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Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 1) 146

No, I think this time, they may even have moved too late.

The shadow in the backdrop of the console cycle is PC gaming. People talk about console gaming killing PC gaming. It could, in theory, happen, but it hasn't to date. The reverse could also happen. And while it hasn't happened yet, we've been close at a couple of points in the past and are quite close now.

The PC had its first gaming surge at the end of the NES/Mastersystem era. That's when we got the likes of the original Wing Commander and Ultima 7, which left the console games of the time in the dirt. The SNES/Genesis narrowed the gap.

At the end of the SNES/Genesis era, console gaming came closer than people today tend to remember to dying completely. It was quite some time before a credible successor (the Playstation) emerged... and this was at a time when PC gaming's technology was moving on in leaps and bounds and Win95 was finally (to a small extent) starting to make PC gaming a little bit easier to get into for the newcomer.

The PC never really got a look-in during the PS2/Xbox/GC generation, because that generation ran quite short. By the time the PC was opening out a really serious technical gap (where even off-the-shelf $600 PCs could leave consoles in the dust), the next generation was already launching.

This time around, the PC has, for the last 12 months, been the format where there interesting stuff is happening. None of the current consoles can really handle Frostbite 2. Even a fully maxed-out Unreal 3 experience can only be delivered on the PC. Developers are bored by and constrained on current console hardware. PC versions of cross-platform games leave their console kin in the dust. $600 PCs can massively outperform the consoles - and can output quite easily to the living room TV as well as to a monitor.

Console gaming is under assault from 2 directions; from the mobile OSes and from the PC. If we don't get the next generation (and the Wii-U is not next generation) fast, then the PC and tablets could kill console gaming.

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 1) 146

I don't mention consoles destroying PC gaming anywhere in my post. In so far as I do mention PC gaming, it is to say that it was on the back foot during the PS2/Xbox/GC era (which it was) and that it is resurgent towards the end of the PS3/360/Wii era (which it is).

Judging by your post history, you seem to have trouble reading posts over 3 lines in length. There is specialist adult education out there that might help you with this. I'd urge you to consider it.

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 1) 146

Everquest was "the game to beat" for a long time. Final Fantasy XI was the first game to beat it (in terms of subscriber numbers). In fairness, Everquest was already very old when FFXI launched.

Then WoW came along and succeeded on a different order of magnitude to anything that had come before (and, in terms of subscription MMOs, anything that's come since as well).

Getting over 500k subscribers and staying there for years seems to be incredibly difficult. Everquest managed it for a while, FFXI managed it, EVE Online seems to have managed it. Not many others have done the same.

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 1) 146

I was always lucky on the PS2 hardware front, for the most part. Had a "fat" UK model for several years which got very heavy use, which was later joined by a "slim" US model. Neither had any internal hardware failures. What did get irritating, however, was memory card corruption. I remember losing a Final Fantasy X save with about 70 hours of play-time on it to that. Not amusing.

I actually had worse luck with the Gamecube, where I had two of them fail on me, despite the fact they got much more limited use. One of them, admittedly, wasn't 100% the console's fault. I'd taken it home when visiting the family for Christmas and a cousin's young child had been a bit too... enthusiastic... opening up that little flippy lid on the top, snapping it off (though those lids were absurdly fragile). On the other unit, the disc drive just suddenly refused to read anything.

This time around, I've had a Wii fail on me (dead out of the box) and a 360 RROD on me. The 360 died following a firmware update just a few days out of the 3 year extended warrenty, so I wasn't best pleased (though in fairness, I'd been meaning to trade up to a later model with a larger HDD).

Comment Re:Take The Fanboy Goggle Off (Score 1) 146

Latest external sources I can find show that as of September 2012, the 360 had shipped 70 million and the PS3 had shipped 70.2 million. It's a statistical dead-heat (though I don't know what sales will have been like over the Christmas just gone, the PS3 has been getting some seriously heavy advertising here in the UK).

The 360 has done that on the basis of almost no Japanese sales, so on balance, it seems to have "won" outside of Japan (and lost big in Japan). Even if there are indeed inaccuracies of "a couple of million" in the numbers, it doesn't affect the top line story.

Almost as pointless as the debate about whether the Xbox or the Gamecube secured second place last time around. From what I remember, the Xbox carried it in the end, but it really was a bit of a joke, given just how far they both were behind the PS2. This time around, at least, both PS3 and 360 have been closing the gap on the Wii quite quickly in the latter part of the cycle. The big question with the Xbox and Cube was whether either of them actually had any relevance at all; that's not the case with the 360 or PS3.

Comment Re:Take The Fanboy Goggle Off (Score 2) 146

So in other words, I could believe several years' archives of face-offs on multiple sites, not least Eurogamer, and the evidence of my own eyes over the last 5 years, all of which suggests that the two machines come out in broadly the same place.

Or I could believe you (and some of those anonymous coward sockpuppet posts you've also made in this thread). Given you seem to be contending for the title of "biggest asshole on slashdot" (which believe me, has some competition), I'm leaning away from that option.

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 1) 146

Hah, so very true. I remember how close I came to buying the HD-DVD addon for the 360, before remembering the old-adage that console peripherals never really take off. On that basis, it was clear that even if the 360 sold the PS3, the PS3's inclusion of blu-ray as standard was going to carry that format over the line.

And yes, my parents bought a PS3 to go with their new HD-TV, not because they wanted to play games on it, but because it was indeed the cheapest blu-ray player around.

Comment Re:Take The Fanboy Goggle Off (Score 5, Informative) 146

Eurogamer do some excellent "Digital Foundry" articles comparing PS3 and 360 versions of games (and where appropriate, PC and Wii-U versions as well). Let me find some links for you.

Far Cry 3
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Mass Effect 3
Darksiders 2

There are lots more if you want to look.

tl;dr version - in most cases, the graphical and performance differences between PS3 and 360 "top end" games are so miniscule that you need detailed frame-by-frame comparisons to spot them. Broadly speaking, what differences do exist show the 360 having an advantage on Unreal-tech games (which is a lot of the big shooters). There are a few games which do swing heavily in favour of one platform or another (eg. Skyrim towards the 360, Final Fantasy XIII towards the PS3), but these are the exception rather than the norm and tend to reflect a developer which is much more comfortable with one set of hardware than the other.

Neither console crushes the other in performance terms in the real world. End of.

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 3, Insightful) 146

There's more to dominating the market than installed base - as I said in my original post, the Wii managed PS2-style sales in its early years, but never really dominated the scene.

I think the thing with the 360 and PS3 has been that, from the user's point of view, they're probably more interchangable than any other two consoles in history. Their internal architectures might be completely different, but in terms of overall performance, they come out in about the same place. In a technical sense, if a game can run on the 360, it can be made to run on the PS3 and vice-versa. Just as importantly, they've got controllers which, while different in appearance, basically have the same number and configuration of buttons. So the same game can be released for both platforms in a near-identical state.

There aren't as many exclusives as in previous generations and nor are those exclusives as likely to be "best in genre" as they have been in the past. Even developers who started out this generation tied to one manufacturer's hardware have branched out since into cross-platform (eg. Insomniac).

So whether you buy a 360 or a PS3 (or if you own both, which one you spend most time with) is likely to be influenced by some distinctly secondary factors. Do you believe in "patriotic" buying? I suspect a lot of people do, as evidenced by the PS3's advantage in Japan and the 360's in the US (while Europe remains a dead heat). Which controller do you prefer the ergonomic fit of? Which console do most of your friends own? These are much narrower factors than the essentials that set apart the Xbox and the Gamecube, the SNES and the Genesis/Megadrive and the Playstation and the N64.

I don't think this console generation has had a winner. The Wii took an early lead but squandered it (check Nintendo's financials for the last couple of years, as opposed to the specifically gaming divisions of Sony and MS). The 360 and PS3 have remained neck and neck. And the Wii-U (which feels as much a current-gen console as a next-gen one based on the time I've had with mine)... who knows?

Comment Re:Titan of its generation (and replaced too early (Score 3, Informative) 146

And nor has much since...

WoW increasingly looks like an anomaly. Very few MMOs have managed to go over 1 million subscribers and stay there. Old Republic almost hit 2 million at launch, but fell off very, very rapidly.

Having done a bit of reading since my original post, it seems FFXI managed to stay in the 500k-750k range for years and years. It's below that point now, but then, it's extremely old now. While it may only have managed not much more than 1/20th of WoW's peak subscriber base, it seems to have done better than almost all of the other competition.

Also massively better than its own successor, FF14, which remains one of the greatest MMO cock-ups of all time.

Comment Titan of its generation (and replaced too early?) (Score 5, Interesting) 146

Ah... the PS2. I don't think I can ever remember a console that's dominated its generation in quite the same way. I'm not just talking about unit sales (though its figures there and its lead over the Xbox and Gamecube were impressive enough), but rather about the sheer scale of the influence it exercised over gaming in general.

Back in the PS2's generation, if you were developing a console game, then unless you were being given bags and bags of money by MS or Nintendo, you had no choice but to make the PS2 your primary target. It didn't matter that it had underpowered hardware that was known for pain a pain in the arse to develop for. The Xbox and the Cube were optional. The PC (which was on a back-foot for most of that console cycle) was even more optional. The PS2 was where you had to be to get the sales. It had games from every genre represented; and often the best titles in their respective genres were for the PS2.

In many ways, it wasn't a particularly brilliant console. Its UI was butt-ugly. Cross-platform ports tended to look like a dog next to their Xbox and Cube versions (though the latter were admittedly quite uncommon). The memory cards for savegames were tiny, expensive and prone to data corruption. But it had the games, so if you were at all passionate about console gaming, you had to own one.

The funny thing is that, despite its hardware being completely obsolete, I've often felt Sony sent it to the back burner (via the PS3 launch) too soon. Both the console and its games were still selling well when the PS3 launched, with the 360 having failed to take much wind out of its sales. I do wonder what would have happened if Sony had held back the PS3 for 6-9 months, to work out some of the oddities in the hardware, let the launch price fall, get a stronger launch-lineup and maybe get proper back-compatibility into the hardware as a standard across the world. As it is, when the PS3 launched, it was too expensive for most and still suffering fierce competition from its own predecessor (some of the PS2's best games launched after the PS3, such as Personas 3 and 4). Certainly, for the first 18 months I owned my imported US 60 gig model, it spent far more time running PS2 titles than PS3 ones.

Nothing in the 360/PS3/Wii console generation has come close to replicating the PS2's dominance. The Wii got a big installed sales base early (which later stagnated, with the result that its lead, while still there, is much eroded), but never even came close to converting that into PS2-style dominance of games development. The 360 and the PS3 have more or less run neck and neck; if I remember, the 360 has a small worldwide installed base lead despite its Japan deficit, but the gap between the two isn't much more than a rounding error. And if you're developing a game these days, then unless you are being given large amounts of cash by a console manufacturer, you need to target the 360, PS3 and PC (the latter is very much back in the game), while giving consideration to the idea of a Wii-U port or a scaled down Wii version.

I wonder whether, to an extent, the PS2's dominance wasn't linked to Sony's ability to lock down what were, at the time, some of the biggest and most important franchises in the world to its console; Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo and Metal Gear Solid. Those were really the names that started shifting consoles (after what was actually a slightly lacklustre launch). These days, of course, all of the really big name franchises are cross-platform (and almost all Western, rather than Japanese). A couple of exceptions; the Nintendo first party games (not everybody's cup of tea), Forza (the 360's superior reflection of Gran Turismo) and the Halo/Gears vs Resistance/Killzone shooter pairings (where the games are essentially interchangable). But increasingly, it's cross-platform that dominates the charts (particularly when it features angry men with thick necks shouting "OSCAR MIKE" every 5 seconds).

PS. Another Final Fantasy XI expansion? My word. I stopped playing that years ago and didn't realise it was still going. It feels a bit like a relic from another world now; easy to forget it was probably the world's most successful MMO until World of Warcraft launched.

Comment Re:Um... this is news? (Score 1) 370

How do you sell a PSP in that condition? Or do you mean that a PSP has been sold along with a memory stick containing the images?

Storage for images etc on the PSP is all via removable memory sticks. The type of memory stick used (the pro duo if I recall, though I traded in my PSP when I bought a Vita, so can't check for sure) isn't even a PSP-only device... I've used them with PCs as well.

Comment Re:Cutting back (Score 1) 4

Can't believe I forgot Legend of Grimrock.

I played that and it was, indeed, awesome. Eye of the Beholder for the modern age. Now give us a decent Icewind Dale remake and I'll be really happy.

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