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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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  • A Joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:55AM (#14834509) Journal
    This article is a joke.

    It blames the Germans.

    It blames companies (Nintendo) and consoles (the PSP).

    It lists developers at number five.

    Can't we just admit that there's been a severe lack of imagination in video game design recently? We have no one to blame but the people who envision the games--and even then, we can't really blame them for not coming up with the latest and greatest concept.

    Maybe we should be encouraging developers to think outside the box and have them attend liberal arts colleges instead of 2 year technical colleges where they only learn how to make clones out of already existing games?
    • Re:A Joke (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Henry V .009 (518000)
      How about discovering themselves in Europe for a year? Or just reading a good book every once in a while. That'll do far more good than anything as worthless as a liberal arts college.
      • Or just reading a good book every once in a while. That'll do far more good than anything as worthless as a liberal arts college.

        A good liberal arts college will actually make you read a lot of really good books, and also discuss them in-depth.

        Games are approaching works of art, but face it, it's only pop culture art. I'm hoping one day we might se a game that not only entertains but actually changes the world.

      • How about discovering themselves in Europe for a year? Or just reading a good book every once in a while. That'll do far more good than anything as worthless as a liberal arts college.

        ...as somebody who has done all three, I feel that my liberal arts education laid the foundation which made me understand and appreciate the other two far more than I otherwise would have.

        Had I not spent the time and energy learning new ways to comprehend the world I live in, I wouldn't have appreciated my time abroad near

    • Re:A Joke (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't blame the Germans. I blame David Hasslehoff. Germans spend too much time listening to David Hasslehoff.
    • Can't we just admit that there's been a severe lack of imagination in video game design recently?

      It appears you've been heard [google.com]. Help is on the way in Q4 '06.
      • Yeah, because Black and White was so good the first time.
      • Thanks for the link, that looks amazing.
    • And that would be fine except for the fact that it is NOT the developers having mental farts... it is the publishers who won't give any game that is not "safe" a green light. All the big money dictates what see's the light of day, and right now if it doesn't involve some bullshit gangsta simulator, racing on "dubs", Madden 2k23, or FPS clone #87 it ain't getting published.

      The whole industry is fucked up chasing the money right now, and most companies have lost all perspective. That's why I'm hoping beyond a
    • By and large nowadays the actual programmers aren't making the majority of the big design decisions on any given game. That job belongs to the Lead Designer. Game develpment teams are big enough that the stereotype of 6 coders banging out a game is outdated. It's 6-12 programmers, 6-18 artists/content (including sound, layout, etc), 1-3 designers, and however many testers can be squeezed into the remaining budget.

      I've met some Designers who used to be programmers, but the majority weren't. ex-management
    • Re:A Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stonecypher (118140) <`stonecypher' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:22PM (#14835828) Homepage Journal
      Can't we just admit that there's been a severe lack of imagination in video game design recently?

      No. Because there hasn't been. If you go digging through shareware, through PopCap or MiniClip, on sourceforge, et cetera, you'll find quite a bit of novelty. The problem is disasterously risk-averse publishers built on a long-term untenable business model. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with design. A game costs $6-10 million to bring to market at the low end on TV-bound consoles. People don't take risks on DynoBright, Tower of Goo or Pontifex to the tune of $6-10 million. Instead, they release James Bond 27: No Franchise Lives Forever, because it's gonna profit whether or not it's actually a good game.

      Bad for games? Yes. Good for business? Yes.

      All those people who say things like "businesses are absurd" or "businesses are ignorant" are honestly pretty damned self involved. If people really could just have a great new idea and bring it to market, this business model would be in the process of collapsing right now. I can think of exactly one game which was bootstrapped that way recently: Roller Coaster Tycoon. Chris is the only guy I know who pulled it off lately, and I'm in the industry. Before that, it was Black and White, except Peter was working on money he had left over from previous successful games like Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Magic Carpet and so on, plus industry contacts and whatever.

      You think it's a lack of creativity? Great, bring me the next big game. Hell, if it's good, I'll even write it for you and get it published for you, and give you a cut.

      Until that day comes, and until you've been through the process of trying to convince a publisher that such and such an idea is a great idea that would sell, then you're really not qualified to comment on what the problem actually is.
  • by VanillaBabies (829417) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @10:00AM (#14834542)
    It has been said probably a thousand times around why the transition isn't going well, and lack of a must-have title is just part of it. Over the years i've owned probably half a dozen consoles, From the NES to a PS2 and a bunch of stuff in the middle. In that time i've played dozens if not hundreds of games. And while Marios, Final Fantasies, and all the rest of the bunch are fun, how many times can i buy something with the same basic formula doing the same basic things. Its been 20 years, give me something new already, because i'm not paying $400 for a new XBox360 to play the same tired genres. I've shot enough people and jumped over enough stuff, that i want something new, and the developers are refusing to give it to me. So i won't give them my money. End of story. There is a reason the video game industry took a dive once before. Too much crap that no one wanted. Looks like some people never learn.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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.
    • Even then you may be disappointed. The truth is that like everything else you reach a point where it is good enough. Improvement in graphics will be relatively minor. Games cost a lot to produce now so no one will want to risk anything too off the wall. And hard core gamers are pushing for games that are too complex. I find most games on the X-Box, PC, and PS2 to just not be that much fun. I don't have hours and hours to dedicate to learning how to play some game. Combine that with the cost of the new conso
      • Improvement in graphics will be relatively minor.

        People have been saying that for as long as I can remember. There was a time when it was possible to describe Doom as "realistic" with a straight face. But even last year's games look artificial. Even Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 are starting to look dated. Trust me... there's plenty of scope for improvement.

        Games cost a lot to produce now so no one will want to risk anything too off the wall.

        A-list games have cost a lot to produce ever since people found out t
        • "You seriously think games are getting MORE complex? You should go back and replay some of the stuff from the 80s and 90s. Try something like Falcon 4.0, where you literally had to read a brick-like manual just to figure out how to get your plane to take off. Or the Police Quest series, where you had to follow real-life police procedures down to the last form. Or classic text adventures, where you had to wrestle with defective natural-language parsers and draw up your own multi-page maps of worlds that only
    • Perhaps people are learning from the past. I remember back in the day, I bought a Nintendo 64 the week it was released, what a mistake, there was very little to play on it. Maybe people remember paying an outrageous fortune and having little to play except Mario and Zelda (yes I am sure there are other titles soome might choose as well) and then I got to see the price drop for the console and then the games,(same principle applies to other consoles)all so I could play it first. Maybe playing it first isn't
    • Don't give up just yet... there are good things coming. Sure a load of tripe as well (cough cough EA's Black cough) but it just says you might have to search a little to find the goodness.

      Start here:
      http://media.cube.ign.com/articles/651/651334/vid_ 1260570.html [ign.com]
      Could be fun and they're not even showing any game graphics.

      The big N is not the only one, try this:
      http://media.ps3.ign.com/media/748/748484/vid_1196 815.html [ign.com]
      Though, we'll see if they deliver.

      And from MS, well there is always Live! where you can voi
    • by shawb (16347)
      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
      • Your explaination of the first console of a generation failing is flawed. The Dreamcast failed more due to third-party developer refusing to commit to the system because of all the screwups with the Saturn, 32X, and Sega CD. Atari Jaguar was released at an incrediably expensive price point.
      • 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.


        [Historical nit-pick mode on]
        1. The TG-16 was a
        • Yeah, I realize it's a cheesy analysis based on a graph off wikipedia. I think it's just more predictive than anything. Honestly, I wasn't trying to say that any first console would lose, I was more trying to comment that a failure of the first console released in a generation does not mean the whole generation is doomed to failure. I probably just got carried away. But you must admit, it's an entertaining (although very flawed, I know) concept if you are at all intrigued by the industry. And about as
  • Quite simply put the visual leap from say the N64 to the Gamecube, or the PS1 to the PS2, was much, much greater than the visual leap we are seeing from the original XBOX to the 360. While us techies might be able to see a big difference, many people can't. It doesn't help that nearly every 360 title thus far was either a port, was originally developed for a "lesser" console, or the same title (or a similar one) is also available on current gen consoles where they don't really look that much worse.

    More powe
    • No no no no no. You're wrong. All of you, all wrong. All y'all of you, all all wrong! Part of the problem always has been that when a next-gen console comes out, it takes years for the game developers to catch on to the capabilities of the new system. Especially, now with three players in the console market, whereas last time there were only two, it seems like there was an absolute rush on getting that damned 360 out. Some of the games are already on the XBox a/o PS2 themselves, and the rest are sort
  • I think that if things don't turn around this year with the new console launches, we may be looking at another video game industry-wide crash.

    I think this would be just fine, because it would force companies to be innovative with their titles. I think Nintendo is headed in the right direction with the Revolution, because they know we're *ALL* tired of playing the same old games over and over again.

    • As long as a crash doesn't result in EA buying out every other developer in the world. (Or even half of them)
      • I would like to think that if that were to happen, I would discontinue purchasing new games. I already have a loathing for EA games and their business practices, etc, but also don't care for any of their sports games franchises or the way they milk the masses "upgrading" from Madden '05 to Madden '06 every year.

        It's deplorable, that's not what this industry should be about. Rather than making the same game as last year with upgraded visuals, why not make something that's actually fun, new, and exciting t

  • Only one console it out yet, it's only been out for three months, and the other two aren't due to be out for several months more, most likely not even until Christmas 2006. How can they prejudge the "next-gen" launch based on the early results from ONE console? That should tell you right there that the article is a bunch of bullshit anyway. No one knows what killer games will be available for the PS3 or Revolution release. Did anyone anticipate GTA3 for the PS2 a year in advance of the console's release? Di
  • Analyse this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nologin (256407) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @10:53AM (#14835000) Homepage
    From the Gamasutra article...

    ... due to a lack of installed users for the impending next generation of consoles.

    Does it really take an analyst to realize that "impending" means that the next generation of consoles isn't out yet. Of course there won't be a base of users installed with the next generation of gear...

    Maybe these analysts should wait for the PS3 and the Revolution to come out before they make these reports.

  • by UES (655257) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @10:55AM (#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.

    • My view has been that a big part of why this transition is hitting publishers so hard is because these new home consoles are so damn expensive. A proper 360 is $400, while rumors abound that the PS3 could be $500 or more. So new adopters and prospective buyers alike are saving their nickels and dimes to buy these big expensive boxes. Which means many hardcore gamers are not spending money on software.

      I see a lot of interest in the DS and DS Lite.

      People looking at the DS, however, find they still have a few
    • What you're talking about are two seperate markets. There certainly is a demand for home-theater style gaming, but there also is a demand for more portable entertainment as well.

      I'm sorry, but there definitely appears to be a Microsoft bias in Japan -- the primary reason the units sell so poorly there. It also doensn't help that the 360 doesn't have a killer app yet. The popularity of the Nintendo DS in Japan can be traced to the popularity of portable gaming in general in Japan. Far, far more popular t
  • Things may not be great for the industry right now, but it's the same as the period between the release of the Dreamcast and the PS2. Why Microsoft chose to do what Sega did is beyond me, but the similarities are amazing.
    • Most of the Xbox team was hired right out of Sega after the demise of the Dreamcast. It's no coincidence, it's history repeating--and by the same morons that did it the first go-around. It's like Hitler coming out of hiding and saying, "You know what, I should try to take over the world and simultaneously ruin my image by frying minorities." Oh wait... Didn't you know George W. Bush's grandfather helped fund the Nazi party?
  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:07AM (#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.
  • "Halo Sucks".

    Seriously, is this the only thing that determines the launch success of microsofts console?
  • by superultra (670002) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:14AM (#14835183) Homepage
    The PS2 came out in the US in October 2000. GTA3 did not come out until the October after the PS2 launched, in 2001. Of course, neither did Halo, which came out with the Xbox November of 2001. But for nearly an entire the year, the bright shining stars of the lot were Onimusha (oooo!) and Madden (yawn). The PS2 was plagued with hardware shortages, then memory card shortages, and then people realized that setting the PS2 on its side and leaving the disc in scratched the disc to hell.

    This is March, a mere 5 months after the so-called transition to the next generation, and they're calling it?
  • Maybe it's the obsession with visuals. Reminds me of in the 90s when you started getting superstar artists in the comics world, who got so much clout they were allowed to start writing their own comics too. Some of them could write, but most of them couldn't.
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:18AM (#14835222)
    Business people turn everything into shit. We've got people who don't understand a thing about what they're selling making all the decisions. They're not engineers or designer who rose through the ranks, having intimate knowledge of what the company does. They're a bunch of suits with MBA degrees hired specifically to run the company. They're driven by one thing and its not producing a quality product, nor is it changing the market, nor is it innovation; they're driven by money.

    And if they don't show healthy growth within the next few months the stock market reacts negatively. All these jerks want money in their pockets right now, instead of looking at the long-term health of a company.

    Certainly the reality is a lot more complicated than that, but I think this is one of the core problems. It's why we see garbage coming from the game industry, and this problem is reflected in other industries.
  • The story blurb nails it right on the head.

    Online games, MMORPGs in particular are sweeping the world by storm, and lets face it...the computer is a much better tool for playing these than consoles. Then lets take a look at blockbuster titles...there are none, or if they do exist, they are sequels which don't justify spending $400 just to play.

    The biggest issue by far though is innovative gameplay. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Revolution can come out with one or two innovative games that focus

    • Why are PC's better suited to MMO's?

      I've played World of Warcraft for a year. If I could play it on the 360, from my comfy couch, on my 54-inch DLP, with a real game controller, and built-in voice chat support, I'd be right back on the money train in a second. Less than a second, I'd be offering to pay early to support the beta.

      I don't see any reason why MMO's on the 360 shouldn't be as good as, or better than MMOs on a PC.

      Death to the mouse and keyboard games. I use a mouse and a keyboard for work 18 hours
      • The reason why is because of the keyboard and mouse. While I can definitely sympathize with you...unfortunately you are in the VAST minority.

        To your point about built in voice chat...I wonder if that may indeed help turn the tide to the console. One of the main reason for using MMORPGs on the PC now is all of the auxilliary software people tend to run with it....voice chat...map overlays.....mods.....etc. But I don't foresee the keyboard and mouse going away anytime in the immediate future. They simply

  • I would buy a next gen console if I could. No place near me is selling just an Xbox 360 and accessories I want. All the places either don't have the Xbox 360, or are selling it as a $1000 package along with 10 games and 4 controllers and a bunch of crap that I don't really want.

    Seriously, when are these companies gonna learn that the vast majority of people aren't going to go on a waiting list, camp out in front of the store, or purchase a bunch of crap we don't need just to help you beta test your product?
  • any version of GTA part of the intial batch of games available for at the launch of a console.

    And for that matter, most consoles do not have any break-out games as release.

    Those tend to take at least 6 months to a year to start showing up.

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