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The Console War Is Not Good For Gaming 167

Posted by Zonk
from the preach-it-brotha dept.
Seleeke Flingai writes "Of all the loose baggage the videogame industry prides itself on, the famed 'console wars' are probably the most divisive. Every four or so years, we hungry gamers gather round and clamor for our favorite side. But you know what? Screw the console wars. They are NOT good for gaming. Why?" From the article: "The console war brings with it great competition, which has created some of the best consoles around. But the console war has also had its share of casualties - some of which were some of the best consoles around. And that is why I think the console war, despite all of its good intentions, is not good for gaming."
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The Console War Is Not Good For Gaming

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  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:31PM (#15958948) Journal
    "The console wars produced better products, however the Dreamcast was good but it lost anyway".

    1. Incorporate advertising into website
    2. Use three pages to say one sentence
    3. Obtain slashdot link
    4. ????
    5. Profit!
    • There is a real question here: Why do console gamers still tolerate competition between incompatible systems? Unless the Cell rocks our world, there won't be a significant difference between x86 and any other platform, so why not just sell low-end PCs as consoles? I hate to say it, but the Windows monoculture has its advantages -- if I buy a computer game these days, chances are very good that it will play on a Windows PC. If I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular con
      • by CanSpice (300894) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:15PM (#15959208) Homepage
        You're right, the PC is just another console. It happens to do more than the other consoles, but from a gaming point of view it's a console. You don't have specific revisions (like NES -> SNES -> N64 -> GC -> Wii), but you'll still have to upgrade to play the newer games. You can't play, for example, Civ4 on a 386.

        However, your argument of "if I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular console" is rubbish. You purchase games for your specific console. Just as you wouldn't buy a game built for OS X and expect it to play on your PC, you wouldn't buy a game built for the Xbox360 and expect it to play on your PS2.
        • However, your argument of "if I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular console" is rubbish. You purchase games for your specific console.

          You're right. My point was that on the PC, you're much more likely to be able to just buy a "computer game" and have it work. Most games built for OS X will also run on Windows -- not many game developers are willing to risk losing that market -- few enough are willing to make an OS X port in the first place.

          And you're right, I can't p

          • Not all consoles discourage homebrew. The PSP certainly does, but hey, that's why I didn't buy it. The GP2X is the homebrew king, but then, it doesn't really have that many acutal commercial games. The DS is pretty good with homebrew if you get the equipment (or at least Nintendo isn't actively trying to fuck the customers, the way Sony does). That's just for handhelds (although it always seems that the handheld homebrew scene is bigger than the console homebrew scene, probably because if you're in your hou
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by damiam (409504)
        Windows? Monoculture? Are you on crack? PCs have a huge variety of video cards, processors, OS and driver versions, and it's a pain in the ass to develop a game that works with all of them, let alone works well. John Carmack once said that the XBox ran Doom 3 as well as a PC with double the power, just because the game could be specifically optimized for the XBox.

        Much of the reason people prefer consoles over PCs is that they want a simple, reliable experience. Just pop the disc in and start playing, no

        • Windows? Monoculture? Are you on crack?

          No, are you? I was talking about software. I want Linux games!

          PCs have a huge variety of video cards, processors, OS and driver versions, and it's a pain in the ass to develop a game that works with all of them, let alone works well.

          It's a pain in the ass to develop a game, period. Making it portable is easy, if you stick to portable libraries. Most people have done that work for you.

          John Carmack once said that the XBox ran Doom 3 as well as a PC with double th

          • by elrous0 (869638) *
            I want Linux games!

            Well, since you asked nicely, we'll give them to you.

            -Eric

          • Anyway, how hard is it? Flip the package over and compare specs with your system.
            So you complain that you have to make sure that your console game is for your console, but there's nothing hard about matching up all your system specs? Making sure your game says "Playstation 2" in big letters is clearly easier than matching up your hardware specs, so if the latter is trivial, then there isn't anyway you can complain about the former.
            • You missed the point. A reasonably recent computer, running a reasonably recent Windows, makes checking the specs more often a matter of curiosity than anything else. You'll find very few games you can't buy.

              My complaint wasn't about the process of checking whether it says "Playstation 2", my problem is the market is divided such that not every game I want would be for a console I have, unless I just buy all the consoles. Which I might do, if I had the money -- my real complaint is that every console has
      • by Pofy (471469)
        >if I buy a computer game these days, chances are very good that it will play on a Windows
        >PC. If I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular console.

        If I buy a bag for my vacum cleaner, I have a one in a gazillion chance of it working in my vacum cleaner (despite actually working in another vacum cleaner by the very same company. SO what? If you want to go out and buy products without having a clue how they work together with existing equipment you have, why should you
      • "so why not just sell low-end PCs as consoles?"

        Phantom. End of discussion.

      • why not just sell low-end PCs as consoles?

        That's essentially what Microsoft's strategy was for the original Xbox. I would have to assume from their decision to switch to a non-x86-based platform for the 360 that it didn't work quite as well as they had hoped.

        If I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular console.

        One in FOUR? The console market has never supported more than three viable consoles at a time, whether it was Atari/Intellivision/ColecoVision or SNES/Genesis/TurboG
      • I hate to say it, but the Windows monoculture has its advantages -- if I buy a computer game these days, chances are very good that it will play on a Windows PC. If I buy a console game, I have a one in four shot of it playing on a popular console.

        If you buy a computer game, you have to look through the system specs and make sure your hardware is supported. If you buy a console game, you just look for the big letters that say the name of your console. It's a lot easier to make sure your game will play in

    • by aleksiel (678251)
      ???? = Obtain advertisements and place them in strategic locations
  • Yeah... (Score:2, Funny)

    by LokiTD (951153)
    Competition is bad for business.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Competition is bad for business.

      But monopoly is bad for consumers.

      So the answer?

      "There can be only two." -- Duncan and Connor MacLeod (Microsoft & Sony)
      "Or three!" -- Quentin MacLeod (Nintendo)
  • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:35PM (#15958973)
    BS.

    Good consoles (both from technological stand point and a game stand point) survive. Bad ones die.

    Sega genesis was good, but Sega Saturn was designed to be the best 2D console ever. It was, but it came out around the time of the N64.
    • by Psx29 (538840)
      Actually the Saturn came out wayyyy before the N64, and before the Playstation. It actually was the best 2d console at the time, the only problem was that people wanted the best _3D_ console not 2D so when the Playstation came out with it's amazing 3D compared to the saturns 3D, people quickly lost interest. Not to mention it was a bitch to program for the saturn IIRC...but then so is the PS2, so go figure.
      • I wouldn't say wayyyyyyyyyyy before. The Saturn made it's debut only a few months before the Playstation, and a Year and a half before the N64. That's not all that long, considering the Dreamcast launched a year before the Ps2, the Ps2 launched a year before the Xbox and GC, and The 360 a year before the Ps3 and Wii.

        The Saturn's 3D capabilities were widely considered a tacked on afterthought. It was originally a single processor machine with the second processor added late in development to assist with 3D

        • yes, but battle arena toshinden sucked, but they're *still* making virtua fighter games on other platforms. go figure.

          not really sure what my point is: the saturn still failed.
          • I know virtua fighter was the better game, but we were discussing the 3d performance of the PSX vs. The Saturn, and in THAT area alone (and not gameplay, as toshinden sucked) Virtua fighter lost hands down.
    • BS.

      Good consoles [...] survive. Bad ones die.


      That's not the point. The problem with bad consoles dying is that good games often die with them. How is that good for gamers?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)
      Neither insightful, nor even interesting. Just plain wrongThe Dreamcast was strong technologically (to the point that the PS2, released a year later, had trouble bettering its graphics) and had great games. Why did it fail? Lots of reasons, all of which had nothing to do with the quality of the console or of its games. The same can be said of the NEC console, and a few others.... Whether a console is a hit or a miss from a business perspective hinges on marketing, word-of-mouth, business decisions, operatio
    • The problem I have with your statement is that it's quite possible for a very bad console to have a very good game. That one good game could be choked into oblivion by, for instance, a ludicrous price-point for the console--way more than people are willing to pay.

      Consoles are a delivery method for video games. The games themselves are the end result: you want to play the good games. When a bad console "dies," it takes the good games that may have been released for it along with it, and that's very sad. I
  • "The console war brings with it great competition, which has created some of the best consoles around. But the console war has also had its share of casualties - some of which were some of the best consoles around. And that is why I think the console war, despite all of its good intentions, is not good for gaming."

    So. It was good in some ways. Bad in others.

    Brilliant insight.
  • by grapeape (137008) <(moc.rr.ck) (ta) (7epopm)> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:48PM (#15959058) Homepage
    I kept waiting for the author to make his point but all the did was prove that poor planning, marketing and spin control lead to failure. The article should have been called how to really screw up gaming in spite of innovation. In the end it was just another ode to the Dreamcast with is has become as common as Browncoaters whining about Firefly...its over get over it.

    Sega was a great company (sorry but I dont concider the shell that was left after the Sammy merger Sega) but they screwed the pooch. Sega released the Dreamcast way to early compared to the other companies next generation consoles, they had too few 3rd party games and though good for hardcore gamers too many quirky titles and not enough mainstream ones. Take Shenmue as an example, it was a beautiful game that was fun if you were into that kind of thing, but for the masses that title was destined to go nowhere. Super Magenetic Neo was another that I loved but outside of the "gamers" it was just a quirky title that didnt sell, you simply have to have the shoveled mainstream crap to survive. Add in the fact that the Dreamcast was cracked wide open before the other consoles even hit the shelves and the writing was on the wall.

    What happened to "Sega Has What Nintendon't" and agressive marketing that showed off the platform. All they did was had people doing mundane things suddenly screaming Sega!, that doesnt sell product it just encourages the use of the remotes mute button. Don't blame competition, lack of competition is never a good thing. Poor timing, poor execution, poor security and poor spin control = poor SEGA.
    • by Nf1nk (443791)
      Sega did cut their own throats, but it started earlier. It started with the Sega CD it fragmented their audiance, but it was good eonough and enough good games came out for it that quite a few hard core bought the 32x when it came out. When only about a dozen (though Wikipedia lists 37) games were ever released for system I was left with a decent system and no games I swore off sega systmes and never bought one again.

      When I went to a freinds place that had the Saturn and when I played I knew that I had
  • Various responses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wampus Aurelius (627669) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:57PM (#15959105)
    Redundant: I challenge the author to finish the sentence "The console wars are bad for gaming because..." without using the word "Dreamcast."

    Insightful: I say the console wars are good for gaming because they force companies to make better consoles and better games. But also the console wars are bad for gaming because too much effort is going into doing what everyone else is doing, but doing it slightly better, and not enough effort is going into creating something new and interesting. Nintendo appears to be trying a new direction with Wii, but only time will tell how creative it is, or if it's more of the same with a new gimmick. But at least they're putting their balls on the line and trying some innovation, rather than the Xbox 360 (Same games, better graphics!) or the PS3 (Same games, higher prices!).

    Troll: Blah blah bad article blah blah Zonk blah blah idiot.

    Funny: In the Soviet Union, wars are not good for game consoles!
  • I wholeheartedly agree that we should have just one console. I think Microsoft should make it. In fact, Microsoft shouldn't sell the console. They should license it for $800 and have $200/year subscription fees for their online service. This would certainly be far better for gaming than the current situation where there's so much confusing competition going on. Everyone knows that competition is bad for innovation.

    What a bunch of crap.
    • by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:53PM (#15959599) Journal
      On the other end of the spectrum, I'd like to see commodity game hardware. I think they did it, after a fashion, in the old atari 2600 days. Let Phillips, Microsoft, Samsung, &c. all make game machines using a unified format rather than the silly overpriced hardware lockin we've got today.

      Unfortunately, it'll never happen. It might be technically feasible, but it doesn't fit with the current business plans. The big three have too much to lose in giving up the "My way or no Zelda/Halo/Final Fantasy" approach.
      • by 0xA (71424)
        3DO did that and it didn't go so well, it might not be the reason it didn't work but there are problems that it brought up.

        Historically any game that requires an add on bombs. Anything that needed the gun for the NES, the power glove etc. OEMs building commodity consoles are going to look for a way to differentiate their products, you will end up with a bunch of consoles that are compatible in core features but that all have their own little add ons. Games that require or at least work better with thes

      • by kabocox (199019)
        On the other end of the spectrum, I'd like to see commodity game hardware. ... all make game machines using a unified format rather than the silly overpriced hardware lockin we've got today ... It might be technically feasible, but it doesn't fit with the current business plans.

        Um, as far as I'm aware of consoles are already a commodity. It doesn't matter if we have 3 or 12 consoles to support. We've shown that the globe can easily handle 4-6 TV console formats and 2-3 hand held formats. PSP & DS are
  • in that new features, like oh I don't know, the Wii's fun motion-sensing controller and wand really change the nature of gaming and make it more fun.

    But, hey, it's never great when you're trying to push consoles that don't make a profit, or push ever more FPS and Sports games the vast majority of casual and women/girl gamers don't give a flying h00t about, or just rake in the cash from yet another port of a multi-platform game.

    Noone likes losing. But if it never happened, we'd all be playing Tetris and Pon
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jozeph78 (895503)
    I can buy a Dreamcast with a bunch of (rare) games for $35 on eBay. That sucks for Sega, but how is that bad for me as a consumer?
  • by Dinosaur Neil (86204) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:07PM (#15959650)

    All right, competition can, and often is, a good thing for the consumer. But usually, it's only good if the market/consumer drives the competition. The current next-generation console competition is not a response to consumers; it's being rammed down the consumers' throats.

    I read the article and never really bought his analogy. I think the Dreamcast died for much the same reason as the Atari Jaguar died and that I think the PS3 will die; we game consumers don't really want or need that much power, at least not at that price. One of the reasons that I picked up my PS2 (after not owning a console since my Genesis) was because PC games were starting to focus on pretty (and expensive, in terms of video cards) graphics at the expense of story, playability, and entertainment value. Specifically, when I found that the latest entry in a franchise that I'd been playing for years required a video card that cost, at a minimum, half again as much as a PS2, I bailed on PC games for a while.

    If we really want competition to serve the consumer (rather than settle a "bet" over which unnecessary new DVD format will be forced down our throats), we need another player. Nintendo might play that role, but I realy think what we need is a good console (not a spectacularly extravegant one) that plays cheap games. In my dreams, this system an open source, both hardware and software, but it doesn't have to be. Keep the graphics around the same level as the current gen to force the developers to think in terms of gameplay instead of flashy crap. Avoid the licensing fees and marketing BS that drives prices up. Is an offical NFL lisence necessary for a good football game? Does a movie tie-in improve a platformer?

    I'm looking forward to the unfortunately named Wii far more than the PS3 (both for its lower price tag and all the potential wrapped up in that weird controller), and so far I have not seen anything on the X-Box 360 that justifies its price. Either way, it feels like this iteration of "competition" is not doing anything for the consumer except digging deeper into our pockets for the gaming equivalent of bloatware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adam31 (817930)
      Just Wait.

      Your heart is in the right place, but your response lacks foresight. Next-gen is not "being crammed down consumers' faces," because there is still tons of quality discount current-gen product floating around. Sony is even still publishing first party titles, and there are a few good third-party games coming. Your thought seems to emphasize this choice between early-adopting or throwing up your arms and quitting.

      Just Wait. Price reductions are for people like you-- more sense than money, sk

    • there's some serious holes in your argument here, starting with the most obvious one:

      I think the Dreamcast died for much the same reason as the Atari Jaguar died and that I think the PS3 will die; we game consumers don't really want or need that much power, at least not at that price.

      The Dreamcast debuted at $199 and was down to $99 in less than a year. Of all the things that killed it, price wasn't one of them, and as for power it was the weakest of the next gen systems...Xbox > GC > Ps2 >DC.

  • by rtechie (244489)
    Not only is the article stupid, it's offensive.

    Having lost two straight console generations (think: N64 as Hiroshima, GameCube as Nagasaki), the company branched off into a new direction, looking to lose its previous isolationist mentality.

    Yeah, that's a TOTALLY valid analogy.
  • by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:04AM (#15961438)
    The main thing they cause is a need to spend a considerable amount of money on multiple consoles. SNES and Genesis were roughly the same in games they offered (roughly, SNES had better hardware and better RPGs, but they were very similar). But to say n64 and PSOne offered the same kinds of games is blasphemy. Even with Gamecube/XBox/PS2, we are seeing major differences for the different kinds of games (Let's see... PS2 for my RPGs... XBox for my online FPS.... Gamecube for my..... family-friendly fun). And console prices are not going down. By the time it's reasonable for your typical gamer to own all three consoles of a generation price-wise, the interest has been lost due to upcoming new console launches. And I'd rather spend $75 for three extra controllers for a single console then $300 for extra controllers for all three. It adds up.
  • Nintendo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CodemasterMM (943136)
    This is why I stick with Nintendo. Honestly, they aren't going away anytime soon. Sony, I think, will be the first to go if anyone. I was very much saddened when I heard Sega was dropping out of the hardware race (although I hope they return at some point).

    Is it just me or does anyone else want the days to be like the old Nintendo/Sega rivalry where most games came out for both systems where the only real differences were the controller shape, button layout, and the small number of proprietary games (ie -
    • by swerk (675797)
      I pine for the Nintendo/Sega days too, because it was more about the actual gaming at that point. Both Nintendo and Sega wanted to sell entertainment in the form of fun games. Sony and Microsoft entered the gaming market so that they could sell, period. Both have (bought) game development studios now, but they're in it to sell electronics and licenses, not juicy gameplay.

      Sony and Microsoft are to videogames as MTV and under-the-table payola are to music. Yeah, you can go there to get your hot new chart-
    • by apoc06 (853263)
      "Is it just me or does anyone else want the days to be like the old Nintendo/Sega rivalry where most games came out for both systems where the only real differences were the controller shape, button layout, and the small number of proprietary games (ie - Nintendo's Mario and Sega's Sonic)"

      excuse me, but i don't remember those days. i've owned a master system, NES, genesis and SNES. i don't remember many identical releases back in those days. what are you talking about?

      during the 8 bit era, nintendo forbade
  • by brkello (642429)
    I wonder how much this guy gets paid. If it is more than I currently make...they should get rid of him and hire me because I could write a more interesting article in an hour that would actually use some form of logic. I am sure he is praised by Dreamcast lovers...but really, isn't it time to move on. If the product they made was so fantastic, it would have been able to keep going. Competition is never a bad thing. Assume that competition is bad. Two consoles come to market, the Dreamcast and some oth
  • This why we are working to create an open standard for game console compatability: http://ogcs.forumer.com/ [forumer.com]
  • Console wars just hurt the console community, let's fight about something worth while!!!1

    PC vs Console!

    Doh, once again you guys beat me to it :(

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