PS3 Strategy/Confidence Retrospective

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by scooby_dooby, Oct 23, 2007.

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  1. function

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    Just to retreat a few posts, when Sony released the PS1 I don't remember anyone saying CD was overkill. CD had already been used by the PC, PC-Engine and Megadrive years earlier, and the 3D0 and Saturn had already embraced CD.

    On the contrary, it was Nintendo who were being criticised - and I think the N64 demonstrates why MS's decision to use DVD wasn't wrong.

    On the N64, cart manufacturing costs made it unappealing to produce software for the system, and cart space limitations made the production of certain killer apps impractical or impossible for it. DVD in the Xbox 360 does not have an associated cost penalty (probably the opposite initially) and its size limitations are such that it does not preclude the kinds of killer apps that MS need (as has been readily demonstrated). For these reasons we can say that DVD is good enough for this generation.

    The hardware and software sales figures say it all.
     
  2. AlphaWolf

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    Being cheaper would have sold consoles also. I don't think disk capacity is anywhere near as limiting/benefit factor as memory which no doubt was also a price consideration.
     
  3. Shifty Geezer

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    By the time BluRay games are selling consoles, the 'winner' will probably have been decided. If one console establishes enough of a userbase to attract all the 3rd party titles including exclusives, it doesn't matter what drive you have, and the ultimate driver of userbase is price+games. Given two console with suitable libraries, you'd expect the first to major mainstream prices would be the champion. In a hypothetical case to prove the point, an analogy that won't have Carl calling for the men in white coats, if PS3 remained $600 for the next 3 years while XB360 drops to $150, XB360 will outsell PS3 a lot and attract exclusives. As it is most titles are cross-platform and unlikely to use BRD as a result. Those who advocate the decision to have left out BRD rightly point out that a $400 PS3 would be selling a lot better now; the appeal of a cheaper console far outweighs the appeal of games that need 10+ GB of storage.
     
  4. aselto

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    If by "look better" you mean more content (=better value), then perhaps, but if you mean it literally as better graphics than Blu-Ray is the last thing to be cause oof PS3 having better graphics.
     
  5. Jesus2006

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    Better could also mean more and more various textures or bigger levels/games. I'd clearly prefer the latter one, looking at the length of some of the current high defintion or high class games on the current next gens (e.g. Halo 3, GeoW, HS...).

    I doubt a 900+ cars (as latest rumors state) GT5 would fit on a DVD...
     
  6. Shifty Geezer

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    As many have noted before though, chances are budgets will run out before disk-space! If developers are to make use of BRD capacity, a 'quick assets creation' system needs to be available.
     
  7. Nite_Hawk

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    I imagine people have probably already beaten this thread to death, but here's my two cents. It seems to me that the PS3 wasn't a result of arrogance in the way that people are describing here, but rather was a result of poor management. Individually everything in it sounds nice. Wireless controllers, exotic and fast cpu, tons of connectivity options, blue ray player, built in wireless and built in hard drive. In fact, had there been a market for "home computing", and had they pre-loaded a really slick linux distro lined up with tons of pre-installed software like they originally claimed, it might have been a good strategy. The problem is that that market dried up with the Amiga and Atari and has never really returned. People don't appear to really want home computers, at least not right now. They certainly are not willing to pay a premium for them.

    I really think that the higher up people in Sony thought that the home computer strategy was viable and that people would see the PS3 as a bargain compared to a similarly powerful PC instead of as a grossly overpriced game console. Clearly, they picked the wrong strategy.

    Nite_Hawk
     
  8. Arwin

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    As I'm just about to tell Shifty in the other thread, I think you're wrong. Content generation is a process that can be streamlined very well once you know more or less what your target platform/rendering engine can handle. Also, at the start of this generation some years ago a lot of middleware has been shifting focus towards facilitation the ever growing art department. Both the Unreal Engine and idTech5 have strong focus on making handling the art easier even across multiple platforms, including features to scale graphics to your target platform.

    Content generation is hard and more expensive in the early days of a next-generation, as you are not really sure what you should have targeted until a year after the target platform has actually launched. But both middle-ware and internal art creation and management tools, both of which have also been maturing during the difficult first new-gen development cycle, will streamline this process significantly for the next generation of titles.

    An early example is Insomniac who took just one year to create Ratchett & Clank, building on not only the Resistance engine (though significantly adding texture streaming), but also tools and a streamlined art creation process that was developed during Resistance and paid off handsomely for Ratchett & Clank (a gorgeous looking, 22GB sized game that at least according to Insomniac's own podcast wouldn't have fit on a DVD even without the different language soundfiles being included on one disc).

    In other words, your quick assets creation system is here already, and it will get even better and more efficient over the next years.
     
  9. assen

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    Arwin, while in principle you are right, I thing you are wrong when it comes to numbers. A dual-layer Blu-ray disc has about 7 times as much capacity as the Xbox 360 DVDs; while content creation becomes faster and cheaper with time due to better tools, I don't see it becoming 7 times cheaper/faster. The most capacity-hungry types of assets - voiceovers and CG cutscenes - don't become cheaper/faster at all - voice actors don't suddenly start to ask 7 times less for their services, and CG movies are a bottomless pitt, sinking whatever financial and computational resources are thrown at them. Sure, producing high-poly models for normal maps is easier now thanks to Zbrush and Mudbox, and one day Endorphine-type software might do the same for animation - but in a AAA game both take relatively minor percentages of the total asset budget.
     
  10. Shifty Geezer

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    I disagree (to Arwin's post, as assen butted in before I was finished! :p). Laa-Yosh will be our best expert on the subject, but tools can only take you so far as long as people are involved, and it's not just a matter of learning the tools. eg. Take an artist and give them oil-paints for the first time. Let's say it takes them 6 months to produce their first reasonable work. Noe they're used to the tools and media, the next picture takes 3 months, and the next 2. But eventually you'll be limited by the work-rate of the artist, and he won't ever be able to produce more than one painting every two months. In the last gen shop with room for only 6 paintings, it was okay because he could keep up supply. The current shop has room for 18 paintings but half of it is empty because he can't work fast enough. I hear the next shop they're building has room for 64 paintings, and they're expecting this artist to fill it! The solution is to get in more artists, with the appropriate increase in costs.

    If it takes a modeller a month to do a full character model for a current-gen game, we can expect that won't increase next-gen because already they model very high to produce normal maps. But we can expect a need for more models - we don't want the same cloned characters over and over, like Uncharted's pirates. It's still going to take the artists the same time to model the characters, and you'll either need 5x the artists to get 5x the models in the same time, or you just don't bother. That's what I mean by quick asset creation systems. If generic models could be created and clothed with an automatic system by passing parameters, it becomes viable. Or you take an existing model and process it with morphs into different derived models using procedural synthesis, but come next-gen wouldn't we expect that to happen in real-time? We're even wanting it to happen this gen!

    Umm, not sure what this has to do with the topic now, nor how to veer it back on track!
     
  11. patsu

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    I don't think it's that simple. First, Kutaragi already acknowledged that the PS3 will have multiple configurations earlier on. So that picture doesn't really paint anything unexpected. Before PS3 launched, Sony sounded more than they want to play by ear (referring to your comment about their contingencies). So they definitely have multiple contingency plans.

    However I think they did not expect Nintendo to do so well. Their attention was on MS.

    I also don't think their entire strategy fell apart. Based on the GDC presentation, they clearly have a plan, but it takes a long time to execute while trying to manage losses. A key problem here is (due to the delays) they did not have enough time to package and prioritize PS3 features properly (so it simply appears as a loose collection of hardware features).

    Meanwhile, it is the managing loss part that constrained their marketing. They can't afford to spend too much on marketing.

    To get out of it, Sony will:
    * Follow through on their original vision
    * Rethink their marketing and address their negative PR (There are still ways to re-ignite the flame)

    They raised US$1.2b, so hopefully they can get on with it :)
     
    #291 patsu, Oct 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2007
  12. PARANOiA

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    To be honest, I think what Katuragi's vision for the PS3 was is completely out the window, now. The new Sony is interested in profit over a long-term, high-risk engineering vision. Katuragi would likely be spinning in his executive chair's grave at the removal of BC from the PS3.

    Not that I disagree with the new vision of course - but stating that this was part of "Katuragi's Vision" doesn't do a lot to convince that this the diagram posted is in any way a good thing.
     
  13. patsu

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    The less essential, too far fetched and not money making ones will be chopped off :)

    The PS Home, RemotePlay, HD strategy and entertainment hub will be carried along (at least for now).

    What they have not done yet is to clean up the marketing.
     
  14. Arwin

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    Really? Although he never talks about graphics, I feel Mike Acton would actually know more, because he's part of a team that not only can afford the luxury of thinking about using BluRay, but actually uses BluRay for better looking games. (oh wait, no, if a game on the 360 can be made that is half the size but looks just as good, my argument is null-and-void. Oh noes! ;) )

    Your metaphors are amusing. Since you seem to enjoy them so much, I can only give you Bob Ross. Or, the modern day equivalent, SpeedTree. Hey wait, the latter fully integrates with Unreal Engine 3. And happens to also be used in Ratchett & Clank (and Resistance, and Call of Duty 3, etc.). Coincidence?

    And you don't think we'll get more tools that can just put anyone's face into 3D and/or average out / randomise some features?

    Doesn't need to happen in real-time. See, that's why we have storage space. If it does happen in realtime, that'd have been fodder for the DVD crowd (like procedural textures and such).

    Easy peasy. We were discussing Sony's strategy and whether or not BluRay was going to be a visible contribution to that. And just in case you forgot, I've been arguing that yes, it will be. ;)
     
  15. PARANOiA

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    Did you miss my post asking you to name some games that I can buy, today, are better off for having BluRay, and detailing why they are better for it?

    All I can think of are multiple languages in Resistance, and uncompressed audio in Lair. Heavenly Sword had FMV that could have been done in engine, too, IIRC (though I didn't play the game). To you that might be worth the extra cash, but not to me :lol:
     
  16. Arwin

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    Yes, I did miss your post, but since you're in Melbourne you can't get Ratchett yet. Otherwise that'd have been my most obvious answer. Uncharted also just has gone gold, and didn't that game also just barely fit on a single layer?

    Of course right now price differences between 360 and PS3 in Melbourne are really huge, aren't they? So in your case the extra HDD space, built in Wifi and BluRay movie capabilities aren't as much value for your money as they are in the other regions, where the difference is 100 euro/dollar at most (Halo 3 bundled 20GB is 379 here, 40GB PS3 is 399).
     
  17. PARANOiA

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    Actually, R+C is on shelves now here, believe it or not. How good is worldwide releases. Someone needs to a fire a rocket at Nintendo, seriously.

    And like I mentioned, I picked up a 360 Pro + two games + extra controller for $600-odd last year, which includes software BC. The 40gb PS3 is about $650 (I think a little more?) and has no games, one controller, no BC, and no HD cable. By the time I took it home I'd be looking at about $800 to plug it into my Bravia and play a game. So there is a huge difference in price still - at least over here. Australia always gets screwed, though, however it's certainly comparible to other regions.

    As for Wifi and Bluray movies, I'll admit they're all part of the value prop, but neither have anything to do with my main hobby, and key reason for purchase - playing games.

    Now, to the meat of your post - you note R+C is better for being on Bluray. In what ways - how big is the game, and what is taking up the space? I haven't looked into Uncharted, but I'll let you detail what takes up so much space there, too, since I'll be able to play it before year-end.

    Keep in mind, I'm not trying to be a jerk here - I just want to you quantify your claim that BR is better for games, let alone that those differences are worth the price premium. So far I have seen no evidence that either is the case, so here's your chance to prove me right.

    Cheers.
     
  18. Arwin

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    I don't have the exact details, only that on their own weekly podcast (last week of september), Insomniac have stated that the game takes up 22GB on the disc, and even without all the audio packs for the different languages language it still wouldn't fit on a single double layer DVD. If that's not good enough, then right now, I won't be able to convince you ... (Singstar, with 30 HD videoclips on the disc would be another game that has better graphics and needs BluRay but I'm sure that one doesn't count for many people. ;) )
     
  19. -tkf-

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    We never got a asset breakdown on Heavenly Sword, but if the "cutscenes" could have been done ingame cheaper and faster instead of captured and encoded and put on the disc as video, i am sure they would have done it, right?

    Lets play a little (this is about games), let a developer run "wild" with his game, no size limit on the media, there is a transfer speed and a seek time to take into account. If the developer is doing Pixel Racers he wont see a gain. If he is doing Drakes Fortune he might see a gain. When he is done with the game it takes up 8 GB. Putting it on a 7GB disc would mean he would have to compromise, maybe drop a track, a night race or something like that. Or in the case of Blu-Ray he just burns the disc and his game will look like it should.

    In the case of heavenly sword 10GB sound is alot and afaik it was a mix of uncompressed and compressed sounds. How much it would need to be compressed to fit on a 7GB disc along with the rest of the assets is an interesting question but it would still be a compromise.

    And if a multi platform game like Assassins Creed is fighting disc space because of multi languages why shouldn´t lair benefit from the extra disc space on it´s multi languages?

    Because of the console war i doubt we will see lots of remarks about how something was sacrificed because of lack of disc space. But common sense should tell us that more space is always better. And in Drakes Fortune it may turn out to be an absolute demand, if the 3 x DVD size is true.
     
  20. Laa-Yosh

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    Well, if by "streamlined well" you mean us working our butt off...

    Ratchet's texture and geometry detail is not qiute comparable to Resistance, and where are we from a game like Gears or KZ...

    Systems don't mean that much, it's the artwork. Better artwork - more time to create it. Passing asset data around in the pipeline is maybe 10% of the workload.

    Good content will take a lot of time and no streamlining can help that.
     
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