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Current Console Transition Far Worse Than Previous 87

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it dept.
A report released yesterday indicates that this console transition is far worse than previous hardware iterations. From the Gamasutra article: "This console transition, he said, is 'far worse' than that seen from the years 1999 through 2001. Additionally, Lowell points fingers at the increased popularity of online games, a general lack of creativity in game development, and 'no Halo or Grand Theft Auto-type blowout titles launched in 2005,' echoing the sentiments of many other analysts." Next Generation has an analysis of what makes this transition so bad. (this last piece is satire)
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Current Console Transition Far Worse Than Previous

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:17AM (#14834676)
    That's why I'm praying that the revolution can live up to the hype. If the interface works well enough and developers can find new and interesting things to do with it, lot's of games could finally start to go somewhere original. As far as I can tell the PS3 and the Xbox360 are just more polygons and resolution bolted on.
  • by UES (655257) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:55AM (#14835006)
    For Nintendo.

    I see a lot of interest in the DS and DS Lite. I see record sales in Japan (SOLD OUT- something that almost never happens) and increasing sales in the USA and Europe.

    It's a handheld? So what?

    When a market is really changing, the old models don't work so well any more. Sony and Microsoft are utterly convinced that convergence will happen in your living room. That's because they sell things that go in a living room- Televisions, Stereos, Home Computer OSes, etc. Sony's fantasy is that you will pay them an enormous sum of money and subscription fees to install very complicated equipment so you can spend a lot of time at home. Microsoft thinks you are willing to spend $400+ on a console to play the $5 Geometry Wars (perfectly playable on Game Boy) or Paperboy.

    Apple and Nintendo both understand that convergence is happening IN YOUR POCKET.
    iPod, Cellphone Television, Handheld consoles. What do these all have in common?

    A home theater experience is very nice, but a device that shows movies, plays music and games, and allows phone calls is totally convergent, and cheap by comparison, which allows a much larger market. Simpler games also allow market expansion by appealing to nontraditional gamers (Women and Seniors, mostly).

    Sony has delays on PS3 because they are feverishly working to make it the all-in-one living room box. Does anyone actually WANT an all-in-one? Also notice that the PSP section of your local store has 2x the movies as games. PSP is a very expensive portable DVD player that plays some games.

    I would love to know what the U.S. XBox360 sales would look like if they could actually produce some of the things. "Sold Out" is meaningless when you can only allocate a dozen units per store. For months at a time. It's March, where the hell are the things already?

    In Japan, where XBox360 stock is plentiful, games are important, and home theater convergence is desired to to lack of space, no one is buying them. But there are lines around the block for the DS.

    If your model of transition is upgrading consumers from FooBox 2 to FooBox 3 (with slightly better graphics and a modem at double the price), the transition has been a failure.

    If your model of transition is selling more units to more customers no matter what new product you offer (from FooBox to PortaFoo), this is one of the best transitions ever...for Nintendo.

  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:07PM (#14835116)
    Can we please stop bickering about the lack of originality like it's something new? Who remembers the arcade space shooter? Who remembers the coutless Double Dragon clones? What about the 2D platformer? Who remembers 1-on-1 fighting games flooding the market? There are several genres of gaming right now that are getting spread thin. They will die out when consumer support for them fades. Then we'll finally get to a bunch of new types of games come in and try to win the honor of being cloned to death. We are in a phase of utter lack of originality but it will pass and we will get a brief span of original games coming out. Just make sure to enjoy the next wave of originals while it lasts.
  • Re:A Joke (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tukkayoot (528280) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:46PM (#14835472) Homepage
    different man and different company

    Also, completely different concept.

    Spore isn't exciting to me just because it looks like it'll be a really cool game. It's exciting because the ideas behind it could infuse some new life into the industry as a whole. The idea of giving players very simple, intuitive tools with which to create content, to actual make that content creation part of the game itself (as opposed to something you do externally with modding software) is promising.

    Also, nice as the quasi-online element of Spore sounds to be, I long to see how this concept might be applied to more traditional online games, such as MMOs. With just a bit of extension, I could see the technologies being created/exploited in Spore applied to an online version of Starflight [the-underdogs.org] or The Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net], but with even larger slices of the galaxy and more detailed planet surfaces, life forms, etc. and alien ships that you encounter are not pre-scripted encounters with NPCs (or at least, not all of them) but interactions with other players. Or your more traditional fantasy MMORPG, where instead of fighting the same re-textured orcs and rats for six months, each new area you explore features completely new monsters.

    Best of all if they could combine these technologies (easy to use tools for developers and/or players to create stuff, procedural generation to breathe life into these creations and to populate vast landscapes very quickly), with other features and technologies that have been growing in popularity and maturity over the past couple years, such as realistic physics [havok.com], destructible environments and more robust AI [wikipedia.org]. This could open the door for a persistent world that is truly mutable, where players are free to create, destroy and explore an almost unimaginably vast world. It could be the ultimate sandbox experience that could combine aspects of various beloved genres as well (FPS, RPG, whatever).

    If Spore itself doesn't qualify as something awesomely different from everything that has come before, then at least it could be a big step towards a game or games that do qualify as such.

  • by shawb (16347) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @01:13PM (#14835747)
    Taking a look at the past console transitions [wikipedia.org] you see that, of consoles released in the U.S. for the last two transitions the early bird gets squashed. In fact, it appears that any console released significantly before the rest of the generation spelled death for the console.

    Current Gen: Dreamcast released a full year before most competitors, over half a year before PS2. Status: Sega no longer making consoles
    64 bit era: Atari Jaguar released over a year before ANY other console, a full TWO years before N64. Status: Atari has not made a console since then.
    16/32 bit era: Genesis released insignificantly ahead of Turbografx 16. Status: Turbografx dead, Genesis did survive.
    8 bit era: Colecovision released over a year before any competition. Status: Colecowhat?
    The generation before that, we have the Atari 2600 which was released significantly (about a half year) before the other consoles, and had pretty much the longest stretch of any console (even beating out the Atari 5200, which I assume was an improvement somehow. This is the only example I see of this happening

    My guess? The first console of a given generation is rushed out the door, not given that killer must have feature. Meanwhile the other console makers are working either in house or with game developers to have that killer app (game) avaiable on or near release. They are also making sure that the new console is indeed enough of an improvement over the previous gen to justify the price.

    The 360? Plagued with design problems (the giant brick of a power supply that overheats if not put on the perfect surface being the best known) HUGE supply problems, many people who preordered STILL do not have their 360. Just read the comments of a supplier [eastluna.com] to see how bad it is. New Games? Well, the closest thing I can see is to an interesting non-sequel is GUN: yet another FPS, this time in the old west. And you get to ride a horse. There's Kameo, elements of power, and I see that is already for sale in the used bin at video game stores. King Kong? Yet another movie franchise tie-in. Full Auto, another combat racing game. Condemned: Gosh, it's dark in here! Then there's supposedly the killer app: Halo 2. You can get... umm... the t-shirt if you want. You actually want the video game? It's gonna be a bit. Toss in a couple sequels and a few online only games. So, about 4 or 5 original games, most of which are of pretty dubious quality. Sequels. Sequels. Did I say sequels? And a few games which are nowhere near release... I know I'm not going to throw down a minimum of $600.00 on it. (Yeah, places LIST it for less, but those places simply don't have it. And those prices don't include the accessories needed to actually make the whole thing fun.) Ohh... but it plays movies off my computer!!! For that price, I could just go get a Mac Mini. What's that you say? The Mini doesn't include a monitor? Neither does the 360.

    So yes, I think the 360 is a waste of money. But if you look at previous generations every console released without competition on the first christmas sales season tanked, except for the Atari 2600. And that was over 25 years ago, the market is surely changed. I predict that Microsoft does have deep enough pockets to keep the 360 going for a little longer than previous early adopter consoles, but will not be able to compete long term with Sony and Nintendo. Sony because their pockets are just as deep as microsoft, and they actually have experience designing consumer electronics and producing entertainment media (although not necesarilly video games, but that's not necessary to become a succesful console if you can get others to do it for you.) And Nintendo will plug along exploiting the niche of people who actually like to play FUN games rather than watch some eye candy. Even though many of Nintendo's titles SEEM to be rehashes of old games, it's

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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