The Upcoming (And Pointless) Console War

Yahtzee Croshaw

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The Upcoming (And Pointless) Console War

New gaming hardware should improve gaming universally.

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Terramax

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Rogue 09 said:
Gotta disagree with you Yahtzee. Competition is what continues to elevate Playstation and Xbox over the Wii systems. They're competing with one another to create a better product, where the Wii just kind of sits back and takes money from Mario and Zelda fans continuously.

The removal of competition means stagnation. I know you probably don't get that is socialist Aussie-town, but over here in America we've learned that we can only improve when someone else sets the standards. Well... everyone but dirty hippies. But we'll be dealing with them soon...
I know this is off topic, but on the contrary, if there's one thing we can learn about American, things get worse with competition. Things generally just get cheaper, and the quality lessens as a consequence. I see very little in innovation or improvement is lifestyle in America.

I agree with everything else you've written though.
 

Sylocat

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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
New year, new industry. One where Call of Duty stands next to Cave Story on the same list, with no judgment and equality for all. Think on it.
Well, except on lists measuring a game's QUALITY...
 

Saladfax

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The "competition" is going to get rather amusing, as I imagine, if/when 10-20 Steambox products are sitting on shelves not a stone's throw away from whatever Sony/Microsoft makes for their new consoleboxes. Consumers will quickly flock to whatever seems to provide the best price/experience, which may or may not be one of the different variations. It'd be even more funny if Sony ended up making one, being a hardware company.

Ideally it would crush the entirely lame exclusivity thing. I cannot imagine a single negative facet to a system where having a single hardware piece means you can purchase and play what you like. I don't have to buy 3 different DVD players to watch the films I've purchased, and it turns out my oven can both bake pies and cook steak.
 

RTR

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Man, Cave Story is so good (I bought it for my 3DS this Christmas).
 

Deacon Cole

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I have one word for you, Yahtzee:

"Ouya"

It sounds like the noise you make when your massage gets a happy ending, but it's a console slated for release in March that runs on Android and thus has that openness you were chiding Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft for lacking. It's made a bit of a stir what with it's successful Kickstarter and all, so it's strange you didn't mention it in this article, even in passing considering how relevant it's existence is to your topic. Hopefully you'll address the Ouya in a future Extra Punctuation, giving your thoughts on it's chances to be the revolution its marketing department claims it will be or even it's chances at simple survival in a largely stagnated market where spunkgargleweewee dominates the triple A rung and people play Android games on portable Android devices, so a console tied to your living room and massive fuck off television just doesn't make fiscal sense. Not to mention things like the requirement for some kind of free-to-play aspect when developing for the Ouya despite demos proving to be a detriment to game sales (the Extra Credits guys covered this in a recent video). Either way, I would like to know what your take is on the Ouya at this early stage so you can backpedle or claim foreknowledge when it's finally released. Frankly, it's the only console of this next generation I find interesting because I don't care about the next Playstation or Xbox the way I didn't care of the current Playstation or Xbox. Nor do I find the Wii U all that compelling. It would have been better if, instead of a separate controller it could simply use the 3DS as a controller. Ouya is actually trying something interesting and whether it succeeds or fails, it should be a good show.
 

weirdee

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You act as if it's not a really cheap box that will still cost the makers more than they've raised so far and will be packed with exactly the kind of garbage that we were trying to get away from, since the demo/"f2p" requirement is not a big hurdle for the shovelware derps who make demos with price tags slapped onto them for a living, while the actually fun games don't really make demos because they don't have to, or don't want to misrepresent their game.

Besides, the Steam box is probably going to elbow it off of the market due to the fact that a lot of people already have games for it, and it doesn't hurt that Gabe's got enough money to build a scrooge mc duck like vault out of the money.
 

Advancedcaveman

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I can only imagine how bad these new consoles are going to be. Think about what microsoft is going to do with the next version of kinect and all this smartglass stuff. A new kinect will probably be a standard part of the xbox 720 package; it will come in every box just like the controller. There will be a whole lot of "Now shake your ass at the tv while rubbing the screen on your cellphone, isn't this revolutionary?" stuff going on. The PS4 will probably have some kind of new eyetoy/playstation eye that does everything kinect does, plus a bunch of stuff where it interacts with the playstation move and the vita and playstation mobile enabled tablets and phones and all that crap.

Dumb people who just want to drool over technological artifices will go on and on about the immersive revolutionary experience of standing in front of a tv, spinning around in place while tapping icons on a cellphone screen and blowing into the microphone while a camera on the tv tracks your movement and translates it into something really boring on the tv that other people are interacting with by waving their arms around and shouting and smearing their fingers all over a bunch of tablets and so on and so forth. Console gaming will start to look an awful lot like the opening parts of 2001, with the apes and the monolith.
 

mjc0961

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Nov 30, 2009
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Call of Duty and Cave Story do sit on the same list though: the list of rehashed to hell rubbish I'm not particularly interested in playing anymore.

Honestly, I'm surprised they haven't ported Cave Story to the Atari 2600 yet, because heaven forbid any console goes without a port of that miserable slop.
 

Falterfire

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He's not calling for removal of consoles or a single noncompetitive system. Quite the opposite. He's suggesting that rather than two opposing incompatible pillars, we have a single base console spec from which every hardware manufacturing can iterate. So Sony & Microsoft could still have their own builds, but if you got tired of one you could switch the the other without having to buy whole new sets of games and controllers.
 

The Random One

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Hear, hear! Never hath thee spoke the truth as hard as thou spoketh now, Yahtzee!

I doubt that the Steambox (or the Ouya, as someone already mentioned) will be that kind of revolutionary thingamabob, but we do need something like that, and anything that takes a step in that direction is a good thing. When we have a console, no more expensive than the Wii at launch, with a decent penetration amongst the non-gamer crowd, and a Hypercard [http://www.loper-os.org/?p=568] style method for creating content, then we will no longer need to have the 'are games art?' argument.

Rogue 09 said:
Gotta disagree with you Yahtzee. Competition is what continues to elevate Playstation and Xbox over the Wii systems. They're competing with one another to create a better product, where the Wii just kind of sits back and takes money from Mario and Zelda fans continuously.

The removal of competition means stagnation. I know you probably don't get that is socialist Aussie-town, but over here in America we've learned that we can only improve when someone else sets the standards. Well... everyone but dirty hippies. But we'll be dealing with them soon...
Yeah, that's why America is doing so well economically and has no unemployment whatsoever.

As for the situation the consoles find themselves in, I'll tell you a joke.

Once upon a time, two hunters were huting on a forest. At night, they heard a noise, and when they came out of their tent, they saw a lion charging down towards them! One of the hunters started sprinting, but then he realizes the other has stopped to put on his shoes.

"Are you dumb?", he asks. "Why are you wasting time putting on your shoes? With or without shoes, you ain't gonna run faster than the lion!"

"I don't need to run faster than the lion", the other replies. "I only need to run faster than you."


If Nintendo continuously takes the money from Mario and Zelda fans, Microsoft continuously takes the money from people who like big showy games full of sound and fury about shooting men or stabbing orc-men. There's no room for actual improvement, just doing what the other one is doing but better, because they don't need to outrun the lion.

The only way there'll be actual improvement (and not 'boy, last generation's graphics were almost lifelike, but this generation's graphics look even more almost lifelike if you have a top quality TV and one of the ten best looking games of a given year!' fake improvement we usually see) is by allowing anyone, anywhere, to contribute to the medium of games, so we have stories and mechanics that vary and don't borrow heavily from a twenty-year-old vocabulary. The closest thing we have to that today is the PC, but it's set up so that an old PC can't run newer games even if they aren't the big showy things (there are amateur 2D games that require state-of-the-art video cards because of the tools used) and there isn't a centralized hub to distribute them (Steam essentially works like a console since you need their obscure permission to sell stuff on their site, and more independent distributors like Desura and IndieCity don't have the penetration necessary for this kind of revolution). But the excitement for the Ouya (even if not the actual product) and the small but steady growth of amateur games (GameMaker and Unity, simple as they are, are at the top end of this) show that the path ahead is slowly being forged.
 

Callate

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I'm a little torn about the issue of motion control. It's usually wretched when it's used in place of a function that would be far easier to perform with a button; it's utterly wretched when it just doesn't work, as one hears was the case with Steel Battalion. But at the fringes of things, one can see places where it could work, even does work, and possibly works in a way that would feel different from using a console controller in a positive way.

I think the real question is this: if motion controls being a primary focus of developers for another generation or more is the cost of creating and refining systems for something like motion control that actually work (with the attendant slue of games that to varying degrees fail), is it worth the cost?

And part of the reason that question should be asked, and not treated as a rhetorical, is it's been true of any number of other developments as well. A good case could be made that it was true of the transition from largely sprite-based gaming to largely polygon-based gaming, and bloody hell, were there some growing pains in there.
 

GonzoGamer

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Saladfax said:
The "competition" is going to get rather amusing, as I imagine, if/when 10-20 Steambox products are sitting on shelves not a stone's throw away from whatever Sony/Microsoft makes for their new consoleboxes. Consumers will quickly flock to whatever seems to provide the best price/experience, which may or may not be one of the different variations. It'd be even more funny if Sony ended up making one, being a hardware company.

Ideally it would crush the entirely lame exclusivity thing. I cannot imagine a single negative facet to a system where having a single hardware piece means you can purchase and play what you like. I don't have to buy 3 different DVD players to watch the films I've purchased, and it turns out my oven can both bake pies and cook steak.
I got to agree with you there. It seems that many of the things Sony & MS do to stay competitive with each other involve trying to screw over the competition's consumer base rather than actually making their product more functional and desirable.
I think we'd all be better off (especially the game developers) if the hardware developers grew up and agreed on a standard so we wouldn't have to deal with crappy ports.
 

Fuzzed

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Rogue 09 said:
Gotta disagree with you Yahtzee. Competition is what continues to elevate Playstation and Xbox over the Wii systems. They're competing with one another to create a better product, where the Wii just kind of sits back and takes money from Mario and Zelda fans continuously.

The removal of competition means stagnation. I know you probably don't get that is socialist Aussie-town, but over here in America we've learned that we can only improve when someone else sets the standards. Well... everyone but dirty hippies. But we'll be dealing with them soon...
Yahtzee is talking about something a bit different here. Yahtzee doesn't want game developers to start banding together to share ideas around a campfire. That would be rediculous. On the contrary he wants more competition. But Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are actually hurting that competition by making three entirely different consoles. I'm no game programmer but that must make designing video games more of a pain in the ass. Instead of working with one standard device (like Yahtzee's example of the camera to shoot a movie), developers have to deal with three different devices that are not compatible with eachother. And I'm sure that's just one issue among many. So i think the removal of these corporate giants would only help the industry in terms of more content and higher quality, not stagnate it.