Where Does Gaming Go From Here?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by ThePissartist, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. ThePissartist

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    For generations now each new system released has strived for better graphics, with the SNES offering an improvement over what was once available for the NES. This logic has continued throughout the system releases up until this point. With each new generation tends to comes either a new genre that wasn’t previously possible, or a new game that monopolises the market (like Call of Duty did during the PS360 era).

    During the last generation, we saw new control methods come out with some great and some limited successes - Wii sales Vs Wii games sales, or the initial hardware success of the Kinect. None of these innovations appears to have changed the gaming landscape in any kind of significant and lasting way; sales of the WiiU have been very poor, the Kinect 2 being considered by some as a failure (the less said about PS Move, the better).

    We’ve currently got the promise of Oculus Rift / Project Morpheus / Virtual Reality as being considered The Next Big Thing, but it’s entirely possible that it’ll be another failure in the same way that the last generation’s new control schemes were (a lasting failure at the very least). Especially considering both the potential VR hardware requirements of “presence” (90+fps / talk of 4k screens) and also the hardware that’d need run at that resolution and framerate. Then we have problems where optimal play is considered on games with a cockpit view, or that our own movement doesn’t really translate to the view we’re getting in the game; i.e., I just scratched my nose, whereas my avatar continued holding the steering wheel. All of which further breaks that immersion. Even the original Virtuality hardware had a device that moved where your hand moved. Yes, I know that Project Morpheus and Oculus have some potential answers to this problem.

    Some of the generational changes that came in previously included significant ways in which a game is viewed, which led to whole new game types being released (like the 3D hardware of the original Playstation and the N64). Now we’re facing some degree of stagnation, since for the past three to four generations have only really had increased fidelity of what came before. Doom has essentially been replicated over-and-over-again. At what point are we going to have enough of the same game being released? Admittedly, there’s no great sign of it happening soon, since sequels still garner the greatest sales.

    We’re getting diminished returns with the latest and greatest graphics cards and consoles, even though the apparent specs and ability are increased by several degrees of magnitude with each iteration. We have some minor differences from the current pair of consoles, with some even suggesting that lower framerates / resolutions can be beneficial. If this is in any way true, then might we be near a plateau where graphics / framerate / resolution is considered largely adequate by most? The maximum we can expect is games looking real, but I’m not sure that those games would actually introduce any new genres or any games deemed significantly different enough. Maybe they might add further elements of emotion, then photorealism doesn’t necessarily bring more emotion (see Disney/Pixar films as an example).

    Then we have mobile phones which are only really treading over old ground, with lower power requirements.

    Where can we really go from here and when will the market stagnate due to incremental improvements?
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

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    1) Why is more of the same not acceptable? Most other pastimes are far less varied. eg. Why the hell do people play golf year after year after year with no promise of new rules, new perspectives, or new control schemes?

    2) We're a long way off diminishing returns to the point they no longer matter. The same games in higher fidelity are still well worth it for a lot of gamers.

    3) There's plenty of scope for emergent and interactive worlds to improve.

    4) Internet connectivity can bring something very new in ways yet to be properly explored with the masses of BW that will be available.

    5) Mobile is not only really treading over old ground. Blek and SpaceTeam are a couple of examples off the top of my head (and I don't follow mobile closely). Mobile has the potential to be the best thing ever regards local coop, with every participant having their own screen. It'll be couch coop with 8+ players, or a LAN party with the need to lug around big boxes and cable them up.

    Movies and TV will stagnate long before games do, as there's less they can do.
     
  3. DSoup

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    This for me. The PS4 is a better PS3. My current PC (Mac) is better than my last PC (Mac). Each generation offers a better gaming experience than the last.

    I was mostly very happy with the types of games on PS3 but in later years it's clearly a machine struggling in terms of resolutions and frame rates. It's basic specifications often meant a lesser experience than other platforms and Minecraft on consoles is a great example of this. It's very cramped on lastgen consoles compared to the desktop version.

    Games that aren't as compromised and a console that just works better. The fact that we're beginning to see some expanded mechanics like Shadows of Mordor's 'Nemesis' system, which add an interesting dimension to the way encounters with enemies work, is also welcome.

    I'm not expecting any paradigm shift in games but am looking forward to trying VR. I think the immersion created by a headpiece will have more effect on me than waggling a motion controller like its a sword.
     
  4. Scott_Arm

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    My expectation for games would be more and more online features, world persistence and complex simulations. As for input and display, I think they'll keep refining camera and motion control, and VR, but I don't know if they'll ever become the standard devices, at least not in the next 10 years.
     
  5. steveOrino

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    Depends on how old you are. Obviously if you played 3 or more decades of games you will probably have a different view than someone newer to games.

    This is part of life and the entertainment industry... whats trending always changes and thats why things come in and out (and sometimes back in) of style.

    If you feel like its stagnating then thats a personal opinion related to;

    What you have played
    How long you have played
    What genres have you tried or refuse to try
    what platforms you have/dont have.

    I have played games from many genres on many platforms for decades from US/Japan/Korea/Europe/E Europe/UK/Russia/China and I am never struggling to find new experiences to keep gaming fresh.

    I know some people really value graphics and so do I but if you feel they have "stagnated" then wait a few years. Many titles are working with cross generation design choices to either meet launches or economic obligations.

    New ways to interact with games is another challenge and many have attempted to reinvent the wheel but ultimately failed because they never matched the utility of the Gamepad & M/KB.

    Motion controls failed simply because they increased cost of input and or input error.

    VR is going to be interesting but I feel its ultimately going to meet the same fate decades ago (If they are released soon) because display/processing/comfort aren't there yet. Hopefully they keep iterating them till they are ready for mass consumption (Sony and Oculus at least are very careful about wanting to release before they feel its good enough).

    The game industry is still very young and I feel we haven't even begin to scratch the surface of what is possible in terms of they way they look and interact with them.
     
  6. ThePissartist

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    Considering all of the main console manufacturers have dabbled with new control schemes, VR, and things like the Illumiroom, I'm fairly sure that they're all considering what the future of gaming actually is. Nobody seems to have actually hit on anything solid yet though.

    I actually wonder whether Microsoft might be the closest, since a Kinect mounted on a VR headset could have enormous potential, assuming the focal range can be limited to a person's arm length (which I think it can). Seeing as they've also demonstrated its ability of tracking hands to an amazingly accurate degree, it's almost undeniable that they've considered some kind of Kinect mounted on a VR headset (even if they don't actually do it).

    Illumiroom was initially quite interesting, but I found their most recent demonstrations underwhelming.
     
    #6 ThePissartist, Oct 17, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2014
  7. Nesh

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    Regardless of the improvements, I still havent felt a considerable improvement compared to previous generational switches. They are there but not so strongly felt now.

    Consoels have improved the overal experience with the hardware though, with connectivity with other devices, with social features, with faster responses and ability to jump from one feature/function to the next. The consoles still have too much unrealized potential.

    Drive Club went very far with the details, but they are indirectly felt. Visuals still come with a few inconsistencies that brake the expected immersion.

    In terms of visuals, most "tricks" have been already experienced last gen. They just look better now. I have hopes for better material based rendering and physics but I havent seen much yet.

    Someone can say "VR" will provide that leap. Until I see the price tag and accessibility I cant really say.
     
  8. shredenvain

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    Sure gaming has stagnated as far new genres or types of games.
    You could also say that graphical performance has stagnated.
    The main cause for slow graphical advancement in my opinion is the 8 years of the last console gen.
    Sure Pc gaming graphics have continued to evolve as far as hardware power and higher resolutions, but since most Large publishers need console releases to help the bottom line they have continued support for the old conoles. This really has limited what can be done on Pc since the game has to be playable on consoles with low memory (512mb) and limited shader resources. The companies that focus soley on Pc releases dont have the money to take advantage of cards with 2, 3, or 4 tflops of power. The new consoles are going to help with this issue, but you still probably wont see anything taking true advantage of enthusiast cards. I pray that this generation of consoles only lasts 5 years.
     
  9. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    i think morpheus for PS4 will bring vr to the masses, or at least something like kinect adoption rate. they can use rendering tricks to reduce the performance burden. only render full quality in the area where the lenses in located, render in horrible quality outside of that area. MS research showed a video about this.

    EDIT:
    it was something like this
    [​IMG]
     
    #9 orangpelupa, Oct 18, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2014
  10. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    If they can sell 10% of what kinect did that would be amazing for a HMD.
     
  11. Sigfried1977

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    The reason for slow graphical advancement is that we've long since reached a point where everything looks really pretty damn good. We've had realistic looking people, landscapes and props for a long time now. Unfortunately we're now at a point where the rather small visual advancements still left to be made need hardware muscle and artist man hours an order of magnitude bigger than the readily apparent visual advancements of yesteryear ever took.
     
  12. mc6809e

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    There is probably only one or possibly two generations left of improvements to go in terms of image quality, detail, and frame rate, IMO.

    After that I would think better physics and AI are going to be targets for improvement. The need for better AI might even motivate a new architecture.
     
  13. Phil

    Phil wipEout bastard
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    I agree... I think if we were to draw a graph representing the overal improvement in graphics or to the overal experience in how we consume digital content, we would see rather large jumps from at the beginning of gaming, where we effectively went from 2d pixelated games to 3d low resolution / low poly / low textures to more complex worlds rendered at higher resolution, improved lighting and other techniques. Faking can already get you very far (i.e. faked reflection on cars like in older generation to real time raytracing), but I would think that as we move forward, more emphesis will be made on animation, perhaps object interaction (more dynamically rendered worlds) etc, but surely, the steps at which we are progressing are becoming smaller as we are moving forward. Perhaps because even a slight improvement proportionally takes/requires more performance.
     
  14. Goodtwin

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    Developers have more creative freedom thanks to hardware advancements than they have ever had, but creative ideas and new concepts are not a product of better faster hardware. In a lot of cases, we getting more of the same because developers creativity is often stifled by the publishers reluctance to deviate from what's proven to sell. In some ways, I do understand not breaking the mold with some of your biggest franchises. No need to flip COD or Assassins Creed on its head when its proven to sell millions of units every year. The problem is, so many of IP's are forced into trying to clone these highly successful IP's, and the diversity of games shrinks, and new unique game concepts are often shot down by the publishers for being to risky. With all that being said, the majority of new unqiue gameplay concepts have been birthed from a creative individuals mind, and not from the addition of more flops.

    Minecraft is a prime example. Its a hugely popular, and not because its a gorgeous game with high presentation values. I know Pikmin isn't a new IP, but I had never played a Pikmin game until Pikmin 3 on Wii U, and I found the experience to be one of the most unique and fresh experiences I have had from a videogame in a long time. So in the end developers have more tools at their disposal than ever. So even if larger publishers stick to the proven mold, we still have smaller independent developers who have that blank canvases to work with, and that's exciting.

    Edit:

    In case I wasn't clear, my point is that hardware limitations are less and less of a problem for developers. Creativity should be at an all time high thanks to so many technical hurdles being removed by modern hardware. If gaming grows stagnant, its not something more T-flops will cure.
     
    #14 Goodtwin, Oct 21, 2014
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  15. DSoup

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    Shadow of Mordor is an interesting variation of Assassin's Creed (from one of AC's original designers) and subtly introduces deeper strategic gameplay into what is otherwise a very AC-like game. True, the parkour is more fluid and combat is better as well, but enemies vie for power against each other and can be edged this way or that. It's a game mechanic that Monolith couldn't fully squeeze into 360/PS3 but which introduces a deeper layer to the game which can both be enjoyed by those who like it but otherwise ignored by those who don't care which orc they decapitate.

    I'd dearly like to see more of this. Being able to manipulate, compromise and shape characters in your open game world makes you feel much more apart of that world, rather than you just being set against that world as a backdrop (GTA).
     
  16. ThePissartist

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    Agreed. I guess this is why indie games really grew during the last generation and coming into this one. As you state, one of the biggest games of the past few years is indie - it's a worldwide phenomenon. It goes to show that if something is original and fun, it really can sell in huge numbers. I'm still not sure that we've had anything like the true generational change from 2D SNES to 3D Playstation. If I remember correctly the Saturn was created with 2D still in mind and it really hurt them as a result. Sega were a bit too comfortable with the status quo, it actually took a newcomer to change that gaming landscape.

    I seriously doubt that anything’s going to be different this time around, since the hardware are created with no new or outlandish functions built into them; unless you consider an HDMI-in as providing gaming with new functionality. Which, of course, it doesn’t. To be fair on Microsoft, at least they’ve tried something new even if their understanding of what gamers are interested in was quite far off the mark.

    Maybe it is that some of us are simply too old to see new games as anything other than a cliché of what came before. If the younger gamers are happy then why change anything? With every console generation, there’s a new generation of children waiting to pick everything back up, maybe it’s just a case of that cycle continuing indefinitely. Though in my mind it’s best to try and keep older gamers interested too since they’re the ones with disposable income and it widens that net a bit further.

    I think I’m interested in seeing where VR goes, I’d definitely like to it to offer something completely new and fresh, only the games we all imagine working with it are fairly well known. Also, I worry that it further marginalises gamers as loners (I can imagine myself as a hermit with No Man’s Sky, if such a thing were VR). If I think of peripherals in gaming they’re ONLY ever short-lived and with limited success; 32X, MegaCD, SNES-CD, light guns, plastic guitars, Kinect, Move, and the WiiU’s utterly pointless gamepad. Is Project Morpheus really going to be anything other than more of the same? Maybe it’d be different if the device were released at the same time as the machine, but then that didn’t exactly work out for Kinect 2.

    I dunno, maybe I should resign myself to accepting that gaming isn’t ever really going to advance to anything new at an acceptable rate.

    Next-gen = faster CPU and GPU, further decreases in appreciable differentiation.

    *yawn*
     
    #16 ThePissartist, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
  17. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    If the Wii U has a pointless gamepad, given it's a window into another world, just like Project Morpheus (minus 3D and side effects), given that 3D is gimmicky for most people and the side effects are rather on the bad side, it should fail miserably...

    That said I think the Wii U Gamepad is a good idea that only lacks the New 3DS stereoscopy to make it better. I'd prefer that over any virtual reality helmet, because I'm not disconnected from my surroundings, something that matters a lot to me. [But I can understand some people want the exact opposite.]
     
  18. Prophecy2k

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    3 million unit?

    Would be a dissaster, as with current-gen dev costs, there would be nowhere near a large enough installed base to target for continued software support.

    VR will live or die off the back of the amount of software support it gets. If Sony plays theur cards right with Morpheus, they will do a hell of a lot better than a mere 10% of kinects' sales.

    I believe Morpheus holds the opportunity to bring the secondary market (read:casuals) back to home console space. It holds enough potential.
     
  19. Shifty Geezer

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    Not intrinsically. You can pipe both surrounding audio and vision into the headset. You could even, with stereo cameras on the headset, have a 3D window into your 3D real world. That'd probably be the ideal augmented reality. That said, Morpheus et al seem to be going for isolation as the immersion is the most important aspect. For social integration, you'd need multiple headsets.
     
  20. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    Problem is, with PS4 already having a hard time rendering 1080@60 I have doubts about its ability to drive a good VR helmet... (Without sacrificing quality, and I don't know if gamers are willing to accept that.)
    Besides as said, an optional peripheral is a bad target, too small a subset of the console market unless it's really widely adopted (unlikely), so maybe for next gen consoles if it's sold with the console...
    (And then people like me will refuse to pay a premium for a device they do not want and will not use...)
     
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