash of what was a small, immature market. And if it IS a problem to have different platforms of identical performance but contrasting exclusivity, then that SUPPORTS the idea of a single universal platform.

"Heck, you've even removed the profit motive to even make the hardware"

No. They make a profit on the hardware the exact same way they make profits on this long exhaustive list of consumer electronics that are sold without being loss-leaders:
-Smartphones
-Tablets
-MP3 players
-Desktop PCs
-Laptops
-Giant HDTVs
-DVD and blu-ray players
-TV record boxes

Almost EVERY CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICE is NOT sold as a loss leader but for a profit and people buy them at that price, and takes components of standardised compatibility.

Video game consoles are the one exception.
 

The White Hunter

Basment Abomination
Oct 19, 2011
3,888
0
0
Casual Shinji said:
SkarKrow said:
Casual Shinji said:
AgentLampshade said:
Hmmm, can't say I'd particularly enjoy having candy-canes coming out of my palm.
You could suck them into sharp points, and turn your palms into murder weapons!
Yeah but what if you need to entertain yourself for a while man? think of the logistics!
Well, candy canes have the ability to be twisted into circular shapes... If you know what I mean. ;D

[sub]I'm surprised by my onw dirty thoughts. Really, I am.[/sub]
I think I do know what you mean, but wouldn't the minty freshness of them cause a touch of painful burning sensation in such a place?

[sub]Don't worry about it, I used to surprise myself too...[/sub]
 

Trippeh

New member
Feb 25, 2010
22
0
0
for all the reasons mentioned here, I am cautiously optimistic about Valve's SteamBox project. Shield and Ouya -- not so much. time will tell -- on paper it all sounds very promising.

yesterday's Gabe Newell interview that cleared up some of the motivating factors for me, at least a little bit:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852144/gabe-newell-interview-steam-box-future-of-gaming
 

RobfromtheGulag

New member
May 18, 2010
931
0
0
Master Race [http://xalaga.com/geeklink/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Glorious_PC_MasterRace1.png] chiming in: "haha"

Yahtzee makes a good point, and I am sick and tired of exclusive titles and bonuses. I got off the end of the Nintendo wagon when they started this crazy controller stuff. Mario and Link are well and good but they aren't in my 'must have' tier of games. Back when the original Xbox came out and I was a PS2 fanboy I recall one of our big zingers being 'it's just a computer in an oversized box'. Irony aside, this is more and more true as the generations rev up. People didn't care that the Gamecube was a cool little lunch-box you could easily bring to a friend's, they wanted to know its processing power, as if that mattered to the stable of games it played. There are numerous side by side image comparisons to see which version of the game you should buy.
 

KEM10

New member
Oct 22, 2008
725
0
0
I believe the economic word you are looking for is duopoly (and yes, duopolies can effectively run with three, the game theory board is just widened a bit).
Look it up, it is what I have been saying for quite a while.
 

medv4380

The Crazy One
Feb 26, 2010
669
0
21
Treblaine said:
No. They make a profit on the hardware the exact same way they make profits on this long exhaustive list of consumer electronics that are sold without being loss-leaders:
-Smartphones
-Tablets
-MP3 players
-Desktop PCs
-Laptops
-Giant HDTVs
-DVD and blu-ray players
-TV record boxes

Almost EVERY CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICE is NOT sold as a loss leader but for a profit and people buy them at that price, and takes components of standardised compatibility.

Video game consoles are the one exception.
You have no idea what you're even talking about. Smartphones are mostly sold at a loss. The reason you can pickup the latest IPhone for less than 200 is because the company selling it is subsidizing the cost with your network contract.

DVRs ALL sold at a loss with a few minor exceptions. TiVos are subsidized with your monthly subscription, and that 99$ to free ones you get with Cable and Sat are subsidized with your TV subscriptions because they know that DVR owners are less likely to leave. Even just hucking up a customer to Direct TV with basic service gives them a Minimum 150$ loss. It takes a year and a half before they see any profit from that customer.

Heck even things like DSL are subsidized with your Phone service. Which is why they have to jack up the price if you get Stand Alone DSL.

AMD CPUs are frequently sold at a loss. There has only been a few years they've been able to sell at at profit because their power usage was better than intel, and that's what people wanted in their servers.

A significant portion of Consumer Electronics are sold at a loss.

You sell at a loss to establish your market share.
You're ether going to take advantage of Economies of Scale in hopes that Future production costs drop enough to make it profitable in the long term, you can bundle it so that the sum of all the products is greater than the loss, or you can go with the Razor and Blade Model and bank on selling enough Blades to make up for practically giving away the Razors.

No one wants to Spend 500$ on something like smart phone, DVR, or even a Game System.
No One wants to write software for something with no market share ether.

Your logic for your Utopia is completely devoid of Economic Reality.
 

SeiichiSin

New member
Dec 11, 2009
5
0
0
From what I can tell, no one really supports the idea that basically what I got sitting in my room is 3 computers that all do basically the exact same thing, except only one ever gets used and it is the one I'm on now. Why is that? Well, simple, because why should I boot up my 360 to play a game that doesn't get me anything better or worse off then something I was already able to play, and chances are for free, on my PC? I paid 2K for my PC, and I don't care. I paid $600 for my PS3, and it currently is only good for random games of rockband and Netflix. My Xbox 360 now is basically only used for Borderlands 2 as I preorded it back before I started playing PC more. But even then, I don't really use it. So why should I bother keeping such a thing where the disks I have for it don't work with what I am using? Especially when the exact same company makes both Operating Systems. If people want to keep the "competition" alive, bring me a new console that can run PS3, 360, Wii, and PC games. It also should be able to use all peripherals, as well as even work with a mouse and keyboard. The last requirement for this magic system is for it to actually exist.

Let me tell you why it wont exist. Sony wants to make money, so does Nintendo and MS. MS is probably making the most with two systems. In order for this magic box to be made, the first thing that would have to happen is for one of them to step forward and say "hey, why not work together this time around?" This will never happen with the current mindset. Why not? For one simple fact. They would have to share. That is right, a 3 way split for the profits. Even if said magic box sold for 2K, it still wouldn't be enough for them to share. Chances are someone out there already owns a magic box, although not a legal one. And chances are, it is way better then anything they will ever release.