The Middle Ground Approach: PC, PS4, XB1

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Shortbread, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. eastmen

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    But this goes for any game. Any game regardless of quality can take away sales from another game. What I was responding to is if a 3rd party title went for parity on the two consoles it would loose sales to a first party game that was able to maximize for the higher spec console.

    I'm sure it could but it doesn't mean it will and I gave the example of cod. On the ps3 dispite killzones and resistance COD continued to sell just as well or better. They aren't conclusive.

    As for the current consoles , I have a wii u and xbox one and I will enjoy them for the next couple years. But like last generation I'm sure by the 3rd year everything but exclusives will be played on my pc.

    Last generation it wasn't long till I had a pc build which was better than any of the consoles enabling 1080p and more. By year 4 I was able to play with eyefinity and by year 6 eyefinity and high levels of FSAA were possible. This generation it may happen even faster. The 360 compared pretty well to the x1800 that was right about the high end of the time. But the gpu in the ps4/xbox one doesn't hold a candle to the r290x which was the high end at roughly the same time as their release.
     
  2. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I think my original premise has been modified. All things being equal, a third party title and first party title, appealing in equal measure to a potential consumer, technical execution could be the critical factor that makes a consumer go for the exclusive.

    It sounds like Steams's console model maybe more your thing, if it works out as planned. And you'll be able to upgrade of often as you like, just like a PC.
     
  3. Jay

    Jay
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    @eastman
    If that's what you was responding to, then you miss quoted as I never said anything there about exclusives taking away sales from 3rd party games.
    I was saying that as a publisher you may not want your game to be seen as substandard on a platform as some people may not buy it when they see it compared to the other platform.
    Whereas parity in a game, people wouldn't see it as substandard, just not pushing it as much as it can.
    Minor differences may be ok, but big ones may cause them more problems sales wise (and fan response wise).

    I think there's an inherent expectation that exclusives and first party games will look better than a multiplatform one
     
  4. Scott_Arm

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    This gen will also be different because it may be easier than ever to make a nice looking game without doing insane software optimization. If a developer can make a nice looking game that plays well without tapping the hardware as much as possible, they probably won't, and that's not a bad thing. Most people have no idea what's going on under the hood, and they don't really care. They just want a game to look good while they're playing it, and that's totally fine. Come up with a game concept, make it look good and make sure it plays well. If the GPU isn't stressed out, who cares. If you make a good game people will buy it, as they should.
     
  5. Silent_Buddha

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    From a publisher's POV, why put in significant effort to make one version look better than the other for quite possible extremely minor boost to sales on the better looking platform, while potentially then having worst sales on the worse looking platform.

    It would only become a net benefit if the sales on the better looking platform significantly outgain the losses on the worse looking platform. If the net effect is that gain = loss, then you've just wasted a whole ton of money on eeking out that last bit of performance to make the more performant console look better.

    Hence, for the majority of publishers it makes the most sense to save on developement costs by making the assets of all versions of a multiplatform title have the same quality. Then if the developement team has some extra time on their hands they can throw in some low costs items like better AA, AF, etc.

    And in the end that's what we generally see with a few exceptions. COD last generation for example, generated so much revenue and profit, so why not push each platform. Other titles generally couldn't afford to do that, especially when the chances of them making back their original investment are so slim to begin with.

    Console hardware publishers (Sony/Microsoft) can afford push things more just because it doesn't matter as much if they make back the investment in the game. If they can change the perception of their console enough to boost hardware sales, then any losses from software development are potentially made irrelevant from greater hardware sales bringing in greater software licensing revenue.

    Multiplatform developers basically have zero incentive to make one platform look better than the other. And many incentives to make sure they look similar and when possible perform similarly.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  6. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I would very much like to see evidence that some platform owners don't buy games for that platform if a competing platform offers a better experience of said game. Assuming that person doesn't own both consoles and is simply choosing the platform which runs better.

    Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner.
     
  7. Silent_Buddha

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    If you're going to ask for that, why not provide evidence that the better looking version will sell more than if it looked the same as on the competing console?

    In both cases there's no way to prove it one way or the other as numbers don't exist because you'll never have a situation where you can compare sales of the exact same title that looks the same on both to sales of the exact same title that looks better on one versus the other.

    However, companies can and do closely monitor the developement costs of their games. And to increases those development costs, there must be a very good reason that the additional cost will result in a substantial increase in total revenue (significantly greater than the additional cost of development) or it is just not worth it.

    Hence, it is the norm rather than the exception for titles to look the same on both platforms as that requires the least development costs leading to the best chance to recoup initial investment and hopefully make it one of the 30% of titles that actually generates a profit. Increasing development costs just makes it more likely for it to be one the of the 70% of titles that generate a loss for the publisher.

    The only exceptions are generally early in the lifecycle of consoles where one platform may be significantly more difficult to develop for than the other. The PS3, for example, compared to the X360.

    This generation both consoles are so similar in architecture that the point where there is basically parity between the two console in assets and performance will occur much sooner.

    And if history shows us anything, it's that more effort will be expended to bring the harder to develop for console into parity with the easier to develop for console rather than attempting to make one version look better than the other. Again, PS3/X360 showed us just that. With anecdotes from some developers claiming that 2x-3x more time was spent on the PS3 versions of multiplats in order to bring them up to visual parity with the X360 version.

    In other words, visual and performance parity is much more valuable to multiplatform titles than having one version look better or worse than another version.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  8. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I've never claimed this. Did you mis-read my post or is directed at someone else?

    My experience as a PlayStation 3 owner last gen was that most games looked and ran better on Xbox 360 so I dispute that parity being the norm. There were a few isolated cases - Tomb Raider (2013), GTA V, that had the edge on PlayStation but for the most part, Xbox 360 ran multi platform games better. Higher resolutions, higher frame rates, better/more alpha blended effects. And thus far, this generation seems to be the same with PlayStation and Xbox roles reversed. Actual parity - resolution, framerate and effects - seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.
     
  9. Silent_Buddha

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    You'll also note how I said that developer anecdotes put it at 2x-3x the time and effort put into the PS3 version in an attempt to bring those versions up to parity with the X360 version. As well, most of the anomalies were in the first 2-4 years of the PS3. Later in the generation it was basically parity between the two.

    Yes performance varied slightly. Resolution may have been slightly less. AA/AF might have differed slightly. But things such as differences in alpha blended effects were generally less in evidence than at the start of the generation. Even COD reached virtual parity towards the end of the generation.

    That is the goal that developers/publishers strive for. How difficult it is to achieve that determines how quickly it will happen in a generation.

    And there will always be some anomalies. Especially if the lead platform is more powerful/easy to develop for, and work on the other platform doesn't start until late in the development cycle. At which point it may not be possible to reach perfect or near perfect parity. But as long as work start within a similar timeframe, you'll end up with parity more often than not. Especially for the assets. Other things like AA, AF, etc. will be more variable and easier to adjust depending on performance. Resolution will likely be the last resort for "parity" as performance consistency will likely be more important. And resolution will be unnoticeable for the vast majority of consumers so that's an easy trade off to make. But there will likely also be exceptions where both resolution and performance have to make trade offs in order to maintain parity in assets and effects.

    Publishers and developers, however, will try to keep those to a minimum.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  10. Commenter

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    A lot of developers showed no mercy with the PS3 so why should mercy be shown to the xbox one? Of course, maybe you don't want really to want to piss off Microsoft either.
     
  11. Silent_Buddha

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    I take it by "show no mercy," devoting up to 2/3 to 3/4 of the development budget to the PS3 version is showing no mercy? Please...

    For titles that were obvious ports of the X360 version (like Bayonetta) that may be the case where the development budget was basically a small budget to port, but for games that were planned and developed on both consoles simultaneously (like COD) that is certainly not the case.

    And considering that pretty much all multiplatform titles this generation are likely to be developed simultaneously due to the similarity between the consoles and PC...

    Regards,
    SB
     
  12. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    This is pretty much what I was getting at.

    Also, to address the specific case of Destiny, I think it being cross-gen has more to do with it having similar visual quality on XBOne as PS4 than any deliberate intent on the part of Bungie for there to be parity between those two systems. It was probably much easier to get the XBOne version up to 1080p (after the updated SDK) than it would have been to add things to the PS4 version to more fully utilize the hardware at that point in development.
     
  13. fbomber

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    Last gen, PS3´s versions of multiplats were, in general, worse than 360´s, and I don´t think it affected the sales. I really don´t see a reason for a change this new gen, with the roles reversed, be it a resolution difference, or AA method, or something else. Total parity, given the difference in performance, is not something I expect. Xbox One owners should blame MS if their version of a particular game is inferior to the PS4 one (as it should be). Maybe next time things are done differently by MS. If last gen PS3 were treated as you are advocating now for the X1 to be treated, maybe sony would not make the right choices and the PS4 could be a disappointment.
     
  14. Jay

    Jay
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    So let me see if I understand what your saying:
    PS3 games didn't suffer sales wise, even though they were inferior
    Sony learned a lesson that the games sold well even though they were inferior, so make a more powerful machine next time.
    Sorry, I just don't get that logic and it makes no sense to me.

    From what was said if XB1 games are to be treated the same as PS3 games, then a lot more development time should be spent on them. Which should teach MS some sort of lesson?
    Once again, I just cant follow your logic.

    Time was spent on PS3 games to get them as close to 360 as possible, even if that meant a pretty large disproportionate amount of time that could have been used to push the 360 even further.
    Personally I don't have a problem with that. Better that than a failed PS3 console.
     
  15. fbomber

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    Let´s put it the simple way:

    1) Sony suffered as PS3 console sales were lower then they could be. Now, they made the right choices (a more powerful console and simpler to extract performance) and PS4 is selling better. MS is now suffering the same Sony did at PS3 era, and they deserve it.

    2) Devs will spend more time on Xbox One version, the same as they did with PS3. And, the same way back then, they will not be pleased. But, even doing so, the PS4 version will be superior (at least resolution or AA will be better, with minimal effort). The lesson for MS is that gamers will buy the competing console, as the majority of games will be better there, and that´s exactly what´s happening. I own both consoles, and will buy the better version of any game I want; so, more PS4 games for me this gen, the same way I bought more Xbox 360 than PS3 games last gen.

    What I´m trying to say is that, the same way as last gen, one console should perform better than the other at multiplats, and it would be ridiculous if devs start to artificially limit the PS4 version. I didn´t see that kind of thing being even discussed for last gen: artificially gimping Xbox 360 version so the PS3 version didn´t look subpar.
     
  16. Commenter

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    PS3 had blu-ray so inferior multiplats didn't hold it back. Xbox one has no substantial differentiator whatsoever now that Kinect has been taken out of the equation other than a few MS exclusives.
     
  17. eastmen

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    While it may seem that way right now , we don't know what will happen. Kinect has been a bust this generation so far but a title could come out of no where to change that. Even VR could make Kinect a player again.

    MS does have the tv stuff. They could come out with a cheap tunner to enable DVR functions that could prove to be a popular feature. We should see the start of that later this year with the beta of their tunner .

    Another thing could be price. With Kinect gone looking at the two consoles the xbox one should be cheaper to produce and since the SOCs are said to be the same size and the xbox uses cheaper ddr 3 ram. We could see the xbox one become signifigantly cheaper at retail.


    And again if a dark horse becomes popular in 2 or 3 years say VR becomes a big deal. If could give a valid reason for MS to hit the reset button and move from the xbox one over to a system designed for VR. A 2018 Console would be much better suited for vr with 9nm chips fast ddr4 and newer GDR ram to power 4k resolutions and cutting edge VR glasses.

    Neither of the current systems will be ideal for VR. Both already have enough trouble with 1080p esp the xbox one.
     
  18. Billy Idol

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    You have any proof for this?
    My Impression was that basically all Games were developed on X360 and afterwards 1-2 devs brought it over to PS3. I can remember that e.g. Sacred 2 was basically ported to PS3 by T.B. with the help of another developer (there is a DF interview out there). 2 devs are Not 2/3, so your claim cannot be true?!? Do You have a Source for 2/3 up to 3/4 Development Budget?
     
  19. Scott_Arm

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    2 devs?

    Even if you were right about 360 being the lead for "all games" the PS3 teams would be much much much larger than 1-2 devs.
     
  20. Billy Idol

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    Of course "all" is exaggeration, FF13 being a famous example. Wrt the number of devs:

    Here is the link to the DF interview of Tobias Berghoff (T.B.):

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-sacred-2-1080p-interview

    This is as far as I know the only time we get real insight into how many devs worked on the ps3 version of a multiplat game. For other games, no info is IMO available.

    Again, where is silent_buddhas source that 2/3 up to 3/4 of they've budget(!) was spent for ps3?
     
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