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Activision Wants Consoles To Be Replaced By PCs

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the oppose-on-principle dept.

PC Games (Games) 344

thsoundman writes with this excerpt from thegamersblog: "We live in a world where we have multiple platforms for gaming: PC, PS3, 360, Wii, etc. Each platform has varying amounts of power when it comes to playing games. Activision, one of the leading cross-platform publishers, wishes to move away from the 'walled gardens' set by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. ... [Activision CEO Bobby] Kotick’s solution is to turn to the PC, where it can set its own model for pricing — not unlike what Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft and Battle.net. Kotick stated that Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."

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Bobby Kotick again (5, Insightful)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#32836478)

While moving away from consoles 'walled gardens' sounds great and the summary makes it sound all nice and everything, this is Bobby Kotick [wikipedia.org] were talking about. The CEO of Activision who's primary goal is to milk as much money from computer games as possible by any means necessary.

In the article he is angry that while people pay for XBL subscriptions, Activision doesn't get any share of that. Basically he wants people to pay Activision a monthly subscription for online services, on top of the normal price for games. While it makes sense for games like MMO's where the developer needs the monthly subscription to keep up their massive server farms and keep creating new content, the usual multiplayer games don't require that. Just see Valve and TF2 or countless amount of other multiplayer games.

Forget about "opening up consoles", making the world a better place, ending wars and famine, he just wants more money.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#32836550)

More to the point, he is surely frustrated that he can't really pursue his own 'walled gardens' on consoles; for that he needs 'open' PC.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836614)

Bnet will be his walled garden. I don't think anyone thinks it's unlikely. Unlikely to succeed? Sure. But really, it's already headed that way.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#32837316)

Bnet will be his walled garden.

The advantage of PCs running Windows is that it has multiple walled gardens: Battle.net, Steam, etc. You can start your own if you don't like the console maker's, or you can join someone's even if the console maker thinks your business is too small.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 4 years ago | (#32836628)

Isn't that the same kind of people who was praising consoles for their lower piracy ratings ? In a few years he will complain that PCs are too open and allow to easily crack games...

Re:Bobby Kotick again (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 years ago | (#32836726)

It will probably come and go in waves - forcing customers to upgrade all the time.

Customers are like cows - but milked for money in any conceivable way. Soon there will be copyright infringement suits on dices too.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (2, Insightful)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | about 4 years ago | (#32836568)

the usual multiplayer games don't require that. Just see Valve and TF2 or countless amount of other multiplayer games.

Thats simple to get round, you just don't release a dedicated server for your game, and force everyone to use your matchmaking service for P2P play.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (5, Interesting)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#32836636)

This still affects MW2. Recently they released a second multiplayer level DLC and changed some of the gamemodes (added a "pure" gamemode with no killstreak rewards).

First of all if you want to play the new maps you have to play them in specific gamemode that rotates between team deatchmatch, demolition, sabotage and all the other modes. You cannot select the gamemode you like, but have to play those you hate too. Of course this isn't told on the sales page, but at least this time around I knew it will be the same thing and did not buy the DLC. They will probably be available in a month or two for the other gamemodes, but the funny thing is that those who don't have the DLC cannot join the games that have the DLC. This devalues the game for the old players, as they have much less people to play with and possibly can't even find a game to join.

Secondly, they removed Capture The Flag gamemode to make room for the "pure" gamemode. It was my favorite one with Sabotage, but now I cannot select it. Obviously this would had not been a problem with dedicated servers where the server admin could choose it freely.

Then theres also the cheaters.

It just sickens me how they ruined otherwise good multiplayer game in their pursue for more cash.

More Anti-Corporate Propaganda from Slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836588)

Forget about "opening up consoles", making the world a better place, ending wars and famine, he just wants more money.

You sound very cynical. I think Bobby Kotick has learned that being evil is bad and he wants to redeem himself by making the gaming experience easier for children. He's merely thinking of the children when he wants to make games like Armed and Dangerous easier to experience with a PC environment.

P.S.
I am NOT Bobby Kotick. I'm just an AC who is giving an objective, unbiased opinion.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 years ago | (#32836624)

The CEO of Activision who's primary goal is to milk as much money from computer games as possible by any means necessary.

In this case, the point is moot. Anyone who supports an open standard platform for gaming gets my vote, greedy or not. Walled gardens, especially when they are the dominant garden in the park, are never good for consumer choice or price in the long run. Sure Kotick can charge more on the PC than on some propriety gaming platform where he must follow orders. But he also can't exclude competition or dictate any terms to anyone else... so go to it Activision, I really hope you succeed in making a plugin and play gaming PC platform based on open standards!

Re:Bobby Kotick again (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32836728)

In this case, the point is moot. Anyone who supports an open standard platform for gaming gets my vote, greedy or not. Walled gardens, especially when they are the dominant garden in the park, are never good for consumer choice or price in the long run.

One should also remember that consoles hold back the development of games. Even something like XBox 360 has only 512 megs of memory, which severely limits how complex gameworlds it can represent; just compare with the 2 gigabytes minimum on newer PCs, and 6-8 gigs or more on high-end machines.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (2, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 years ago | (#32836770)

And the various levels of hardware in PC land hold back development even more. Very few games can afford to shoot for the leading edge of hardware as it simply restricts their gaming audience too much. An X-box will set a gamer back $300-$500 (depending on accessories), a modern gaming machine while relatively cheap nowadays is going to cost you at least as much and is a constantly shifting target that forces gamers to upgrade regularly (I am one of them), with a console I can spend more on games with slightly less capable hardware, with a PC I spend more on hardware which reduces what I can spend on games, but get prettier games.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#32837040)

Very few games can afford to shoot for the leading edge of hardware as it simply restricts their gaming audience too much.

Bullshit. PC games provide ways to reduce the load for older PCs. I could play COD4 in my P4 with a two year old $75 graphics card. Now that I have a quadcore and a HD5770 (total PC price: $450) I play it with much higher resolution, particles, etc.

People are not forced to upgrade significantly more regularly than with consoles. They simply have the option to do so, and enjoy better graphics if they choose to.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32837196)

I'm playing the need for speed world beta on my radeon hd3200 - and it's wonderful.

all this thing about graphic performance is.... moot. today computers have an amazing power, only abusing the ai is now going to slow them down (think of games like empire total war or king arthur) and you have to be pretty flamboyant with your ai coding because supreme commander 2 runs like a charm on my old athlon 2400+

they just add stuff for having you on the low side of the framerate, so that you can play the game but are compelled by a upgrade. (notice how most pc games are sponsored by nvidia or ati)

look at how efforts like oldblivion (oblivion was sponsored by nvidia) made the game playable even on older video card and cpu. no technical reason relly push toward a more powerful gpu nowadays, if amateurs could take a modern game and make it run well on old stuff.

the only point I can concede is that the new display have a lot more pixels to draw, but that has more or less settled in the recent two years on the full hd format, so it's not like the gpu requirement is going anywhere higher.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32837212)

Current gen consoles are looking at lasting 6+ years. Try running your COD4 on a 6 year old PC with a 6 year old graphics card. so something like an ATI X600 or Geforce 6600 ( 5 years ago) will struggle even in a game like wow nowadays.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 years ago | (#32837254)

So even with an only 2 year old graphics card you have to reduce performance, 2 years is a way to frequent upgrade. This is the whole damn problem, if you want to keep up with games in the PC world you have to upgrade or have the game operating at less than the designed intent. I can afford to keep up with that, I actually upgrade at least once a year but I have friends that can't afford to upgrade there 3,4,5 year old machines and find it almost impossible to play newer games. the 360 came out in 2005, the PS3 came out in 2006. Even games purchased in 2011 or 2012 will work the same on a 2005 model as it will on a 2012 model. get a gaming machine from 2007 or 2008 even and you will find you have to turn down the graphics on modern games.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (5, Insightful)

Eraesr (1629799) | about 4 years ago | (#32836764)

Bobby Kotick's ultimate goal isn't an open platform. His goal is a platform that's very much closed off, but where he determines the rules instead of Microsoft. The reason he roots for the PC as a platform to do this on is because it's the only platform that is open enough for him to start up his own walled garden.

It's bad news all-round. If every publisher started up it's own variant of XBox Live, you'd have to pay subscription fees for every publisher, maybe for every game. You'd be working yourself into serious debts if you want to sustain (multiplayer) access to a variety of games from different publishers.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (4, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 4 years ago | (#32837132)

To be fair this whole subscription service mania is a result of revenues not growing as much as costs so sooner or later their whole operation will crash down anyway (they'll focus on delivering fewer and fewer titles that must all be huge hitters but epect failures to eliminate publishers going that route) and people who are less hostile towards the customer and blowing less money on nonsense like cutting edge graphics (of course you need decent graphics but you don't need expensive cutting edge ones) will take over. While Activision et al build bigger and bigger blockbusters countless avenues for cheaply made games are springing up everywhere. The future of gaming is not ridiculous prices, it's cutting back the superfluous costs and delivering reasonably priced games with good enough graphics and good fun (which isn't terribly expensive).

Sort of (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | about 4 years ago | (#32836784)

Well, sort of. Actually, not really. Someone who explicitly just wants to replace Sony's walled garden with his own, doesn't exactly strike me as a sort of freedom fighters. In fact the whole situation kinda gives me the mental image of fighting Apple's walled garden by replacing it with Microsoft software.

The fact that the PC hardware itself will be open is effectively just a way to pass that unprofitable part to someone else. PC's commoditization just drove the profit margins of PC vendors into the basement and allowed MS to stick to the part where it can rake in the taxes like a king. In the end it's one reason why MS did better than apple, back in the late 90's and early 2000's.

Activision here wants the same thing. It wants the likes of Dell and HP to do the work of building a cheap PC that's kinda like a console, but not charge royalties for it, so he can get the money instead.

And generally I would question the logic between giving your vote to someone just because they intend to replace another asshole. The history is full of examples where that was a bad idea. I could even Goodwin it by mentioning a certain election in '32 where some people thought they'll show the established parties and coalitions by voting for the new and vocal third party, so to speak. Yeah, that went so well. But otherwise from Lenin to Yuan Shikai to ancient greek tyrants (yeah, most of those used populism to subvert the self-serving oligarchy that passed for ancient greek democracy), we have some millennia of people who offered to save us from they tyranny of someone else by replacing it with their own.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (0, Offtopic)

radicalskeptic (644346) | about 4 years ago | (#32836638)

Yes, Mr. Kotick is one of the most hated people in the industry for good reason. Check out this [teamliquid.net] extremely detailed and disturbing post on Teamliquid.net about how little he cares for his developers and the games produced by the studios under Activision.

Personally, I blame him for the deluge of bad decisions coming out of Blizzard regarding Starcraft II, including:
-No LAN play
-No cross-regional play
-Fees for tournaments and a more centralized, locked-down system in Battle.net 2.0

Most or all of these features were available in the Starcraft, which was released in 1998! I expect some or all of the features that the community is clamoring for will be introduced eventually--for a subscription fee. Because that's all Kotick sees in the Starcraft community: a bunch of passive cows who are just begging to be milked of all their worth.

And the worst part is, I pre-ordered Starcraft II anyway. Sigh.

Re:Bobby Kotick again (1)

mxh83 (1607017) | about 4 years ago | (#32836740)

The CEO of Activision who's primary goal is to milk as much money from computer games as possible by any means necessary.

'Who is primary goal'? Fail.

Already Done (5, Funny)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | about 4 years ago | (#32836498)

Kotick stated that Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."

Perhaps they could call it an X-Box.

Re:Already Done (2, Interesting)

paganizer (566360) | about 4 years ago | (#32836544)

Sounds to me that they would do better by talking to video card manufactures; if everything was based on a video card, it wouldn't really matter what sort of PC you had; add TV out hardware (if you can find a video card without the hardware already there) and use the GPU for the games.

Re:Already Done (1)

Hi_2k (567317) | about 4 years ago | (#32836598)

Modern video cards already have TV out hardware; DVI -> HDMI adapters come in the box of nearly ever video card I've seen in the past 2 years. Seeing more computer manufacturers go out of their way to make certain they've also got sound cards with S/PDIF digital out and that such are attached to the video cards for full HDMI awesomeness is the important step

Re:Already Done (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#32837054)

Modern video cards already have TV out hardware; DVI -> HDMI adapters come in the box of nearly ever video card I've seen in the past 2 years.

And way before that, my Geforce 4 MX came with S-Video out. TV out became common at least eight years ago.

Re:Already Done (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#32836654)

Yeah, console grade A/V cards... Where you can plug them into the lowest grade shit computer and the GPU takes care of the baseload, both in graphics as well as game processing (reducing the CPU load as much as possible). The graphics card needs to be fed with data and then operates on it's own, with the HDMI to connect to the TV. The inclusion of audio processing in the GPU also takes care of the problem that multi-channel audio is also handled by the CPU way too often in cheap PCs. Basically the A/V card is the whole console that just needs the data and a power supply to operate... This would probably also be good for gaming on other OSes, since they would only need to write a different generic loader and basic input handling but the rest is the GPU doing all the work. This insures a proper gaming A/V processing baseline that guarantees a game will run smoothly, but GPUs can still differentiate by adding more quality to the scenes (so competition-wise thats a good thing).

Sadly this will most likely be proprietary and probably very closed, but most importantly working! But given the requirements of the gaming companies and GPU manufacturers this would be right up their alley. They would probably create a new PC-Console card standard every other year, so you can upgrade and run the latest games on your old PC by only buying the latest GPU... This would allocate more of the gamers budget to the GPU manufacturers product (at the cost of the current console and PC manufacturers), so it's a probable business plan for GPU manufacturers and gaming studio's.

Re:Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836848)

This will not work because having this A/V card as well as a PC would be more expensive than just buying a full-fledged console.

No sane console gamers would buy an A/V card every year, hence defeating the purpose of moving away from consoles.

Re:Already Done (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#32837036)

"No sane console gamers would buy an A/V card every year,"

Shit, in the cases of some portables, it doesn't even take NEXT YEAR for the new model to come out and fanbois panties get wet.

Re:Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836572)

Perhaps they could call it an X-Box.

You mean Kotick's Box?

A console is a PC retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836500)

Kotick stated that Activision would “very aggressively” support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt of making an easy ‘plug-and-play’ PC that would hook up directly to the TV.

  A PC that would hook up easily to a TV?....hmmm don't we have a few of those, those are the playstation, xbox, and wii PCs. Would someone kick kotick in the balls plz

Re:A console is a PC retard (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 4 years ago | (#32836650)

Technically, yes, a gaming console is a Personal Computer, though not a fully functional one, since you are very limited to what software you can use on it. Also, even Apple, which makes Personal Computers but with different OS, wants to make a distinction between Windows PCs and their "Macs", though technically a Windows PC and a Mac are both Personal Computers.

Anyway, current consoles are limited to what games they support and who is allowed to make games for them. Anyone can make and sell a program (game or not) for Linux, Windows and MacOS, but if you want to make and sell a game that works, on, say, the Playstation, you have to get a license from Sony, who can choose to charge you as much as they want or refuse to give it to you at all for any reason.

Also, AFAIK, you have to pay money to be able to play online on top of whatever you paid for the console, game and your internet connection. On a PC you do not have to do that, but the developer of a specific game can charge you for playing online, but you can just play another game, while if you want to play a PS3 game online you have to pay for the online service and there is no other option.

Re:A console is a PC retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836806)

You don't have to pay anything to play online on Wii or PS3. Just the internet connection and a game is needed. Only XBox 360 requires the gold membership to play online.

Re:A console is a PC retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836914)

PS3 has already announced plans to move to a subscription model for PSN. Can't blame them really as they can't help but notice the massive profits MS is making with XBL.

Re:A console is a PC retard (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 4 years ago | (#32837214)

Their subscription isn't necessary for online play, it gives you extra perks but regular online gaming is still free.

attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#32836508)

Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."

So would I .... it would like a great MythTV box

Apple's new mac mini (1, Interesting)

YtsaeB (180014) | about 4 years ago | (#32836534)

Apple are on the right track for this type of box with the latest revision of the mac mini, having a HDMI port and a nice small form factor. If you could get a decent graphics card in there, you've got yourself a nice box.

The biggest problem here is, people really don't want another thing to plug into their TV, and in Steve's D8 interview he mentions that specifically about where the apple TV and soon to be Google TV product just don't have a way to make money. Perhaps gaming is the answer?

Re:Apple's new mac mini (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836606)

shut the fuck up, fanboi.

Not a terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836566)

I hate Kotick as much as the next guy but I've always been a fan of the idea of a plug and play console/PC. Something using a custom OS that can be installed (dual boot by default) or VM'd on proper PC's and built into specially made consoles. This GameOS could do hardware checks to make sure certain minimum specs are always met. It could provide a somewhat reasonable DRM approach if it's baked into the OS (most people generally accept the inherent DRM of consoles). It's sort of like the logical extension of the DirectX concept. It provides a common framework with specified implementations. There could be a market for these set-top gaming PCs available to any electronics manufacturer. If this sort of set up is easy to target for games and easy to use for the consumer and has built-in DRM then I see it as a win/win-meh/win.

Re:Not a terrible idea (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 4 years ago | (#32837114)

It would be A-OK for Activision as long as they are the ones holding the DRM master keys.

Easy for a year and a half. (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 4 years ago | (#32836580)

And then we would have people upgrading their pc's and others not. There goes the easy part and here comes "Each platform has varying amounts of power when it comes to playing games". Unless he wants to create some sort of home console that instead of upgrading you replace every so many years. What a novel idea i wonder why no one has done that before.

It's easy to say "Yea, what Blizzard did!" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836586)

There are no shortage of companies that want to tinker and salivate over how Blizzard's business model works. It's a game, direct to consumer, that has a monthly recurring fee with a very nice retention rate. So far, everyone has been absolutely god awful at pulling this off. The desiccated and dismantled battlefield of competitors goes to show, Blizzard has magic that isn't easy to reproduce

I think the closest analog that Activision could come to is Steam. Yet again, deeply entrenched business model, direct to consumer with a nice retention rate.

What Activision wants is control over the entire food chain. They are neither ready, nor well developed enough to jump from a business model they know incredibly well, to what is working on a, very profitable basis, but across a very, very narrow list of businesses that pull it off.

The best thing Activision could do right now is ditch the idea of a PC under the tv. People for generations of games have made a very clear delineation for where they want their pc's and where they want on their consoles. And any company such as a Dell or an HP would be complete morons to go after that failed market again, and again.

What Activision needs to do, is sit down with whoever they have doing arcade games. Take that, pop out a Steam like client, and make it a)not a crippled, bloated piece of shit b) not DRM'd to the point where you're screwing with your call center numbers by increasing traffic off a small step into the market and finally c)make it compelling.

God the number of amazing indie developers out there that would kill to have Activision's resources behind their projects, without Activision being a general corporate pain in the ass... Go for the small market see what you can do there, it's your test pool. If you can't work out strategy there, then you're not going to do it where the big fish play. Remember, small nimble teams with experience.

Then again, since when has Activision listened to anyone screaming "NO THAT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA, WOULD YOU PLEASE NOT DO THAT" and then watched whatever they've tried doing bomb, and tumble into disaster.

Mod parent -1 uninformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836668)

You're aware that Activision and Blizzard are basically the same entity now, right? I don't think Kotick is drooling over something he already owns.

Re:It's easy to say "Yea, what Blizzard did!" (1)

smartr (1035324) | about 4 years ago | (#32836882)

I think Kotick has his head in the right place at the right time on this. I think the games themselves were more forcefully designed to be on a computer versus a console - not that the consumer wants that in the first place. Pretty much, short of one screen co-op games (Nintendo's forte), the difference between a console game and a pc game is that that pc games tend to default to mouse and keyboard input, while consoles choose a joystick. If you look at the number of internet tv boxes popping up (roku, boxee, appleTV, xbox/ps3/Wii, vieracast, googleTV) you will start to notice that everyone is already getting something between a netbook and a gaming pc hooked up right to their living room. I suppose you could hope to dump all this onto some online cloud streaming service, but it's too forward thinking in terms of both consumers and technology. PC gaming for the tv could easily be the next iPad product. Heck, it wouldn't suprise me if we saw some sort of GoogleGame pop up to stomp on Microsoft's injured back... While I might agree that Activision has ignored many people screaming, "horrible idea", the times they have done so - they seem to have widely not bombed for doing so. They keep pumping out games that sell millions of copies. So... they're doing something right.

Gaming beyond the MS/Sony (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32836620)

640p halo limits to monster numbers, world sizes and artistic visions.
Glad someone is thinking about new games on this generations gpu's with all the new features.
Get the income stream. back to the producers not to some middle empire feeding of users and creators.

'plug-and-play' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836626)

...in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV.

Isn't that sorta the definition of a console?

Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1, Insightful)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 4 years ago | (#32836632)

Console:

  1. Buy game
  2. Insert game disc
  3. Download patches as required
  4. Play

PC:

  1. Check back of box for requirements
  2. Mull over whether or not your PC is ninja enough to play it
  3. Buy, take home and insert disc(s)
  4. Install, download patches, upgrade DirectX
  5. Play
  6. Game is slower than you like, tweak resolution, AA, sound, effects, etc. until game is smoother
  7. Play
  8. Crash
  9. Play
  10. Crash
  11. Log into forums and post hardware specs, discuss with others experiencing problems
  12. Download new driver for piece of hardware
  13. Play
  14. Crash
  15. Remove / disable piece of hardware
  16. Play
  17. etc.

That's my own personal experience of PC vs Console gaming, and quite frankly I (as I imagine quite literally millions of gamers also do), prefer to simply insert the disc and play the game. I don't care that I don't have a nVidia 10 Billion X, allowing 19404 x 19304 resolutions, 256-bit colour, 32x multi scene ahead-of-frame anti-aliasing, with hardware bloom and post-processing eyeball burning rendering effects, I just want the game to work the developer intended it.

(goes and puts on anti-flame suit)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (4, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | about 4 years ago | (#32836664)

Download patches as required

I never had to do that on my NES, SNES, Atari, Wii, Sega, gameboy, etc...
Downloadable patches is the current evil for console games, it ruins the "plugin and play" spirit. If you cannot supply patches you will make damn sure your game works. Yes, most oldies have a few bugs, but nothing that make the game unplayable, more glitches that require special actions. (super mario 1 - level -1, zelda links awakening - screen teleport glitch, pokemon - "missin no")

These days we have games that simply are unplayable unless you patch them, which is crazy.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

master_p (608214) | about 4 years ago | (#32836920)

But those games where very simple when compared to today's games. Today's games are 10000 times bigger.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (5, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | about 4 years ago | (#32837170)

Today's games are 10000 times bigger.

Today's games are only 10,000 times bigger because of the higher-fidelity audio and higher-resolution graphics. The games themselves are not 10,000 times more complex, otherwise they'd be unplayable by humans, so they have no excuse to be any more unstable than their older counterparts.

Sorry, I agree with the GP... patchable console games make for shittier games because publishers are more inclined to say "she'll be right, we can patch it after release."

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (2, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | about 4 years ago | (#32837186)

Todays games are larger, yes. But today we have different tooling.
Yes, it's not that hard to build a platform game like super mario 1. Unless you only have an assembler, 40K of ROM, 2K of RAM, a CPU at slightly less then 2Mhz and a GPU with some strict timing requirements.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Boltronics (180064) | about 4 years ago | (#32836922)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - PC edition (pre-Internet era)

http://www.scary-crayon.com/games/tmnt12pc/ [scary-crayon.com]

The amount of times I tried to finish this game as a kid and always failed at the same spot.... well let's just say that it's amazing I still play games. Friends at the time laughed at me since they finished it with their NES version. Just a few years ago I found out it was impossible to finish the game on PC due to these bugs. This game nearly ruined my life!! If only there were patches!! :)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Rysc (136391) | about 4 years ago | (#32837282)

And yet, ironically, you proved the GP's point: The unpatchable NES version worked correctly, the patchable PC version did not.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#32837250)

Downloadable patches is the current evil for console games

The problem isn't even the patching itself, but the way patches are implemented. On the PS3 you can't download them in the background, you have to let your console sit there for half an hour while its downloading that 500MB patch, in which you can't do anything else. If I could download the patches in the background while I would make my way through the tutorial they would bother me a lot less. And of course it would be nice if the console would download patches once they get available, not when I insert the disc and want to play the game. PlaystationPlus might fix that, but I am not going to pay money to get basically a non broken patch-system.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about 4 years ago | (#32836670)

Twiking the game is more fun then playing it anyway. Why do you think we like Linux? :) Anyway, if you don't allow me to play the game the way I want, just fuck off.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (0)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32836716)

As a Mac user with bootcamp, all I can say is
Get a good new midrange gpu, buy game software, let it update, play.
Use one OS for real games, one for real life :)
Dont expect Apple to ever offer you opengl or Windows to ever be stable, but both OS have their good sides when needed :)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 4 years ago | (#32836802)

Dont expect Apple to ever offer you opengl or Windows to ever be stable...

Actually OS X supports OpenGL just fine or were you thinking of a specific version or feature which isn't supported to your liking?

As for Windows, it can be quite stable, not exactly on-par with clustered OpenVMS setups and the like but stable enough that you shouldn't have any problems (my current work laptop which is the only windows machine I use on a daily basis has so far only crashed three times and all those times were when restoring from hibernation, haven't had this problem since I updated all drivers I could to the latest stable version I could find).

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32836866)

feature which isn't supported to your liking - just usable frame rate on newer hardware :)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | about 4 years ago | (#32836794)

Hmmm....how about a car analogy?

You: I just want to get from A to B quickly and easily. That's why I take a cab: that way I don't have to worry about fuel, looking after the vehicle, road tax etc etc.

Me: I want to get from A to B on my own terms and in style. That's why I've got my own custom-built, tuned and tweaked muscle car. I can see the appeal of just getting a cab but i don't mind getting my hands dirty - the results are worth it for me and I'm good enough at tweaking the thing that I can keep it running smoothly without having to pull over and stop every time I fill up the tank (i.e. get new game - I think this metaphor has gone as far as it can.)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

scdeimos (632778) | about 4 years ago | (#32837208)

...I can keep it running smoothly without having to pull over and stop every time I fill up the tank...

That's quite a feat! Are you siphoning fuel out of gas tankers on the move? :P

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (5, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#32836796)

Console:
1. try to make out text that isnt aliased/sampled properly.
2. play for 5 minutes.
3. Level transition time, loading.
4. play.
5. load.
6. play.
7. load.
8. change disk.
9. load.
10. RROD.
11. vendor retroactively takes features.
12. game vendor nickels and dimes you for DLC.
13. after 13 DLC's at $5 each you finally have a full game.

PC
1. Set resolution to monitors native (most games do this automatically now).
2. Play.
3. Keep playing.
4. Holy crap, there's more then 4 hours of content in the game and no loading screen.
5. Enjoy quicksaving.
6. Get free content from the distributor (thanks valve and stardock).
7. Play the game 15 years later on your modern gaming PC.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32837280)

couple of points you missed for pc:

8.constant video & sound driver hunting, direct x updates
9.reinstall xp / 7 once a season because of badware / unresponsible os
10.upgrade cpu / gpu / ram ... twice every year if you want to play newest shiny fps on decent quality settings

as for the other points you mentioned:
1. curent console games mostly use 720 or 1080 hdtv resolutions, looks nice on 80'' lcd, can't use 8000 x 6000 res on 6 monitors thou :)
2-4a. depend on game design - ps2 / ps3 god of war with 8 - 12 hours gameplay and no loading screen, all those open world gta, streets of l.a. games have minimal or no loading
2-4b. no loading after 4 hours because you spend half ps3 price on 8 GB DDR3 Ram :) - pc architecture don't makes possible to load from hard disk and keep decent framerate at the same time
5. quicksaving is nice, some console games support quicksaving, most today use autosave / checkpoins (ps3)
6. psn
7. after tinkering for two days because the game was made for ms dos 6.22 and you run w7, no sound, 320 x 200 vga in tiny window, enjoy

consoles:
1. stop playing with you nes and try something that's less than 5 years old
2-9. see 2-4a in previous paragraph
8, 10. Xbox only (50 GB on bluray seems to be enough for now)
11. this sucks
12. yeah, because DLC is free on PC, right
13. same for pc

you could have mention modding, that's what i miss most on ps3, no hl2 mods, no oblivion mods ....

g

captcha: wishful :)

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (3, Insightful)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 years ago | (#32837302)

Console.

1. Open tray
2. Close tray
3 Play
continue till bored.

PC

0. Make sure computer can actually run game, if not go out and buy more parts till it can.
1 Open tray
2. Close tray
3. Install
4. Crash
5. Hunt for drivers.
6. Crash
7. Spend hours tinkering with options and settings to get a decent framerate and accecptable graphics
8. Crash
9. Spend hours trawling forums trying to pinpoint exact problem
10. Recify problems, change registry settings, reinstall game, reinstall drivers
11. Try Again
12. Crash
13. Repeat untill rage
14. Finally get game working to find any online portion is filled with 99% hackers, modders and general cheats.
15. .......Crash

Hey this is fun.

http://pc.mmgn.com/Lib/Images/Gallery/full/7PLLYLB8.jpg [mmgn.com]

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#32836832)

People have to check to see if they meet requirements? I haven't done that since.....'98 when I started building my own computers. I've never had the $5,000 top of the line gaming systems - they're reasonably priced ($500-$700) and they're good enough to run any game on the market for at least four years. Drop down another $100 on a new video card and it's good to go for at least another two years.

The only reason why it's an "issue" is that too many companies push crap video cards in their systems just to make the price another $50 less. Part of that could probably be fixed by having somewhat honest salesmen (go ahead a laugh at the thought, I laughed while typing "honest salesmen") who just say "If you want to play games, the video card on this thing isn't going to cut it - you'll need to get a system with a better card. On the other hand, video cards are becoming so obscenely over-powered now that even crappy low end cards should be good enough to play a lot of games out there.

I'm sorry that you've had issues with your computers that caused you to go console only. Each controller system has it's own merit (though you can use gamepads on a PC) depending on what type of game is being played. Also, I don't know about you, but I don't have unlimited finances, and as such, it's hard to justify $2,500+ in console hardware alone (all three consoles plus four controllers for each) as opposed to $700-ish for a PC that games and does everything else that a PC does.

I really think that most console-only gamers would change their mind if they just knew more about a PC....(and no, I don't mean change their mind as in become PC-only gamers, I mean change against their hatred of PC gaming).

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836942)

Nah, its not just the video cards. The malware, I mean DRM that PC publishers put on each game only works on specific models of CD-ROM/DVD drives. Sure doesn't work properly on mine, which was made by Philips, who invented the damn CD standard. Besides which I don't want that sort of shit on my PC which has important or personal information on it.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#32837126)

Use a different OS installation; Dual-boot FTW. With GRUB, you can even hide the main OS partition before booting to the gaming OS.

(not that I do it - I just have my /home partition encrypted anyway).

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Rysc (136391) | about 4 years ago | (#32837306)

The salesmen do push gaming machines. It goes like this: "Well that 2GHz processor with 256M of RAM and a 32M intel card isn't going to play any games at all, it just won't handle them. But if you get the 3GHz processor with 256M of RAM and a 32M intel card and this nice new monitor and an extra external hard drive and this 'gaming mouse' then it'll play all the latest titles for years to come!"

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 4 years ago | (#32837172)

PC: 1. Check Steam page for requirements 2. Realize its ok since the day a two year old PCs was shit are way behind us. 3. Buy from Steam 4. Download, let it upgrade DirectX 5. Play 6. Game is fast since most games are console ports with 2004 level graphics. 8. Crash? Never happened.

Re:Console vs PC Gaming Experience (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 4 years ago | (#32837194)

console:
buy xbox for Rs 25000
buy extra controller for Rs 1000
buy wlan accessory
buy 1080p sony bravia for Rs 50000
buy games for Rs 2000 each
insert disc
play in crappy res
disc scratched and rendered useless
cry

pc:
buy decent dell for Rs 40000
go to thepiratebay.org
search for modern warfare 2
click on download
watch youtube for 3 hours
unrar
change settings to extreme
play in glorious hd

The Cloud "Where have you been"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836656)

Slowly, but surely, your online presence, entertainment and data statistics will be collected by consolidated all into one box that does everything. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Comcast, Verizon, Sony, Cisco, Juniper, Qnap, Seagate, Activision, Electronic Arts, Vivendi, Facebook etc etc.. TV's, Search engines, Hard drives, Computers, software, Nas boxes, Gaming, Network equipment, media boxes etc etc There is no place to hide, The Cloud is coming. All your base are belong to us. "Its alright we know where you've been!" "So welcome, to the machine"

OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836658)

And what will this 'open' PC be using for its OS? I, for one, will not fork out for a copy of windows and spend a fuckton of cash on a high end gaming PC just so I can enjoy games. My xbox is much cheaper and means I don't have to infect any of my machines with Windows. I know the xbox is running some kind of windows variant under the hood but I never have to deal with that in the same way I would if it were on one of my pc's, I'd much rather have a console, kthnxbai.

Don't cripple your PC games, then, Activision! (3, Insightful)

d_jedi (773213) | about 4 years ago | (#32836678)

Ex. Modern Warfare 2:
"Criticism has arisen of changes made to the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 including the lack of dedicated servers, latency issues of the listen server-only IWNET, lack of console commands, lack of support for matches larger than 18 players, and inability to vote towards kicking or banning cheating players immediately"

Remove the benefits of PC gaming, and gamers won't game on a PC..

Re:Don't cripple your PC games, then, Activision! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32836804)

They don't want the player to be able to do what he wants; all they want is to replace the consoles' walled gardens with their own.

Re:Don't cripple your PC games, then, Activision! (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 4 years ago | (#32836872)

inability to vote towards kicking or banning cheating players immediately"

This part is especially annoying. Thanks to Killcam, you can see how the other person killed you. Often it is blatantly obvious that someone is cheating. Yet nothing can be done (not even if you are the one hosting the game, i.e. you are the server). Thats another thing. It never asks you "do you want to host the game". It simply finds the best upload/lowest latency connection and hosts the game there.

Also, without hosting your own servers you cant make your own rules. That means if all you wanna do is play a serious game without noobtubers, campers, runners, etc. youre stuck. Other games have servers with the host specifying their own rules, which, upon violation, will get you kicked. I would always look for "NO GL" servers. [/rant]

Re:Don't cripple your PC games, then, Activision! (2, Informative)

j4s0n (1121943) | about 4 years ago | (#32837308)

There's a program called MW2SA that you can use that works completely on the router side that interprets incoming packets and allows you to ban ip's of users through steam's web interface. I use it all the time and love the shit out of it. Seriously. If it was a girl, I'd stalk her until she court orders my ass. The only thing is that you MUST be host, but you can get host pretty easily.

Mac Mini? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#32836704)

I mean isn't that basically what he's describing here?

Wait, Activision? (1, Informative)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 4 years ago | (#32836748)

Wait, Activision? They're still in business? I would have thought Robert Kotick would have ran them into the ground by now. God, he's getting slow in his old age.

What's that? He's trying to turn Battle.Net into "Facebook for Gamers?" He's going to require everyone playing WoW to use their real names on the official forums (and in the in game friends' list), so that the next time you piss off some mentally unhinged social reject you can figure that out by the knife embedded in your front door and the creepy breathing phone calls at 3 AM?

Ah, nevermind, he's right on track for running the company into the ground, he's just going slow so he can show off.

Re:Wait, Activision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32837068)

Not on their regular friends list, just the "real id" list. I only have my close, real life friends on that one anyway.

Pros and Cons (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 4 years ago | (#32836758)

This would be great, IF this gaming PC could play titles from various platforms. OTOH it would require some degree of technical know-how to maintain such a PC, I mean look at how we currently tweak to get a game running on occasions. And what about infections?

A Linux based box, for stability and security, that runs a sandbox for Win games, perhaps with something like www.reactos.org, with direct hardware acceleration to avoid such bottlenecks.

Hardware is cheap nowadays so multi-processors and a few GiB's of RAM, nice high RPM drive.

Best of all, anyone can build one of these.

WTF is this? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 years ago | (#32836766)

This Kotick guy wants something he can't have unless he ponies up the investment himself. He needs to talk to fabs and board manufacturers (mother-, graphics-, sound-, and peripheral-) to get large quantities of identically designed and spec'd hardware which conforms to the x86 architecture. He needs to make sure it runs an operating system his games will run on, namely Windows. Unfortunately, Windows doesn't differentiate between different x86-compatible hardware, so any and all hardware which conforms can be used. Oh hey, isn't that a PC?

By the way, will this box be able to browse the internet, download flash movies, get viruses, require reinstallations of the OS like Windows does now? Because we already have those kind of boxes; They're called PCs. If not, we have those too; They're called consoles.

Is it me or is Kotick living in Cloud Cuckoo Land? A console that isn't vendor-locked is a PC. If you want your own console, build it.

Re:WTF is this? (1)

Renraku (518261) | about 4 years ago | (#32836842)

A build your own console thing wouldn't be a horrible idea in a perfect world. You could have a big list of 'approved' parts and just switch them out as usual. Some games would require 'advanced' parts, some would require 'basic' parts. You could maybe construct it for $100 on the cheap end, and $1000 on the expensive end. You could replace parts as often as you wanted to play new games. It could have a Steam-like system for downloading games and connecting with your friends.

This is just like the idea for a PC, only less flexible. You KNOW that they'd come up with some custom hardware/software that basically forbid you to do most normal PC functions. Then you'd question why you had a PC at all, as would lots of people. PCs would become less widespread in the personal entertainment level, so would piracy.

That's what this is all about.

Piracy.

Re:WTF is this? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 years ago | (#32837298)

Piracy isn't an issue with subscription based services now. WoW has a 0% piracy rate, as do other subscription-based games. Hell, even if there is piracy of the client that's still one more subscriber you wouldn't have.

I'm surprised you have to pay for the WoW client; Eve does fine without making you pay for the client or any patches / expansions. Still, if it ain't bust...

In order to avoid Microsoft and Apple ... (4, Insightful)

ScaledLizard (1430209) | about 4 years ago | (#32836790)

... they could provide their games on bootable Linux discs. No install needed, no patches possible, full control over the player's experience, with the added bonus of being able run the games in Linux. Just a dream? Also no need to update DirectX.

Re:In order to avoid Microsoft and Apple ... (2, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 4 years ago | (#32836970)

Hell they could release something like SteamOS (name just for explanation) where it installs like Wubi and can be updated/patched from Windows but to play you have to boot into their OS.

Re:In order to avoid Microsoft and Apple ... (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 4 years ago | (#32837216)

but then how will they stop you from giving away your disc to a friend? or selling it to someone else? or making lots of copies and selling them for cheap?

Re:In order to avoid Microsoft and Apple ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32837226)

Yeah, and how would they cope with Hardware without Linux Drivers, DLC and Game saves.

Until some time ago I was a proponent of Game on a Linux disc, but someone on slashdot made me see all the disadvantages that would get.

Re:In order to avoid Microsoft and Apple ... (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#32837288)

They'd be creating a support nightmare for themselves, unless they did something like put a bit of code on there forcing the disk to only boot on "approved" systems, because hardware support for bleeding-edge hardware (particularly graphics cards) can be a bit patchy at the best of times.

There's a special word for a box with a limited range of hardware that runs games directly from a read-only media such as CD or DVD. Now, what was that word again?

green eyed monster (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 years ago | (#32836820)

What you have here is serious jealously of Xbox Live and soon PSN as they look to monetise it. They are seeing the huge profit MS is starting to turn on XBL (while at the same time forgetting the years of investment ie losses it took to get there) and just like a petulant child they are trying to figure out some easy way they can claim a slice of this pie (while at the same time not actually do anything to earn it).

Electronic Arts thinks the same way, it seems (3, Informative)

ScaledLizard (1430209) | about 4 years ago | (#32836874)

"We want an open, standard platform which is much easier than having five which are not compatible,"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7052420.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Electronic Arts thinks the same way, it seems (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 4 years ago | (#32837238)

They should dust off Trip Hawkins 3D0 idea....

Re:Electronic Arts thinks the same way, it seems (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#32837292)

It's called an abstraction layer, and nothing's stopping the games developers from funding a cross-platform layer which does that. The difficulty is in adding a layer of abstraction, making that layer reasonably platform-independent and still seeing half-decent performance.

You're forgetting something Bob (1)

Jerrei (1515395) | about 4 years ago | (#32836880)

Are you sure about this strategy? World of Warcraft is running out of ideas as fast as they are subscribers. Modern Warfare 2's PC version is already played by fewer people than Counter-Strike, an eleven year old fan mod. Starcraft 2 is not subscription based and don't get me started on Guitar Hero 40.

To beat money out of a PC franchise, it needs to be good. Ask EPIC about how well games that compete with Halo compete with Valve.

WoW out of ideas? Surely not (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 4 years ago | (#32837038)

They seem to have no end of ideas on how to keep the gravy rolling in.

My only criticism is that their recent ideas seem to have made the game much less difficult to play and therefore less of a challenge.

Re:WoW out of ideas? Surely not (2, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 years ago | (#32837166)

From all reports I have seen of late I would have to agree with the OP, They seem to be pretty well out of ideas as the user base has been rapidly shrinking. The upcoming XPac looks completely uninspiring and is unlikely to stem the hemoraging for any significant time. I say this as someone who still plays the game and is even on the beta, though the week on the beta has made me seriously question why I bother anymore.

an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up dire (1)

salmacis2 (643788) | about 4 years ago | (#32836904)

an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."

Sounds just like the ZX Spectrum I had in the 80s.

Done already, but not in the way he wants (1)

shish (588640) | about 4 years ago | (#32836930)

A quiet PC with HDMI for output, usb gamepads for input, and a ton of emulators is already the perfect console; simple & reliable, yet flexible and upgradable, no rats nest of cables, no CDs to get damaged (no moving parts at all, if you can afford the latest stuff). Add XBMC and you have all the living room technology you need in a single box :)

On a tangent, I ponder the possibility of having a standard virtual machine designed for games -- having a ton of emulators to convert from consoles to the PC environment is a lot of duplication of effort, and it's not like it's great for the manufacturers either (last I checked xbox hardware was sold at a loss, PS3 was selling at a loss for the past several years), so it there could be benefits all round if the console manufacturers stop making limited hardware, and start making generic living-room processing units (ie, what I have in the first paragraph, but designed for it, rather than cobbled together by the end user)

Plug and play PC that hooks directly to a TV? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 4 years ago | (#32836938)

Didn't the XBox do exactly that?

Okay, it was a rather underpowered PC, but still...

Re:Plug and play PC that hooks directly to a TV? (1)

ioos (1489759) | about 4 years ago | (#32837192)

But the hardware couldn't be upgraded piece by piece as the average consumer sees fit.

iPhone (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 years ago | (#32837092)

Talking about walled gardens, perhaps we can also replace the iPhone and iPad by PCs?

One nets more fish using more streams (1)

scdeimos (632778) | about 4 years ago | (#32837108)

After reading TFA I feel I need to poke one's eyes out...

One does realize, doesn't one, that Activision is interested in units sold, regardless of one's platform? The more platforms one can compile one's game engine and downsize their artwork for, the more likelyhood one has of selling a game to another one.

PS: Where did one learn to write?

Linux for Gaming rigs (1)

AVryhof (142320) | about 4 years ago | (#32837204)

I just wish there was something similar to Mythbuntu for gaming PCs.

I want to be able to install it on a home brew computer or net top, plug in my usb game pad, and navigate to a simplified package manager (that just shows the games section...there would also be an update manager and package manager with a full list of packages if you switch to desktop mode) where I can install some of the many awesome OSS games / Emulators / etc available and just play them.

There are a lot of USB Gaming devices (thank you Xbox 360) that can be plugged in and work right off the bat. For example, I have a USB guitar that works with Frets on Fire.... and a few cheapo $5 USB Game pads that work just fine...

If something like this existed, I bet it would be extremely popular, and we would see a lot of OSS home brew game consoles cropping up....and a lot more OSS Games cropping up simply because people would be able to rig up their own game consoles.

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