New Consoles, Same Old Story

The console cycle rumbles on, but the biggest threat to Sony and Microsoft is the consumer's right to choose

If you have even a passing interest in the games industry, there's a good chance you've spent much of the last week thinking about boxes.

Nintendo's latest box, perhaps, which has limped from an inauspicious start into a post-Christmas funk that has analysts wringing their hands with delight (or dismay, depending on where they placed their bets). Or maybe its Sony's new box, source of the raging torrent of rumours and half-truths that have clogged the news-ways this month. Indeed, if you're given to nostalgia, the boxes on your mind may even be the three sitting beside your TV or gathering dust atop the wardrobe, soon to be little more than futuristic doorstops.

"My interest in a new generation of consoles ends at 5pm sharp, when another working day draws to a close"

Historically, I have greeted these moments of transition with barely concealed glee, hungry for every nugget of information about the hardware that, in an ideal world, would dominate my spare hours. But not this time. Where in the past my personal and professional lives would have blurred into a single, nebulous whole, these days my interest in a new generation of consoles ends at 5pm sharp, when another working day draws to a close. Beyond my duties as a journalist, the best I've been able to muster is bemused apathy.

In retrospect, my relationship with consoles has always been somewhat fractious. My earliest gaming memories are not of Link or Sonic, but of Footballer of the Year on the Spectrum 48k - and believe me, I had no say in the matter.

Sega and Nintendo consoles were an ever-present feature of my young life, though only ever from afar. My parents lacked the resources to endlessly indulge my whims. There was never a compelling enough justification to opt for a Mario-machine over a home computer that offered far more than just endless cruelty to pixelated animals. Consoles were an isolated fantasy-land erected specifically for my pleasure, with a 40 cover-charge every time I wanted to get back inside. To my parents, the comparatively flexible Amiga 500 was in the best interests of the family.

I looked at the SNES and saw exclusive access to the best games anywhere, but my mother saw only hostility. She turned away from consoles then, and I now feel it's time to do the same.

And let's face facts, there's very little left to lose. The personal computers of today are infinitely more affordable, accessible and adaptable than those in 1987, with a wildly diverse catalogue of available games, while the consoles of today have lost virtually all of the unique qualities that lent credence to their nose-thumbing, members-only attitude. Ease of use was a cogent argument when Microsoft Windows was a new concept, but not when millions are playing on smartphones and Facebook, not when the acceptable face of PC gaming is the Steam UI, and not when EA and Ubisoft are both studiously building their own PC-focused communities and store-fronts.

"The box with the best chance of prospering in the near future will be the one with the most decisive strategy for not really being a box any more"

Microsoft, Sony and even Nintendo may well be surprised at how many people can live without the Halos, the Uncharteds and the Zeldas if the industry remains as tractable as it has in recent years. The unfortunate position in which early adopters of the Vita and the Wii U have found themselves is regrettable - adrift in the wastelands of their respective software schedules - but they weren't short of people advising them to wait and see. In a sense, though, that's almost irrelevant, because the decision to purchase any console is largely a matter of faith, and the wisdom of that decision is dictated by forces far larger than an individual consumer's $400. Case in point: my first console was an Xbox; I kinda wish I'd gone with a PlayStation 2.

The delay of Rayman Legends on the Wii U seemed to open a nerve, prompting an outcry from both the public and its development team, and forcing Ubisoft into a largely meaningless conciliatory gesture. But beneath the indignation is a publisher simply making the only smart call under very difficult circumstances. Whether those circumstances are specific to the Wii U or significant of a wider issue facing all consoles remains to be seen, but make no mistake: third-party exclusives will be a rarer beast over the next seven years than they were in the last, and PSN and Xbox Live will have to get an awful lot better to offer much consolation.

For the time being, this is all just a matter of opinion, but in the event that I'm not just a cynical crank, what can the new consoles offer to fight the entropic forces dragging on their moulded plastic cases? In the last few weeks, I've heard it all: Open development and distribution channels to independent studios. Block used games. Embrace the cloud. Encourage products that fall between the traditional $10 and $60 price-points, including those that cost nothing at all.

For me, however, it's already too late. Even if the next iterations of the Xbox and PlayStation delivered all of the above they would still merely be flirting with aspects of the games business that the PC has pioneered, and may well perfect in the next few years. It is clear to me that the box with the best chance of prospering in the near future will be the one with the most decisive strategy for not really being a box any more. At that point, the decision to purchase one amounts to little more than subsiding the console companies as they figure out the precise ways in which they will cease to be relevant. The only question is how much of my money will be invested by the time they figure it out.

"Essential and disposable are supposed to be binary states, and yet the console companies shove us between one and the other as their needs dictate"

This is not a prediction that the general public will abandon consoles wholesale. This is not a screed about the inevitable collapse of Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo. Rather, this is a personal account of why the console proposition now feels like a needless limitation. I have little interest in the snackable world of mobile and social games. I am the target market for Xbox and PlayStation, but I no longer need a console to access what they offer. It is time to walk away, and the rewards for doing so will tower over the clutch of AAA games I'll miss in my absence. I'd like to think that publishers are smart enough to realise that the PC now needs to be treated with equal care and consideration when it comes to their key products. And if they fall short, well, so be it - at least the console companies won't be alone in losing a customer.

As a journalist, I have covered the sweeping changes that have wracked the industry these last few years from every angle and at exhaustive length, and it just so happens that, as a consumer, I am not immune to the fallout. My future is more likely to be a Steambox with Big Picture Mode than an Ouya, Gamestick or Apple TV, but I have time to consider the multiplicity of options - roughly equivalent to the amount of time it will take for my Xbox 360 to reach the nadir of its planned obsolescence. Essential and disposable are supposed to be binary states, and yet the console companies shove us between one and the other as their needs dictate. Well, not me. Not any more.

In the rush to make accurate calls about the industry's future, it's easy to forget that the only meaningful gesture an observer can make is where to put their dollars. The console cycle ends when we say it does. For me, it's already over.

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Latest comments (38)

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
This gen is so diluted with media-box-ness that it's almost impossible to get excited about it. I mean really. How many of us actually care about the next XBox or PS4?

I'll watch the reveal but, if you have a decent PC then what in all honesty can they be about to show me. My PC running on a TV screen but, branded as Sony! A controller that frankly looks like it has an unusable touch pad attached? No. The only thing I want to see at this point is a catalogue of cool games. I know they aren't going to be all that much more amazing that what I have and I have no interest in another Call of Frikkin Duty.

If Sony want to get me excited then show me a Dead Space 4 intro with Isacc's bond like escape from Tau Volantis. Show me a cartoon of Sly and then grab a joypad and play the scene! Show me a car race with a frantic commentary and then have the titles flash up saying Gran Torismo 6!

If however, you shpow me a shiny new black box, talk about dead weight tech specs and then say thanks and goodnight. I would also have to suggest that Sony ensure the last one to leave turn off the lights at corporate headquarters!
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
Contrary to the article, the subsidised console model still typically offers a better hardware spec, better suited to the requirements of games (and with a greater level of convenience) for a much lower price than general purpose computing formats. Convenience, cost and the peace of mind that relevant quality content will be available should not be underestimated.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Robin Clarke on 20th February 2013 11:19am

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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent5 years ago
How many of us actually care about the next XBox or PS4?
Raises hand.
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Show all comments (38)
Same here.
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Brian Smith Artist 5 years ago
I agree completely with Robin. You could easily add to those factors listed too. Effectiveness against piracy, Simplicity of operation, More appealing multi player platform (standardised hardware) plus content that will never see the light of day on PC. Seems a pretty jaded take on the market as a whole biased to pc.
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It's very easy to see this from one's own perspective and not to see the bigger picture.

The concept of a box you can give to your kid, and not have to worry about them 'getting' installations of games or how to boot them up is still something which is missing from the PC market. Perhaps that will change with Steambox, but it hasn't happened yet.

I have to say I'm always a little irritated by people who think that wider choice of systems cannot live together, serving different needs. My inlaws actually bought a Wii this christmas, and their kids love it - should we be expecting them to abandon it in favour of a Steambox?

The landscape is changing, for sure, but I think to count any particular sku out of the party is a foolish thing to do.
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Matthew Handrahan European Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
I deliberately studded reminders throughout the piece, but it's probably best to chip in here and reiterate that the article is really about my personal choices as a gamer. Obviously, consoles have a few key strengths relative to the PC, many of which have been pointed out in the comments already. I'm certainly aware of these issues, but I'm not working from an objective remove here - I'm not trying to be 'right' in that way, only to document how my subjective view of consoles has changed.

Indeed, the reason why I wrote the article is because the discourse around the new consoles on GI and similar sites has almost entirely been around contemplation of the big picture. Consoles still have an audience, obviously, but I don't see myself as a part of that any more, and I have to assume there are more people like me out there.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Handrahan on 20th February 2013 12:18pm

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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital5 years ago
Did anyone started giving free candy or something to anyone who publicly implies that consoles are dead? It certainly seems that way.

For me, the next gen consoles, the Steambox, the iPhones and tables... they all are plastic boxes. Some get connected to a TV, others to monitors, some can be carried around. What matters is games and services. If Steambox actually ever gets released, it will be basically a console. With all its problems and advantages.

What is actually the most exciting about the impeding next-gen consoles reveal is that the past few years consoles were a bottle-neck that prevented the AAA games to grow graphically and technically. This won't be the case anymore.
Sony will probably also do something very interesting with Gaikai.

That is what is so exciting about the current generation leap. And whether people will experience the next gen on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC, that's their choice.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
"The landscape is changing, for sure, but I think to count any particular sku out of the party is a foolish thing to do."

Exactly, Col. The dedicated base will give these new systems some kind of install base--whether it's a slow uptake as with Vita or Wii U, or faster on the basis of more consistent software support remains to be seen. In the years after that, there's a bigger audience than ever before to attract to gaming dedicated devices, many of whom are now actually familiar with videogames. There's no need to compete directly with, or attempt to destroy that market, but each console manufacturer should be looking to attract a proportion of users from smart devices and mobile in the coming years, if the console industry is to continue to grow from one generation to another. I've seen nothing yet that suggests this will definitely happen, but that does not equal the death and irrelevance of consoles or their manufacturers.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
@ Matthew, thanks for that clarification. It's good to have the debate, at any rate.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 20th February 2013 12:36pm

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Alexandros Gekas Co- Founder, Editor, Ragequit.gr5 years ago
In my dream world, there is no longer a need to buy two or three different boxes in order to enjoy your favorite games. In that world the gaming industry has finally realized that it's foolish to divide the gaming populace by placing artificial hardware restrictions and thus limiting your potential audience. Much like the film industry where you don't need a Sony blu-ray player to play Sony Pictures movies, in my dream I can buy a game and play it on any compatible device, since all the major players are now competing on a service and content level instead of wasting tons on money on loss-leading boxes.

Then I wake up and I realize that we are still far, far away from that mythical land of dreams.
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How many of us actually care about the next XBox or PS4?
I do too! And honestly, what are you doing here if you don't?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 20th February 2013 12:40pm

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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
That being said, "gaming dedicated" is something of an anachronism; we live in an age of gaming-as-focus and gaming-as-feature, devices.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
Like we can play linear video content anywhere these days, you now no longer need a specific machine to play interactive content. That whole idea is simply redundant. These devices will need to offer so much more to remain relevant going forward, and for any length of time. Mass manufacturing is open to all.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 20th February 2013 12:51pm

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Matthew Handrahan European Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
@ Daniel: Absolutely. Get cracking :)
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 5 years ago
Louis C.K. put it best:

"Everything is amazing, and nobody is happy..."
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Tim Browne Game Studio Design Director, King.com5 years ago
I absolutely care about the next consoles, be it the new offering from established console manufacturers or be it Steambox from Valve, Ouya or any other number of new machines that have been rumoured.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Browne on 20th February 2013 1:31pm

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Alex Podverbny CTO & co-founder, FireVector LLC5 years ago
Microsoft, Sony and even Nintendo may well be surprised at how many people can live without the Halos, the Uncharteds and the Zeldas
All those people believe that 'games' == 'Angry Birds' (sure, I'm exaggerating here). This doesn't necessarily means that we all should immediately stop doing Halo/Uncharted/Zelda and start making cheap f2p mobile thingies.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
@ Alex, no it doesn't, but I think it does mean that Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony should be finding a way to make their consoles and franchises appealing to the people currently only gaming on smartphones and tablets--there's an enormous, expanding audience to bring into the console fold and no-one seems to want to make the attempt. It's not as if you need to find a way to capture the entirety of that audience, a small fraction could represent millions or tens of millions of new consumers over the next few years.
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Caleb Hale Journalist 5 years ago
There isn't enough thought put into statements that, by their very existence alone, Steam Box and other open gaming platforms are going to replace established gaming consoles. If Steam Box wants to be widely successful, it's going to have to be as simple for the general public to use as an Xbox or PlayStation, or even a Wii U. What Valve, I think, is going to find is that simplicity and usability will have to come through at least some measure of control over its box.

There are people who get pilot licenses because they like to fly, then there are people who get into building kit aircraft. Someone who simply wants to sit down and play a game by popping in a disc isn't going to be compelled to buy a machine that presents them that leaves it up to them to optimize their gaming experience. I can't tell you the number of times I've overheard people in a Best Buy tell the employee they want a piece of technology that just works for them. While Microsoft and Sony can be frustrating for developers to work with on downloadable games and patches, the end result from the consumer's perspective is a box that just works with a few simple button presses.

The Steam Box may create some sort of halfway point between the console and hardcore PC gamer, but let's not rule out the possibility such a device might be a little too complicated for people used to the console experience and a little too limited for the PC gamer who finds better luck building their own rig. Ironically, if Valve wants to push sales of its Steam service and forthcoming box, it's going to need to leverage some degree of exclusivity on software. It's got a major trump card in the inevitable Half-Life 3, but if it relegates the game to only the Steam platform, then it's just kind of undercut it's own mission of openness.

I've worked for more than a decade in the news business, and I've seen a number of upstart politicians who go into office promising to change the game only to end up playing it themselves. I've seen no reason to believe the game industry is any different.
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Nick Parker Consultant 5 years ago
At the moment, Sony has to sell boxes and in order to do so has to have a reason to do so - games. Sony would like to snare all those people who just play games on smart phones and tablets but it has to sell boxes and these people do not want to spend $300/$400 to buy these boxes to play games. Both Sony and Microsoft realise that there is maybe only one generation left for dedicated hardware as even the most elaborate and immersive of games become available in the browser, playable on any connected device. This leaves Sony and Microsoft to build online services on these devices for their own 1st party titles and other media offerings and also add 3rd party titles; see Ubisoft Uplay with EA titles and EA Origin with Sega titles.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago

What am I doing here! Writing games, mostly mobile. How about you. Or did the industry suddenly consist of unreleased consoles?
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
In the past, we would have turned to Sony on such a day and wondered where gaming was heading in the coming years. Today, we look at them wondering, whether or not Sony can catch up to a flourishing tablet and PC market in terms of gaming experiences, payment schemes, etc. That alone signifies the landslide which is happening.

We also have to come to terms with the realization that most of which we think is "wrong" with consoles platforms does not require new hardware. If Sony does not open up the PS3 right now to make it as "easy" to develop for PS3 as it is for Steam or itunes, then why would we assume the PS4 was to bring change?
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago

I'm glad someone seems to get my statement that "Do we really care about a new PS4 or XBox" and that it has to be all about the games and new concepts this time around. I could frankly care less about a new black box under my TV. Will it do anything that my existing black box doesn't?

Long gone are the days of simply throwing money at a new console because it's new and maybe that scares those who have invested their gaming careers into that side of things.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
I can see the point of the article, and I might be there with the author if certain things fall in place in certain ways this upcoming generation from MS and Sony, but at this point in time, I can't imagine my gaming future without a plethora of gaming devices.

Sure, I still only have my original silver clamshell DS (second hand!) and I've never bought or played a game on my "smart" phone, my 360 and myriad games went to a young cousin but I still play my PS3 and PC in equal parts - depending on my mood and the games available. I still value having physical access games (which I no longer can get on PC) and will pay a premium for that. Not to mention that I just like having some games on console that work as designed - as opposed to getting a half-assed PC port that I have to wrestle with because the controls were never properly optimised for the platform.

May consoles live for a long time yet... and may PC continue getting stronger so we can all enjoy games on whatever platform we most desire!
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Justin Trautmann Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology, Hillsborough Community College5 years ago
My interest is also being lost in the new line of consoles. Besides having exclusive titles, what is there for me that I do not get out of all of my other hardware?

I suppose they (the next-gen console) can be used as an entertainment center medium, but Sony tried that with the PS3 and did not grab my interest at all. Instead of transferring my music and videos to my PS3, I just hooked up my PC to my television (where my music was taken and kept). I didn't feel the need to connect my Xbox 360 to the media center either - as I didn't have to go through Xbox to get to my PC because I could do that with a simple wired connection. Sure, I could of done it wireless, but I have a Macbook Pro and an iPod docking bay with speakers attached for music and if I wanted to watch videos - I say on my computer chair and watched them!

Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is nice - I'm sure the Playstation equivalent is as well - but Microsoft didn't do very well to promote it after last years UI change. You know, the one where the XBLA button was the same size as the advertisement button on the service I pay for yearly.

For the sake of competition, I hope Microsoft and Sony come out with something amazing. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it yet.
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Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology5 years ago
In response to the notion that anyone with a midteir PC can play anything on next gen consoles, graphical fidelity isn't just a matter of hardware. Its also a matter of development itself. Of course, consoles are optimized for GPU output, but on top of that, good graphics don't just happen because there new computer chips happen to exist in the ether. Artists and programmers have to actually build the engines and content that will make those GPUs prrr, if you will. A game like Uncharted 2, or the visually spectacular sailing portion of Assassin's Creed 3 could only happen because game consoles exist. So, the upcoming hardware may indeed not be as big of a leap as past generations', but frankly the PC environment doesn't lend itself to truly pushing the "artistry" of fidelity if you will.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 20th February 2013 4:38pm

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Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger 5 years ago a game maker...and someone who has owned consoles for more than 30 years...

I'm shocked that the WiiU is being so badly treated both in and outside the industry because for me it is the answer to the 'meh' doldrums of "been there" "seen that" "why not just play on the PC?"

That controller is awesome. It creates opportunities that can't be done elsewhere. Period.
Those that saw it is just an iPad connected to a TV really haven't spent any time looking at what is happening.

Having played 100+ hours already on the Wii U what I see is that shiny newness that makes me excited to play games.
It's not about better graphics, though they are nice.
It's not about better online systems, though it has some of that.
It's about game play!
Asymmetric gameplay is the term Nintendo has used, and it is something new that you can't do on your PC!
You ALSO can't do it alone...which is the biggest problem with Wii U > critics tend to play and review playing alone & the Wii U played alone doesn't offer much more than off-screen play.

When Nintendoland is at it's best is when you have 5 people playing with the person on the pad doing something different or seeing something different than the other players.
It's brilliant.
It offers unique experiences that can only be found on Wii U.
It's also only started to be considered and utilized.
The frustration about Rayman Legends comes from the fact that the demo of that game is the best demo ever made PRECISELY b/c it is a tour-de-force of asymmetric play and the pad! It's what players who get the Wii U, players who SAVOR NEW EXPERIENCES, are hungry for! The frustration from them is not just the time delay, but also the worry that the experience will be *destroyed* as it is made to play on consoles that don't have the pad. Imagine Wii Sports ported to the X360 w/o the motion control. That is the frustration.

I appreciate that you are at least honest about your apathetic bias. I wish every journalist and critic who just can't seem to find the same joy and love of the game industry as they once did, or as those who still love it would stop writing. The fact that it is a "JOB" and "Hard Work" to write about the game industry is probably a good sign you should move on to something else. There are plenty of people who love it still, and with Nintendo's new machine it is EASY to find things that are new and exciting, providing new game player experiences, even for people like me who've owned consoles for 30+ years and think they've probably seen it all ;).
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John Pickford Owner, Zee 35 years ago
Completely agree Russell. It amazes me that people are hoping for nothing more than improved visuals from PS4/720 yet deride Nintendo for bringing something genuinely different to the living room.

We just need some games.
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Anthony Chan5 years ago
Watching this debate is like is like listening to examples of ethnocentricity in my Anthropology lectures back in the university days. You have your nerd/geek who swears by their PC - which is OK. They ask, "Why connect a PS3, when I can just connect my PC?" The answer is simple, the general population is not exceedingly tech-literate. But what the nerd/geek (ignorant to anything but their own premise of technological superiorty) needs to know is that gaming is not just for them. It is now an activity that is aimed at a much more general populace, crossing culture, gender and even income divides. Console has long targeted their marketing in this manner. PC gaming (there is no united general front for mass marketing on PC - maybe Gabe will step in here) has mostly been targeted to a much smaller populace (Male, 12-30, tech literate).

Thus, consoles offer a simple solution to having everything done on your TV. No need to figure out hardware setups, system requirements, and optimization. Just pure plug-and-play. Games are just "stick the disc in" and it works. Videos are just push the "x" button, and it plays. No need to know short cuts. No need to read patch notes. No Ctrl-Alt-Del. No debugging after a crash. No need to upgrade your graphics card, so the next game you buy looks as good as the first game you bought. No trying figure out why your graphics and gameplay stutters at key moments. Easy breezy peasy gaming.

Next, for those who say well mobile is the front runner, so consoles are dead anyways. Mobile is up and rising but it is not a replacement to console. There are just so many who do not want to play full scale games on the go. One of my colleagues put it best. Games on mobile are best made as "time wasters" as opposed to an engaging and deep experience. Consoles & PC are seeked upon to provide the full experience, in "the comfort of your own home" - not on a bumpy ride in the morning rush hour on public transit.

So yes, any developer who is not excited to see what the next gen of console has to offer either has no ability to produce a polished product on it anyways (be it for budget, talent, or size reasons) or are just blind to a market that will still be enthralled by even the fleeting image of a new toy to replace the decade old plastic box sitting under their TV.

I will raise my hand to being excited. New tech. New opportunities. New barriers to push for gaming.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 20th February 2013 5:24pm

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Pete Thompson Editor 5 years ago
"How many of us actually care about the next XBox or PS4?"

+1 here as well, although, Not so much the PS4 this time, only because I've had enough of the whole antiquated PSN service where you have to download a massive console update, then install it, then wait while the console reboots, when all you want to be able to do is play the newly released title you've been waiting for.. I will get a couple of each of the new consoles (yes I'm greedy) and hope that Sony update PSN to be more like XBL..
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What am I doing here! Writing games, mostly mobile. How about you. Or did the industry suddenly consist of unreleased consoles?
I don't understand what your question has to do with being excited for an upcoming console, but I think I get the gist of your post.

I'm doing small games too, but if someone would give me a lot of money, I would be making the most epic quadruple-A game I could imagine. I'm making games because I love games.

Mobile games can sure be fun, but bar maybe a few, they don't get me excited. They don't make me want to rush home from work because I can't wait to play again. Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, GTA, God of War, The Last Guardian - you name it - those get me excited!

I'm very excited for the consoles to advance to their next iterations and see what the likes of Rockstar, Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica and all other top tier developers can cook up. I can't wait to experience it all and marvel at its awesomeness.

I love games and I can't imagine anyone who does too to not be excited by the prospect of a new generation of consoles.

We can talk about business, violence, sexism, how mobile is the next big thing, who left Zynga, how we should monetize our game about flipping cats, but screw all that: A NEW CONSOLE! YEAH BABY!

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 20th February 2013 9:12pm

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David Serrano Freelancer 5 years ago
@Laurens Bruins

Because the only thing keeping many long time players like myself in the market is the hope that core gaming will finally grow up and evolve into something far more accessible, meaningful and culturally relevant. Which is why at this point, it's more important for the games to evolve than the hardware. Will I buy a PS 4 or Xbox 3 if they offer the same narrow library of hardcore centric action - shooter games? No, that ship sailed years ago. But will I buy a PS 4 or Xbox 3 if core developers radically expand their definition of what constitutes a game and an adult form of play? Hell yeah! I don't care if the next gen consoles offer completely photo-realistic versions of Gears of War, Call of Duty, Dark Souls, etc... I'm simply not interested in any future games based on that narrow interpretation of what constitutes a game or play.
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I think fewer boundaries pave the way for evolution and creativity, so even you have reason to be excited! :)

While I understand the fatigue you are talking about, I don't share your negative mindset and feel the issues you are describing are not as simple as 'the industry needing to grow up', which I explained in a lengthy post a while back. I don't have much more to say about that, really.

I love video games as much as I do because they are the ultimate fusion of gameplay, technology, art and creativity. Sure, not every game excels on all of my criteria. There are plenty of boring, generic games and only a few excellent ones, but the same goes for anything in life. (And he, not everything can be perfect!) For example, gameplay-wise, Killzone is probably one of those boring, generic ones, but sweet jeebus, did you see that Killzone Shadow Fall demo? Phanta Rei? I wet my pants a little. I'm very excited. Not just about what we saw, but thinking about the possibilities too!

p.s. But how about that Oculus Rift support Sony?! That Killzone demo on a Rift... Oh boy...
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Adam Coate CEO & Founder, Coate Games5 years ago
After watching the Killzone Shadow Fall gameplay footage, it looks pretty cool. But is it really that much more impressive than something on the PS3? It's really hard to justify making 70 million PS3s obsolete just to sell a new piece of hardware. They spent $380 million buying Gaikai so they could do the Playstation Cloud. Why not just make Playstation 4 all software/cloud based so that they don't have to sell a new loss leader piece of hardware and limit their potential software sales? Instead it appears Playstation Cloud will just stream demos and allow backwards compatibility, what a waste. I see the next generation of game consoles being a bust financially. My prediction is the new consoles will sell a maximum of 50% of what the last consoles sold.

My own personal feelings on consoles is what some have said above. I don't care about graphics! Make games that are relevant to 2013, not 1995. I bought into the Xbox 360 back in 2008 and got GTA 4, Fallout 3, and Bioshock. All 3 were disappointing to me, and I actually ended up trading it for a Vectrex of all things. It's sad but 1-2 devs working on no budget can make a more compelling experience (Anti-chamber, Anodyne, Waking Mars, etc) than "AAA" games. By the way, will the next generation be called AAAA?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Coate on 21st February 2013 9:06pm

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David Serrano Freelancer 5 years ago
Laurens Bruins

While there are people in the industry who need to grow up and act their age, that's not what I was referring to lol. I meant in terms of priorities, design mentality and how core developers and publishers view the medium in general.

And the game-play demo for Killzone Shadow Fall is more evidence that on a fundamental level, core developers and publishers cannot acknowledge or accept these are the types of games holding the medium back. You're reaction to the game-play demo was "sweet jeebus" lol, but mine was a facepalm. Because the second it went into first person gun mode I knew it will have nothing to offer to adult players. The graphics may be next gen and it may even have a great narrative, but under the hood it will be another toy specifically designed for teenagers and frat boys. Amazing graphics and a great story will raise my interest in a CG movie, but not in another action - shooter based on an outdated interpretation of what constitutes a game and a form of play.

So if Microsoft and Sony want older players like myself to buy the new consoles, they'll need to force developers to create a library of adult themed games that combine the production values of titles like Shadow Fall with the non-combat gameplay and exploration aspects of MMORPG's and the content creation / modification capabilities of virtual worlds like Second Life. No more guns, combat, boss battles, progression walls, leader boards or developer defined difficulty curves. At least not for the adults in the audience.
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While there are people in the industry who need to grow up and act their age, that's not what I was referring to lol. I meant in terms of priorities, design mentality and how core developers and publishers view the medium in general.
I understand... Since you coined the methaphore yourself ("[...]core gaming will finally grow up") I expected you to understand my use of it. Also, the post I linked to in my comment ("[...]which I explained in a lengthy post a while back.") is from a thread called "Roundtable: Has The Industry Grown Up?". I even used apostrophes.

Anyway, I referred to that post because it adresses the points you make, but since you didn't understand the methaphore and based on your rather condescending tone, I take it you haven't read it.

It's all good though, mate. Don't buy a PS4.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 24th February 2013 12:34am

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Ben Campbell Graphic Designer / Freelance Games Journalist 5 years ago
@Bill Garrison

"A game like Uncharted 2, or the visually spectacular sailing portion of Assassin's Creed 3 could only happen because game consoles exist." wow....I thought I had seen some drivel written in my time, but yeah, this guy obviously can't be serious.

So you're saying all the programming, all the back-end world building, the creation of the Unreal Engine or Havok Physics Engine is all done on consoles and PCs and/or Macs are removed from the process? far you're argument has scored 0 out of 3 buddy, let see how your next argument holds up...

"So, the upcoming hardware may indeed not be as big of a leap as past generations', but frankly the PC environment doesn't lend itself to truly pushing the "artistry" of fidelity if you will."

I think Captain Ignorance has struck down this poor lad's mental faculties. Remind me again: oh yes that's right, the new PS4 is being built on PC ARCHITECTURE because the CELL technology for the PS3 JUST COULDN'T CUT IT.

Remind me again, what programs a lot of the artists [notice I DIDN'T say all] for their concept art? Oh yes: Adobe Photoshop, 3D Max, Blender.

Hmm....that's still 0 out of 3 buddy..

Hard luck better luck next time, though.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ben Campbell on 4th March 2013 11:49am

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