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

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

  1. ninelven

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    Except they won't be competing against the 360 or ps3.....

    ...anyone with a 360 or ps3 has no motivation to buy the console, genius. The 1st party titles aren't the crutch they use to be.
     
  2. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    They will if they launch first.

    Tell that to the 80 million Wii owners. They certainly didn't buy for the performance advantages.
     
  3. Nesh

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    Well, they didnt own a PS3 or 360 before ;)
    Considering that both have motion controls and their next iterations will also have motion controls, I dont think that 360 level visuals will help them much unless Nintendo comes up with another novel idea.

    Or Sony and MS screw up their motion control support and the next Wii is viewed as the better value for motion control gaming
     
  4. corduroygt

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    True, Nintendo has always had the strongest, best selling "family friendly" first-party franchises. It's hard to compete against a 25-year old heritage of Marios and Zeldas. However, this also means that they're really not interested in how easy it is to port Call of Duty to their system, and therefore x86 doesn't really give them any advantages.
     
  5. corduroygt

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    Could you please link to file sizes of launch 3DS games? Nintendo certainly doesn't see more than a handful of titles exceeding 2GB, I can promise you that.

    The cheapest non-sale, non-rebate, non loss-leading 8GB SD card is $12 at Newegg at the moment. That's a heck of a lot more expensive than a DVD/Blu-ray that costs pennies. Size is also not very important in a set top box to consumers, they'll rather have a Wii-size unit than something smaller to get games for $10 cheaper.
     
    #905 corduroygt, Mar 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  6. eastmen

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    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168890039001082

    cheapest non loss leading bluray is $8 ..


    Blu-rays also don't cost pennies.


    You also don't seem to grasp the concept that Newegg makes money off that 8GB SD card. Let me break it down one more time for you.

    That $12 at newegg goes like this


    1) A company buys a silicon wafer
    2)The fab creates nand chips using that silicon
    3) The fab then sells those nand chips
    4) The nand is shipped to the company that purchases it
    5) The company that purchased it packages it .
    6) The company then ships it to Newegg
    7) Newegg then sells it for a profit .

    Everyone in the chain has to make money . No one is doing it for charity. That $12 that your paying for the 8 gig card at newegg is after a 20-50% mark up by newegg . Its after all those other fees are added to the device.

    The fact of the matter is simple . If nintendo /ms/ sony was to switch to flash for its games they would be buying flash memory in the tens of millions of units and get it at cut rate prices and knock off most of those steps from the process.

    Whats more is when you factor in the $30-$50 it would cost these companys to include an optical drive in the system and factor in the 40-80million units these companys hope to sell over the life time of the device you would get 1.5B or more that these companys can invest into making a fab and htey could partner with one of the companys and push the process nodes further and faster than without them. Each time a micron drop happens you can increase game capacity without increaseing the price and sometimes decreasing it. At 34nm it took 2 chips to make 8GB of flash , on 24nm it takes a single 167mm2 die. 3bits per cell nand flash will reduce that die size by 20% .

    You try and brush this all on the side for your blind love of bluray which is not a format that makes sense for a next gen console .

    The reality is going to get hardier to hide from as the year progresses and you see the price of flash drop like a rock. By the end of this year even you will have a hard time arguging against flash in consoles.
     
  7. -tkf-

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    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817501067

    Bluray discs under $1 a piece... so under $1 for 25GB of data vs $12 for 8GB or $36 for 24GB

    What we also have to consider is that recordable blu-rays are expensive compared to a plastic stamping production of "real" discs.

    So flash is over 36 times the price compared to a recordable disc or more like 50 times the price of a stamped disc. It will take some serious Moores law on crack to get close to Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray would have to stop dead in cost reduction... which it won´t since it´s growing very fast.

    And if you factor in the number of games sold on consoles for example over 600 million copies the smallest price reduction on the manufacturing has a real value or price increase...

    Lets pretend you "just" pay $5 more pr game on a flash card, that is 3 billion dollars for those 600 million WII games.
    How many Blu-Ray drives do we get for 3 billion dollars? enough.....

    what a childish remark, grow up.
     
  8. RudeCurve

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    BDR are very cheap to manufacture let alone BDROM.

    BD-ROM costs less than $1 to manufacture per disc most probably closer to 50 cents.
     
  9. eastmen

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    no tfk those are loss leaders and don't count. You should follow the posts


    As for the rest of your thread its childish because you fail to take into account that sony ditched optical drives for flash !

    How much does a umd disc cost ? Under $1 ? How much will the flash cards they use for the NGP cost ?


    Yet they still went for it.

    You also don't seem to understand simple facts. 8 gigs of flash does not cost MS/Sony/Nintendo $12 its much less , its about 50c a GB which means 8 gigs of flash is $4

    Secondly it hardly matters how much more the consumer pays per game . What matters is how much more it costs the platform holder.


    Moving to flash a large burden of $30-$50 per unit is taken off the shoulders of the console manufacturer . A $5 or so burden is placed onto the game buyer .

    With optical the game buyer has no extra burden placed on them (or mabye they will last gen we got more expensive games while staying with dvd) while the console manufacturer has a $30-$50 per unit burden.

    If you move 40m units at $50 a unit your looking at 2B in losses for a game company to have to make up over the life of the product.


    As for prices once again todays prices of nand come from a mix of process nodes , while micron is on 25nm other companys have yet to fully move to 25nm. Then you have 3 bit per cel nand coming down the pipe and we have another shrink to look foward to in 2012 .

    When building a 2013 console Sony/MS/Nintendo wont be looking at $4 for 8gig flash . They will be looking at something under $2 for that amount of flash. Going on a 6 year console cycle and in 2019 it will be bluray that is constrained storage space and it will allways have been outclassed in durability , speed , noise , weight , shipping costs , packaging size , console size. , power usage.

    Bluray's only advantage is cost to the end user .

    Oh and btw http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820237216 I actual own the card and it runs to its advertised specs . Its only $19.99 for a 16 gig card. We can already see that the prices are artifical. 8gig for $12 yet 16 for $20 . Yes 32 gig sd cards are expensiev but its like anything else , its the largest avalible sdhc card and thus it carrys a price premium .



    Anyway I'm done with this arguement , its just the same thing over and over again . You guys don't understand how companys work and don't see the advantages of flash over bluray.
     
    #909 eastmen, Mar 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  10. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    I know theres a thread for this but! I can't resist. When Shifty comes in here and gives me a citation I'll know that I've been pimped by the law.

    Two important factors people seem to forget and go round and round in this debate.

    1. The number of consoles which either have very few to no optical discs inserted into them.

    With console makers going for selling more than just games with the online media services becoming a viable reason to own the consoles on their own and the number of consoles owned by people who may simply download every game it doesn't follow that every console actually needs an optical disc drive even if it is fitted. It doesn't mean that cartridges will definately be the means for distribution but it could mean that a SKU without an optical drive is a possibility.

    2. Publishers don't like the used game market and love the digital distribution market.

    Chances are, if a game costs X quantity more the publishers will be willing to eat some of the cost if it means that the used market is killed or rendered unto their control with them taking a cut on used game sales. Publishers jumped onto optical drive because it suited their best interests, they may jump on back onto flash if they believe it suits their best interests. So saying that they wouldn't use flash or pay more to use flash doesn't make sense so long as it is balanced out by some other benefit.
     
  11. -tkf-

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    Around here Blu-Rays are extremely expensive.. because there is a "pirate tax" on them.
    So most people buy their DVD and BluRays from webshops, i can buy a Disc from them for $2 including 25% Vat/Tax and a stupid low exchange rate for dollars which screws the comparison even more.

    And this shop sells nothing but discs, there is no "loss leading" in that shop, and i doubt very much that Newegg is losing lots of money on the discs i linked.

    $1 dollar = 25GB recordable media 50 cent for a stamped?
    $1 dollar = 50GB stamped?

    In 2019.. BDXXXXXXL +100GB, just make sure the drives are upgradeable...

    I proved to you just how cheap Blu-Ray media is, even at retail you can can rub your crystal ball all you want and even shake it a bit if you need to. The fact is, Flash is going to be expensive by a considerable factor.

    The interesting part of this discussion is not really the media price, that is pretty much a given and flash is going to be hard to predict.

    The interesting part is how much the BR drive would cost, and what the added value of the De-Facto HD video format is which is another advantage.

    Nintendo moved from carts to discs to DVD and Sony moved from UMD to Flash

    Nintendos next console better be with Blu-Ray :)
     
  12. eastmen

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    The main problem with this thought is optical drives are very slow. Even a 12x bluray drive which is quite loud is ony going to transfer at 54MB/s and thats with the first layer and optimal placement on the disc and not even going into seek times.

    So anyone downloading games will see the experiance hampered by the optical. You still have that $30-$50 drive eating up the margins of the system.

    Not only that but if a company wants to move to DD they have to go full out. Gamestop and walmart wont like having optical discs or even flash carts sitting on the shelves while the DD store is constantly putting things on weekend sales or what have you. They also wont want to give a discount to those who forgo the costly optical/flash format (in comparison to the cost of DD)

    I'm all for a DD only console. I rarely buy a pc game at the store anymore unless something really amazing comes with it . I just think they have to go full hog on it. Going half and half will lead to a psp go fiasco.

    The problem with BDXXXXl is drive speed and costs. Each layer will increase the costs of the discs drasticly and each layer will limit the speed at which data can be transfered.

    its great to have 100 gigs of data but if you have to go from layer 1 to layer 3 then to layer 2 then to layer 4 to get diffrent data your seek times and layer tranistion times will be all over the map.

    Lets also not forget that bluray has a maximum transfer rate that kicks in at 10,000 rpm which is a 12x bluray speed and is only 54MB/s


    You state flash is going to be more xpensive but its upfront costs in consoles are a few dollars where as bluray can be up to $50 and I'm sure in 2013 a BR XL reader at 12x is going to be very expensive .

    You state that flash is going to be more expensive but to who ? Upfront costs are lower for the manufacturer and costs per game is absorbed by the consumer not the manufactuer.


    you still haven't adressed the advantages of flash

    1) Lower up front cost
    2) Smaller case size (less expensie shipping , packaging , able to fit more at retail)
    3) Durability
    4) Speed
    5) Slot size vs optical drive

    MS/Sony/Nintendo could also use flash ram to get in on the used game act. They can sell a program to retail that will allow them to change a bit of code on the flash card to allow it to work on other systems and charge gamestop a few dollars each time its changed .
     
  13. Shifty Geezer

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    But a home console doesn't have to be any smaller! In a handheld, space and power draw are essential management issues, but these issues are relegated in priority in a home console, so you don't have to target a size that requires removal of an optical drive, nor target a power level where the power draw of an optical drive is too much.

    The only considerations for flash in a home console are cost of reader, cost of media, capacity, and performance, for which there are pros and cons for both systems and there's no obvious choice which to go with. The use of flash in handhelds is independent to use in a home console. In the same way some people pointed to UMD on PSP and said PSP2 would have to have an optical disk to provide the experiences of PS360 were proven wrong, looking at flash in a handheld where there's little other choice and deciding that proves its value in a home console is dubious logic.
     
  14. corduroygt

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    That's the stupidest comparison I have ever seen. That price is for the content, not the media. Good luck selling any content on a flash card that's more than a few megabytes for $8 and still making a profit. Good luck on making much profit on a "greatest hits" half price game if it's on flash. Good luck selling game compilations on flash and making much profit, etc.

    The same retail chain that SD card goes through will also apply to games, plus unlike that SD card, games will have to be copied to flash in bulk as well, which is another step that adds cost. So you're looking around $12 extra for an 8GB card per game, versus including a DVD just like the Wii for at most 10-15 bucks extra, or 30 bucks extra per console if they go with Blu-ray.

    Consider the alternatives of either selling 1 billion pieces of software with $5-10 loss each, that's $5-10B extra cost, or if they decide to pass the costs to the consumer, consider the extra loss of selling only 500M pieces of software instead of 1B pieces due to increased price and losing out billions in royalties. Either case, paying the $15-30 extra per console is cheaper for them.

    No one said Nintendo has to go with blu-ray either, they can keep using DVD.
     
    #914 corduroygt, Mar 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  15. hoho

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    Cheapest 4G flash cards are around 5-6$ on newegg and should be plenty enough for first-gen Wii2 titles, in a year or two 8G will probably cost about the same. Assuming game prices of around 35$ (rumored to be around 40) and flash having 2x markup from factory to shop that's around 7-8% of the final game price being made up from the physical media. I wouldn't call it all that significant. Yea, it's more than ~1-2% than for the optical media but considering the savings coming from smaller physical size and price drops coming from production advancements it's perfectly viable for next-gen consoles.

    Though as someone earlier mentioned, not having any optical media playback functionality might scare off people that want to use their consoles as media centers. Having SKUs with (normal) and without (lite) optical media could fix it.
     
  16. Shifty Geezer

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    Depends what Nintendo want to do with NES6. If they are competing with the highdef consoles offering superior hardware, 4GBs won't provide a good experience. You'll be cramping the assets, have crappy video, limited sounds, fairly limited scope, etc. If they just want to provide an evolution to Wii games, which are generally 2GBs or less* according to the Intarwebz, 4GBs would be enough for starters.

    *
     
  17. hoho

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    Yes but as I said 8GB cards will "soon" cost as much as 4GB does today providing at least as much space as dual-layer DVD.

    Although as you said a lot will depend on what kind of games will be made for the console. If most of them are relatively small party games as they seem to be for current Wii then 4G or even less could be enough for many of them even with the art needed for next-gen visuals. If some games need more then the flexibility of flash sizes will provide them the option to use more.
     
  18. corduroygt

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    They're actually $6 with $3 shipping. It obviously doesn't cost anywhere near 3 bucks to ship an sd card, so it's reasonable to assume that their markup comes mostly from shipping. You need to make distribution cheaper, not more expensive, and the cheapest method of distribution is digital, followed by optical disc. That's why I see a push for DD, not for carts in home consoles.

    The most radical thing that can be done, probably by microsoft, is to make the HDD standard and make the blu-ray as an add on included in the top sku, similar to the current HDD situation on the 360, and much better for developers who can now rely on its presence. All games would obviously be released on same day on both disc and download, and the download version wouldn't be allowed to undercut the disc version to protect retail channel relationships. Each blu-ray addon would be sold at a profit so there would be no losses there either.
     
    #918 corduroygt, Mar 2, 2011
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  19. hoho

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    That would make for a rather interesting profit sharing for developers. At the moment they get several times more back from DD than from physical sales. Assuming DD would be as popular as it is on PC console producers could get full financing for using flash by taking extra cut from DD sales. Even if they take 10$ extra per-game devs will likely still get bigger returns per sale from DD than from disk and average game price wouldn't have to rise
     
  20. Shifty Geezer

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    That all assumes Nintendo won't be targeting a wider audience than Wii. If they want to attract the 80+ million PS360 owners who like HD graphics and complex games, realistic COD and Uncharted and whatnot, to actually target next-gen, then they can roll out a cost effective but more powerful console than the current ones at a good price. That would then be pretty gimped by 4GBs. If you're wanting 8GBs as standard, DVD is way more cost effective. If you make 8GBs optional but with added cost to the publisher or consumer as a more costly game, you may deter buyers.

    The capacity/unit cost argument is heavily in DVD or BRD's favour. Only if the performance advantages of flash can be leveraged does it make a decent alternative. Otherwise the choice would certainly go with DVD over cost, saving billions.

    Edit: Another option would be a peculiar hybrid of flash and DD. Provide the basic game on flash, and a graphics upgrade downloaded to internal storage for those who want that sort of thing. The hardcore gamer will no doubt have decent enough BB to fetch a few more GBs of texture packs and audio files background downloading over a few days. Price would still remain an issue, but there's nothing that can address that. It's the very reason optical drives persist!
     
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