The Console Arms Race: Is This What Console Gamers Want?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Shortbread, Mar 18, 2016.

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Do you like the idea of half-cycle (tick-tock) upgrades and forwards compatibility?

  1. Yes. Yes I do.

    48.0%
  2. No, I do not.

    26.7%
  3. I really haven't decided yet.

    8.0%
  4. PC master race!!!

    12.0%
  5. Sorry, is this not where they're handing out free sample bacon sandwiches?

    5.3%
  1. function

    function None functional
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    Sales were already declining in last gen by the time PS4Bone came out. That wouldn't be the case now. And "last gen" games weren't "crappy" because new systems came out, they just seemed crappy because the old hardware was so ... old. The latest Tomb Raider on 360 is hugely impressive. Would the game be any better if the XB1 version didn't exist?

    And how about XB1 owners? Are all their third party games "crappy" because PS4 has a faster GPU?

    While the greatest technical showcases came towards the end of last generation (as they generally do), by mid way through even a low end modern graphics card could easily blow past the best of last gen without breaking a sweat.

    If someone being able to play more advanced versions of games on a newer console bothers you, how do you sleep knowing that from day one the PC was massively ahead and that as of this summer (with 14/16 nm landing) it'll be light-years ahead? Or are third party games only "crappy" if another Playstation fan can get a better version of them?
     
  2. Entropy

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    I see two or three major drawbacks with shorter generations of compatible hardware.
    The first is that introducing the next generation takes the place of introducing the cost reduced "slim" and possibly "even-slimmer". And judging by sales data those models are big sellers, adressing another customer demographic that prefers smaller/quieter/cheaper products with established software libraries. If the PS3 would have been replaced by a PS3.5 in 2009 priced $150 higher than the price dropped PS3 at the time, wouldn't total sales of consoles, and more importantly, software have dropped? I would worry that the more casual part of the console market would simply be lost, leading to accelerated market contraction.
    Second, it locks manufacturers into a particular architecture. Imagine doing this at PS1, PS2 or PS3 points in time, and what the consequences would have been of that. Figuring that a gaming PC-on-the-cheap constitutes the end-point of dedicated gaming hardware design isn't necessarily correct unless we decide to make it so.
    A third point that is more of an observation is that lithographic progress looks challenging beyond what will be marketed as the 7nm node. Since the console business model depends on revenues from software and services rather than hardware, it doesn't seem to make much sense to push hard on the lithographic bleeding edge for stationary devices. The gains in performance is likely to be modest, and increasing fixed costs in chip production will be amortized over fewer devices. Add diminishing visual returns/FLOP, and the justification for shorter generational cycles looks weak in my personal crystal ball. Making one such play could be a last ditch effort on MSs part to not loose further ground on Sony, but as a long term strategy I have a hard time seeing a strong case.
     
  3. RedVi

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    I'm for it but have one important question. Should every third iteration be a fresh start? Say you have PS4, PS4.5 is anchored to PS4 by using very much the same technology only shrunk, widened and clocked faster. So should PS5 be an all new architecture that will break compatibility with PS4.5? Or would it be more like GCN>Wii>WiiU where it evolves only enough to not break compatibility with the previous console but (officially, at least) drops the one prior to that? I can't say I'm for that approach and you only need to look at the WiiU to know why.

    Why this is important should be very obvious to everyone here, but why it would be accepted by consumers is a bit more of an unknown. Personally I am of the opinion that the only people who would buy a PS4.5 and the like are somewhat more of an enthusiast/upgrade junkie/graphics whore. These people don't need nor do they want over 3 years of life out of the same device, so they are the people to cut short as they will gladly purchase a PS5 2-3 years later. Of course you will have the 'casuals' that are late to the show who instead of buying the PS4.5 will go for a cheaper remodelled PS4. Their devices supported life will also be short, but that is the usual experience for them so nothing has changed. Same deal if they go for the PS4.5 when the PS5 is out, provided the PS4.5 ever gets heavily discounted or has a hardware revision or if it simply is a limited time thing for the enthusiast type I mentioned previously.
     
  4. Shortbread

    Shortbread Island Hopper
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    I think most of the concern still stems from those gamers who lived through the SegaCD, 32x, JaguarCD, TurboCD, N64-Ram pack, and so-on, era. In other words, just a huge cluster-fuck of worthless hardware upgrades that didn't get supported correctly. GRANTED, times have changed with software/hardware being more scalable and easier to support across platforms. I think most console gamers want to enjoy the same experience as their counterparts, without one having the upper-hand in the IQ/FPS department.

    Although this maybe petty (right or wrong), console gamers are just fickle in that way. They don't want their investments to be sidelined within a 3-4yr cycle, and now having to worry about their gaming experience being less than their counterparts. Sure one can argue that the PC gamer (with the proper equipment) is already enjoying the better experience by the virtue of having so many configurations available. However, there is so much in-house bickering amongst PC gamers about who has the better hardware (Intel vs AMD vs Nvidia and the multitudes of configurations of HDD/SSD, motherboards, ram, etc...), in essence turning off/away certain gamers (console gamers) from even looking at a PC for gaming needs. Because they will always feel they're lacking the latest technology within the PC space. Yes, it's just a simple revision of scaling the hardware up (hopefully ), but it's probably more than enough to make certain console gamers worry about the path Sony/MS are taking.

    Sure it's easy to tell consoles gamers to man-up and except the changes that are to follow... but history has shown, if the majority of console gamers aren't ready for a direction change, be it new gadgets, upgrades, stiff-pricing, forced policies and so-on... it's doomed within the console space from the start. And honestly, I can see the new bickering and console warriors BS wars amongst the same base (PS4 vs PS4K / XB1 vs XB1.2) on how their gaming experience is better than the other. I see it everyday within the PC space... :/
     
    #64 Shortbread, Mar 21, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
  5. Shifty Geezer

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    They had higher sales there because the core gamers had moved on. PS3 was outdated long before PS4 released!
    You couldn't have a proper versions on PS3 - the hardware isn't powerful enough. They were next-gen games ported down to old hardware.
    Why?

    Then look at the crappy framerates of titles like TLOU and how much better that game is on PS4.

    No, it's play the same PS4 games you'd play anyway, including games that start to show the age of the machine in a year's time and struggle to keep decent framerates and IQ, or choose to upgrade and play the same library in better quality. So play Dreams 2 at 30 fps average with dips down to 25, or play Dreams 2 on PS4k at 60 fps. Play DriveClub VR with static TOD and reduced weather effects and lower quality shaders, or play the TV experience with all the weather effects in VR.
     
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  6. Egmon83

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    Sorry I still don't see the point.
    If the core gamers move on to the improved PS4 then tens of millions are potentially left with crappier games. Look at PS3 to PS4 history, or some developers history with PlayStation in general.

    TLoU ( okay for PS3, there are current generation titles which have bigger framedrops.
    Compare GTA5 PS3 (with it's framedrops okay) to Watch_Dogs PS3 and tell me Watch_Dogs is the more technically demanding title, as well as visually more impressive title. I don't think it's either.
    If GTA5 PS3 ran and played like Watch_Dogs PS3 then I could have agreed; an upgraded PS3 would have been a necessity.

    Good developers will make sure that the game runs and looks the best possible on the hardware they are working on. Most of the developers have been known not to do this; going as far as shipping completely broken games (Skyrim), claiming the hardware is at fault for the 0fps or single digit fps, and then coming out with a patch regardless when put under pressure by Sony, suddenly the PS3 is able to render the game without single digit fps.. Their games always run like shit, a PS3.5 would have fixed that only temporarily. The moment they target PS3.5...

    I also think the beauty of a fixed platform will be completely lost. Hardware does not make good graphics, developers make good graphics.
    PC has had +terraflop GPU's for years. How many PC racegames, or PC games in general have the same level of lighting, windshield raindrop, or accurate rainbow simulation that Driveclub has? It's true that PC's could run Driveclub at 300 fps if you buy enough GPU's, but the reality is that none of the PC racing games have the same level of detail. While they should be able to have 10 times the detail.
    Most developers that want to push graphics technology further will target 30fps regardless, as history has proven.

    This is all my opinion btw, I see where your coming from but I don't really agree with it. VR could use more power, this is true (even if Valve is talking about supporting Nvidia 660 -level hardware for Vive). But the essence of the game, like drive club, which as a VR title, has enough to it; not even Forza 6 has realtime lighting. Why should drive club have it, IN VR?? VR should/ will be more immersive with 8 opponents vs non VR but with 80 opponents. When PS4 VR cannot support game concepts in a immersive way anymore, then bring out PS5 sure
     
  7. function

    function None functional
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    At worst they'll be marginally less well optimised. They'll only be "crappy" compared to games on more powerful systems. In this sense, PS4 multiplatform games are "crappy" right now compared to high end PCs, but that doesn't seem to bother you. Why?

    ... and?

    It's not about what's "necessary", it's about what people want. Software scales to the hardware. The worse the hardware the more it has to scale down.

    "Good developers" ship games despite all the difficulties they face. The "best possible" game would never ship.

    And what about Naughty Dog, who made TLoU run better on better hardware, with minimal work? Are they a crappy developer too? Polyphony?

    PS4K will still be a fixed platform. If "good graphics" were unrelated to the hardware, how come Uncharted 4 looks better than Uncharted 3?
     
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  8. London Geezer

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    Honestly, I still don't know what to think about this.

    I'm pretty sure this whole thing just means Sony will release a PS4k which plays 4K movies but leaves the gaming side of things untouched. I'd go as far as maybe having some hardware to help VR out, but even then that's a big assumption.

    If Sony were to actually release a PS4 with better specs to play games better (higher res, better framerates), then that's really never been done before and I'm not sure how to feel about it, yet. It could be a stroke of genius, if executed right, or it could be the end of the universe as we know it.
     
  9. Egmon83

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    I stated my opinion before, there are certainly good developers. Comparing Polyphony or Naughty dog to Bethesda with regards to software performance?...

    TLoU did not run that bad. Again, if TLoU PS3 ran like Watch_Dogs PS3 then sure, the developers would have needed much better hardware to make the game work. But they did it on PS3, with better performance than Ryse, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, AC: Unity, AC: Syndicate

    How come Forza 6, a game released 5 years later, on hardware 10 times more powerful, has inferior lighting to GT5? Both games strive for photorealistic lighting. Only 1 achieves it. And in realtime, not baked. Does Forza 6 have more polygons? yes, higher resolution? sure. Dynamic weather? no Variable time of day? no Volumetric shadows? no. And so on.

    Developers make good graphics.
     
  10. London Geezer

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    You're not making a lot of sense. As usual :runaway:
     
  11. Michellstar

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    Yes they could, I was arguing this from the POV of Sony.
    As a customer, I´m "all in". If only to see how the market and the competition reacts.

    Would MS give up in gaming??
    Would NX be re-outperformed before its outing?
    Would the market accept this move?

    About keeping both consoles in the market, I think it´ll depend on its performance, If they are really close, less than 20% I don´t believe Sony it´s going to invest in two different socs. From day one, all production should be PS4+

    If their performance target it´s greater than that, they could use the same 16nm soc, and disable CUs to match PS4 performance, What do you think??
     
  12. Michellstar

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    Well the gaming market it´s more diverse than ever, consoles/pc/mobile, etc
    and Sony has been successful focusing in the traditional market, now they are going to offer a VR device, that will open new experiences, and customers, being the lowest entry price point, no doubt about its success

    Do you realize that this fighting against apple/google is part of what poisoned Ms with the One, that ended being a Jack of all trades... Maybe those Japanese have moved into other devices, and a beefier PS4 it´s not going to take them back. Also cassuals are better off with a cheaper box, it has always been this way.
     
  13. MrFox

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    BC should be a given next gen. I'm all for FC if it helps eliminate launch drought, and removes the complexity of developing cross-gen games during the transition, but I'm against a shorter cycle if shorter mean significantly less than 6 years. (so I answered "No" because the question presented FC as a mean to have a 3 years cycle or something)

    (random guess) This rumor might be the PS5 in an early planning phase, and they would be contacting devs early about forward compatiblity. They will have to change the PS4 game testing methodology as early as possible. So maybe they are making sure the games today will be developed with FC in mind. Regardless of the launch window. If it's announced in two years, launched in 3 years, that's a normal 6 years cycle.
     
  14. wco81

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    Would it be that hard for developers to target both PS4 and PS4.5? So much incremental costs?
     
  15. tuna

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    That has not happened yet (for games anyway).
     
  16. Silent_Buddha

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    It has been done before. Nintendo did it with the New 3DS. It has a more powerful (more cores) CPU as well as an additional analog thumbstick. There are some games that offer an upgraded experience when played on a New 3DS versus a 3DS (like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate). Albeit they messed up a bit by making Xenoblade Chronicles 3D exclusive to the New 3DS versus having a 3DS version and a superior New 3DS version.

    Sony has sort of done this. PSP was originally locked to 222 Mhz. Almost 3 years from release it basically got a hardware upgrade to 333 Mhz (just Sony removing the 222 Mhz lock). It's not absolutely equal to a hardware upgrade, but is similar. Especially where it concerns game development.

    I wonder if Egmon83 thinks PSP developers suddenly became lazy when they suddenly had more power to work with on the PSP? :p

    Regards,
    SB
     
  17. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Atari also tried this with the 5200, which was a high-end 2600. I think it's fair to say that objectively successful examples of this model working are difficult to find. I hope both companies follow through on this.
     
  18. Egmon83

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    You should have picked the 32MB>64MB ram upgrade for the PSP
     
  19. ThePissartist

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    I honestly wouldn't mind if both Sony and Microsoft released yearly hardware upgrades in the same way that Apple and Samsung do with their mobile phones. Providing game compatibility works between each of the platforms, including resolution increases with each new box.

    In fact I was kind of expecting Microsoft to do it when they named their box, One.

    So yeah, 4 yearly hardware releases is definitely preferable to having them every 7-10yrs.
     
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  20. Shifty Geezer

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    If those devs aren't optimising for PS4 anyway, it makes no odds. The difference will be they'll (Ubi, Bethesda etc) 'target' PS4 and produce a single-digit framerate game as usual, but you'll have the option to buy a PS4.5 and run it at a better framerate. It's not like these devs are going to target PS4.5 and generate single-digit framerate games there, and have PS4 play the same game at a standstill.

    You seem to be thinking of this as a new gen with back ports. What we're talking about is an incremental improvement. A performance advance too small to target meaningfully in making a game changing different, but one that means you can play the same games only in better quality. Think of a PS2.5 in 2003 that played SotC at a stable 60fps. Or a PS3.5 in 2010 that played Borderlands at a solid AA'd 60 fps. The base PS2 and PS3 would be exactly the same for those consoles as we experienced. There'd just be a Gamer+ mode for the more serious gamer who's willing to invest a little more in their hobby for a better epxerience.

    Lowest common denominator and market forces driving investment. You actually contradict yourself here. As you say, the improved GPU isn't targetted but the lowest common denominator is (consoles). Hence we can trust that PS4 will remain the devs target, and 4.5 will just get quality adjustments like a more powerful GPU. There's little reason to think 4.5 will be the target platform and PS4 will struggle to tun the titles.
     
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