Possible for different next gen release strategy?

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by Jay, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Jay

    Jay
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    First thing. For sake of argument let's just take it for granted that both Sony and MS will be going AMD next gen, until we learn something different.

    Can either Sony or MS deliver their next console at different times or price points?

    This question came to mind when someone said, "MS can just release a more powerful console a year after whenever PS5 is released."
    I just thought, is that going to actually be true though.

    If PS5 is released in 2019 can X2 be released in 2020?
    If PS5 is $400 can X2 come out at $500?
    And any combination like year later same price or more.

    The 1X it was possible to do due to the overall improvement to the package from my point of view, e.g. the extra memory allows for the "4k assets" which 4pro doesn't. This won't be the case next time around.

    But given Sony and MS has access to AMD's roadmaps, both will have same considerations I.e. 7nm, zen, navi(?), hbm/gddr6.
    I don't see how it's possible to either release a year later even for $100 more and have a package that is a big enough improvement for people to feel justified waiting for, or paying extra for a year later or if released at same time?

    A bit more memory, and/or couple more terraflops at 4k, I just dont think would be enough to make a big difference in multiplat games, first party art design will probably be the bigger difference than the difference in hardware.

    Is there something that you would feel would be worth the extra money for, waiting for?

    Sony has to wait for the tech to be ready at a viable cost, MS probably wants to wait for the 1X to be able to be priced as their budget console.
    Nothing says that those will coincide though.
    Sony can't go early, MS can't go late?

    I think Sony due to the overall success of PS4 has more space to maneuver, but 1X may give MS some wiggle room depending how it does in the market long term.

    But I just don't see how either can really come out later or more expensive?
     
  2. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Seems like related to the predict hardware thread, but I guess if it's about strategy is a slight spin off, but honestly they're going to be tied to the hip.
    Reality is that both MS and Sony see the direction they want to head and the technology roadmap that is available in a way that we have only limited insight to.
    The thing is, if AMD continues to be the provider for both Sony and MS, then the possibilities that they release within the same time frame are extremely high.

    AMD will draft licensing agreements to them both for the different hardware that they want, and both companies will decide how much money they want to spend on R&D etc.
    So really, it's not a matter of what Sony does and how MS responds, or vice versa.

    It's really a question of "where does Sony want to go, what's direction, and what hardware and what prices points will support it". And the same thing will apply to MS. If their directions are different, then timing of hardware release and the price points will be different between the two companies. If the directions are the same, then the prices points and release timing and likely the hardware will be the same.

    As much as people like to think that Sony and MS 'respond' to each other, as if they design a console in 30 days or something, it doesn't quite work like that. These consoles have years of planning involved as everything from platform, OS, drivers, hardware, costs, price, marketing, developer support, SDK kits, etc everything has to be built. It's not something that you can on the fly adjust for.

    You can look at the 1X and see how many scenarios the team had to cover, older SDKs use 3TF of power, newer SDKs can use 6TF for BC. This isn't some sort of freak accident. All these things had to be considered. Same with 4Pro, they had a mode for boost and a mode for no boost.

    So you should probably be asking what directions the companies are headed, which will provide the most insight into their hardware choices for next generation.
    I think they will have similar directions for the future, but how they intend to handle BC (if at all) will impact both hardware, timing, and price choices. Whether they choose to support VR and how will also impact choices. What other platform/ecosystem changes they could have in mind that would impact timing and hardware choices. etc.
     
    #2 iroboto, Jul 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  3. Jay

    Jay
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    I didn't want to drag the hardware thread down with non technical aspects.
    I don't disagree with what you've said.
    and i dont think the companies are reactive in terms of when and what they release.
    But, MS has said they wanted the power crown back, and that is partly a reaction to the ps4.
    neither company operate in a vacuum either.

    My point is though, can you see where they could go a different direction and release consoles that come out at different times, or cost.
    I haven't been able to think of one, which would require both releasing at same time and cost bracket. Which goes against the X2 releasing year later
     
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  4. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Yea, I meant the writing towards people who nonchalant commentary about reactionary moves on the interwebs, it wasn't referencing your stance directly.
    MS has always released an extremely powerful console since OG Xbox.
    I'm pretty sure the official statement was to return to their roots, as XBO with TV + Kinect was a deviation of their core value proposition; I would see 1X as a return to form.

    That being said the reason why direciton matters so much has a direct impact on hardware, pricing and release timing. I'll make a simple example:
    Objective *MS decides that they will support the vision of XB library moves forward indefinitely, each console will always be capable of BC to native XBO titles with the old SDK.
    Objective *All BC must be software based, no additional hardware required for BC

    Okay, so lets look at that one in particular. Let's assume, this scenario is true for a moment, and that these are the business requirements. First thing is first, they need to develop the hardware and software together to make sure that software BC works all the way. A problem that they run into is that the new architecture doesn't play well with the older architecture at all. For a software BC solution, there needs to be even more powerful hardware to make up for all the translations that will occur in software.

    okay so in this scenario
    a) MS needs even more powerful hardware because the software BC is not running well enough on weaker hardware
    b) the more powerful hardware is too expensive or is not ready

    So by default, MS must wait, or add hardware to provide native support. But this is not sustainable as a solution.

    Lets now assume Sony attempts the same objectives, and through their own testing and calculations, they see exactly the same problem as MS. This is obvious since they run the same architectures.
    So either Sony waits for more powerful hardware, or they don't value BC, and they cut BC out entirely, and thus can launch sooner.

    And so when MS does launch, both later, and more powerful, it wasn't because it was in response to, but because their core value proposition made them.
    Thus, MS would now be on a slower console release trajectory, but players would never lose their library either.

    Its up to the companies to decide their vision.
     
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  5. Jay

    Jay
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    Can't say I disagree with any of that on paper.

    The question then becomes is BC enough to warrant either a more expensive or later (and still possibly more expensive) machine?

    That was part of my initial post, what could warrent either being later or more expensive?
    Compatibility is important to MS, that much we know, but if it affected the cost or when it releases to the competition, I'm not sure how well that would work out for them. Especially as in my view the increase in hardware may not be that visible in multiplats
     
  6. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Part of moving their whole library to PC is to encourage folks to build PC. It's hard to view this in any other way. They've made PC a better gaming platform by releasing their exclusives onto PC. That is in complete contrast to what Sony wants, which is, they don't want their console players to leave to the PC space.

    So even though, MS is delayed in bringing out new hardware or what not, those that need supreme power can bank on PC. And they're support them. I wouldn't call this a crutch, but it definitely buys them time to deliver hardware they want to deliver, while still pushing the graphical boundaries with PC. The start of any console generation doesn't necessarily push out any really impressive titles, we've not really seen it. i mean it can, for sure, but with mid gen refresh coming into play here, the difference between next gen and mid gen, the graphical difference 'first time experience/mind blowing graphics' is muted.

    The rush to get to next gen is for what purpose? The leadership is set to the end of this generation at least, what's the rush to throw away your profitability; why would Sony do this when the company is dominating and raking huge revenues, a next gen restart triggers an opportunity to lose out on revenue and customers. What would be so profitable about next generation that they would need to rush it now?
    4K? Sales haven't indicated this is true
    VR? Sales haven't indicated this is true

    So where we rushing to?
     
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  7. Jay

    Jay
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    Rushing has nothing to do with it apart from releasing at different times.

    Some people believe PS5 will be 2019, but even if it's 2024 the point is the same, can either company release at different times and at different cost for the next gen?

    Your view that MS can wait due to the PC side of things is a valid view though.
    You pretty much agree that the difference in graphics won't be so great (due to things like the mid gen consoles), but that's one of the reasons that I believe it will be hard to justify a higher cost or releasing later.
    The next gen will differentiate with the mid gens based on cpu more so than than out and out graphics.

    If MS is slowly getting out of the console space then relying on PC is the way forward, if they wont to remain competitive in the console space though, releasing later and/or more expensive when there will more than likely be very small difference in hardware or very small visible difference(including game play due to cpu) could be very hard on their console business.

    I have to admit I was only thinking about MS wanting to remain competitive in console space, but maybe your right and they won't care.
    I'm going by the noise they make about being committed to console, although things can change.

    For the record I don't see their commitment to PC the same way as you though.
    They may not mind people moving over to pc, but that doesn't mean they don't won't to remain competitive in the console space, as there's people who don't won't to play on pc and it's them they wouldn't won't to abandon to Sony.

    There is a big cross gen period though, well has been up till now. But it doesn't mean that the foundation of the early sales aren't important, momentum and mindshare can be gained very quickly.

    I personally think the 1X will get away with releasing a year later and be more expensive, I just don't see how that would work out next gen though given I can't think of anything that would be enough to justify it, that includes BC.
     
  8. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Okay I see where you are going with this. But the topic is too wide, too many possibilities to narrow down to have a conversation about it. I would say that there is an optimal release time (thus price) with each console spec. Releasing before that optimal time is rushing, after is delayed. With respect to that what you're asking is whether a console can afford to have different specs from another console for next generation, thus ultimately resulting in different release timings or price points.

    With the assumption that no hardware vendor will release a inferior product with the same price point later, the answer is most certainly yes. For the sake of discussion, PS4 imo, was on time. XBO was delayed. Mainly on top of being weaker the OS and drivers were not ready. See DX12 customizations but only releasing with DX11.

    See 1X vs 4Pro, a perfect example where they had no choice but to release a year apart.


    I'm just thinking out loud, I wasn't sure what you were looking for so I tossed out some ideas. I don't believe MS will exit the console business, for the same reason that I don't see them dropping the surface line. Too many features that MS makes are never used, without a console to push the baseline forward things become like last gen. ie, no one started using DX11 features until the release of this gen even though DX11 has been out since 2008 IIRC.

    When I was discussing reasons for releasing hardware, it's clear each company has a large agenda, and they aren't going to be the same. The need for MS to continue to push the console space would force users to switch to W10 once all games become DX12 based. That's a critical piece that doesn't matter to Sony. And that is a critical piece that matters to MS, as it affects their whole product pipeline and will for the foreseeable future.
    see above. The commitment to PC is to ensure that developers continue to develop with Windows and DX12 in mind. I don't think they really care where the best place to play is, they will use their console as their baseline to push their agenda.

    I don't know if MS would release later, or earlier, or on time. It's all speculation. I just know that MS has been taking the steps to build the infrastructure for all their future products, that includes both UWP, DX12 and Apps. Largely between this generation and next, there should be virtually no difference in Code work between working on 1X today and working on xbox 2 tomorrow. The OS is already complete, the API is known. Only DX12 hardware feature sets are for next generation are unknown, but we already know what they could be based upon what DX12 supports (looking at documentation).
    How you code a DX12 pipeline based game is the same as console now.

    There are no shock or surprises happening here, the roadmap is pretty clear. MS wont botch next generation launch like they did with XBO with delayed software etc.

    When you consider these points put together, they have some flexibility to work with, since I don't suspect think that Next gen will suffer from the slow ramp up of "optimization switching". Anything you can do in the future you should be able to do now. With the exception of a couple of things that require hardware features.
     
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