Future of Consoles

General and high profile video game topics.
ptdebate1
Posts: 909
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby ptdebate1 » February 12th, 2015, 9:07 pm

Atarifever,

I think yours is my favorite response so far. In fact, a console-sized living room PC would be a great alternative for those who are disinclined to support the relatively restrictive digital rights practices of console manufacturers. 

I'd like to add, however, that consoles aren't as draconian as you describe--at least not yet. Sony and Microsoft have gotten pretty generous with the way they run their respective online subscriptions, handing out free games and offering solid discounts as a bonus for using their consoles. Competition is always good for the consumer and as long as console gamers exist, the major players in the industry will be chomping at the bit to steal them away from competitiors.

Atarifever1
Posts: 3892
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby Atarifever1 » February 12th, 2015, 10:03 pm

[QUOTE=ptdebate]Atarifever,

I think yours is my favorite response so far. In fact, a console-sized living room PC would be a great alternative for those who are disinclined to support the relatively restrictive digital rights practices of console manufacturers. 

I'd like to add, however, that consoles aren't as draconian as you describe--at least not yet. Sony and Microsoft have gotten pretty generous with the way they run their respective online subscriptions, handing out free games and offering solid discounts as a bonus for using their consoles. Competition is always good for the consumer and as long as console gamers exist, the major players in the industry will be chomping at the bit to steal them away from competitiors.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, the subscription model is pretty decent, especially on Sony machines.  And that is a nice value add on a console, for sure.  But, even with that value added, consoles are still real expensive.  Between decent "free to pay" games, indie sales, steam sales, gog.com sales, Origin "on the House" etc., you can literally buy a full library of PC games for a three month subscriptions to Xbox or PS Plus.  I have about 12 gog.com games, and I have given them a total of $2.50.  I have five or six games on Origin (full games, with no online) and I have never paid them anything at all.  And I have over 40 games on Steam and I have maybe, maybe, spent $35 there.   Then I have a few PC games I downloaded from the developer's for free directly (Ahriman's Prophecy, Stealth Bastard, Slender, etc).  In total, I have about 70 legal, full games on the PC I am typing this on, and I have spent less than $40.  No console can come close to that value per dollar.  Not even close. 

What consoles can give me is that "slip a disc in and play" thing.  It can also give me the whole "go to a store and shop around" thing and the "still have my games on a shelf in 20 years" thing.  Once it stops offering me that, I'm going to be hard pressed to stop playing Avernum 6, Beneath a Steel Sky, or The Binding of Issac long enough to waste money on a limited PC in a different case.   

LoganRuckman1
Posts: 329
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby LoganRuckman1 » February 19th, 2015, 4:18 pm

I agree with you, Jon. As much as I like the big three, I'd like to see another competitor enter the battle with something new to the table, and I don't mean yet another "look, our console let's you pay $100 plus to play games you were already playing on your phone for three years, but with a controller" system. If Nintendo is the fun for all ages company, and Sony and Microsoft are geared towards the "hardcore" gamers, I'd like to see a company try an alternative approach, like maybe appealing to retro gamers or fans of arcade style fun. Or perhaps an indie games console that exclusively features indie games, as much of a niche system that would be. And I think we all wish Sega would debut a new system.

Vexer1
Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby Vexer1 » February 19th, 2015, 9:54 pm


scotland171
Posts: 816
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby scotland171 » February 20th, 2015, 1:34 pm

[QUOTE=LoganRuckman] I'd like to see another competitor enter the battle with something new to the table  [/QUOTE]

How's about a discussion, my friend.  Allow me to chat on your thoughts one by one.

Actually Three seems like a magic number. Its simultaneously enough so that no one company controls enough market share to shape supply, cost, and variety of product (like Nintendo did in the late 80s), and where their fate controls the fate of the console industry (Like Atari did in the early 80s), while not being so diffuse as to be confusing to consumers making a sizeable investment and wanting to have chosen the winner and software manufacturers who want their product to reach a large audience.   Which one of those three to pick is a hard choice, but right now, there are good reasons to choose any of those three.  

[QUOTE=LoganRuckman]  I don't mean yet another "look, our console let's you pay $100 plus to play games you were already playing on your phone for three years, but with a controller" system.   [/QUOTE]

Why not!?  Android is a platform with a low entry barrier for indy game makers, which you like.  There are several books on Amazon that allow a creative person with a gaming idea to maybe turn that into an android game, even if they are not programming guru.  That's a good thing, right?

A $100 console makes it a bargain console to reach another segment of the marketplace, and the games are also cheaper.  Its also cheap enough for gamers who own one of the big three to maybe take a chance on a second or third console.  Controllers are certainly better than touchscreens for many genres, but are not very good on the go, so what's wrong with a controller at home android game system?  As technology improve so that light, thin, air cooled mobile tech can handle all sort of games, there can be a convergence of mobile and nonmobile (sessile?) platforms.  Ouya and its kin and descendents may fail, may fail miserably, but its an evolutionary niche that should be explored and not just dismissed as not being true gaming, or beneath a real gamer or only for flappy bird casuals or whatever.  Maybe its a dead end, maybe its a fad...maybe its not, who knows, but in a healthy marketplace it should be explored.

[QUOTE=LoganRuckman] If Nintendo is the fun for all ages company, and Sony and Microsoft are geared towards the "hardcore" gamers, I'd like to see a company try an alternative approach, like maybe appealing to retro gamers or fans of arcade style fun.   [/QUOTE]

I don't think the consoles can be so easily pigeon holed.  As a parent, I see lots of fun with Lego games or Sky Landers on your hardcore consoles for instance, while still providing fun for the older people in the family...so which console is fun for all ages, again?  

Retro consoles and games are booming.  I've lost count of the number of flashbacks, but they cover the 2600, the Intellivision, the Colecovision, and the Genesis now, plus there are various 'famiclones' legally on sale using NES on a chip designs.  All that competing with the real hardware that still exists, and emulators and USB adapters to let you use the controller of your choice.  There are the Retron products and the FC Mobiles that let you use your old cartridges and play on more modern sets or portable screens.  Plus there are lots of plug and plays that often sport retro style games, like the Star Wars ones sold in big box stores.  Add to that games like Shovel Knight showing that retro stylings are cool, and such games appearing on PC and mobile platforms.  Retro is alive and well and living the good life in Vegas.  

Arcade.  Not sure how that is even defined.  For me, arcade would have a lot to do with the controls.  Arcade Missile Command has a humongous track ball, arcade Hang On the sit on motorcycle, etc.  A PC or console can MAME up the games, but is never the arcade.

[QUOTE=LoganRuckman] Or perhaps an indie games console that exclusively features indie games, as much of a niche system that would be. And I think we all wish Sega would debut a new system. [/QUOTE]

That would be called an Android console, and you said you don't like those.  

I like Sega as much as the next retrogamer (good times), but they had their chance as much as Mattel or Coleco or Magnavox or Philips or 3DO or Milton Bradley or Atari or Fairchild or Bally or NEC or Commodore, ad nauseum.  Yes, Sega still has brand recognition and a library of properties, but they have that as a software company with less risk.

Jon1
Posts: 378
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby Jon1 » February 20th, 2015, 3:49 pm

Scotland, you may say it's three but if feels like one. There is no variety. It's the same old status quo. And to say that there is a platform for indie developers to make games and show their creativity is, in my opinion, a gross overstatement. They don't have multimillion dollar budgets, they're probably on shoestring budgets, and it shows. I've checked out a lot of these 2d games, and it looks like only a couple people worked on it, and leaves a heck of a lot to be desired. There's a huge barrier to entry. And this 2d renaissance is a lie. All there is to show for it is a new Donkey Kong and Mario. I don't care if those are the best games ever made, where are all the other 2d genres? So in essence, we're being told a lie that the only 2d games worthy of a big budget are platformers designed for 5 year olds. Where's the shmup utilizing modern technology, only been waiting 20 years for that? What about a Contra style game? So 2d reemerges just so everyone will have a new Donkey Kong to sink into? That is unbelievably frustrating to me. It's a slap in the face to anyone that loves video games the way they used to be. Why has there never been 2d games with big budgets in those genres I'm talking about. Are they scared to find out that's what people would have rather been playing all these years instead of the overrated crap we've been given? I'm so unbelievably upset about this, it's a freaking travesty. To think that a system like the Jaguar is a punch line to many when it could have shown what people really wanted, and that instead Sony became a force in the industry just because the PS1 was easy to program for, is a disgrace.

Tron1
Posts: 401
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby Tron1 » February 20th, 2015, 7:45 pm

Tell it how it is Jon. The state the industry is in sucks.

HardcoreSadism1
Posts: 526
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby HardcoreSadism1 » February 20th, 2015, 8:05 pm

[QUOTE=Jon]To think that a system like the Jaguar is a punch line to many when it could have shown what people really wanted.[/QUOTE]

Well, much like the Jaguar's software, games today are either poorly optimized or stuck in Beta. [tongue]

User avatar
VideoGameCritic
Site Admin
Posts: 11797
Joined: April 1st, 2015, 7:23 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 20th, 2015, 8:34 pm

The gaming industry has worked itself into a corner.  Physical media has become dedicated to the epic first-person-shooters/cinematic adventure titles that are all starting to look the same. This past holiday season there seemed to be very little excitement or anticipation about the biggest titles.  In addition, since these games have become more integrated with the Internet, the quality has dropped substantially.

Then we have the small, mostly 2D games that have been delegated to download status - the ghetto of the industry.  The quality ranges dramatically and a lot of game are saddled with the free-to-play or micro-transaction model.  Most free games aren't even worth your time and some are just scams.  People are growing sour to this model too.

What's missing is a middle ground, which I think is what Jon is talking about.  When my friends come over to play they lunge for the 8/16-bit games instead of the latest stuff, because that's where the gameplay is.  And these guys tend to be a lot younger than me.

If the old style of games (think Contra, Streets of Rage, Gradius) were made using the latest technology they would probably be both fun and spectacular.   Sell them on a disc so the customer has control of the game, and don't force them to go online just to save their high scores.  If the production costs can't justify a $60 price tag, fine, sell it for $20 or $40.

Unfortunately, I don't think the people running these companies are actual gamers, and they have lost sight of what makes video games appealing.  It's not movie-quality cinematics, gimmicks, or social-media-enabled crap.

scotland171
Posts: 816
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Future of Consoles

Postby scotland171 » February 20th, 2015, 10:30 pm

[QUOTE=Jon]Scotland, you may say it's three but if feels like one. There is no variety. [/QUOTE]

Thanks for the nice discussion, and I understand you, and Logan and the rest.   Since the Dreamcast, the industry has settled in, and over time, the distinction with PC gaming has lessened.   I understand the love of what we had in the past - there are days when I'd rather R-Type on my TG-16 out of an RF cable to a CRT than anything else.   

I don't know if the industry has worked itself into a corner, or we have.  Video games are not a niche market, and now follow larger trends.   Zombies are popular.  If you like zombies - bet you can find tv, movies, and video games to suit your taste.  If you like, killer bees though...well, your tastes are out of fashion.  Not bad mind you.  Its not a judgement, just a fashion statement.  If you liked Westerns in the 50s, great...if you like Westerns today...not so great.   If you like 2D schmups in the 16 bit era, great.  If you like them now..well your gaming tastes are not bad (I like them too) they are just not fashionable.  

The current fashion is not just a couple of genres, but toward immersion.  Here is a beautiful world, inhabit it, whether that world is a football stadium, a futuristic battlefield, an urban jungle, a magical fantasy realm, whatever.  Immersion by those standards are complicated and huge, and it is going to cost you.

What we had in the past was not immersion but something else.  How do you describe it when you are in the zone on a schmup?  When you have to try for the Nth time to get that wall clinging jump just right in Batman?  You never thought you were really Mario right?  There was no immersion, we just played.  Play is fun.  This change has not been recent either.  While we have had compilation disks of old games for generations, its been brewing since the Dreamcast went away or so.

I understand the frustration, but one thing to do is to support what you like as you see it.  If there is a decent game on mobile, get it.  How will there ever be more if it doesn't sell well.  We support homebrew games, often made by a single person, why not a small group making a mobile game?

And there is hope.  Look at TV.  Once there were just a few big broadcasters.  Then smaller channels (UHF for the older folks) with either cheap shows or whatever old material they could license.  Sound familiar?  Over time, we got what we have now with tremendous diversity.  New cable channels often started off pretty poor - remember Nickelodeon when it began? Like the guy who was turned into a newt, it got better. There are still fashions on tv (Reality shows and crime procedurals anyone), but also shows that were not fashionable until a good one was made and it became the fashion.

Of course, somethings go out of fashion and probably will never come back.   Bogart looked great in a fedora, but I don't see fedoras as a top Christmas gift anytime soon.

So, either learn to enjoy what you can with whats currently fashionable (some zombie tv is good), or be like Clint Eastwood in a 1970s movie and say 'hell of a price to pay for being stylish' and rejoice in being a maverick.  If you do go the maverick route though, consider encouraging what you do like wherever you find it, even if it seems like a half baked game designed by three liberal arts majors and a talking mule.  How else are better capitalized games that you like going to be made if the lower risk toes the water don't find some measure of success.
 





Return to “Video Games General”