Has The Longest Console Generation Damaged Gaming?

OccupyWackbag

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#1
Ubisoft chief points out cost of waiting so long for new hardware.


Have Microsoft and Sony spent the last few years damaging gaming through their own timidity and negligence?
Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot has been telling his partners in the hardware business to get their fingers out and launch some goddamn hardware already. Obviously, Guillemot is a polite, urbane fellow and so, when he speaks through his contacts in the media, he uses polished and refined language. But under the surface his frustration is palpable.

This week he told Polygon, “We need new consoles. At the end of the cycle generally the market goes down because there are less new IPs, new properties, so that damaged the industry a little bit. I hope next time they will come more often."


Yves Guillemot

Sony and Microsoft will eventually be bringing new consoles to market, most likely in 2013, but no amount of complaining from third-party publishers will hurry them to market. (See IGN's comprehensive wikis for the rumored new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.)

The question remains, has the damage already been done?

This console-cycle has been the longest in history. Xbox 360 was launched in 2005, a time so far back that George W. Bush still had three years left in the White House. A person coming to adulthood now, was just 11-years-old when that console launched.

Nintendo has launched two consoles since then, Wii in 2006 and Wii U in 2012. So yes, 2005 feels like a very, very long time ago.

It’s not that the games we are playing now are particularly tired. It could be argued that this long, uninterrupted generation has allowed developers to get the most out of the available technology, and to focus on improving their abilities in areas like storytelling and character, skills which in previous years they lacked. New hardware is exciting but it takes time for developers to master the tech.

Although games are being refined in these areas, they are still, ultimately, working with technology that is almost a decade old. This, in a medium that stretches back only four decades to its Paleozoic beginnings of Pong.

The fact that third-parties are unhappy is the real clue. They are seeing boxed games sales falling dramatically. Although this is a result of the rise in digital downloads as well as mobile and social gaming’s spread, they clearly believe that the lack of excitement generated by new hardware is also a factor.

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New IP is being introduced, but only slowly. EA has come right out and stated that it sees no good reason to introduce its best ideas until some new hardware emerges.

This year has not been a stand-out for ‘AAA’ new IP with Dishonored the major success-story as well as the critically acclaimed Sleeping Dogs. (I investigated new IP through the current generation in this feature last month). It’s interesting that some of the most interesting new console IP coming out in 2013 is being published by a first-party - The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls come to mind.

So traditional hardcore gaming has now become dominated by franchises that could be passing through their creative and commercial high-point, ready to be challenged by new ideas. We can only hope that this is the case. Could there be a more depressing scenario in gaming, than one in which games companies have no more ambition than to rehash their current franchises for new technology?


Seven years ago.

It is often forgotten that Sony and Microsoft’s reluctance to launch new hardware is a function of their own financial struggles. Sony is in a dire situation right now, only last week its credit rating was downgraded to junk status. (You don’t need to be a Wall Street Whizz to understand that this is bad news.)

Microsoft has more cash to play with, but troubles aplenty of its own. Forbes is running an article today on whether or not “Microsoft is on the verge of collapse”. It’s an extreme view, prompted by the ho-hum reception to Windows 8 and the rise of cloud computing, rather than anything specific to gaming, but still, it’s cause for concern.

Sony and Microsoft have definitely been guilty of milking the current generation as far as it can. Price cuts have not been aggressive enough as both companies have sought to grow their share of the motion-control and casual markets through 'value-added' pack-ins. And both companies have been extremely aggressive and impressive in developing their digital download offerings, none of which especially helps third parties who still rely on the boxed games market. The hardware companies, perhaps understandably, want to cash in on large user-bases that were acquired at great expense and effort.
Gaming would have benefited from hardware launched earlier.

Undoubtedly, AAA gaming and therefore gaming as a whole would have benefited from hardware launched either this year or even last year. Therefore, the hardware companies’ tardiness has been a hindrance to growth. But taken in the context of the first parties’ own problems, it's understandable that we are still waiting. Let’s hope that we are not required to wait much longer.

As Guillemot says, "Transitions are the best times, are the best ways, to make all of our creators take more risks and do different things. When a console is out for a long time ... you don't take as much risks on totally new IPs because even if they are good, they don't sell as well."
http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/11/27/has-the-longest-console-generation-damaged-gaming
 

GrammatonCleric

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#2
Have the game devs truly tapped the full potential of the current gen systems though? Games like Halo 4 and Forza look absolutely beautiful (in house projects/exclusives) whereas some other games look and/or play like shit. Are these companies just too lazy to VERY efficiently code or are they actually at their limit and need new hardware to showcase what they can really do?

I don't know if I'd so readily lay blame on the hardware just yet.
 

Yesterdays Hero

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#3
I think sony/Microsoft are doing it right. Why bother? Current games look really good (I.e. gta5). So push next genough because....?
 
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#4
This seems like bullshit, make good games and people will buy and play them. After seeing how the sales go on Steam I have found my new gaming platform in PC. Particularly when you get the games on there "finished" with most of the DLC for 75% off, I think I can wait for titles now.
 

Neon

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#5
Way before piracy became a big problem for PC gaming, the hardware was a huge issue. My entire childhood was spent trying to catch up to PC hardware so I could play the latest games, and even THEN it wasn't enough sometimes. Fuck that, I think what consoles are doing is very positive. Get everyone on the same set of hardware, milk the shit out of it for several years, and then roll out new hardware for everyone.
 

BIV

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#6
Way before piracy became a big problem for PC gaming, the hardware was a huge issue. My entire childhood was spent trying to catch up to PC hardware so I could play the latest games, and even THEN it wasn't enough sometimes. Fuck that, I think what consoles are doing is very positive. Get everyone on the same set of hardware, milk the shit out of it for several years, and then roll out new hardware for everyone.
Exactly. PC gaming is for the birds. No dealing with the lag from people who don't/can't upgrade or being the lagger (dirty laggers) because I can't afford a PC Ferrari.

I'm not feeling the desire for a new console like the last generation. I think people are feeling that the jump between generations this time isn't going to be near the leap we saw in previous generations.
 

Yesterdays Hero

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#7
Going to let my current pc rust away without upgrades. Sick as fuck of staying on top of it so my shit runs at 60fps. I'll happily stay with consoles, even if that means no rts/mmo games.
 

Mags

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Exactly. PC gaming is for the birds. No dealing with the lag from people who don't/can't upgrade or being the lagger (dirty laggers) because I can't afford a PC Ferrari.
.
Lag comes from network issues, not from kiddies with old hardware.
 

fletcher

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#9
To be fair PC gaming has gotten way easier to handle these days. Cheaper components are running better, the parts themselves are easier to acquire, and the software is easier to run on lower settings/low end machines. Sure, you arent going to be flying around at 60fps and all settings maxed out but at least you can play the damn game. Now Ill be over here remembering my shitty HP Pavilion not being able to run Everquest: Shadows of Luclin and rubbing salt in my memory wounds.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#10
To be fair PC gaming has gotten way easier to handle these days. Cheaper components are running better, the parts themselves are easier to acquire, and the software is easier to run on lower settings/low end machines. Sure, you arent going to be flying around at 60fps and all settings maxed out but at least you can play the damn game. Now Ill be over here remembering my shitty HP Pavilion not being able to run Everquest: Shadows of Luclin and rubbing salt in my memory wounds.
100% right. I've had the same rig 3 or 4 years now and only had to update one part (the video card) in all that time.

Its not the old days anymore where you needed to be a super nerd to program a bios and shit. Its dam near plug and play with a little tweeking which can be seen how to do on youtube.


Also the steam sales rule. I picked up like 7 games, makes pirating seem not worth it when stuff goes so cheap.
 

GrammatonCleric

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Exactly. PC gaming is for the birds. No dealing with the lag from people who don't/can't upgrade or being the lagger (dirty laggers) because I can't afford a PC Ferrari.
Lag has nothing to do with specs. It's all network related and how the studios decide to handle things (dedicated server vs. p2p).
 

Mags

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#12
Kiddies will always try to justify their konsoles.

BF3 on Konsole: 32 players

BF3 on PC: 64 players. Better graphics as well.
 

Yesterdays Hero

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#13
Kiddies will always try to justify their konsoles.

BF3 on Konsole: 32 players

BF3 on PC: 64 players. Better graphics as well.
Yet certain games are developed for consoles before PC (gta5/dead space 3) with a 'we'll see' from dev's in terms of porting them over.

In a perfect world, I'd happily go both. I adore PC gaming and some of my fondest gaming memories are with my PC.

Sadly, what with 'responsibilities', it's going to be evident very soon that I can't have both. What's more, I won't be able to plunk down $500.00ish for a new card, and an upgraded mobo/proc to accommodate. While I'm at it, I'll need more than my 650W Power Supply. My sound card is more than 4 years old, so that'll need to get an upgrade. Might as well get some new Ram also. In order to run my shit at 60fps with no lag, and max settings (I'm ocd like that. has to be maxed. I'm well aware it's unnecessary) I'm staring down the throat of a good 1200 bone. Consoles seem awfully attractive when it's currently a good 5 year minimum between new ones.
 

fletcher

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#14
Yet certain games are developed for consoles before PC (gta5/dead space 3) with a 'we'll see' from dev's in terms of porting them over.
I hate this argument. I cant play Mario Kart on my PC or Xbox either, sometimes there is going to be system exclusives and just because you cant play a modded to all hell version of GTA4 the same day it is released for consoles means fuck all to me. Just the way it goes.
 

OccupyWackbag

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#15
Kiddies will always try to justify their konsoles.

BF3 on Konsole: 32 players

BF3 on PC: 64 players. Better graphics as well.
The irony of you calling people "kiddies" in this post is off the charts.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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I hate this argument. I cant play Mario Kart on my PC or Xbox either, sometimes there is going to be system exclusives and just because you cant play a modded to all hell version of GTA4 the same day it is released for consoles means fuck all to me. Just the way it goes.
I always have my gaming PC and then either one or two consoles based on exclusives and a need for a mediaplayer/dvd player.

I love uncharted, its one of the best games I played in the last 5 years but I can't afford to own a playstation for one game.
 

whiskeyguy

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#18
I definitely prefer consoles. They run better on TVs that most computers, they're more portable, everything always works out of the box (accessories/games), etc.

I hate this argument. I cant play Mario Kart on my PC or Xbox either, sometimes there is going to be system exclusives and just because you cant play a modded to all hell version of GTA4 the same day it is released for consoles means fuck all to me. Just the way it goes.
Got an Xbox OG in a closet somewhere? Spend about $20 and some time and you have Mario Kart on it.
 

fletcher

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I definitely prefer consoles. They run better on TVs that most computers, they're more portable, everything always works out of the box (accessories/games), etc.
Well, they used to work right out of the box. Have you heard about the 5GB update that came along with the Wii U? My PS3 has to update all the time but thats mostly because I dont use it very often these days.
 

whiskeyguy

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Well, they used to work right out of the box. Have you heard about the 5GB update that came along with the Wii U? My PS3 has to update all the time but thats mostly because I dont use it very often these days.
Yeah, that's a good point... and that would really fucking annoy me because I have a 5 GB monthly cap on my internet (one of the downfalls of living in the sticks).

I've never had a problem with the Xbox 360, and when I buy a controller, headset, or game I know it will work (at least from a compatibility standpoint). My biggest problem with them is they can't read large external hard drives.
 

transit grinder

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#21
I love my consoles and don't think them being around for longer than other generations has hurt anything. I've never had a gaming PC (well, not for many years now) but I can recognize it would be nice to have one. The only thing I fucking hate are the elitists that play the "PC master race" card. I see a few (edit: well, one) of them had to stop by this thread to look down on console owners. It's their second favorite hobby behind painting their keyboards with their cum. It's like they're unable to enjoy their gaming PC unless they're trying to make other people jealous of their rig. Like a guy with a hot girlfriend constantly talking to you about how perfect his on-call slit it.
 

Wrecktum

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#22
I never use my ps3 besides to watch Netflix since I don't have cable.

Sent from my LGL75C using Tapatalk 2
 

Sunsetspawn

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#23
Have the game devs truly tapped the full potential of the current gen systems though? Games like Halo 4 and Forza look absolutely beautiful (in house projects/exclusives) whereas some other games look and/or play like shit. Are these companies just too lazy to VERY efficiently code or are they actually at their limit and need new hardware to showcase what they can really do?

I don't know if I'd so readily lay blame on the hardware just yet.
Hmmm...

I think the hardware is being used as an escaped goat. Everybody wants to maximize profits, and at this point I see better hardware as being potentially detrimental to maximizing software profits.

First and foremost, with new hardware comes a much smaller consumer base for the games, so if you're making the next blockbuster you're probably going to make it for the old hardware and maybe throw some glossy paint on a port for the new hardware. Activision breaks records every year with Call of Duty, so what's their motivation to make a game which is only going to sell a few hundred thousand copies?

Not only would it be unprofitable to make these current console games with a greatly reduced consumer base, but now you're dealing with newer, more advanced hardware that may require larger dev teams.

Also, none of these publishers are interested in better hardware and the innovative game design that such technology can bring about. Publishers just want to figure out what makes people buy Call of Duty every year so they can duplicate that success, and it's abundantly clear that such success can exist on ten year old consoles.
 

Wrecktum

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#25
New hardware means new bugs for devs to figure out. Lest we not forget things like red rings of death. If they want to maximize profit bring farmville to the masses. Most pc games are going free to play with micro transactions also. Why not so the same with console games.

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