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Current Console Transition Far Worse Than Previous 87

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 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @10:55AM (#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?
  • by VanillaBabies ( 829417 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:00AM (#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.
  • Re:A Joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:10AM (#14834617) Journal
    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.
  • Analyse this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nologin ( 256407 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:53AM (#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 superultra ( 670002 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:14PM (#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?
  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:18PM (#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.
  • Re:A Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher&gmail,com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @01:22PM (#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 kingsmedley ( 796795 ) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:34PM (#14837496)
    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 actually launched in the USA a few months prior to the Genesis.

    2. The ColecoVision was hardly the first console of the 8-bit era. While you could argue the ColecoVision was the first of a new generation of game console capability, it was hardly a colossal failure. The so-called "Crash of '84" shook out nearly ALL console manufacturers in the North American market; Coleco's troubles at this time had a lot more to do with the Adam computer then ColecoVision sales, which were actually fairly good for the time.

    3. The Atari 2600 was not the first of it's generation either. The early cartridge based consoles, in order of North American launch, were:

      • Magnavox Odyssey, 1972
      • Fairchild Video Entertainment System (A.K.A. Channel F), 1976
      • RCA Studio II, January 1977
      • Bally Professional Arcade (A.K.A. Astrocade), September 1977
      • Atari 2600, November 1977

    4. The Atari 5200 was actually part of the ColecoVision generation, and was not in any way an enhanced 2600 model. However a later console, the Atari 7800, did feature 2600 hardware coupled with an advanced graphics chip.

    [Historical nit-pick mode off]

    OK, sorry about that, I'm a bit fussy about the history of the industry. Back on topic now, I promise.

    Basically, I think your theory that "the first console out the door will always fail" to be about as valid as the absurd theory that "black consoles always fail." The successful platform will be the one to offer good hardware and great games at an acceptable price. That's all there is to it. And for the most part, any look at history will bear this out. The exceptions are pretty scarce, personally I'd say there is only one exception - the death of the Dreamcast had as much (if not more more) to do with PS2 hype and Sega's financial woes than any shortcomings in the system's library.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"