Are next-gen consoles really all they're cracked up to be?

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by esrix, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. esrix

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    I will admit, I'm excited about the next gen consoles from an artistic point of view. The increased polygon count, per pixel lighting, normal/bump mapping, etc. have definitely turned out some really good eye candy recently. And, yes, I do eventually plan to buy a next-gen console, although I'm holding out until all three are on the market.

    However, I'm also wise enough to know that games can't stand on pretty graphics and real-time cinematics alone. In actuality, it's gameplay that counts.

    Microsoft and Sony are arguing over whose console is more powerful, but haven't really done anything aside from show games that could have been (or originally, were scheduled to be) put on current systems with enough graphics to get by. At the same time, Nintendo is hinting at their system implementing new forms of gameplay in the controller, but they're hesitant to let the public in on the details for now.

    The argument today is that companies are too scared to take a risk on a game that offers something "different", instead favoring those with the same old tactics; it's financially better to take an older game, rehash it a bit, and release it within a timeframe that makes for holiday sales.

    So, my question is:

    Is anyone else even the slightest bit concerned with where this is going? Are we doomed to have games that implement the same form of gameplay on systems with better graphics?

    Do we really need another Gran Turismo or Kill Zone or Ghost Recon? We can already drive very fast and shoot enemies with a large array of weapons as it is. I'm not saying that they won't be great games, but I also want something that will change the experience and force me to react differently with these next-gen consoles. And frankly, I'm not seeing anything like that... Intead, I see two companies arguing of there size of their packages and a third hiding its goods.

    /disturbed/
     
  2. princec

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    You have probably noticed that the difference in gameplay between PS1 and PS2 was... er... hm.

    It's trickier to be original in the console format because of the way the market works: it's very expensive to develop for and therefore a very poor choice for risky projects.

    Cas :)
     
  3. Ricardo C

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    After seeing Quake 4, all I can say is: If this is what it means to have the same old games in new clothes, BRING ON THE NON-INNOVATION! :D
     
  4. cliffski

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    I didn't notice a huge leap between quake 2 and quake 3. maybe there were more curved surfaces? who cares, its not like you look at the scenery in those games anyway. I haven't bothered to look at quake 4. to be honest I preferred the gameplay of quake 2. Q3 was too much like lots of kids with springs tied to their feet. I hate bunnyhopping and jump pads...
    Don't expect any innovation at all on consoles. I wouldnt be surpised if 95% of next-gen games come with a movie licence tie-in. Another good reason not to bother, and to stick with the PC.
     
  5. Anthony Flack

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    This next generation of consoles is the least exciting ever.

    I was playing Sega Rally on the Saturn earlier in the weekend, and it occurred to me that this game was now 10 years old. It doesn't seem like very much has really changed since then.

    The last generation leap was still nice; it gave us high-res 3d at smooth framerates, even with 4 players - and sorted out pop-up and things like that. The Dreamcast was probably the first machine that really could do 3d properly, without compromising.

    But now, for the first time, we are going into a new generation of hardware that really isn't needed. Developers are not struggling to make the games they want on the current hardware - in fact, they're only starting to get the full potential out of them. They're just struggling to pay for it.

    Not only that, but the consoles have to be more huge and expensive than most people would like, in order for them to be powerful enough for you to actually notice the difference.

    Still, I suppose this is the videogame industry reaching maturity. Dropping the childish notion of "progress", when further progress becomes absurd. I notice that lots more people are starting to look back on older games with fresh appreciation. Fewer and fewer people believe that newer is necessarily better any more.
     
  6. princec

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    Hopefully it'll just make the games easier to produce when the developers have to spend less time optimising and compromising. But mysteriously no cheaper.

    Cas :)
     
  7. C.S.Brewer

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    I'm pretty excited about what nintendo is going to come out with. Just that they are effectively dropping out of the graphics/power war and claiming to be trying for some sort of innovation is promissing...as long as it's not a robot that moves spinning discs around!
     
  8. TimS

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    Maybe they'll ship a system with a lightgun again.... or better still -- a powerglove. :eek:
     
  9. electronicStar

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    You know, as much as I hate consoles and their teenage oriented attitude, if they released a system with VR goggles and powergloves and lightgun (with modern technology) I'd be the first to buy it.
    And even if the system is not more powerful than the current generation (PS2,XBOX).
    The early designs of the nintendo Revolution, BTW, were displaying a VR system.
     
  10. soniCron

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    I think what you're referring to was a hoax.
     
  11. Pyabo

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    Anthony, you are so right: Least... exciting.... ever.

    I think MS is making a horrible move, business-wise, and Sony is just trying to protect themselves because they're scared shitless. MS is jumping the gun, and it's forcing Sony to scramble into the same mistake. How long will both of these companies be content to have their video game divisions propped up by more profitable products?
     
  12. Chris Evans

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    While agree with almost everything you said, I do want to correct your last statement. MS may still be searching for profitability, but Sony's game division has been VERY profitable for Sony as a whole for many years. Just a couple of years ago, the game division was one of the few shining lights in the company that was keeping them in the black. Sony electronics has slowed down. The music devision is off and on. And aside from Spiderman, Sony Pictures has been struggling as well since they've had quite a few big budget flops.

    There's a reason why Sony is putting so much money and resources into the PS3. The PlayStation brand has already made them TONS of money and they want to leverage it to take over the rest of your living room.

    With that said, I totally agree that this is the least exciting next generation consoles. I'm not sure if it's just that I'm getting older and jaded, but I'm just not that excited by the Xbox 360 or the PS3. I still think that a lot of current Xbox games look great. They don't hurt my eyes the same way the PSOne did in its later years. So it doesn't really seem necessary to upgrade right now. Also as others have already mentioned, the last generation introduced 3D graphics/gameplay, the current generation refined and polished it. The next generation of consoles just seems like a second coat of wax. Yeah the car will look better, but the car is already pretty damn clean!

    My only hope is for the Nintendo Revolution. Maybe they'll come up with something different. Something that actually alters the way we play games. But unfortunately I'm not holding my breath. Nintendo is known for hyping products/features in secrecy only to reveal a fairly cheap gimmick or novelty (GBA/GC connectivity anyone?).

    After a long absence, looks like I'm becoming a PC Gamer again.
     
  13. Pyabo

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    I belive Sony's video game division has actually been losing money in the last year or two, and that this is expected to continue because the cost of the PS3 will be subsized. It was only the PS1 that was hugely profitable for Sony.

    However, I don't recall what the source for the info was, so maybe I'm wrong... <shrug>
     
  14. Chris Evans

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    You may be right about last year since they're just getting ready to roll out the PS3. However both the PSOne and the PS2 were very profitable for Sony.
     
  15. soniCron

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    Please cite your sources. I've heard it both ways, and the "made no money" side generally dominates.
     
  16. Chris Evans

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    Uh, I'm not writing a term paper (I'm busy making games), so I don't have time to dig sources for a forum topic side issue. :) But I DID used to work at Sony (SCEA) as recent as early last year. Though maybe they were just feeding me company propaganda (which is actually possible). To my knowledge the PSOne was VERY profitable. They had some initial losses when they were rolling out the PS2, but they recovered once the userbase hit a critical size and manufacturing costs went down. The PS2 also has the highest software to hardware tie ratio among the major consoles (something like 8:1).

    Jim Buck also used to work at Sony (as recent as a few weeks ago). Maybe he can clarify their on-record financial situation if he's inclined.
     
  17. Black Hydra

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    Yes, we are all jaded. Thats why these new consoles don't look terribly exciting.

    I remember when the N64 came out and you got to see some of the 3D games. It really blew me away at the time. Then the PS2 came out. Final Fantasy X's in game graphics once again blew me away.

    The fact is, the reason you are all bitching about the new consoles is because, new hardware will (generally) only improve presentation, not gameplay. Gameplay and innovation in that field generally occur independently from hardware. So does that mean that people like Sony, Nintendo and MS shouldn't release any next Gen consoles?

    I love it when the designers talk about how better presentation isn't "necessary". I hate to break it to you guys but are industry as a whole isn't all that necessary. Constantly improving and pushing from what was once excellent simply becomes adequate. An uphill struggle for us developers, but a process that in the end will continue to impress people.

    If people simply said, "this is good enough" back at the Pac Man days, we never would have been able to see all of the stuff ahead.

    So, no, these next Gen consoles aren't necessary. But games were somewhat unnecessary to begin with.

    Me? I'm eager to see how the big three are going to try to outdo themselves. :D
     
  18. esrix

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    Black Hydra:
    Firstly, I didn't mean to come off as "bitching" about the state of the next-gen consoles. I'm not saying "we should all protest the next consoles!" I was simply pointing out what I have observed happening. And yes, I do see your point and it does make a ton of sense; progression is key to any industry's survival.

    And you are right. A game designer probably would point out presentation isn't as necessary as gameplay. And I wasn't saying that things were "good enough", simply implying that things haven't been explored to their full potential quite yet on the current systems. We're starting to see more and more games that utilize the current systems's hardware a lot better-- like "God of War" for example.

    On the artistic side, it'll be these next-gen visuals that will most likely keep me employed--I'm an art student studying game development. A much better artist than I am a game designer/programmer. I understand the value of having presentation to go with your product.

    But it seems a little... extreme, in a sense, that several million people are going to dish over several hundred dollars for what, at this point and time, seems to be better graphics. And how, at the same time, some of the creativity in the industry is stifled because those who hold the money to fund such projects are often too afraid that it might be a commercial failure and settle for something that's been done already.

    Once again, not trying to start a flame war, not trying to win people over on my side. Just making a point.
     
  19. Jim Buck

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    I worked at Sony early 1996 to mid 2000 and again from early 2003 until a month ago. During my first "era" of tenure at Sony, PS1 was absolutely crazy profitable for Sony. Those were the sweet days of royalty checks - the type you could use to by a car cash (per quarter) or put down a decent down payment for a home.

    I don't have a feel for how profitable the PS2 days were since I missed most of them (mid 2000 - early 2003). However, we were told that, overall, the Computer Entertainment division (SCEA, SCEE, SCEI, etc) were FAR more profitable per person in those divisions than any other Sony division. We had a very small % of the overall people employed by Sony (in the large) but contributed, I think, the largest % of overall profit for Sony. (As memory serves...)
     
    #19 Jim Buck, Aug 30, 2005
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2005
  20. Fry Crayola

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    I think they're just a tad early. Heck, we only just got Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube, and I can't see many games on the next gen hardware looking suitably better than that to justify a £300 outlay in the coming months. None of the screenshots have had my mouth watering. Conversely, the games that have made me drool have been Shadow of the Colossus and Okami, both on the PS2.

    Microsoft jumped the gun because they figured a first release of good hardware, coupled with good third party relations and software (which the Xbox had) and strong second-party stuff from Bungie and Rare will secure them an early lead. And so Sony have had to get on the bandwagon, if even just with an announcement and a bit of hardware, to keep people on their side.

    There's so much life in the Xbox left that's just going to waste.

    Still, the new consoles will provide some good aspects, such as improved physics and surely continuing the trend of impressive AI. And we'll still have the Capcoms, Segas and Nintendos throwing out the odd game that breaks the mould, and Sony are committed to innovation and new gameplaying styles in their own way with Singstar and Eyetoy. These trends will continue, I'm sure of it. And in four years we'll have our own delights.

    But ultimately, this is a generation where at the moment the only appeal is "I've got a new gadget!".
     

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