Alternative distribution to optical disks : SSD, cards, and download*

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Cheezdoodles, May 26, 2008.

  1. Goodtwin

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    WB confirmed today that the whole game is indeed on the cart, and the only space required for downloads is for patches, no game content. I'm guessing Lego City was poorly compressed on Wii U. Probably figured they didn't need to bother since it would primarily sell physically, and they had 25B worth of disk space. Never made sense for Lego City to be that heavy, the world is big, but nothing like Skyrim or GTA V. Its not like there are FMV's, all the cut scenes are real time. Should be interesting to see if the Switch version suffers compared to the Wii U build because of this file size reduction, but I kind of doubt it.
     
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  2. Goodtwin

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    So it turns out that the game is only about 8GB even with the 500MB patch. The assets on the Switch build are equal to or greater than the Wii U build that weighed in at a hefty 20GB. Not trying to paint with broad strokes here, but this is an example of a developer that originally didn't have any interest in reducing the file size. I have a feeling that with large hard drives and bluray disk that hold 50GB, developers just aren't that worried about keeping file sizes small.

    With Switch, there is an actual penalty for developer who do not work to keep file sizes small. I'm sure as cart sizes increase in capacity, the cost associated is disproportionately more expensive. For example, maybe a 16GB cart cost $3, but a 32GB car may cost $8. There are times to give developers the benefit of the doubt, but then there are times where things just don't make sense. Lego City Undercover having a larger file size than Skyrim never made sense.
     
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  3. Syferz

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    "So in this case the issue is that the cart fee + platform fee + packaging fee for Switch is more expensive with higher capacity carts."
    "As above, it only really starts making sense for a publisher when they use 8GB carts or less as they cost similar to PS4/XB1 costs."

    This is dated September of last year. It's about $8 more for 4x the space, and with 64GB cards coming to Switch in 2019, my guess is that next year, 16GB or 32GB will be similar in price to a 50GB-66GB bluray. This isn't just about the media storage, but the packaging, shipping and licensing between Switch and PS4/XB1 costs.
     
  4. Shifty Geezer

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    "Similar" is undefined. Similar could mean "under three bucks", but realistically carts are many times more expensive the cost per GB of discs.
     
  5. Syferz

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    We actually know that 16GB Switch cards cost $3 more than XB1/PS4 media, and 32GB cards cost $8 more. (Packaged) for 8GB and not 16GB to be in the conversation of similar priced, we are probably talking about quite a bit less than $3, and likely within $1. Remember Switch game packaging is much smaller, meaning you can ship more units at the same cost as XB1/PS4, so while the cards themselves might cost 2-3 times as much as discs, they are saving in other parts of that retail chain.
     
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  6. Syferz

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    Not just costs, but benefits with regards to no special 50GB SSD that some are suggesting to avoid install times, and game cards similar to what the Switch uses, should both increase in capacity and read speeds, at some point in the future, it will be much more feasible to drop the disc drive and installs for card readers that allow your hard drive to fill up with digital purchases and patches instead.

    When discussing next gen hardware, I do think game media is part of the conversation. I might be a bit optimistic about my time line there, it could be a year or two later, but if 64GB match 8GB cards today, early in PS5/XB5's life cycle, I think it would be worth it for them to consider it. I'll continue to discuss it in the other thread with any further opinions I have.
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

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    Where's that info from?
    You seem to be speculating based on gut feelings. This thread is full of numbers from suppliers. It's rather silly to just pick random numbers from the Ether when 130 pages of discussion have really investigated costs. Please read some of the latest posts that have real data.
    Huh? They're not much smaller than DVD cases.
    https://kotaku.com/nintendo-switch-game-cases-seem-like-a-waste-of-plastic-1792543211

    Also, what's great about this thread is it shows the same arguments going back 10 years and making the case for cards for XB1 and PS4. "Cards/flash costs this much now. In a few years..." That should be evidence that those generalised predictions not founded on a solid technological road-map don't actually pan out. Plus all the 'this amazing new tech will be released by then' ideas never ever work. Every 'just around the corner' tech takes an additional 10+ years to actually come to market where it may flunk in reality versus all the promises made when investors were being wooed. Any new tech for next-gen would need to be out and proving itself by now, I think.
     
    #2587 Shifty Geezer, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  8. Syferz

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    Couldn't find my source, I retrack my statement.
    DVDs: H190mm x L135mm x D14mm
    Switch case: H170mm x L104mm x D10mm
    I couldn't find much useful info in the last 10 pages, just a lot of assumptions and predictions from both sides.

    Not much on why flash isn't being used as storage, but I knew that, 72nm to 20nm they discovered that data rot took place too easily. XtraROM from micronix does solve this, and is why they announced 32nm last year for the Nintendo Switch (these cards should not data rot for 20 years), which uses NAND XtraROM (according to their product labeling on chip, NAND XtraROM uses MX23J marking, Switch game cards are MX23K, while all other XtraROM cards use "MX25") 64GB cards were delayed until next year, and as we've seen with DS, cards do eventually drop in price over time, which likely means that 64GB cards will come down similar to 32GB prices, while hopefully those chips fall to 16GB Prices.

    Just a quick note, the NAND XtraROM is a hybrid chip, and costs much more than NAND flash.
     
  9. Shifty Geezer

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    It's not in the past ten pages. This conversation goes for years. You should start on page 1 and see exactly the same arguments and predictions and evidence citations for this generation. Everything you argue has been addressed. It's a perfect little record of the discussion with 20/20 (20/6 for the benefit of Zed) hindsight as the internet uniquely provides - every debate recorded verbatim and with the chance to review every prediction after the fact! You could try reading on from here, but you really need to start from the beginning and see exactly the same conversation followed by references to DramExchange, repeated for years, and still the only people using flash are Nintendo because there's no other option for a handheld.

    In short, you have the increased cost of the media plus the increased cost of manufacture (pressing discs is instant and cheap whereas writing cards is slow and more costly), making production at least 10x more expensive. Then you have performance concerns - if the media can't be used directly, it needs to be cached onto a fast media (HDD/SDD), which means more expensive media at potentially notably higher prices. That's where we have people suggesting games could be more expensive to compensate. Then you also want internal storage for downloaded content anyway. And then the suggestion that flash could be used for that to.
     
  10. MrFox

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    You'll notice a pattern going on for 10 years and 130 pages. Which is that predictions are never coming true on one side. While the ones doing more work to discredit wild claims have been correct.

    Bluray was suposedly dead in 2008. Yet the xbox X and Pro still use a mandatory bluray drive, and a standard HDD. Still no carts, no ODD-less sku, and no SSD despite the high end nature of those products.

    Because flash remains too expensive per GB.
    Where is that claim coming from?

    Macronix is using a charge trap cell, 4bit/cell, on a 3d structure. It was explained on their website. On the surface that description is similar to latest 3d nand but they don't need write endurance nor complex writing circuitry nor any form of wear leveling.

    The hybrid part is a simple controller integrated to do a read only access, and a consumer-provided DRM scheme.

    The needs are much simpler than any write-capable devices.
     
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  11. Syferz

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    It's been reported to be xtrarom from micronix, the NAND XtraRom comes from the product number on the game cards. It's more expensive than NAND flash, and you can't really use normal flash solutions because of Data Rot, it is explained in my post.

    I am mostly discussing Switch, I don't care what PS5 uses, if people want to spend hours installing a game from some ancient technology that computers dropped over 5 years ago, that has nothing to do with me.
    I'd personally just go all digital if that was the case.

    The reality with Flash is that Switch already uses it at the same capacity of a 360 game, double that both at $60 price tags, quadruple that is available and next year it will be possible to use 64GB game cards for games on switch, if that ends up having a premium of $70 or only ran with special editions of games, that is fine.

    10 years ago, the biggest flash cards being used were what? 128MB for DS games? 4GB just a few years ago and now 32GB? So what's the point of this thread? A reasoned discussion that hard drives are cheaper than flash drives? I think that's valid and makes sense for consoles, but that doesn't mean that console makers won't eventually realize that discs are reaching their physical limit in both capacity and read speeds, if they weren't, they'd be in every computer box, instead of software manufacturers shipping you a link or USB flash drive for your installations.
     
  12. MrFox

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    Where did you read that it "cost much more than nand"?
     
  13. Shifty Geezer

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    No you're not; you're discussing carts as a next-gen solution replacing optical disks from your first post that prompted this resurgence.
    With so much bias, what's the point of trying to have a discussion? Your mind is clearly made up.

    Which is an option, but one that alienates a large portion of game buyers. Reality is presently some 50% I think of games sold are digital. Make a digital only console and you may lose millions of customers. Thankfully the people who makes these decisions look at Data and don't just go with what they personally like.

    You've missed most of the argument. What's the read speed of these carts? If you want to run games from carts instead of HDD, you need like 100+ MBps. So your pricing needs to be for higher-end storage. Or you use cheap storage which won't be fast enough to stream content, so you have to install it, so need large storage anyway - why increase the price of games if you still are going to have installs and run from HDD? If you go download only, what about people on data caps? What about people who want to buy and own, a large portion of gamers?

    You've waltzed into here as if in 130 pages, none of this has been discussed and you've swept in, all enlightened, to point out how stupid discs are and how confused we've all been. "Switch uses carts. Duhhh. PC dropped optical drives years ago. Duhhhh. It's so obvious, two years from now, no console company will be stupid enough to use disks." This is a technical forum for technical discussion and solid arguments from people who actually want to discuss. I suggest you read the frickin' thread until you start to notice all the same arguments you're using, and then consider what's changed and what new if anything you can add to the discussion.
     
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  14. Syferz

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    First off, "mostly" doesn't mean only, I'm looking at it like this, Switch will use 64GB cards next year, Next gen could be 3 or 4 years away, and currently 8GB Switch game cards cost similarly to 66GB bluray discs, (This information is sourced, and correct, even if you denied it in the thread and moved my post here)

    My post quoted below here, is just opening up the possibility that Sony and Microsoft might look at game cards as a solution for their console based on the reality that Switch games can match the capacity of UHD bluray discs, and while flash prices will drop, disc capacity and read speeds are not getting much better.

    "Not sure 100GB bluray discs make sense for Next gen over similar priced 64GB game cards, with higher capacities being available for more. (this priced similar is on the idea that 66GB bluray discs are similarly priced as 8GB Switch game cards, but that these capacities continue to grow at this price point and may see 64GB cards be similarly priced in 2020. This would mean no installs for physical media, a big complaint over the 6th generation."

    Whether 64GB flash cards become similar to 66GB bluray discs in 2020 or after a process node shrink. (currently Switch game cards produced all the way to 64GB use 32nm process) The price difference could happen during PS5/XB5's life cycle.

    Pointing out realities of disc based media is important in a thread like this, yes I dislike disc based media, but it seems I'm not the only one carrying around a bias around here, I'll try to tone it down, but I was on my phone in bed when I posted that, and got up to my desk for this post, hopefully I'll clear up enough of the mess here. Yes you have 130 beautiful pages of a "wall of shame" here, but I seem to be the only one using knowledge of current game cards used today in these discussions, while everyone seems to be relying on 10 years of history, it's data, but if you are only looking backwards, how can you predict the future?

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2...ed-removing-the-xbox-ones-disc-drive-after-e3
    If you look back through my post history here, I mentioned that Xbox Durango had a disc-less version, I actually have some sources at Xbox division and discs were not always the only option. With Microsoft pushing Game Pass, and flash media getting cheaper and cheaper, it's not unrealistic to say that Microsoft might drop the discs from XB5. (what I call the next Xbox, as I refer to XB1X as XB4 in my own opinion)

    Does the Switch game card not exist? is this 64GB card not going to be usable? Switch games do not install from the card, they would directly from the card. If a 64GB game card doesn't need to be installed on Switch to play the game, why would a PS5 64GB card made 2 to 3 years later, have to?

    That is your own wording, look again at my first post I quoted, the first 2 words I used was "Not sure" I didn't say that discs wouldn't work, I said that it might not make sense for future consoles to use discs if similar flash capacity and similar price of those cards, already exist in a competitor's platform.

    As for what's changed? Well in 2008, bluray discs were the only option for 50GB games or larger, next year that will no longer be true. Yes there will be a premium next year on that card, but it will get cheaper. I'll point at a launch Switch game DQ Heroes I&II, it's a 32GB card that was $80 at launch, that is the expected 64GB card price in 2019, I'm not going to say it's going to be $60 in 2021-2022, but it will probably be $70.

    Look, if you don't think I've contributed anything to this thread, then just ignore my post, I don't plan to change people's minds. I'm not saying this is all 100% going to happen, but I'm not sure that discs make sense for next gen consoles, especially the Xbox 5.
     
  15. Shifty Geezer

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    This thread didn't start and end in 2008. It started in 2008 and continued up until posts in 2017 when Switch launched, with relentless speculation about the decreasing costs of flash, non-stop references to DramExchange and actual prices and transfer speeds, and every point and counter point. In 2008, people were predicting prices in 2010. In 2010, predicting the state of play in 2012. Etc. There is literally ten years of people using the same references, and the data isn't ten years old but the current data at that point of the discussion. Exactly the same arguments are presented as to why Durango and PS4 should use carts.

    References to Switch are mostly redundant unless you are expecting Switch levels of assets. eg.
    Switch is driving a mobile chipset with 4 GB RAM. If PS5 were to have 12 GB RAM, it'd need proportionally 3x the transfer speed.

    Yes, there are pros to your argument and reasons to include flash. They've all been stated, 100x apiece!
     
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  16. MrFox

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    The decision to make carts limited in capacity is cost.

    The decision to pay a lot more for carts is because portability requires it.

    The decision to scrap a digital only console is because the market research have shown it's suicide.
     
  17. BRiT

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    Yeah, thats really hurting the tablet and phone games market...
     
  18. MrFox

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    It's not the same market, and therefore not the same result from market research.
     
  19. Syferz

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    I did read back 10 pages, before switch launched, and I am making an effort to join the discussion to share my view point. I never meant to come off hostile, so thank you for not jumping on me.

    As for the RAM argument, this can also be achieved with longer load times.
     
  20. BRiT

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    I know that, I just couldnt resist. Probably should have included the run-away snarky smilie.

    So now that this has surged to life again, how long until rediscussion of hypercube portable media hits or how $100 or more can be knocked off the price of a console going optical-drive-less?
     
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