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The Tiny Console Killers Taking On the PS4 and Xbox 720

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the neverending-console-generation dept.

Android 349

An anonymous reader writes "As the next generation of consoles looms, we've seen a growing trend towards low price, compact alternatives such as the Ouya and GameStick, many of which run on the Android mobile platform. But this article on the trend raises a very good point: through the use of cloud computing and game streaming technology, it's entirely possible these machines will be able to keep pace with the powerhouse technology inside the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox 720, and perhaps even overtake them. After all, if these little boxes can simply stream from powerful servers, how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up?"

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349 comments

how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (4, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year ago | (#42527581)

Rural areas. Dialup and satellite internet suck in this application. 3G? Unless one has a large data cap or uses their console infrequently.

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#42527609)

By focusing on profitability and not marketshare.

Sell enough to a dedicated group of people with good internet access and ensure that your profit center IS the console and you're set.

Although that GameStick controller looks simply awful. I wish they built a better joypad.

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (3, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#42527709)

The summary doesn't make it clear but what the article is talking about is streaming from your own more powerful PC via Wi-Fi, which apparently one of the products has the ability to do so.

Now I don't really buy into that as coinciding with what people want but at least the concept is plausible no matter where you are situated or your Internet situation. (Consoles usually stay at home as well).

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527831)

Yeah, cause rural gaming, that's where the money's at.

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (5, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year ago | (#42528169)

Rural areas. Dialup and satellite internet suck in this application.

You already need decent broadband on current consoles for some DRM-laden games.

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42528285)

And don't forget Blizzard's innovative Massively Singleplayer Online RPG experience in the latest iteration of the Diablo franchise...

Re:how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up? (3, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#42528283)

Don't forget bandwidth caps on wired Internet "services", such as that sold to you by the good people at AT&T. The little old lady next door already got hit with huge overages because she likes to watch netflix, I can imagine how bad the overages would be if I was playing a high resolution game for similar amounts each month. And I also don't believe that a "cloud based system" will ever be able to generate as good of quality of game video and then deliver it with as low of latency as a system co-located with the user.

simply stream from powerful servers (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#42527583)

yea you know what, my shitty internet has trouble streaming from youtube sometimes

Re:simply stream from powerful servers (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42528303)

They don't want you to know this; but the various 'cloud gaming' startups are actually part of an attempt to uncover enough precogs to set up a practical precrime unit.

With latency what it is, only limited precognition allows the player to perform as well as they would locally. With online leaderboards, it becomes a relatively simple matter to screen for players who play more effectively than the limitations of the game would ordinarily allow.

Re:simply stream from powerful servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528351)

They don't want you to know this; but the various 'cloud gaming' startups are actually part of an attempt to uncover enough precogs to set up a practical precrime unit.

With latency what it is, only limited precognition allows the player to perform as well as they would locally. With online leaderboards, it becomes a relatively simple matter to screen for players who play more effectively than the limitations of the game would ordinarily allow.

Precogs? I have no idea what you mean, but it sounds a little like Minority Report. What exactly are you saying? You believe that "they" are going to use our gaming habits as a way of determining crime risk factor by looking for the cheaters? You know heads up seven up was made for that, and it's a lot cheaper.

They will fail because (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527599)

Most people don't have fast enough internet to stream high quality without lag and a lot of people have data caps. If you can't even stream a Netflix movie without it buffering all the time or using up your data how are you supposed to game for hours on end?

Re:They will fail because (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#42528315)

This is especially true as people move to mobile devices as their primary computing interface. And you thought your crappy cable/DSL internet was bad.

latency (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527605)

We've talked about this a thousand times. After your normal input lag gets sent to a server, the video gets rendered and sent back, your latency is so bad that twitchy games are unplayable. I'm sure it would work fine for slow-paced games, but then... what do you need the server for?

Re:latency (4, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#42527909)

The sad thing about latency is the networking bunch may do their jobs fairly well but the input/output hardware and software people often don't or can't.

So each router hop on the internet might only take 1ms or less whereas a mouse button click or keyboard key press might take 16 milliseconds (debouncing etc) and a crap TV might take another 16-50 milliseconds or even more.

Of course if you're unlucky to be an ocean or two away from the servers your ping goes up by 200 milliseconds or more. But if you're not, don't be surprised how little latency might be added by the network and server.

For instance my ping to www.google.com is coming back within 5 milliseconds.

But if the game server and client bunch leave Nagling on that often adds another semi-random 200+ milliseconds. I personally think Nagling belongs in the past and no longer should be enabled by default - causes more problems than it solves. It is a kludge that does something at the network layer that should more properly be done at the application layer.

Re:latency (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42527997)

You need to add data transmission time to the network latency. You need to wait for an entire screen to be transferred before it can be displayed. If it's compressed, there's latency in the compression too. That's why VOIP codecs sacrifice quality for latency, waiting for 1152 samples before encoding an MP3 frame takes too long.

Re:latency (3)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42528045)

Trouble is, unless you've got a decent internet connection(preferrably uncapped, if you plan on doing much 'cloud' gaming), the effective latency is a combination of your basic ping time and the time to transfer whatever data are needed to paint the next frame of video. Your keystrokes going out aren't likely to be all that much bigger than an ICMP packet; but unless you can pull a good 10Mb/s down or better you'll be choosing between pixel soup and slideshow mode...

Re:latency (5, Informative)

StarWreck (695075) | about a year ago | (#42528063)

1ms?!? What fantasy world are you living in? 1ms is what you'll get between 2 computers on your own home LAN. You're not going to get as good as 1ms from your own ISP.

Streamed Games are Awful (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527621)

Bandwidth use, control lag etc.

A 6 year old kid can notice the lag in Lego Batman when used on a Smart TV not in Game mode and be irritated by it.

Even under the best conditions the lag by the 'games streamed entirely from servers' is worse.

I'd accept PS1 era graphics and tight controls over 'real-life' quality streamed graphics and horrible lag.

Hahahahaha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527631)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA, HAAAAAAAhahahahahahaha. Ahhahahahahahaha. Ha, ha. Hahaha.

That's not how you do that. (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | about a year ago | (#42527639)

I'm not sure the anonymous reader understands how computers work. You can't just stream CPU power. Plus, one of the main reasons for using a console is that it "just works", and having to have it connected to the internet whenever you play would be a huge pain.

Re:That's not how you do that. (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#42527669)

Well, not really. Consoles have built in wireless these days. I don't have to think about putting my PS3 online - it's online by default.

Re:That's not how you do that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527947)

What's more, he leaves it on all the time, so I can log into it from Murmansk, and process my CAPTCHAs on it it. Boris likes those who do not think.

Latency? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527649)

Lets say there is a magical server in the cloud which renders game content as a function of end-user input. This server then sends an audio/video stream back to the end-user. In addition to the noticeable latency already present with today's HDTV's and wireless controllers, how much more latency will this add? I would like to know how much latency (in milliseconds, which I will define as the time between a change in input conditions and a change in game content on the display) the average console gamer is willing to put up with.

I don't understand (5, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#42527659)

The console-killer always has been the good old PC. A reasonably specced-out PC with a mid-range graphics card is far, far better than any console. But nobody listens to me. Nobody loves me.

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42527863)

The console-killer always has been the good old PC. A reasonably specced-out PC with a mid-range graphics card is far, far better than any console. But nobody listens to me.

Well yes and no.

You may not be old enough to remember but back before the Playstation and Xbox PC-pretenders turned up consoles were about casual, accessible games like Mario Kart. PC's were about in depth games, shooters like Doom and adventure games like Star Control 2. Then the PS/XB pretenders came a long and pretended they could be "hardcore" gaming machines. This was until Nintendo released the Wii and proved that consoles were about casual, accessible games like Mario Kart and made money hand over fist whilst it took the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 half a decade to achieve profitability (the PS3 still hasn't recouped it's investment yet).

Now mobile is muscling in on the casual game and this is where the "traditional" console is doomed. Casual audiences will be attracted to the cheapness, ease of use and multiplayer capabilities of the tablet-consoles (Tabsoles, Conslets?) and "hardcore" games will come home, back to the PC.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#42527907)

I agree, and theres room for both hardcore games and more casual games, but the market wont need 3 devices to support 2 overall categories. Though it may take a bit longer than people think as there are untold amount of people who want that hard core action, and just functioning on a PC is an achievement, even now in 2012 where its 99% point n click to get stuff running.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528047)

PC's were about in depth games, shooters like Doom and adventure games like Star Control 2.

That's funny since Doom was officially ported to multiple consoles and FPS and adventure games have been on consoles for decades now. Your version of history seems to be tainted by things you just made up.

Re:I don't understand (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#42528099)

Consoles were also arcade-at-home devices. The funny controllers (joysticks, more than 2 buttons), and boxes with graphics that rivaled the arcade machines.

Re:I don't understand (2)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42528395)

Consoles were also arcade-at-home devices. The funny controllers (joysticks, more than 2 buttons), and boxes with graphics that rivaled the arcade machines.

Exactly, the casual market grew out of the kinds of people who went to arcades. This is why old acrade games like Glaga, Tetris and Street Fighter remain console favourites.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Re:I don't understand (1, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#42528133)

Seriously? Street Fighter? Final Fantasy? Romance of the Three Kingdoms? No More Heroes? The World Ends with You? *Dragon Quest*?

None of these games have "depth?" I think what you mean is "ridiculously thick manual and awful UI."

Anything that can plug into a display and spit sound out of it somehow can be full of casual or "teh hardcorez" gaming anyway. The PC, for example, is nothing but a final resting place for casual games and shovel ware and Pokemon is a ridiculously deeper game than it lets on.

If the traditional console is dead, then it is going the way of the arcade, screwed by the industry that spawned it or destroyed by non-gaming forces beyond it's control.

It's sad that we perpetuate myths, like consoles killed arcade games or there must be one dominant platform, so that way tech writers have something to write about and so fanboys can argue about these things.

It's funny, rarely in other industries do you ever hear that a product or product line will completely eviscerate another product. As far as I know, neither Canon or Nikon have wiped each other off the map nor do they have plans to.

Re:I don't understand (0, Flamebait)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42528353)

Seriously? Street Fighter?

None of these games have "depth?"

Credibility shot right there.

Street fighter is an arcade game, you might be too young to remember but street fighter debued in the arcade (the arcade is where you played casual games before the home console became popular, you're probably too young to remember this too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighter [wikipedia.org] First released in the arcade in 1987.

It's sad that we perpetuate myths, like consoles killed arcade games or there must be one dominant platform,

This is how it is in the console world. It was dog eat dog. Nintendo ate Atari and Sega, Sony tried to eat nintendo... The first company to release a decent tablet/console hybrid will eat the others (smart monies on Nintendo, they seem to understand the market).

The console market does not abide competition. Having three players is the largest it's ever been and right now, two of those three players will have trouble staying in the game.

As far as I know, neither Canon or Nikon have wiped each other off the map nor do they have plans to.

That's because you've got Pentax, Panasonic, Fijifilm, Olympus, Leica and many others competing in DLSR, Point and Shoot, Enthusiast and many other markets. Also Canon make more than just cameras. The only way this compares to consoles in when we ask "what happened to Kodak" and answer "they bet on film when the market went digital".

It's obvious you're young and haven't researched much about the console market, you might want to do that before making ill informed posts.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528363)

You may not be old enough to remember but back before the Playstation and Xbox PC-pretenders turned up consoles were about casual, accessible games like Mario Kart. PC's were about in depth games, shooters like Doom and adventure games like Star Control 2.

Doom was even on the SNES, dont pretend you know what youre talking about when you obviously dont.

Then the PS/XB pretenders came a long and pretended they could be "hardcore" gaming machines.

the word you're looking for is "proved", gamers flocked to those consoles, they proved they could be hardcore gaming machines.

This was until Nintendo released the Wii and proved that consoles were about casual, accessible games

then why didn't the other 2 consoles die and the wii reign supreme? oh right, because youre wrong. the wii is different to the ps3 and 360, which is why many people have both types of console. if youre only up for casual gaming then you get a wii or you go to mobile games, if casual gaming moves to mobile the only one dying is the wii.

Now mobile is muscling in on the casual game and this is where the "traditional" console is doomed.

but hang on, you said the 360 and PS3 aren't casual game systems, that they are hardcore pretenders but casual gaming is what the wii is about, so i guess its the wii that is doomed.

"hardcore" games will come home, back to the PC.

woo! buggy windows 8, driver bug-ridden unsupported linux and osx locked to underpowered hardware....sounds like a real hardcore gamer's paradise. no thanks, i'll stick to playing all those games on my consoles without the hassle, i can't be bothered messing with pcs for gaming anymore, waste of time, every time a AAA title is released for PC the forums are clogged with people that can't get it to work because of XYZ driver/configuration/operating system/specs issue.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527889)

The console-killer always has been the good old PC. A reasonably specced-out PC with a mid-range graphics card is far, far better than any console. But nobody listens to me. Nobody loves me.

12-year olds don't "listen" to common sense. They only want what Billy down the street has, which is a console system, because generally little Billy is just like the other 98% of kids out there...too damn unmotivated to actually learn anything (like building your own gaming rig).

Odd part about that statement is these same "unmotivated" kids will spend the next several months dedicated online learning how to play said console game.

Re:I don't understand (2)

failedlogic (627314) | about a year ago | (#42527945)

It used to be though to get the reasonably specced PC you had to spend $800 - 1000. When the PS3 / X360 and before their release that was true. $300 (or whatever it was) for a sound card just to place Wing Commander 2 with voice pack ..... ah the memories

I'm a PS3 owner because of the Blu-Ray player, and I'm a fan of a few Sony exclusive game franchises.

I think most people buy platform X or Y not on technical merits but on system-exclusive games. If the next-gen don't have any system exclusives that are worth buying the console for, then PS4 and 720 have something to worry about.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528211)

Yah, it was much different. I remember spending 2 grand on pcs for gaming not too long ago. Now I litereally am sitting on an i5 3570k, great motherboard for overclocking, a better than stock cooler, 8GB of ram, a 7770, and 1TB hdd.. oh and I got that with a 24inch gaming monitor with retarded good response times and picture quality, all for about 800. None of that is super monstrous, but I can play even the most demanding games at medium-high(which already outstrips a console by an order of magnitude, and most of the game sI WANT to play play on ultra with AA and AF turned up). This was for half the price of my gaming machines only 15 years ago that would go obsolete immediately next year. In 6 months I plan on adding another 7770 to this machine for at most 100 dollars and riding it for a while. This have MASSIVELY changed now.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528025)

Valve listened to you...

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528181)

The console-killer always has been the good old PC. A reasonably specced-out PC with a mid-range graphics card is far, far better than any console. But nobody listens to me. Nobody loves me.

Yes most good console games are available for Windows on the PC but only in a story about non-PC gaming does the Windows PC become the precipice of computing brilliance, the woes of driver issues are ignored, virus and malware issues are ignored, the slowdown over time is ignored, the constant updating, etc. Everything that is used to troll this website as an argument for why Microsoft Windows is terrible and OSX and Linux are awesome is ignored in the face of an alternative to PC gaming (even if it is Linux-based). Apparently nothing beats Windows.

consoles offer execution and optimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528257)

A good video game console has a single set of hardware, that is well documented, so video game makers can optimize their games for it. A good video game console does not have much non video game overhead. A good video game console has no bugs. From a publisher's perspective, a good video game console has very strong DRM. Observe the fate of the Dreamcast.

Apple and Nintendo have the low end casual gamer. Microsoft and Sony will get the high end hardcore gamer. There is an opportunity Valve to designate a particular set of hardware as a Steam Box. All other 'consoles' will fail in the gaming market.

Wrong (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#42527667)

They won't keep up.

Mommy may want to buy some shitty Ouya console cause its cheap, but little Jimmy won't want to play this shitty half assed games on it.

Seriously, do you think people WANT to phone quality graphics on a 60" TV? No, they don't even want to see it on a 15" laptop.

Anyone who thinks streamed games have chance hasn't played a game. Even for turn based games, lag that is noticeable sucks ass, and no ones internet is lag free all the time. Even if the last mile doesnt' lag, there are plenty of other hops to cause problems and introduce lag.

Consoles, current or next gen, have no worries at all about being beat out by a Gamestick or Ouya console, local or streamed. Anyone who thinks this is utterly disconnected from reality.

Re:Wrong (-1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42527969)

Seriously, do you think people WANT to phone quality graphics on a 60" TV? No, they don't even want to see it on a 15" laptop.

LoL, people like the Xbox 360 graphics, that's still standard def with no AA. The Wii is even weaker.

No-one except /. nerds are complaining about 1366 x 768 on their 15" laptops.

Beyond this, my 18 month old Acer Iconia (Tegra2) could easily output at 1080p with more AA than an Xbox 360 (as a member of the glorious PC gaming master race, it was still pitiful, but then again so are consoles).

I'll hit you with the clue by four. The Wii is so popular because it's fun. The upcoming tablet-consoles will be the same. People will buy it because it's cheap and accessible. Even the Xbox 360 and PS3 need the casual audience to survive, 40% of their sales came after the price drop in their respective units. People want cheaper consoles for casual gaming, as for so called "hardcore" gaming, well that's already heading back to the PC.

The so called "hardcore" console is doomed. There may well be another Xbox or Playstation but that will definitely be the last one. It took Microsoft and Sony half a decade to get their consoles making money, they are yet to recoup their total investment. Mobile gaming is growing and profitable. With improvements in mobile hardware it wont be long before we'll have tablet/console hybrids where you plug it into the TV via HDMI and use a bluetooth controller to create an instant console out of a tablet. Nintendo is half way there by putting tablets into the Wii U (which will make money, but wont be as big of a success as the Wii).

Anyone who thinks that console and mobile gaming don't occupy the same market is delusional.

The writing is on the wall for "PC pretenders" like the Xbox and PS, "hardcore" games will go back to the PC whilst the casual console will merge into a tablet form factor. Things like the OUYA are more of a proof of concept, it'll sell but it wont be a smashing success but that's the deal with version 1.0 products. The successors to the OUYA will put the nails into the current and "next-gen" consoles.

Re:Wrong (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#42528273)

Fact:

The "winner" of at least the last three console wars was the cheapest console.

The Wii outsold the Xbox 360 and the PS3. At some points it was outselling them *combined*, until Microsoft and Sony dropped their prices.

The PS2 outsold the Gamecube, Xbox and Dreamcast, which is generally credited to a) it being a cheaper DVD player than many dedicated DVD players, b) massive third-party support, itself caused by c) its low price.

The PS1 outsold the N64 and Saturn. Even though the N64 was slightly cheaper, it was also two years late, and had lower TCO since the games were CD-based, not cartridge-based. And don't even bring up the 3DO.

Ouya, Gamestick, Piston, Shield, and all the other microconsoles... I'm not worried that the graphics will hold them back (well, maybe Gamestick). The thing that's more likely to keep them from succeeding is a small game library. Ouya is close enough to many common Android tablets that it should be fine. Shield seems almost like a fancy demo for Nvidia's new hardware, so I doubt they'd panic if it flops. Piston (and the other Steamboxen) have one publisher behind them, which is at least enough to survive in the marketplace (ain't that right, Nintendo?).

Fanboy mods (-1, Troll)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42528401)

Got to love how they mod it over-rated, it's basically an admission that I'm right and they dont want others to see it.

Re:Wrong (1)

theurge14 (820596) | about a year ago | (#42528041)

Did we learn nothing from the Nintendo Wii?

You better believe mommy and daddy and grandma and grandpa and little Suzy will play "phone quality graphics" on a 60" TV. They've been playing Wii Bowling for years on it.

Re:Wrong (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42528247)

Mommy may want to buy some shitty Ouya console cause its cheap, but little Jimmy won't want to play this shitty half assed games on it.

Ha ha, you're funny. And nobody is playing a game on their phone right now. Oh wait, *you* are! What a dick.

Re:Wrong (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about a year ago | (#42528281)

OP is correct. A good hard dose of truth! Though, personally, I think the Ouya has a chance of giving the casual low-fi game sector (where Nintendo is currently king) a big shake up. Just don't pretend that it is even close to a solution for serious gaming. Maybe in 3+ years when mobile graphics are stepped up a couple of notches.

GameStick (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42527679)

They claim one of their selling points is the large amount of existing Android games available.

Can someone tell me how I'm going to play a touch-screen based game on a controller based TV console?

Re:GameStick (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#42527783)

Easily. The better ones already have controller support. I've hooked up a PS3 controller to my android tablet. All you need is Bluetooth or USB.
Also there is DosBox + Bluetooth mouse for your Master of Magic and Dungeon Keeper needs.
And with the newly announced SoC you can have independent display on your tablet and your HDMI connected viewing screen. Which sounds awefully like that new Nintendo thing.
All the standard stuff has already been there for some time.
Fun fact: I even give presentations with my tablet hooked up to an HDMI projector and control it with a PS3 controller. Afterwards I usually get asked by members of the audience where they can get all that stuff. simple: from a shop. As long as it doesn't have an Apple logo on the outside, of course.
It is iApple stuff that's left out in the rain. They don't do any of those. What with no emulators and non-standard connections and such.

Still: Caution! Google inside.

Re:GameStick (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42527833)

These are not tablets you can plug in to your TV, they have no screen.
To play a game with out a touch screen requires complete support - menus etc., not just game controls.

Re:GameStick (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42527789)

Price too. If I want an OUYA Console, it'll cost me $NZ215. I can just walk down the my local store and pick up an xbox 360 for $248, a wii for $268 or a PS3 for $349.

They're all in the same price bracket, apart from the PS3 being a little high and the OUYA not existing yet and has only shipped dev kits. GameStick also doesn't exist. None of them have any compatible games either as the entire catalog of Android games require a touch screen.

Re:GameStick (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#42528155)

My 5 year old plays Total War Battles Shogun on a tablet-touch and a PC-mouse. He play whichever of daddy's devices is not in use, with no particular preference for one over the other.

How does streaming make it more powerful? (1)

js3 (319268) | about a year ago | (#42527687)

I'm tired of reading bullshit articles day after day from idiot bloggers. What makes systems like xbox and ps3 so powerful isn't necessarily their hardware specs but their dedication. Anything with stock android isn't good for jackshit, and will force you to buy better and better hardware just to make it go faster, a problem the ps3 and xbox gaming consoles excel at.

Re:How does streaming make it more powerful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527971)

You obviously don't understand the concept at all. The SERVERS run the games, the device just handles the input/output. So it doesn't matter what the requirements are for a game 3-5 years in the future, it's make absolutely no difference to the device. Get it? Consoles actually suffer from having fixed hardware. They're usually some way behind a gaming PC at release, and fall way behind during their lifespans. The problem this causes for PC players is the amount of shockingly bad console "ports" that the developers push out, with low res console quality textures, ridiculously sloppy controls, lack of pre-loading content to avoid delays between levels, and all manner of other limitations that should exist for a PC game. Consoles are a huge problem, and I hope the likes of the Piston Steam box, and the new Nvidia device kill the PS4 and Xbox stone dead.

Consoles have been good at one thing - tricking idiots into paying far more money over their lifetime than if they'd spent a bit more on a PC to start with, to benefit from cheaper games (which also opens up modding, unlike the locked down consoles). It's only going to get worse now as Sony lock games to a single console to prevent resale (MS are bound to do the same). Not even considering whatever Nintendo put out, as their consoles are so far behind the curve that you can't see them over the horizon any more. They're just a toy seller.

Re:How does streaming make it more powerful? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42528217)

Xbox 360 and PS3 aren't powerful, they never were, they're actually pretty shitty.

Bandwidth restrictions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527733)

Even now that I live in the city and have a decent connection, it still chugs occasionally. While that's to be expected in a YouTube video, it's unacceptable in a multiplayer match. Back in my rural hometown, nothing would be playable. The connections there have trouble handling conventional online multiplayer. On top of that, bandwidth caps will kill this. A family of four people with a Netflix subscription and some sort of streaming HD game service could burn through their allotted 250GB/month in no time.

Cloud gaming - the next emperor's new clothes (3, Insightful)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year ago | (#42527743)

Even with a cloud network that comes equipped with millions of graphics cards, I just don't see how they are going to get around the bandwidth bottleneck. Unless the only games being offered are board games, I just don't see how anything like an FPS being played via cloud computing due to obvious things like: 1. bandwidth needed to download the images to update the gamer's display 2. network latency causing input delays Even with great compression algorithms, you're still looking at a problem of somehow refreshing the display at a minimum of 30 fps. I cannot help but speculate you would need either large bandwidth with low latency or special hardware to uncompress the image stream. But the most important question is, what the hell happens when either the cloud is down, or when you lose your internet connection?

Re:Cloud gaming - the next emperor's new clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528003)

The upcoming consoles also require a constant internet connection to work, so there's no benefit there, to be honest.

Re:Cloud gaming - the next emperor's new clothes (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#42528293)

MMORPGs are "cloud gaming" in that the game is hosted online elsewhere. Seems to work for the most popular game ever.

And it always amuses me how so many on slashdot are narrow-minded Luddites. "If I can't think of a solution, then it's impossible." A flash game takes less data than the image that results from it. It isn't hard to stream data to render, then render it in a simple manner. You have to have a video card of some type, and so far, most run android games, rather than "cloud" games. None of the current (or near future ones) run remotely. They all run on local hardware, so I'm not sure why so many put the "must run remotely" requirement on it, then misrepresent what that would take, so not only are they arguing something that isn't true, they are doing so with very flawed arguments. Why not just say "I irrationally hate change." That way people wouldn't waste time actually trying to inform the irrational Luddites.

Re:Cloud gaming - the next emperor's new clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528383)

MMORPG servers don't render graphics. You're talking crazy talk.

The new paradigm, only 20+ years old and counting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527749)

This has been predicted for years now. Cloud Computed gaming is the future, every game will be cloud computed!

OnLive, a hundred million dollar company, essentially collapsed last year betting on this. There are too many problems with the business model. First, local hardware is an absolute requirement. Ping times between the server and user MUST be excellent, or the game becomes unresponsive and playing it, even for slow paced games, can become unbearable. This means you need enough hardware for a local max load everywhere you have service.

Which means that there's not a huge hardware savings overall, hardware ultimately purchased by the consumer, which means the consumer isn't paying particularly less for this either directly or indirectly. And you can't pay for it via a subscription fee, because you're asking people to pay for hardware they only get limited access too, pay almost as much as they would for their own dedicated hardware mind you. So you have to ask for a cut of games like MS and Sony do to subsidize their own hardware.

The trouble is that MS and Sony and etc. rely solely on huge volumes to turn a profit this way, and much of the hardware purchase cost is still paid upfront by the consumer. In the cloud model it's the provider that's spending all this money upfront. Too little in terms hardware and you might be passing up purchases and even have outages, causing people to question why they buy games on your service to begin with. But too much hardware and you can end up like OnLive, with a huge amount of available service and no one to pay for it.

In fact, virtualization of end user hardware has been around for 20 years and probably more. It's never worked for the past 20 years, and while wireless communication and speed has advanced far enough to make it technically feasible, the question of using such as a business model is still very much up in the air.

Wii outsold PS3 and XBox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527771)

If you have tablets that can play 3D games, smoother than the eye can see, do you really need some huge gaming rig? The biggest seller of the last console generation was the Wii not the XBox360 or PS3 and that had more to do with the friendly controller, fun games and small size.

So you're chasing an attribute (biggest shaded polygons) that the market doesn't rate as important as other attributes.

IMHO, this is the next big seller:
http://liliputing.com/2013/01/archos-tv-connect-turns-any-tv-into-an-android-powered-smart-tv.html

The Archos one, that sits on the top of the TV, streams media, plays games and most important, supports a pointer interface with multitouch making it usable for most Android apps and games. Plus it's cheap.

I think these are the attributes that appeal to me, not polygon count.

Re:Wii outsold PS3 and XBox 360 (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42527913)

The only problem is it doesn't exist yet.

Neither does the PS4 or XBox720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528205)

Yeh, it's out in February, I can wait a month. Poster compared devices either out, or out very soon against consoles without even a release date. PS4 and XBox720 don't have a detail spec out, or product shots or release date.....

Whereas Android devices, we already see the games for it on the Play Store (I see the ones I want), we already know the hardware, it's tried and tested on tablets, we already know the interface, it's already on 4th generation OS, so it won't be a surprise.

Not called Xbox 720 (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year ago | (#42527873)

There is no way in hell they will call it Xbox 720. It would be a terrible marketing.

Re:Not called Xbox 720 (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about a year ago | (#42528117)

It's Microsoft. Do the words "Zune" and "Squirt" ring a bell?

Re:Not called Xbox 720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528195)

Forget Zune and Squirt -- the company is named Micro-freaking-soft!!! What the hell kind of "dropped straight out of bad 1950s SF" name is that???

Re:Not called Xbox 720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528131)

2600...5200...7800...
Just sayin'.

Re:Not called Xbox 720 (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42528201)

There is no way in hell they will call it Xbox 720. It would be a terrible marketing.

And Microsoft never does that. Oh wait... Seinfeld... butt wiggle... bald headed men squirting... oh my.

Re:Not called Xbox 720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528371)

They should call it Xbox 4pi

Power is irrelevant when your content is boring (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527893)

Power has nothing to do with it.

The quality of the content does.

And for quality content, you do not need a giant octo-core monster with a dedicated GPU that will burn through the PCB without a proper heatsink and fan. You need power to produce another shitty cookie cutter game running off UDK, hence the reason for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

I played plenty of games in 1997-2004 that were astoundingly awesome (and still are today via emulation). For those kinds of games, even the OUYA is drastically overpowered because it runs Android and they didn't feel like writing their own OS. Seriously, if someone started from the ground up and built their own console with their own OS and their own SDK, you could pull off some impressive things with a 500mhz processor and 256MB of RAM. If you think that's bullshit, then you need only look into the history of gaming to say otherwise.

So, yeah, I suppose what qualifies as a "tiny" console today could give the 360 and PS3 a decent kicking if they got enough talented developers on board who actually had an interest in making solid games (and game engines) rather then barfing up some more crap in UDK or Unity.

Re:Power is irrelevant when your content is boring (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42528121)

Power has nothing to do with it.

The quality of the content does.

And for quality content, you do not need a giant octo-core monster with a dedicated GPU that will burn through the PCB without a proper heatsink and fan. You need power to produce another shitty cookie cutter game running off UDK, hence the reason for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

I played plenty of games in 1997-2004 that were astoundingly awesome (and still are today via emulation). For those kinds of games, even the OUYA is drastically overpowered because it runs Android and they didn't feel like writing their own OS. Seriously, if someone started from the ground up and built their own console with their own OS and their own SDK, you could pull off some impressive things with a 500mhz processor and 256MB of RAM. If you think that's bullshit, then you need only look into the history of gaming to say otherwise.

So, yeah, I suppose what qualifies as a "tiny" console today could give the 360 and PS3 a decent kicking if they got enough talented developers on board who actually had an interest in making solid games (and game engines) rather then barfing up some more crap in UDK or Unity.

While I would hardly disagree with the notion that today's gaming market is loaded with derivative crap(not that the past wasn't: how many crap re-sprites of Mario Brothers did the world get to endure?); your proposed solution seems counterintuitive:

Derivative crap comes about for some combination of 1. Customer demand, 2. Publisher risk aversion, 3. Tight deadlines, and 4. Very high development costs that essentially require a game to be a big seller lest it be a massive money pit.

How does increasing the amount of low-level(and technically challenging) engine optimization grovelling that developers need to do help any of this? Barring a few exceptionally talented outliers, that seems mostly like a recipe for more bugs(and more hard-lock-to-desktop stuff, not just quest logic issues) and less time spent on storytelling and gameplay tweaking in favor of writing yet another pseudo-newtonian physics engine or making sure that the shader code doesn't crash on specific GPUs. Somebody has to do it; but there isn't a whole lot of benefit to having everybody reinventing the wheel badly when they could be using tools built by people who know how to build tools in order to build actual games...

Bzzt wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527901)

This would be true if you had a good broadband coverage everywhere. After all, what is the point of having all the processing done in the servers when you don't have enough bandwidth to push the results to your clients? So, unless there is some revolution in communications or some magic technology that will bring a good, decent and lag-free broadband connection to the masses, consoles will still offer a better experience.

The answer is pretty easy to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42527937)

I want to see those tiny little companies have enough cloud horse power and bandwidth to accomodate a few million CoD/Halo/TF2 players online at once. We're talking something like 20 million across 360, and PS3, and PC for those games. Not only that, but I want RTT times of no greater than 30ms to your data center.

Also, more obviously, the big companies will also move to the cloud -- it's not like the cloud is reserved just to waste VC money (or is it!?)

Re:The answer is pretty easy to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528019)

Not only that, but to stay competitive, they're going to have to upgrade all that power again in 2 years right? Which means changing hardware etc. etc. and a metric ton of expense... you can't just put one of these things together and let it sit.

Worst idea ever (4, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42527973)

So it's like the current games but with 100x more financial reason to shut down the multiplayer servers after a couple years. That sounds like a great idea! Just ask PC gamers how much they love that.

The Whole Point of Consoles... (1)

AdamStarks (2634757) | about a year ago | (#42527979)

is to avoid a fractious market. This lets developers focus more on the actual game, and less on supporting all the different hardware/OS combinations. This also lets consumers spend more time playing games, and less time diagnosing problems.

For example, I got a new computer back in the summer, and found that it played a couple games incredibly slowly for no good reason (Warhammer Spacemarine and the new XCOM). The games ran fine on friends' computers, but chugged on mine even at minimum settings. I eventually found out that this was an issue with certain versions of certain motherboards and that the solution was to update my BIOS. I'd never done this, and had read stories of people bricking their computers as a result of BIOS flashing gone wrong, so I was understandably nervous about just trying a bunch of solutions. After further research, I found the BIOS upgrade I needed, and proceeded to try installing it. Woe unto me, the BIOS installer couldn't read my flashdrive, and the only clue as to why was some mention on some old forum of thumbdrives larger than 512 mb not working. Fortunately, our IT guy at work had an old 256 mb drive buried somewhere and let me borrow it. I copied the files over, booted into the BIOS flasher, and everything went smoothly. When the computer finished restarting, I was very pleased to find both games now running at perfectly playable framerates.

On my Xbox, I put the disc in and the damn thing just works. Will that still be the case if we have umpteen different consoles?

Re:The Whole Point of Consoles... (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42528185)

You're wrong. The whole point of consoles is to establish a borderline illegal lock-in monopoly, while laughing at customers who whine about their boxes full of dusty useless games that don't work any more on the shiny new pieces of crap.

Re:The Whole Point of Consoles... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#42528313)

Err... what?

Game consoles came out nearly simultaneously as PCs did. Game consoles meant you can have an arcade like experience at home. In fact, the Altair 8800 came out 3 years after the first console, the Magnavox Odyssey.

Game consoles were meant to play *games* and facilitate that goal, not be general purpose computers that are devilishly locking you out.

Escalation (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#42528027)

That is one of the most stupid applications for cloud computing. Centralizing processor hungry processes. Can anyone take a guess how badly it will become as this escalates?

Simple answer (1)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42528039)

After all, if these little boxes can simply stream from powerful servers, how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up?"

By *not* streaming from servers. I like the idea of turning a thing on and start to play, even if the service has gone out of bussiness.

Umm, it's quite obvious (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#42528073)

After all, if these little boxes can simply stream from powerful servers, how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up?"

By building their own systems utilizing their larger amounts of revenue, infrastructure investments and personnel resources?

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528103)

OMG put everything on the intercloudweb2.0 nao! These things aren't going to kill any consoles, if anything they just ruined some poor kid's christmas. Gee Mom I wanted a PS4 and instead you got me this retard-o-box.

Looking forward to new Sony and Msft products (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42528145)

I'm looking forward with tremendous anticipation to new products from Sony and Msft. I will be on the edge of my seat watching those two paragons of evil beat each other to a pulp again and lose more $billions. A Tweedledee vs Tweedledum extreme mud wrestling cage fight. And I need to see if they can manage to burn a few houses down between them this time, especially since Microsoft got oh so close last time.

OnLive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528221)

Is this OnLive all over again?
I guess we really needed it.

cap: reject
How fitting.

Everyone mentions latency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528249)

but what about the inevitable violation of first sale that will come with these cloud enabled devices?

Yes and no... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42528271)

This 'cloud gaming' stuff seems severely overrated; but there might be another way in which cheapie consoles do cause real trouble for their more expensive brethren:

Because(with the historical exception of Nintendo) consoles have been sold at a loss(and have also generally been somewhat odd ducks, with a fair amount of custom architecture thrown in), with the economic logic being built around massive volume sales of officially blessed games that pay a tithe for the privilege, the present sales model is only viable if it is assured that they will be sold in large numbers to customers who will buy lots of games for them. If the sales numbers suffer, or the attach rate goes to shit, the available subsidy will dwindle considerably.

We've certainly seen a rather dramatic shift on the mobile side, with 'free-as-in-you-already-own-one' cellphones and cheap downloadable games striking a certain amount of fear in the hearts of dedicated mobile console makers. Notably, they haven't done this by being objectively better(if anything, pure touchscreen gaming is sort of mediocre, and a lot of cellphone games are worth all 99 cents they cost); but they sure are convenient.

On the home console side, we could end up seeing a very similar squeeze from the low end if Google or Apple's attempts to move their mobile ecosystems into set top boxes end up working, or if one or more cable/satellite companies decide to kick out a set top box that doesn't entirely suck. The effect on dedicated fans of Medal of Halo: Gears of Assault will be limited; but lazier and more casual players could easily skip the console if they can download games from their set top box in 30 seconds for less than the cost of a new xbox AV cable... On the top end, the longer the consoles go without a refresh, the relatively cheaper PC gaming becomes.

Given the inherent weaknesses of 'cloud' gaming, and the fact that nasty little mobile SoCs aren't as powerful as CPUs that cost several times as much, the little guys aren't going to match the consoles; but the traditional console model depends on a big market in order to be viable. The more sales they lose, the harder it becomes to offer the subsidies that make console gaming cheaper than PC gaming and the AAA several-hundred-million-dollar platform exclusives that help drive sales.

Bahahahahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42528345)

These devices are Console Killers? Seriously?

There is no console killer. (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#42528385)

When will people understand that there is no console killer. Just like TV didnt kill radio. Computers and consoles didnt kill TV. Consoles didnt kill PC's. Consoles are good at what they do and fill that niche market. Nevermind that the devices mentioned are consoles themselves. If Ouya can produce quality blockbuster titles then it will do well, if not, it will most likely go the way of the Jaguar, 3DO, Virtua Boy and other failed consoles. If not then it will fill its own niche market but never truly compete with next gen consoles. Cloud Gaming or w.e they want to call it is nice on paper but since broadband speeds are relatively slow in the US and not everyone has high speed internet, you lose a huge chunk of the market.
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