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How the PC Is Making Consoles Look Out of Date

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the reaching-hardware-limits dept.

Graphics 568

An anonymous reader writes "What has been clear from this year's Game Developers Conference is that consoles are beginning to show their age. With nothing beyond a possible Nintendo update on the horizon, developers at this year's GDC have turned their eyes to the PC. The article includes three videos that give a fantastic insight into where PC graphics are headed, including a version of Epic's Unreal engine, Crytek's Cryengine 3, and DICE's Frostbite 2 engine. Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."

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Not only graphics (3, Insightful)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433666)

You also need a PC with keyboard and mouse for precise controls. That's something consoles don't offer. There is no way you can use console to shoot me as fast as I can shoot you with a mouse. As soon as I see you, you are dead.

Re:Not only graphics (2, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433700)

Actually the Wiimote is pretty good for aiming, once you get used to it. Only flaw is turning is slow.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433768)

I used to think that, too. I currently have a Wii and an Xbox and guess what: I find shooters to be more precise with the xbox controller. (the technique, of course, is totally different (less natural) but more precise in the end)

I would have never thought that I would find it to be that way. Its surprising and I still don't know why it is, but its true for me.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434048)

So the aimbot like aiming that most console games appear to have perminitly enabled has nothing to do with it then?

Re:Not only graphics (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434132)

I used to think that, too. I currently have a Wii and an Xbox and guess what: I find shooters to be more precise with the xbox controller. (the technique, of course, is totally different (less natural) but more precise in the end)

I would have never thought that I would find it to be that way. Its surprising and I still don't know why it is, but its true for me.

It's possible that I have a bias here because most gaming I do is on a PC. I am therefore open to suggestions that I may not perceive it that way if I had equal experience with each kind of input device. Having said that, at least in my personal experience I know no better controller for something like a 1st-person shooter than a keyboard and mouse. It seems like with an Xbox-style controller I can be either fast or precise depending on the sensitivity setting, but it is quite difficult to achieve both. It often ends up being a balance or a trade-off.

With a mouse I can be slow and precise or I can be fast and precise. It is far easier, for me, to suddenly turn around and get a fast yet accurate headshot against an enemy alien (or whatever) with a mouse. With an Xbox-style controller I often barely miss the headshot and end up getting myself killed or having a big struggle that could have been a fast encounter.

I think it's partly because the mouse can cover more ground more swiftly. I can flick it across the mousepad in a fraction of a second. I can also suddenly stop its movement and the cursor instantly stops with it. Also, a mouse cursor usually has an acceleration setting that makes the sensitivity setting less important. With an Xbox-style controller it seems more important during gameplay to maintain a positional advantage, i.e. to get the drop on an enemy. With a mouse and keyboard I feel more like my reflexes and ability to pay attention are the primary limitations.

The comparison you raise is interesting to me. I have hardly ever used a Wii and even then I have never tried playing a 1st-person shooter. I think for a shooter the Wii controller may be hamstrung because the one-handed controller is trying to provide the functionality for which a PC would use two hands, one on a mouse and the other on a keyboard. For that reason I can see why you would say the Xbox controller is better albeit less natural.

Re:Not only graphics (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434236)

I think for a shooter the Wii controller may be hamstrung because the one-handed controller is trying to provide the functionality for which a PC would use two hands, one on a mouse and the other on a keyboard. For that reason I can see why you would say the Xbox controller is better albeit less natural.

No, the problem with the Wiimote is that either the turn function has to be on the control stick, or on the pointer. If on the control stick, you're back to control stick limits for turn speed. If it's on the pointer, you're limited because it won't turn at all if the pointer goes off the screen. Either way, you lose the mouse's quick-turn advantage.

Re:Not only graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434216)

Fine line there... your experience is quite the opposite of most competitive gamers.

Try controlling a game like Starcraft II with a console remote. It's practically impossible (see starcraft for N64) without throwing the controller out the window.

True for you, true for many console gamers in general... not true for the VAST majority of proficient mouse users.

I would put money up against anyone who told me they could outplay me in any FPS or RTS game using a console remote. I'd laugh my way to the bank.

Mice rule all other input devices (trackballs, I've heard, can be just as good).

Re:Not only graphics (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434278)

That could be because of the heavy autoaim you get in any game that has a regular controller. With most of the Wii shooters I've played there isn't much in the way of autoaim. At least not as much as something like Halo or COD.

Re:Not only graphics (0)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433900)

That's a pretty hefty flaw when I'm behind you aiming a rifle at your head. . .

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433920)

Only flaw is turning is slow.

Uhh, that's the WHOLE problem with all console controls. With a keyboard/mouse setup, I can spin 180, while leaping through the air, target and kill someone all the way across a map almost effortlessly.

Re:Not only graphics (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434268)

With a keyboard/mouse setup, I can spin 180, while leaping through the air, target and kill someone all the way across a map almost effortlessly.

Honestly, that's one of the reasons I dislike modern FPS. Players tend to be hopping, somersaulting, whirling dervishes that have nothing in common with any sort of real human behavior on the battlefield.

A jump should take you no more than a foot in the air while carrying combat gear, and COMPLETELY ruin your accuracy during and for a bit afterward. If you're going to make your soldiers behave like low-g ballerinas, at least recognize that your game is silly, like Quake Arena.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434290)

Uhh, that's the WHOLE problem with all console controls.

No, the WHOLE problem with all console controls is that turning is slow, and more importantly AIMING is slow. You can't even aim at things that are in front of you quickly with a gamepad.

The Wii fixes one of those problems, and is vastly superior in every way for FPS shooting over gamepads. I simply can't play FPS games on consoles with gamepads anymore.

Of course PC controls are still better than the Wii. It's in the middle ground.

Re:Not only graphics (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433740)

Doesn't matter, as long as your opponents have the same limitations. It's still frustrating at times, but it got me out of the PC upgrade cycle for a while, and it's been a good experience. Console graphics of this generation have definitely been approaching "good enough" in my book, and the next generation will definitely last a good while too. Even in PC gaming recently there haven't been many games pushing the latest hardware to the limits.

Re:Not only graphics (5, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433928)

Even in PC gaming recently there haven't been many games pushing the latest hardware to the limits.

Thats usually because most PC games are being held back by developers pandering to console version limitations from the very start of the development cycle.

Re:Not only graphics (0)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434256)

Which is precisely why the premise of this story is wrong. And if I developed games, why would I target the PC market with one really cool game that can only run if buyers spend $1000 to upgrade last year's octo-core 5.8 GHz 16 GB computer to this year's 32-core, 7.3 GHz 128 GB computer? I can make a butt ton of cash by targeting all consoles and PCs with a game that has the same gameplay but doesn't use the latest ray tracing graphics engine.

And does anyone really believe that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are thinking, "This is it... we have the best thing that could ever be"? All of them have plans for future hardware, whether they've announced them or not.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433772)

That's when you hook up a keyboard and mouse to your xbox and make all Halo gamers go FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU....

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Qlither (1614211) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433810)

Since when did speed become the only thing to affect the immersion of a game?

While there is more options for move/action placement on a keyboard. You can still make great FPS and some lighter on the slots RPG's on consoles. I find the argument of mouse/keyboard vs controller to pointless most of the time. In the end it all boils down to what works best for you. Crunch gear did a good piece on this a few years back now :

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/11/10/mouse-and-keyboard-vs-console-controller-lets-bury-the-hatchet/

The main benefit to console gaming is the greater chance of a working game out of the box, compared to the troubles of running games on pc.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433988)

The main benefit to console gaming is the greater chance of a working game out of the box, compared to the troubles of running games on pc.

The problem for consoles is that they've been whittling away at that benefit for a while, with the availability of patches and poor quality hardware (what was the failure rate for RROD 360s?) as they rush products to market. PCs aren't perfect, but in my recent experience so long as you don't go out of your way to tinker you shouldn't face any problems in normal operation. A reputation sticks around a long time though.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434248)

The main benefit to console gaming is the greater chance of a working game out of the box, compared to the troubles of running games on pc.

I don't remember the last time I had major issues with a PC game. Mass Effect didn't like my Phenom processor, but it took all of five minutes to find a patch and get it working. Prior to that I honestly can't remember anything going wrong unless I go back to Windows 95 or getting 3D drivers in Linux. I'm sure there were issues with games w/ 2K, but they must have been trivial enough that I don't recall.

In all honesty, I'd rather deal with driver issues and patches than when sequels to good PC games get overly simplified so that it can be played on a console (Deus Ex 2). Not that I have much time for games these days anyhow.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433930)

History tells us that most people don't care, and happily forgo that in favor of simplicity, equal rigs and a lower cost. The advantage of superior controls on a PC is irrelevant to them.

Re:Not only graphics (2)

Decessus (835669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433958)

Except precise controls have never been something that most people who play video games cares about. It's really not that much of an advantage except in twitch games like multiplayer COD. You certainly don't need pin point precision for rpg games, platformers, action adventure games, ect. They just need to be good enough.

The biggest perceived advantage that a console has over a PC is ease of use. There is no installation to worry about. You simply put the CD in the drive and play. You also don't have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars on upgrades in order to play the latest games. I don't know if this last point is true or not, but that perception is pretty prevalent in my experience.

Re:Not only graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434224)

You also don't have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars on upgrades in order to play the latest games.

Given a lot of current PC games come out as console ports, the "upgrade to play" has not been true I feel for near on 2 years.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434308)

There is no installation to worry about. You simply put the CD in the drive and play.

Should I assume you don't have a PS3 or Xbox 360?

Re:Not only graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434354)

That's how it used to be, and why console games used all kinds of tricks to pack as much content into the disc as possible simply because they couldn't add anything or change the game once it was pressed.

Nowadays, console games are moving towards how Steam is for the computer ( mostly ). You insert the disc, it does its copy to drive routine, downloads updates and runs the game.

I do agree that the consoles offer a Just Works experience ( until they go belly up ). On the other hand, they do this by heavily controlling what the user can actually do with the machine. At the end of the day, it plays games, does Netflix, and lets you communicate with people, which pretty much is all it can do. The user doesn't really have to worry about their kids illegally downloading a game or music on the console, the console getting viruses and starting to "run really slow."

A computer is a mysterious thing that is complicated and gets viruses all the time or is too hard to understand ( "I GUESS YOU COULD SAY I'M JUST COMPUTER ILLITERATE EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T FUNNY THE FIRST TEN YEARS I SAID THIS" ), and doesn't always Just Work. It could involve having to put discs that came with it in before you can even use it, or needing to either get your computer-smart friend to look at it for ten minutes or paying one of those helper people at stores 100 bucks to scrape all the free screensavers, cursors, toolbars, and anti-virus programs off for you.

how long consoles will be the target platform (2)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434028)

I'd say the ~200 million market is safe, and will be the "platform" at least until 2015, when the Wii 2, Playstation 4, and Xbox 1080 arrive on the scene and blow PC graphics out of the water (or at least consoles are on par with PC).

It's a cycle and it's been happening for 30+ years now. PCs have always been more advanced, but then a new console arrives every ~5 years and comes close to what a PC can do. The console remains dominant.

Re:Not only graphics (2)

tuffy (10202) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434178)

Precise controls at first-person shooters and strategy games, at least. Keyboard and mouse are completely inadequate for other genres such as racing (where a wheel would be best), platforming (analog stick), golf (motion control), fighting (multi-button arcade stick) and so on.

They're certainly not a solution for everything.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434188)

I gotta say, you really seemed to have missed the point.

I would much prefer to sit on the couch, and play a shooter on the 60" against other people sitting on their couches, with the exact same hardware that I have. Even if it means I can't aim quite as good as I could with the keyboard and mouse. But not if the games on my pc look so much better.

Re:Not only graphics (2, Insightful)

chammy (1096007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434288)

I'd rather sit in my comfy computer chair, chat with friends on Teamspeak as well as in-game chat, and alt tab out of the game to browse the web inbetween rounds. It's not so much the graphics, its the convenience of being able to do more than just sit there and play games.

Re:Not only graphics (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434212)

I tend to tense up my hands when playing intense video games (like a fast-action highly competitive FPS). This inevitably leads to repetitive motion injuries for me. I've tried to train myself to relax more, but I just can't make it happen with a mouse.

That isn't the only reason I prefer consoles, but it's a contributing factor. Of course, there are exceptions (Super Meat Boy on consoles KILLS my hands).

Re:Not only graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434272)

When the developers for that horrible game Shadowrun linked the two sides (PC and console) in online matches they actually found console gamers had much higher accuracies than those on the PC.

Re:Not only graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434328)

"what do you mean you are using a touch pad to play this game?"
"I dont like the mouse"
"no wonder you are dieing all the time"

I didnt *know* you could play a FPS with a touch pad.

Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433670)

There was a time when Sega, Nintendo and Sony would all design unique hardware. Later on these unique designs became less common, and now thanks to consoles like the Xbox, the common design is an intel chip (or IBM), a standard PC graphics card, etc.

It's going to take a quantum leap in hardware design in my opinion. They can start with moving away from DVDs and going to solid state storage. They can go the fastest possible read, write, access times, for ram and data transfer speed between the different chips and components. They can up the ram to a level of 32 gigs, 64 gigs, etc. Since ram is cheap enough I'd actually go with 64 gigs of ram, 80gig SSD, an ARM based 64 CPU, and flash based cartridges. Yes I'm asking for a return to cartridges because this would provide the best performance.

The graphics card should be the most important part of the console, along with the AI chip. The console should be of modular design, allowing the user to upgrade the graphics card while providing backward compatibility with all the games. The original console should come in three versions, the low cost, medium cost, and high performance version. The high performance version should include state of the art graphics card which can handle real time raytracing at least, and it should be something which can be upgraded or stacked, so that if a customer has the money or buys a game which requires more power, a new graphics chip can be added to the card as easily as plugging in a cartridge. Yes you read it right, the graphics card chip should be designed to fit into the cartridge slot, and then the cartridge plugged directly into that. It also should allow for some type of cloud based graphics or AI setup if it's feasible.

Could it work? I think it's worth a try. They should also focus on streaming the games, and on letting people download time limited games for low prices similar to itunes. You pay for a weeks worth or months worth of play and you can play any game released that month. For certain games of course you'll still have to buy. This will expand the size of the market so causal gamers can just switch to the gaming channel on their TV or go online and click to play.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433718)

So you're saying that consoles should be replaced with PCs?

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433960)

Sure, if you only like games where you shoot.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433978)

No I'm saying consoles should replace gaming PC's, but should be more arcade. The console should be as easily upgraded as the PC, in fact easier to upgrade.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

spammacus (805242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433726)

Sony came up with some interesting hardware - and it burned them badly. Between cost problems and developers bitching because it made their ports harder, I don't know if anyone will have the stomach to move away from the PC/X360 model anytime soon.

Sony is a VCR company. (1, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433846)

Sony is not and was never a game company. Microsoft knows more about doing this than Sony.
Sony is good at designing hardware but horrible at designing software and not particularly good at developing gaming hardware.

Microsoft has developed keyboards, mice, and games in the past. Microsoft understands how PCs work and could probably do it. Nintendo could probably do it also. Sony will have learned their lesson, the main lesson was they only offered an expensive version of PS3. The trick is to offer different versions, much like how you can get the value edition of a video card.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (5, Informative)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433734)

There was a time when Sega, Nintendo and Sony would all design unique hardware. Later on these unique designs became less common, and now thanks to consoles like the Xbox, the common design is an intel chip (or IBM), a standard PC graphics card, etc.

er

Wii :
        * CPU: PowerPC-based "Broadway" processor, made with a 90 nm SOI CMOS process, reportedlyâ clocked at 729 MHz[120]
        * GPU: ATI "Hollywood" GPU made with a 90 nm CMOS process,[121] reportedlyâ clocked at 243 MHz[120]
        * "Starlet", part of the Hollywood package: an ARM926EJ-S processor reportedlyâ clocked at 243 MHz.[122]

PS3 :
CPU 3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine with 1 PPE & 7 SPEs
550 MHz NVIDIA/SCEI RSX 'Reality Synthesizer'

XBox 360 :
CPU 3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon
500 MHz ATI Xenos

Not really off the shelf parts you'd find in a Dell!

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433816)

What's most impressive is his post actually gets dumber from there. I'm sure there's an enormous market for a $2k game console. With $100 games. And 60GB of RAM that never gets used. And a significantly smaller HD than the current gen.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433916)

Certainly not off the shelf components, but IBM and ATI made a boat load of money off this generation of hardware that's for sure.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (4, Interesting)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433736)

Its not that PCs make consoles out of date really. The higher cost of the more powerful consoles required MS & Sony to subsidize the initial cost and to justify it by making them seem a longer term investment. PCs are very easily upgradable.

I'd bet that the next gen MS console will be a MIPS/ARM CPU system with GPU modules that can be upgraded. It'll run WindowsEntertainmentOS (a combination of WindowsMediaPlayer, DirectX and Windows 8/9). It'll be like a PC but locked down so the media/games industry won't moan too much. People are only just buying 1080p now. PCs took a big step backwards when LCDs became dominant. CRT monitors had much higher resolutions.

In the future you wont buy games you'll buy game engines then 'rent' the level/texture/map data which is only available via a steam-like streaming service. It'll kill most piracy and that hated second-hand games market. They might allow games to be sold but only if they get a percentage.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433910)

You're just describing a PC basically. Consoles are good because they're simple. Developers only have to handle one set of specs and can fine tune the end experience just the way they want. Customers (parents, gift givers) know that their games will work as intended on their system.

With a little more RAM and a modern day graphics card the PS3 and Xbox 360 could easily do beautiful high framerate 1080p 3D gaming. The current gen of consoles has lasted for a decent while because they're already "good enough" in the graphics department. I actually find it kind of relieving to know that I can't tweak things, because I spent far too much time overclocking and messing with detail settings when I had a PC. With a console I just deal with graphics as they are (which is actually pretty damn good in some games) and focus on the gameplay. I think the next gen is going to last even longer. This is a good thing for those that don't always want to be paying for upgrades.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434142)

Here's a hint: At their heart, they're still a "PC" inside.

Yes, it's a PPC CPU driving the lot of the current gen. Yes, the PS3 has extra stream processors.

But, in the end, the only thing that makes them special/different is a constrained set of device interfaces to code to combined with some strictly applied DRM on the system (I'd say "hardware" DRM, but PS3's don't really have that, now do they?). If you explicitly defined NVidia or AMD as the only GPU vendor, picked an explicit part in that lineup, did the same thing for sound, you'd have a "console" for all intents and purposes expressed with a "PC" instead- especially if you did something like Steam for doing the DRM. If you dedicated part of the shader cores by driver or by coding to support SPU type computations, you'd basically have a PS3 with it.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1, Interesting)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434306)

Exactly. I just finish Dead Space 2 on the XBox. Stunning looking game even blown up on a 65" screen. I need to spend another $1000 so I can get some extra lighting effects?

The only upgradability I can see for a console is things that would not stop any game from running on any console regardless of the upgrades installed. For example, maybe buying more RAM for the system or graphics card. The game could take advantage of the extra RAM if it's there, otherwise just default to the base level.

Eh... even typing it out there makes it sound like a hassle. I think bigger hard drives will be the extent of things as they are now.

That's why I went console gaming. My PC gaming is now booting a Mac Mini into XP and catching up on older stuff I missed with the help of Steam and GOG. Finally played KOTOR late last year (it was... OK), and this month it's Baldur's Gate and maybe Syberia because I'm in the mood for a Myst-like puzzler for some reason.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433914)

i honestly believe that we may see a diskless generation of hardware... everything will be a direct download from microsoft, sony, and nintentdo. brick and morter stores could sell download codes similar to what gamestop has going...

how i would disagree with you is the different levels of the console. the beauty of console gaming is that everybody is on the same level. i can buy any game for my 360 and know that it is going to 100% work. i don't have to worry about minimum system requirements or if i have to upgrade anything. out of the box it is ready to go. i also love the price point already set... if i wanted to drop $1000 + on something that would have breath taking gfx then sure, i'd shovle my money into the bottomless pit that is a pc gaming machine knowing that in 8-12 months i'll have to upgrade.

to contrast that i have the same xbox 360 that i bought on launch day that plays every game that's come out for it in the last 5 years.

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434102)

It's going to take a quantum leap in hardware design

You mean the smallest possible change?

Re:Consoles need to invest more on hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434166)

We already have that. It's called a "PC" and usually runs a very popular gaming OS called "Windows".

Until.... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433702)

we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games.

Until the average person is willing to spend six or seven hundred dollars on a media center PC to play games, I'd imagine. It really doesn't matter how good the graphics are if you're viewing it on a 17" computer screen. Most people don't want to be stuck in front of a computer when they play games. They want to be in their living rooms, sharing the experience with others.

Re:Until.... (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433770)

What about putting the PC in the living room, jack it to the TV if its screen is larger than the PC's, and plug more than one controller? There are infrared peripherals for PCs, there are HDMI/SVGA/S-Video/Whatevs sockets, there's everything.

Re:Until.... (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433974)

Because that's a more complicated and costly option?

Re:Until.... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434038)

What about putting the PC in the living room, jack it to the TV if its screen is larger than the PC's, and plug more than one controller? There are infrared peripherals for PCs, there are HDMI/SVGA/S-Video/Whatevs sockets, there's everything.

Besides the higher price, bulkier setup, and all the issues related with maintaing a PC, what other benefits do you see here that a console doesn't offer?

Re:Until.... (2, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434312)

you can run what you want on it without fear that the sony goons are going to kick in your door and take all your shit

Re:Until.... (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434332)

The ability to play any video codec, browse the web, play mods, and do other tasks impossible on a console?

Re:Until.... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433788)

I don't have anyone to share with you insensitive clod! *sob*

Re:Until.... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433854)

They want to be in their living rooms, sharing the experience with others.

Absolutely. I used to scoff at consoles, but their value is in the fun of the games. The obsession with graphics, framrate, and horsepower doesn't necessarily translate to a better experience. It's like arguing that 3D makes movies better. One of the most fun games to play is Super Smash Bros. It's not cutting edge technology, its just . As long as there are people who are only playing games for fun, and just want to put a disk in and play, there will be consoles.

Re:Until.... (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433948)

Fun fact, you can play those games on a PC in the living room. The Wii emulator dolphin can do HD. Which a real wii cannot.

Re:Until.... (3, Funny)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434244)

A wii-emulating dolphin!? Good god, what is this, Johnny Mnemonic?

Welcome to the cycle (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433710)

I quit playing console games last year and switched to PC games. I credit the release of StarCraft II. I had to get a video card for my PC for the first time in years. I have all three current gen consoles and they are now mostly for streaming video.

Re:Welcome to the cycle (1)

Illogical Spock (1058270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434316)

I quit playing console games when I sold my Atari and bought an Apple 2 - and from there I got an MSX (not so popular in the US) and then my first PC. And never looked back.

PCs have better controls, are upgradeable, cheaper (when you consider their life cycle and usefulness), can do a multitude of things and have more complex (in a good way) games. The majority of the console games are very, very shallow compared to the PC games.

The only videogame I got after my first PC was a Wii for my wife. I can't deny that when we have friends over it is some fun with the sports games, but apart of that the only thing I've really played were the Mario games (Kart and New Super Mario). I've tried several shooters (my favorite genre) and was very, very disappointed.

Said many times (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433720)

But I still prefer console. A PS3 at that. Sony may be evil.. and they may gradually strip out features people have already paid for and do all manner of slimey underhanded stuff.. but as long as I can play every day shooter and plants vs zombies and the occasional "real" game.. I'm happy.

Console is nice because it's consistent. My PS3 is probably for the most part identical to yours. I don't have to worry about how much ram I have or my video card to know I'm getting the full, intended experience.

The bleeding edge "every last FPS" stuff may end up moving to PC, but I think consoles will still have a place for people like me who want to just buy something and start playing.

Re:Said many times (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433942)

"And they may gradually strip out features people have already paid for and do all manner of slimey underhanded stuff"

That's just like what Valve and Microsoft do. Some people are already used to that lowlife.

Consoles are out of date by definition (4, Insightful)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433722)

Am I missing something? Consoles have always lagged the availability of hardware in PCs. Plus, when you throw $1000 at a problem, you're going to get better results than throwing $300 at the same problem.

What might be a better analysis would be an analysis of how programmers are targetting each platform. In the "good old days", you'd target the specific hardware of a Gameboy. The Playstation, you'd talk to libraries if you were nice, but you could still hit the metal. Nowadays, you're not going to be hitting the metal in anything; so I'd bet the advantage of console hardware, being a known target, is lost when compared to the unknowns of a PC.

Re:Consoles are out of date by definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434368)

Back in the day I think the PS3/360 for $400/500 or whatever offered higher performance at their price point. :)

Console vs PC "graphics life cycle" (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433730)

Nothing unexpected.

Current console generations like the XBOX 360 have been along for like 5 years!

It's always the same. When the next generation of consoles are released they will be much more powerful than any PC, after a while then they will be more or less equal, and in the end of each life cycle PC games will be substantially better (graphics wise, of course) than console games (which would represent today's state).

"The article includes three videos that give a fantastic insight into where PC graphics are headed"
Yeah right, and where are consoles headed? In the same direction.

Re:Console vs PC "graphics life cycle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434034)

Nothing unexpected.

Current console generations like the XBOX 360 have been along for like 5 years!

It's always the same. When the next generation of consoles are released they will be much more powerful than any PC, after a while then they will be more or less equal, and in the end of each life cycle PC games will be substantially better (graphics wise, of course) than console games (which would represent today's state).

"The article includes three videos that give a fantastic insight into where PC graphics are headed"
Yeah right, and where are consoles headed? In the same direction.

Consoles are never "more powerful than any PC." Last generation, for instance, the consoles were 6 months behind PC hardware by the time they were released. Cross-platform near-launch titles were vastly superior on the PC.

The Frontier (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433738)

PC has aways been on the frontier. they were the first a allow online play, the first to allow chating while playing, and first to allow comparing achievements with others online.

don't forget mod / user maps! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433994)

don't forget mod / user maps!

PCs are good but aren't everything (1)

Kazzerscout (1354365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433748)

I don't think PCs have the accesibility that consoles do however. Updated graphics are great, but so long as console ports continue to have the same experience with the only downside being it doesn't look as great, it will remain the dominant platform (in my world they are). This is because the money and investment needed to play games with these improved graphics requires specialist hardware, graphics cards and what not that the younger generation simply cannot afford.

Re:PCs are good but aren't everything (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433792)

Not to mention consoles are more portable. I wouldn't want to lug my 40lb PC to the TV everytime I wanted to play a game on the big screen in conosle fashion. Hell, I don't even know of any PC games that have multiplayer where each person gets their own controller.

Consoles as Target Platforms (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433752)

FTS:
"Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games.""

PCs have, for the most part, outclassed consoles in terms of graphics for years. For most games which are available on the consoles and PC, the PC version will almost always feature higher resolutions and better textures and other graphical bells and whistles (even in cases of console ports). However, pure graphical power isn't why people buy consoles and not PCs. People buy consoles because it's cheaper (at least, it's cheaper than buying a state of the art video card every two years), it's accessible, and its better integrated with their home theatres. I think consoles will stay the target platform for blockbuster games for a long time.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433760)

A current PC can beat a 4+ year old PS3 and a 5+ year old 360?

How about some real metrics? Throughput per watt? Titles sold on each? Failure rates? Life cycles of PC rigs compared to consoles? Money spent over X years (console games are dearer, PCs video cards are as dear or dearer than consoles).

all about the $$$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433794)

the reason companies over the last few years have avoided specifically for the pc crowd is piracy. i can't remember where i saw it but i think it was someone working on crysis said that close to 90% of the people playing on their servers that they pay to run were running pirated copies of the game. those numbers just don't exist in the console market. so yeah the gfx of the consoles is beginning to show it's age but sadly outside of steam and battle.net pc gaming just isn't super profitable for developers.

Graphics (2, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433802)

The thing is, it's not all about graphics. I can spend £40 on a game for my PS3 that's, what, 3 years old? And it will be very, very close to what the PC version is like. Or I can spend £10 less on the PC version, but I'd need to spend hundreds of pounds upgrading my PC every year. And then I'd have to put up with all the DRM junk. And PC versions tend to be buggier. So no, right now, I don't really "get" the appeal of PC gaming. The cost vs reward doesn't add up.

Re:Graphics (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434068)

I can spend £40 on a game for my PS3 that's, what, 3 years old? And it will be very, very close to what the PC version is like

Because the PC version is a port of the PS3 version which was pre-crippled to run on the PS3.

And the PC version will probably cost $5, not 40 pounds. I can't imagine paying that much money for a three year old game.

Not (1)

adam.skinner (721432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433856)

PC gaming has NEVER had the presence console games have. It's ALWAYS been leaps and bounds ahead of consoles, with the sole exception being the latest generation of consoles in the past few years (where quality has been excellent and controllers have been innovative).

What makes you think now that PC's are suddenly going to steal the console's thunder? Ain't gonna happen.

Gameplay over Graphics (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433858)

I never really understood the model of a high graphics console. To me the Wii got the model right: concentrate on game-play, not graphics. For hardcore gaming, a PC just makes more sense to me. The keyboard and mouse are there for precise control, you can connect a controller if you prefer that method of control, the graphics are easy to step up over time, and its easier to run modern 3D engines. Plus, there's no big brother controlling your hardware.

Popularity (4, Insightful)

Arctech (538041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433884)

In the scope of things, the fact that the 360 and the PS3 are showing their age doesn't translate to a mass migration of developers to the PC platform. For a long time now, consoles have gained and held the larger gaming audience compared to the PC, and that market continues to be the biggest and most profitable market. For the majority of the time, PC's hold a significant technological edge over consoles, which is nice for when you want to punch things like Crysis ahead of the graphics curve, but it isn't as if all the console gamers converted to the PC platform because Crysis was pretty.

the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433894)

i go way back to the Riva TNT2 and voodoo2 days. i bought a top of the line voodoo2 the day it came out back in 1998. cost me $299. these days a top of the line card is $500 or more and it sucks enough electricity to power a small town.

x-box 360 cost me $299 same as my PS3. i can also use each one to watch media on my tv without the hassle of doing it on the PC which is usually in the opposite side of the house or room. the games are usually the same which means that the gameplay experience is the same. most people won't spend the money just for the graphics card. the "gamer" is now a 40 year old person that plays Cityville on facebook. not a nerd playing Doom, command and conquer or starcraft on their PC

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434042)

Either you're trolling or you've missed the obvious solution: don't buy $500 graphics cards. When the $150 card will get you 80% or more of the performance, there's no reason to.

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434092)

i go way back to the Riva TNT2 and voodoo2 days. i bought a top of the line voodoo2 the day it came out back in 1998. cost me $299. these days a top of the line card is $500 or more and it sucks enough electricity to power a small town.

While I agree that power usage is insane on high-end GPUs, have you ever heard of inflation? $299 in 1998 money probably isn't far off of $500 in today's money.

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434348)

meanwhile the average computer prices have dropped. back in 1998 the average laptop cost $3000. today it's $700. the prices on Intel CPU's have dropped along with other components. the only ones to have gone up are graphics card prices

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434382)

Not to mention, factor in that console games are (almost) always more expensive than their PC counterparts. I added the almost because some recent AAA title PC games which are also on consoles are selling for roughly the same price as the console version. That is ridiculous, considering that console hardware is sold for basically zero profit and money is made back on game licensing. PC games *should* be cheaper.

Me, I'd rather have cheaper games, although I do have a Wii and PS2. The consoles are for casual gaming with the spouse while my PC is for hardcore gaming with a mouse & keyboard (and a beast of a graphics card).

Besides, consoles only every manage to just get within one generation of PC graphics hardware. They never match PC's and then as the relentless march of progress continues they quickly fall behind the PC in graphics capabilities. Not saying that is the be-all of gaming, but for me, graphics is a big part of it.

I go all the way back to CGA, Hercules Graphics (no, not the one you are thinking of), Video7 and Paradise VGA (back when Western Digital was into graphics). It's all about pushing the envelope of what is possible.

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434246)

Still have my 12MB Voodoo2, but it's different now -- a $150 card will play anything out there right now; Back when it was a Voodoo2, Voodoo1 or TNT; the cards were like $150, $300, and $250. That was it. Lots more selection now, not to mention the rest of the computer is much cheaper.

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434390)

Sure a top of the line card is $500+ but you can get a middle of the line card for $250 that is still leaps and bounds ahead of the consoles! (GTX 560 anyone?) and doesn't use all that much more power than a PS3 or an XBox 360!

Re:the insane graphics card prices kill the deal (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434394)

x-box 360 cost me $299 same as my PS3. i can also use each one to watch media on my tv without the hassle of doing it on the PC which is usually in the opposite side of the house or room.

Both 360 and PS3 have way too much fan noise to be decent media centers. Connectivity is also limited, especially for the 360, and a lot of the media software just plain sucks and you have no option to do anything about that.

the games are usually the same which means that the gameplay experience is the same.

Nonsense. A-list title ports to consoles are always dumbed down in one way or another, especially for the 360 which has to run off dvd and therefore has to have low res textures, and sometimes also has content removed. Geometry is normally simplified for the console versions and detail settings are necessarily way more conservative. Access to mods is essentially zero. Game world editors are often omitted from console ports. The control systems are completely different and usually much less effective on the console, for anything other than a beat em up. It is well known that keyboard + mouse users always slaughter gamepad users in shooters, other things being as equal as possible, which they can never quite be because consoles simply do not have the graphics or CPU power.

This always happens. (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433924)

PC development goes up, console development goes down. Console development goes up, PC development goes down.

PCs have different classes of games (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433936)

Not only do PC gamers generally have better hardware than consoles (better CPU, GPU, RAM, keyboard, mouse, TrackIR head-tracking), they also get better and more diverse titles.

For example, take flight simulators. Consoles have 'flying games' but not 'simulators' per see (not in the class of: X-Plane, FlightSim X, IL-2 Sturmovik, LockOn Flaming Cliffs 2, DCS:BlackShark, or DCS:A-10C). Yes, these are 'niche' in terms of the overall game market, but who cares about what the producers think? A product that matches your interest is either available for your platform or it is not. Consoles simple don't have the *breadth* of titles that PCs do.

While Wings of Prey was nice for the consoles (although it looked better on the PC) it really lacks the depth of something like DCS:A-10C (if you have the kit to use the DirectX 11 graphics in 64-bit it is amazing). Have a look at the DCS:A-10C trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co8LKJh6Xc0 [youtube.com] (not a redirect to goatse, I promise). Or Flaming Cliffs 2 (aka LockOn Platinum): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99_hoJNj3ys [youtube.com]

IL-2: Cliffs of Dover looks amazing as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVUSp1V3cVw [youtube.com]

I bought a PS3 at launch and it is great for casual gaming or gaming in a few genres (FPS, RTS, RPG, racing) . If that's all you want then it is fine. However, the depth of the experience is very shallow to what you can get with a PC. Consoles may make more money for the publishers, but it is certainly not a better experience for players (I personally *hate* not being able to join my mates on some servers since the console doesn't always let me decide which servers to join, which is something you can usually do with a PC). I won't even start discussing modability for PC vs console ...

Breaking News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433996)

New hardware is better than old hardware!

Stop the presses, this must go on the front page!

I must agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434014)

I must agree, as when I look at current crop of the games (namely Mafia II) and their PC counterparts... vs. consoles' versions... There is nothing more to add from me. I'm truly loosing interest in my own game consoles and rapidly reorienting to gaming on my Win partition of my Mac. Cream of the crop games that makes the XBOX360 games in comparison look like PS2. -=[';/

So.... (1)

theangrypeon (1306525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434044)

What was all that a while back about PC gaming being dead?

PC better tech, inferior social (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434062)

I like PC games because they are so amazing, but I like the consoles because my whole family can gather around and play (and their graphics are very decent too albeit not as amazing as the PC).

Both have strengths.

Follow the money. (1)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434096)

As long as the consoles are still the source of a significant return on the investment of running your game studio for a couple of years, they'll continue to be worth targeting. Piracy's a lot easier on computers than on consoles. And making games with this level of detail is going to get even more stupidly expensive.

Plus of course other factors like "some people prefer sitting on the couch with a gamepad to hunching in front of the computer with keyboard/mouse".

Blimey (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434106)

Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."

Wow... just wow. I guess the successes of the DS and the Wii weren't mainstream enough for these guys to notice.

PS3, XBox, die die die (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434158)

But the worst of all worlds would be if nothing but PC gaming on Microsoft platforms remains standing. Fortunately that is a problem that we can solve and are solving, while having a lot of fun doing it.

It is my belief that this generation is the last hoorah for the console world. Economies of scale in computer graphics hardware dictate that the life of a console generation must be kept unrealistically short in order to avoid the kind of obsolescence we see now, while the cost of developing exclusive content is going through the roof. Yes, there will be a PS4 and an Xbox 444, but whether they will ever make a profit, or whether such blighted spawn of the devil are ultimately destined to kill their hosts, is an open question.

Re:PS3, XBox, die die die (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434286)

Yes. Just like it has been for EVERY other console generation.

Let me be the first to welcome game devs back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434228)

While you were away making linear, short games with muddy textures, some things have happened.

*IE no longer has a 90% market share.
*hardware accelerated audio isn't as important as it used to be because any modern CPU can do audio processing in its sleep.
*Not all of us want to subject ourselves to Windows in order to enjoy a game: some use Macs and some use Linux.
*Nope, Duke Nukem Forever hasn't been released yet! Don't worry, it will be along any day now!
*The game mapping and modding community is still here, waiting to add free value to your PC game for you.

Typical case of open vs closed (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434304)

The competition in the console hardware market is PUNY compared to the competition PC hardware markers are faced with. It's relatively easy to make a console and sit on your loins for the next decade or so until somebody else bothers to innovate -- as long as the console hardware is impossibly to modify, the console marker has a monopoly on hardware as well as development licenses. On the other hand, PC market competition is FIERCE, because it's an open platform -- anyone can make PC hardware, anyone can make software without paying Microsoft for a license to develop on their OS.

That's why the PC is blazing ahead of the consoles, and as long as we are in a reasonably free market, it will always stay ahead.

ping pong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434334)

It always seems to ping pong back and force. Consoles will kill PC gaming, then PC gaming is killing consoles.... blah blah blah

I still will always prefer to sit on my couch with an Xbox controller (or my phone for that matter) than do any gaming on my PC. The 360 graphics are plenty good IMO.

FUD (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434360)

Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."

What a load of crap.

Consoles will be the target platform for the development of blockbuster games as long as there is an audience for them. I love the PC as a gaming platform, but blockbusting developers care primarily about one thing, sales. You have this huge installed base of 360s and PS3s, and the people who buy games are playing on these consoles. Also consider that in our economy, the people who want to play new game "x" are not going to be able to go buy the new hardware required to play new game "x" on the PC.

As well, once there is a big enough jump to make in graphics (or features, looking at the Wii), that can be made at a reasonable price point (one would think Sony would have learned that lesson with the PS3), Microsoft and Sony will release new updated consoles that will compete with/overtake the abilities of the *common* gaming PC. The process repeats, as it has many times before. The PC ends up being the testing grounds for technologies that are later integrated into the consoles. Remember when you could only get a good multiplayer experience on the PC?

How is this news? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434398)

This happens EVERY generation cycle. Are we still amazed by it like its a magical thing made by a wizard? It not even that hard to understand. One is an upgradeable platform and the other is not. Next cycle consoles will be alot faster and it will start all over again. What next, water found on earth?
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