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EA Says 'Next-Gen' Is 'Now-Gen' 181

Posted by Zonk
from the didn't-know-they-were-the-official-scorekeepers dept.
Via GamesRadar, a Reuters report noting that the 'next generation' consoles are now more-or-less broken in. Sales for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii have transitioned to the point where software sales are going to be well worth the effort for development houses. "'[Black] Friday marked one of those points where you can say something's changed," [EA CEO Riccitiello] said. 'Around the world, based on the data I've got, it was pretty clear that the transition is now over. Key to that was Sony Corp's recent price cut for its PlayStation 3, which should ensure the struggling console hits the company's fiscal-year sales target of 11 million units.'"
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EA Says 'Next-Gen' Is 'Now-Gen'

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  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coppro (1143801) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:02PM (#21561921)
    And so the number of sales is indicative how? I'd say that when you've got three consoles that were sold out immediately after release, you've made the transition. The market may not have been able to accomodate the demand, but three consecutive sell-outs - especially when followed continuously by extremely strong sales for the Wii and 360 - indicates that the transition to next-gen has been made. I mean, two years to decide that developing for the 360 is a good idea?
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Orange Crush (934731) * on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:12PM (#21562079)

      I mean, two years to decide that developing for the 360 is a good idea?

      Around 120 million PS2s have been shipped to date. That's ~80 million more PS2s than all three next gen consoles combined. Granted many will have broken/been discarded/packed away/etc, but that still leaves a helluvalot of working PS2s out there. EA's mission is to sell games and customers don't typically buy games for systems they don't have.

      What they're saying is that the new consoles finally have reached a total installed base large enough for EA to be comfortable devoting more resources to those platforms and moving away from the PS2.

      • Around 120 million PS2s have been shipped to date. That's ~80 million more PS2s than all three next gen consoles combined. Granted many will have broken/been discarded/packed away/etc, but that still leaves a helluvalot of working PS2s out there. EA's mission is to sell games and customers don't typically buy games for systems they don't have.

        A large installed base will only get you so far... From a publisher's perspective you also have to look at the average PS2 (or whatever) console owner's willingness

    • I think what he means is that now there are enough consoles in the market to make developing for the consoles actually viable for the studios. It was a given that the 360 would sooner or later replace the XBox 1.0, but so far, you could only push a title when you either got money from Nintendo, Sony or MS (or are part of their corporation anyway), or when you had a must-have title in the making, which will still sell after 2-3 years.

      A game that's 2 years old is a dead weight on the shelves. SDKs get better,
  • Darn (Score:3, Funny)

    by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:03PM (#21561945)
    I just got a PS1 and I'm as mad as hell over this announcement.
  • by rbarreira (836272) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:06PM (#21561983) Homepage
    Bear with me for a little while here.

    Sony's target is to ship 11 million PS3s during this fiscal year (April 2007 - March 2008). In the first half of the year (April - September) they shipped 2 million PS3s. Even with increased holiday sales, 9 million in the remaining 6 months is absolutely crazy - it's actually similar to Wii sales.

    Let's look at it another way:

    In the previous fiscal year, Sony shipped 3.6 million PS3s. 11 + 3.6 = 14.6. 14.6 million PS3s shipped by the 31st of March 2008, which means around 14 million sold to consumers. According to vgchartz (which may be a little off but for the purposes of this discussion is more than accurate enough), the PS3 is at 6.36 million sold (to consumers) as of the 25th of November. 14 - 6.36 = 7.64 PS3s that they need to sell in 4 months... That's 1.91 million PS3s per month, which is more than current Wii levels of production (1.8 million according to Nintendo themselves).

    EA is delusional, and Sony won't hit their target. In fact, they'll probably reduce their forecast in the next quarterly report (out in January). Otherwise, massive egg will be on their faces when they do their fiscal year report in April.
    • Sony's target is to ship 11 million PS3s during this fiscal year (April 2007 - March 2008). In the first half of the year (April - September) they shipped 2 million PS3s. Even with increased holiday sales, 9 million in the remaining 6 months is absolutely crazy - it's actually similar to Wii sales.

      Let's look at it another way:

      In the previous fiscal year, Sony shipped 3.6 million PS3s. 11 + 3.6 = 14.6. 14.6 million PS3s shipped by the 31st of March 2008, which means around 14 million sold to consumers. According to vgchartz (which may be a little off but for the purposes of this discussion is more than accurate enough), the PS3 is at 6.36 million sold (to consumers) as of the 25th of November. 14 - 6.36 = 7.64 PS3s that they need to sell in 4 months... That's 1.91 million PS3s per month, which is more than current Wii levels of production (1.8 million according to Nintendo themselves).

      They had shipped 5.9 million in total by march [scei.co.jp] Not sure if they are aiming for a cumulative 11 mil or 11 mil in a single year. but cumulative it's not a hard target.

      • by rbarreira (836272) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:32PM (#21562347) Homepage

        They had shipped 5.9 million in total by march Not sure if they are aiming for a cumulative 11 mil or 11 mil in a single year. but cumulative it's not a hard target.

        That was before they changed their method of counting "shipped units". Before, they counted any manufactured unit as a shipped unit (as in shipped to their warehouses). After they changed the counting method, they reported that the shipped amount until March was 3.6 million. It's all in their financial reports.

        Regarding whether the 11 million is cumulative or fiscal-year only, it's the latter for sure. Fiscal targets are always for the fiscal year, and you can easily find articles which confirm this:

        http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/25/business/sony.php [iht.com]
    • 11 + 3.6 = 14.6. 14.6 million PS3s shipped by the 31st of March 2008, which means around 14 million sold to consumers

      It means 14.6 million PS3s shipped to retailers. It's not unreasonable to expect that >> .6 million PS3s will be in wholesale/retail inventory as of 3/31. Don't forget that D-J-F are huge retail sales months for consumer electronics in the US.

      Also don't forget that they have dropped/are dropping prices.

      I'm not saying that the numbers don't appear wacky; but, those figures could be w

    • by The-Bus (138060)
      The PS3 will sell, and it's going to be impossible for it to get 20% market share. EA will just develop on whatever middleware they use now and release games on the PS3, the 360, the Wii, and the PS2. There's no reason for EA to make a title specifically for the PS3 or the 360: there's too much overlap in those consoles to leave one of them in the dark without that title.
  • He thinks the Wii's sales will start slacking off any day now, and then most of the money will be spent on games, which means him. Of course, the market for the Wii is nowhere close to saturated, and Microsoft and Sony are very far from earning back the losses they incurred upon selling the hardware.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      Wii sales are still going crazy. Actually, it's hard to find a console (I've seen people fight over the last one). I recently got an offer of 400 bucks for mine. Check EBay, you'll notice people pay crazy prices for a used Wii, often more than you'd pay for a new one (provided you can find one, that is).

      So I'd say the Wii has anything but reached market saturation. Ok, it's Christmas around the corner, so people are desperate to get some, but usually around Christmas, the shops have a few consoles lying aro
      • by derinax (93566)

        The problem with the PS3 is simply the price tag. People do not buy a "game toy" for the price that is usually associated with a computer which can be used as much for games as the PS3, with the ability to run other stuff, too.

        Like browse the web, plug in your camera's memory card and print out your favorite pictures, stream music throughout your home, watch a High-Definition Blu-Ray or standard DVD movie, shop online, contribute to Folding@Home, or run Linux? And oh yeah, play some video games too? Yeah, PCs are useful, aren't they?

        See what I did there?

        The biggest surprise to me was how the PS3 really *is* a computer. How many *game consoles* print to a USB printer? Granted, the interface is much more guided, like an applia

        • I'll admit I was surprised by the printer feature. I know Sony's been "everything but the kitchen sink-ifying" the PS3, but until now had no idea it had printer support.

          For everything under the hood and everything it can be used for--yes, the PS3 is a great deal for its price.

          The problem is, most people who want a device to print digital camera pics, surf the net, etc and can afford a $400-$600 purchase already have a computer so these features of the PS3 aren't really adding value to them. BluRay's n

        • The only problem is that this isn't what people are looking for when they buy a console. Actually, I can well see parents shying away from it just because of those features. When they didn't buy junior a PC because they think the web is evil, they certainly won't buy him a console that does the trick.

          If people want those features on the other hand, they already have a PC that does that.

          If anything, it's a marketing problem. It's nice and fine that the console can do those tricks. The problem is, people neit
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Diss Champ (934796)
        The problem with the PS3 WAS the price tag. Considering that they are now cheaper than the going ebay cost of a Wii the verb tense is important there.
    • Game sales for the Wii might be a tad difficult in the future, as most people I know who have one only need it for the 5 or fewer games they care to play. Sure the new Super Smash Bros game is most likely gonna tempt me to finally go out and buy one, the problem is that there's only about 5 other games I'd go for. The casual gaming market may indeed be a very big one, only problem is you just can't sell a casual gamer on too much.
  • Hold on (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:11PM (#21562067)
    So the last gen was the next gen, the generation before that was the superconsoles, and the next gen was going to be the HD era, but now the last gen is the old gen, the next gen is this gen, and the superconsoles are retro? Where does that put retro?
  • by Seumas (6865)
    So what we have now is as good as it is going to get for the next five to ten years? That's unfortunate. That's where the PC gaming will always be superior. PCs were already outperforming consoles by the time the newest gen of consoles were released. And while my console systems will be performing about the same in five or ten years as they were last year, my PC will be performing perhaps twice as well next year as it is this year.

    Console gaming companies need to come out with a different model. These are v
    • by Detritus (11846)
      There's always a learning curve for consoles. It takes a number of years for developers to learn how to fully exploit the console's hardware. That helps offset the increasing obsolescence of a fixed hardware configuration.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Seumas (6865)
        And why is that even necessary? There isn't this massive learning curve for PC developers. Yes, they have to learn a few new tricks and features here and there to better optimize the juice from the newest gen of hardware, but it doesn't take them two or three years to get up to speed on the latest NVIDIA or ATI card.

        Do console developers seriously need to re-invent every aspect of the wheel for each generation? They can't make them a bit more modular and just iteratively improve the existing systems through
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Yes, they have to learn a few new tricks and features here and there to better optimize the juice from the newest gen of hardware, but it doesn't take them two or three years to get up to speed on the latest NVIDIA or ATI card.

          That's probably because PC gamers are expected to have a relatively new graphics card to get the best graphics anyway. I doubt PC developers worry about getting their games to look amazing on 3+ year old cards- and PC gamers who are bothered enough would probably have bought a new card anyway. It's open to question which is leading which- probably a bit of both.

          But they can't do that with consoles. Also, there's only one basic hardware configuration for a given console, which no doubt makes it easier to

        • by SQLGuru (980662)
          Actually, I think it's there for the PC as well....you just don't feel it.

          In the PC world, the highest of high end is available to only the few willing to pony up the cash. The software doesn't really target the new tech until "enough" people have bought into it. That doesn't mean that they aren't learning about it.

          Also, the model is different because the platform is open. In the PC world, you have drivers for your card.....you might have to learn a new API, but the rest of the model stays the same. If
    • by Toonol (1057698)
      You're criticizing the main advantage that consoles have over PCs. I would love it if the effective life stretched out even longer.
    • by cowscows (103644)
      I play PC games all the time, on a machine that hasn't seen a single component upgrade since 2002. It's finally getting to the point where even some of the $5 clearance games won't run very well on it, so I'm thinking about upgrading.

      But the point is, many people are not interested in worrying about keeping their hardware state-of-the-art, and there are also many developers who aren't interested in worrying about constantly having to learn how to exploit new hardware.

      Take a look at the quality of the first
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bevoblake (1106117)
      Consoles have fantastic appeal to the masses and for good reason - you buy a game console that you know won't be obsolete (i.e. they are still making current games for it) for 5 years or so. The cost is around the same as a brand new, high-end graphics card, which is just one component of the PC rig. The PC rig will also be obsolete sooner because the PC game-makers push tech and innovation faster (although you can get decent lifespan out of a PC rig if you are willing to not always have the bleeding edge
    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      I used to be a huge PC gamer, but nowadays I game almost exclusively on consoles (except TF2, that game is massive win on a PC). Why? Because I hate upgrading. It costs a lot, and even a mid-high end video card is by itself worth a brand new console. I also hate futzing with my display settings, wondering "what else can I turn off to get this thing smooth and playable?", and updating video drivers, sound drivers, miscellaneous BS drivers... Installing, uninstalling... ugh.

      I still do some PC gaming, but it

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      And while my console systems will be performing about the same in five or ten years as they were last year, my PC will be performing perhaps twice as well next year as it is this year.

      How the heck does your PC get faster and faster like that? Mine tends to perform about the same as when I first bought it. Yours must work out a lot.

      Kidding aside, you're missing some of the point of consoles, and one of the reasons people actually enjoy using them (aside from the simplicity of use). I don't WANT a constantly moving target. I like to know that the rig I bought will work optimally with any new game for the next 5 years or so. The next... er, newest... uh, current consoles could perform

  • by F-3582 (996772)
    That's what I call pretty low standards, then. Judging from the looks of the new Need For Speed: ProStreet they still seem to think that shoving unfinished games down our throats is next-gen, too. Even IGN gave it just a 6.8. Sorry, but EA would be the last publisher on whose opinion I'd give a crap. Period.
  • A big problem that people have with these comments is that the new games being released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 really are not so much better than what could be done on the previous generation of consoles.

    Are PS3 and Xbox 360 games really THAT much better than the stuff for the Xbox and PS2? Graphics may be a bit better, but if you exclude the "HD" factor due to most people not having a screen that can do 1080p, then what is better about the new titles?

    That is the key, when there is a substantial improve
    • You have a point there... and considering I have a 720p TV (albeit a really good one)... I'm noticing one thing... the games look great, but not _as_ great in comparison to their previous counterparts as they did from previous transitions. (I mean, even Tekken Tag Tournament looked phenomenal compared to say, Tekken 2....) It's evolution rather than revolution, but the companies can't sell you anything until they hype it to death... and make you think you're not a whole person until you "buy our stuff!"

      Th
  • Why are consoles "next gen". Why isn't a real computer with standardized hardware that everyone can write software for "next gen". Why are we still living in the backwater of the disposable $500 computer for games?

    The console is valuable, not because it's powerful (they're not). It's valuable because it presents a stable target for developers to write games for. They only have to support one (or a limited number of very similar) graphics subsystems. They get a known set of controller types that everyone wil
    • Your last paragraph basically described the Xbox.
      • by ajs (35943)

        Your last paragraph basically described the Xbox.
        Except for:

        * It doesn't come with a keyboard
        * It doesn't run generic apps without hacking it
        * It can't run a decent browser without hacking it
        * It can't be upgraded later on when it's last year's console

        Other than that, it's exactly like what I'm tired of, yes.

    • by VJ42 (860241) *

      So why hasn't someone specified a PC into the ground,
      Wouldn't that be a Mac? Locked down hardware to suite the software that runs on it? 100% controlled by Apple. It hasn't proved all that popular for gaming, though I expect the main limiting factor is market share, if Macs dominated the market you'd see many more games for them.

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