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Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the they're-practically-tiering-up dept.

PlayStation (Games) 222

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Gary Marshall writes that.Microsoft's marvelous motion-sensing device is doing really good work for Sony, helping the PS4 outsell the Xbox One in the US and rocketing it to the top of the world's console sales charts. With the Xbox One $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4, the Kinect is the explanation for the huge difference in price between the rival platforms says Marshall. "That kind of money makes a huge difference, and I wonder: if Microsoft had kept the Kinect as an optional add-on, which we all know it should be, would the Xbox One be much more attractive?" Ben Kuchera describes the peripheral as one of the most hated pieces of equipment in current use. "The system is still new, but every Xbox One owner now has a peripheral that has little reason to exist, aids their gaming in very few real ways and costs them a significant amount of money." The common defense of the Kinect is that developers wouldn't support it unless it was forced on consumers but according to Kuchera pushing a product on the public with the hope that it will be useful once we have it is a cruel inversion of how product adoption should be handled. "The forced pack-in proves something we already knew at the beginning of this generation: Almost no one would want to buy the Kinect separately if they were given the choice," writes Kuchera. "It's time to make the Kinect a peripheral, not a pack-in.""

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It's the ads (3, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46295061)

Microsoft started including ads on the xbox home page last generation. It was enough for me to entirely drop purchasing anything at all for it(and definitely not xbox 1). I had no reason to believe the PS4 is better in that regard, so they get ignored too.

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295129)

I don't want to see McDonalds garbage every time I play a game.
Does the PS3/PS4 show ads?

Re:I agree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295161)

Does the PS3/PS4 show ads?

Of course it does. For some reason people think it's "acceptable" when Sony does it, but not Microsoft. Which is weird, because Microsoft has never removed features from their consoles in place of ads, while Sony has...

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295333)

I don't know about PS4, but on PS3 ads are relegated to the PlayStation Store (sort of makes sense, right?), the "What's New" section of that XMB menu you never use, and the notification text scroll at the top, which moves by too fast and displays too few characters to read when it's something you actually care about.

So again, maybe PS4 blows it all up and throws ads on everything, but based on what they did with PS3, if they're getting a "pass" it's because their shit isn't horrible intrusive. Microsoft cram their interfaces so full of ads that it is not only visually distracting, but impacts functionality.

Don't be an idiot and pretend like there isn't a difference.

Re:I agree (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 8 months ago | (#46296179)

Maybe because both consoles are bought by different people, with different priorities.

If Microsoft keeps showing the ads for a few more years, people'll stop complaining about them too... Because everybody that care about them won't buy one anymore.

Re:I agree (1)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 8 months ago | (#46296371)

PS3 doesn't put the ads right on your home screen, front and center. BIG difference. On my 360, I would have 5 or 6 "live tiles" with ads, and 3 useful buttons. The "metro" design is great for shoving ads down your throat, less useful for actually using the console. Due to this, and many other reasons, I cancelled my XBL subscription and refuse to buy any more Xbox titles. I instead subscribed to PSN...and instantly had access to SEVERAL free "AAA" titles for download, plus games for the Vita and the PS4. MS isn't seeing a red cent of my money until they get rid of "metro" (on ALL platforms).

Re:I agree (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#46295567)

I don't want to see McDonalds garbage every time I play a game. ...

Then maybe you should clean your basement up before you game.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295157)

I've never seen an ad on the PS3, so I have no reason to believe that the PS4 is any different in that regard.

Microsoft's inclusion of Ads in the 360 is disgusting, but the fanboys lapped it up clearly, as the XBox One is selling well, if not as well as the PS4.

Re:It's the ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295219)

PS3 has ads for content you can buy on the system and occasionally sponsored content that gets ads (like the Toyota-backed LBP promotion), but nothing like the straight-up ad banners on Xbox. They're also only displayed in the store, "Internet" section of XMB, and in the little notification text scroll at the top, which is usually too short and scrolls to fast to read anything even when it's something you want to see.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295225)

Try looking. Theres ads on the very first screen on PS3.

Re:It's the ads (1)

Tukz (664339) | about 8 months ago | (#46295319)

Where?

Please show me, I'm serious.
I have both a PS3 and a PS4, never seen an add on the "Springboard" or whatever the hell it's called.

Re:It's the ads (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46295491)

Isn't it wierd how Sony has become the good guys in the console world now? I'm actually looking to jump to ps4 from Xbox360 and Xbone.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295813)

Isn't it wierd how Sony has become the good guys in the console world now?

Not really. It's just business. The roles of "good" and "bad" can change over time.

Sony was relatively good in the PS1 and 2 age. Sure sure they had proprietary memory back then too, but back then that wasn't as big of a deal. This was before everybody had devices that could do many things, and need to talk with every other device. This was when there were even less people interested in Linux.

And rewind further back, what we think is "bad" today was seen as a good thing. Nintendo was successful partly because it was a walled garden, that's kept nice and clean, filtering out many crap games.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295523)

Probably means in the store section - when you scroll onto various things it displays something relevant, so games get you the game's wallpaper and so on. Selecting the store but not going into it gets you a few icons of games that you can purchase in the store which you have chosen to select. It's actually _good_ advertising tastefully and sensibly done, and yet it's somehow comparable to the 360 & bone? Because, um. Both sides!

Re:It's the ads (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | about 8 months ago | (#46295573)

It's a frequent complaint from people in the US, but outside I don't think you get the scrolling ads without signing into a US account.

Re:It's the ads (1)

beerdragoon (1142579) | about 8 months ago | (#46295811)

I'm with you, I don't see any ads either. The only ones I see are when I hover over, or go into the PS Store app. I don't think this is unreasonable. If you are in or hovering around the PS Store, you might actually want to see ads about new or on sale content. This is like bitching about Steam showing you "featured products" when you click on the store link.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295365)

Why do you think your PS3 boots up with the "Playstation Store" icon highlighted, not the icon for the game you put in the drive, and obviously want to play?

That's an advert right there.

Re:It's the ads (3, Informative)

Talderas (1212466) | about 8 months ago | (#46295475)

Um. What the fuck are you talking about? If you have a game disk in the PS3 when you boot it up, the system will focus on the game disk option. If you boot the PS3 without a disk, it focused on the PS store and network options. If you put a game disk in, the menu will focus on the game sub menu and auto-load the game.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295541)

There's also a setting to have it start up on the "Games" menu. It's buried in there with the option to disable auto-run on disc insert.

Re:It's the ads (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46295183)

Why did you have no reason to believe the PS4 was ad-free? It's not exactly a well-kept secret.

Re:It's the ads (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46295889)

Mostly because I didn't care. Dropping Microsoft lead me into the loving arms of steam sales.

Re:It's the ads (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 8 months ago | (#46295197)

I noticed that but I don't pay for the live part so I figured it was only non-subscribers that got those.

Re:It's the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295249)

It's all of the junk!
Ads, DRM, and NO backward compatibility!!!
They just make it harder on the paying customers as they try to close in their walled garden.
It is the kings closing the walls on their serfs.
Enough, time to revolt!!!

Re:It's the ads (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46295443)

So then it's not the ads that are making the difference between PS4 and xbox 1.

PS4 ads aren't obnoxious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46296059)

I guess the PS4 has ads, since everyone here is saying so. But I've never noticed them. I mean, if you are on the store, there are ads for games of course, that's what the store is. But however they're doing it on the regular home menu, it isn't glaring.

But I was XBOX 360 last generation, but I got the PS4 because it is supposed to be easier for independent developers to develop for it. And I didn't have a Blu-ray player. Now it's cool because I can still play Titanfall when it comes out, albeit on the last gen system.

Social (2, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 8 months ago | (#46295065)

I wish they'd both make everything a lot less social and less connected. I don't want to go into another persons house if they have the NSA/GCHQ spy cam installed. I don't know what the police think I've done and come get me regardless. Think they wouldn't?
Luckily the games are awful so I've not need to buy either.

Re:Social (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46295117)

Luckily the games are awful so I've not need to buy either.

I can't decide if games have gotten worse or my standards have gotten more exacting, but I definitely feel like there's a more-recent anti-intellectual undercurrent to games that really disagrees with me.

Re:Social (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46295203)

You've completely missed the indie game movement, then. Gaming has never been so intellectually active.

Re:Social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295357)

Please, point me to these allegedly "intellectually active" indie games. All I've found are crap platformers, rhythm games, and one horrible act of player hostility that has things behave differently every time you see them and has art designed to induce migraines.

Re:Social (4, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#46295819)

Please, point me to these allegedly "intellectually active" indie games

Papers Please
Thomas Was Alone
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Journey
Minecraft

There's lots more, but that'll do for starters.

Re:Social (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46295901)

No, I haven't. Papers Please, for example was excellent. I meant my criticism to be directed at the big publishers.

Re:Social (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 8 months ago | (#46295839)

I wish they'd both make everything a lot less social and less connected.

I agree, as I'm an 'old school' neckbeard. I just want to play a great game, and not be inundated with all the connected stuff.

I just recently got an XBox360, because it has a pre-existing library of great enough games that I can buy pre-owned for next to nothing.

I don't have the time to get involved with all this modern 'always connected' gameplay. I paid good money for the console, I want it to just work out of the box. Online features are a pain to constantly keep up with. And now a connected camera and microphone that's always on? Not needed, and not wanted. At least by me, YMMV

Garbage (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295083)

It's all locked-down, proprietary junk made by companies with no ethical standards. No one with principles buys this garbage, anyway. Most gamers will, but that's because they're like drug addicts.

Sarcasm (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 8 months ago | (#46295707)

Yes exactly like drug addicts. We hold jobs, have families, live long lives, and stay out of trouble with law enforcement. Exactly like drug addicts.

Re:Sarcasm (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 8 months ago | (#46295925)

Well to be fair that's also true of most drug addicts.

Not going to happen (3)

H3lldr0p (40304) | about 8 months ago | (#46295097)

Microsoft is going to hold on to that thing for as long as they can. It's not going away for several different reasons.

The first and largest is that the Kinect is a product differentiater. It makes the XBone different from the PS4. There really isn't that much a difference between the two boxes otherwise. Fine, you can go on with the technical differences between the types of RAM and the custom silicon for the XBone's APU but those are not large concerns for Mom and Dad buying little Sally's birthday present.

Until MS comes up with something besides the software that makes their product different, the Kinect is going to hang on. But the second that happens, it'll be tossed. They know they've screwed the pooch here. They know exactly what it cost them in terms of customer relations and in terms of developers.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

xombo (628858) | about 8 months ago | (#46295169)

The PS4 has a system similar to the Kinect on the PS4; the difference being that Sony's peripheral is optional.

Microsoft had another option to be different (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 8 months ago | (#46295193)

They could have gone without a disc.Make it like a Steam box.

There are rumors they considered it, and I wish they would have. Chances are they could have still bundled the Kinect and been at price parity without the BD drive.

I was really looking forward to the discless console. I don't normally resell my games, and I have a gamer family of 4 with multiple consoles. For me, it was a huge win to buy everything digital and never have it damaged, be able to play it on every device without buying a second copy, etc...
Plus, they had the option to cut out the distribution layer. Even if they didn't lower the price for the digital copy, more money would have gone directly to the developer, and I'm sure some of it would have also gone to Microsoft.

They majorly screwed up the PR around this, though, and backed out. When all of the "always on" rumors started, they should have jumped on it explaining all of the benefits of a digital download only model. Instead, they did a "no comment" and everyone focused on the negatives.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (4, Interesting)

lord_mike (567148) | about 8 months ago | (#46295301)

Diskless consoles are great in theory. After all, who wants to go around physically inserting discs like it's the 1980's or somethin?. But, it comes with a cost--the inability to buy used discs or discs from third parties at a discount will keep prices outrageously high for games. Yes, in theory, they could reduce the price to make up for savings from using physical media, but they won't. A $60 game (which is way too expensive to begin with), will always be $60 as a download, whereas a $60 disc can be acquired cheaper new at amazon.com or ebay, and even less used. The only way a disc-less console would be attractive to the cost conscious consumer would be if they would guarantee a significantly lower price for content--like $30. That would be a big selling point.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 8 months ago | (#46295379)

But, it comes with a cost--the inability to buy used discs or discs from third parties at a discount will keep prices outrageously high for games.

Steam is diskless. It also has games that are just as cheap, if not cheaper, than used disk games (especially during sales). There are other benefits as well, such as no disks for the kids to scratch up or thieves to steal that you have to re-buy if you want to play again.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295771)

Steam is diskless. It also has games that are just as cheap, if not cheaper, than used disk games (especially during sales).

And Steam is loved because of this. However, Microsoft is not Valve. I doubt they could make something as successful as Steam, because they don't need to do this, and probably wouldn't. The Xbox, especially a theoretical diskless one, is a closed ecosystem; the PC isn't. On a PC, if you don't like Steam, you don't need to spend money on it, which gives Valve an incentive to make it as good as they can. Even if Valve only makes a cent on every holiday sale, it's a cent their competition don't get.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (2)

Megane (129182) | about 8 months ago | (#46295385)

The other cost is if you require people to ONLY download games, they have to have a fast enough connection to make it worth it, and there is still a distribution cost to run download servers and give them bandwidth. Some parts of the world have metered internet, and some people may be on slower connections. It's also a trade-off between how long it takes to download, and how much you put into the game. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a 5 inch piece of polycarbonate. It's still too early for a dickless console to succeed.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295609)

It's still too early for a dickless console to succeed.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 8 months ago | (#46296029)

They also have the problem that the company will not keep the servers active forever. I'm sure this won't matter to everyone. However, my 10 year old likes to play Atari 2600 games with me every so often. If I pay for something, I don't expect to be renting it.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 8 months ago | (#46295371)

I think you underestimate the number of people who don't have appropriate internet connections to make that work. Some people (more than you probably think) simply don't have consistent access to the internet. Then there's the fact that a single game can run 10s of gigabytes, for many people that is days of download time. Even for people with fast connections it can represent a significant piece of the monthly cap, Mediacom's standard package starts at 100 Gigs last time I checked but even at 200 or 300 that's still a significant chunk of the pie, especially when you consider the holiday season where Microsoft would like to see people buying multiple titles. Finally, I highly, highly doubt MS is paying $100 per blu-ray drive, I'd be shocked if they were paying $40, then you'd have to increase the HDD size to boot which is going to cost you another $10-15 (unless you only want a handful of titles installed at a time, which given the size of the games makes re-downloading a painful experience). So they could have maybe saved $30 per console... not enough to be worth all the headaches.

Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 8 months ago | (#46295973)

They could have gone without a disc. I was really looking forward to the discless console.

See that PS4 in the store? It can work that way if you want it to. Just download everything via PSN.

But still, the bandwidth of a truck full of Blu-ray's is rather high.

Re:Not going to happen (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 8 months ago | (#46295263)

The first and largest is that the Kinect is a product differentiater. It makes the XBone different from the PS4. There really isn't that much a difference between the two boxes otherwise. Fine, you can go on with the technical differences between the types of RAM and the custom silicon for the XBone's APU but those are not large concerns for Mom and Dad buying little Sally's birthday present.

Until MS comes up with something besides the software that makes their product different, the Kinect is going to hang on. But the second that happens, it'll be tossed. They know they've screwed the pooch here. They know exactly what it cost them in terms of customer relations and in terms of developers.

My friend has an Xbone. It turns out Kinect is what caused his WIFE to monopolize it. Yes, his wife took over the Xbone. Playing Just Dance 2014, Kinect Fitness and other Kinect games.

Enough so it's hard to get him on his Xbone. (And apparently, his youngest kids are all seeing mom dance and doing it themselves. And no, he's responsible - they take their kids outside to play which is why his Xbone gaming time is limited - they purposely want to keep their kids from getting addicted so they only play normal games when the kids are in bed).

Apparently they also really, really, really like Skype on it - the Kinect "zooms" in on the person speaking.

Of course, a popular peripheral for the PS4 is the camera - which if it isn't used to stream amateur porn shows on twitch...).

I have both, and find myself playing the Xbone a lot more than my PS4 - the camera's just so-so ($60 for what amounts to two $10 720p webcams...), and PS4 controller battery life is atrocious.

The only really bad thing is, on the PS4, I'm not buying games on it - I'm just waiting for them to show up on PS+. I did buy two games, though, but those were on ridiculous sale.

And no, the "p"s don't matter to me - because I end up playing PS4 using my Vita and remote play - about the best feature the PS4 has over the Xbone. But it also means the p's don't matter because ou're just squishing it down to quarter-FHD (540p) for display on the Vita screen.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295367)

The first and largest is that the Kinect is a product differentiater. It makes the XBone different from the PS4. There really isn't that much a difference between the two boxes otherwise. Fine, you can go on with the technical differences between the types of RAM and the custom silicon for the XBone's APU but those are not large concerns for Mom and Dad buying little Sally's birthday present.

Until MS comes up with something besides the software that makes their product different, the Kinect is going to hang on. But the second that happens, it'll be tossed. They know they've screwed the pooch here. They know exactly what it cost them in terms of customer relations and in terms of developers.

My friend has an Xbone. It turns out Kinect is what caused his WIFE to monopolize it. Yes, his wife took over the Xbone. ...

Your "friend" obviously needs a more effective bone of his own.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295391)

>My friend has an Xbone. It turns out Kinect is what caused his WIFE to monopolize it. Yes, his wife took over the Xbone. Playing Just Dance 2014, Kinect Fitness and other Kinect games.

This is a big win as long as your friend is active too...Otherwise your friend is getting divorced soon when his wife upgrades.

Kinect along with weight lifting has me in the best shape of my life at 47.

But that's the way Microsoft does things... (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 8 months ago | (#46295113)

Microsoft still has the Windows monopolistic, dictate what the market wants philosophy. Microsoft is unable to function in a marketspace where they are not the monopolistic bully in the room.

.
Maybe the new CEO will bring a change of attitude...

Re:But that's the way Microsoft does things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295549)

Good point

Re:But that's the way Microsoft does things... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 8 months ago | (#46295671)

Microsoft still has the Windows monopolistic, dictate what the market wants philosophy. Microsoft is unable to function in a marketspace where they are not the monopolistic bully in the room.

This. Windows 8 Start Screen, anyone?

This is hardly new behaviour for MS lately. It's like they're deliberately sabotaging all of their flagship products.

I guess if you're big enough, you can do that kind of thing...for a while, anyways. Trouble is, once the avalanche starts, it's awful hard to stop it again...

Re:But that's the way Microsoft does things... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46296023)

The Windows 8 start screen is way better than the start menu from previous iterations. The "type to launch" behavior is effectively the same as the start menu (actually faster and more robust) but the added screen real estate makes it easier to find programs if you need to actually look through the list for something.

Safe to assume that you don't know how to use Windows, much less Windows 8, if you're still carrying on with that idiotic position.

Re:But that's the way Microsoft does things... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 8 months ago | (#46296345)

To be fair, consoles always worked that way. The manufacturers try to guess what the market will like, build it, and throw it on the public. If they gess right, they are sucessfull, if they guess wrong, they are not.

There are very deep reasons for that way of working, so it won't go away, and is shared by all the manufacturers.

Who is Ben Kuchera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295131)

And why would I give a crap what he thinks?

ben kuchera is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295133)

Kinect sucks, but why quote fucking ben kuchera about it? That guy is a moron and a tool.

Re:ben kuchera is an idiot (2)

Raistlin77 (754120) | about 8 months ago | (#46295205)

Idiot indeed. He doesn't even understand the meaning of his main point, "peripheral".

Peripheral (of a device): able to be attached to and used with a computer, although not an integral part of it.

The fact that it's included with every Xbox One doesn't make it any less a peripheral. It can be unplugged and doesn't even have to be connected in the first place.

Re:ben kuchera is an idiot (1)

rcamera (517595) | about 8 months ago | (#46295437)

just wait until he realizes that his keyboard and monitor are "peripherals".

Re:ben kuchera is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295279)

Because he's saying something anti microsoft. It seems that the ABM roots are so deep on Slashdot, even Sony gets a pass. I guess it's an enemy of my enemy kind of thing going on here.

Re:ben kuchera is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295397)

Ben, is that you?

Ben Kuchera is an idiot because Ben Kuchera is an idiot. That he said something that happens to not be idiotic, although it is painfully obvious, doesn't change that one bit.

Sony - our heroes! (5, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 8 months ago | (#46295141)

Re:Sony - our heroes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295673)

I, for one, welcome our new sonic overlords.

It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 8 months ago | (#46295151)

The Kinect isn't the primary reason that the XB1 costs more and has worse performance than the PS4. The primary reason is that during the design phase, Microsoft's engineers overestimated the cost of GDDR5 RAM. As a result, they decided to go with DDR3 instead of GDDR5 for the 8GB of system memory, and compensate for the slower speeds by including a 32MB cache ("eSRAM") on the die. This cache is so large in terms of die space that it meant there was much less room for GPU – which is why the XB1 only has 768 shaders, compared to the PS4's 1152. Meanwhile, developers have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get decent performance out of the XB1 by carefully managing allocation of the on-die cache, while on the PS4 they can simply rely on all 8GB of memory being fast enough because it's all GDDR5.

So the result of this miscalculation is that the XB1 is more expensive to build (due to a faster die), more complex, and slower. Oops.

Re:It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46295165)

Those were decisions that should have made the Xbox One cheaper. It's basically the same architecture as the original Xbox 360, and is well-understood; by comparison the PS4's GDDR5 is luxuriously expensive. Kinect is definitely to blame.

Re:It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 8 months ago | (#46295597)

Those were decisions that should have made the Xbox One cheaper. It's basically the same architecture as the original Xbox 360, and is well-understood; by comparison the PS4's GDDR5 is luxuriously expensive. Kinect is definitely to blame.

While GDDR5 is definitely more expensive, the price difference isn't that massive, at least when you are a company as large as Sony or Microsoft with the corresponding bulk purchasing power. This estimate [eetimes.com] indicates that Sony's 8GB of GDDR5 costs about $62, compared to $39 for Microsoft's 8GB of DDR3. Add to that the fact that Microsoft is paying more for a larger APU die to offset the RAM's weakness: roughly $132 compared to $121. (Those figures are estimates, but we know that the XB1 APU die is 363 mm^2, compared to 348 mm^2 for PS4.)

So when you factor the larger and more expensive die into the equation, Microsoft saved a grand total of $12 a unit by going with DDR3 – and in the process, reduced their graphics performance significantly. Like I said, the only sensible explanation is that the Microsoft designers drastically overestimated the cost savings of skimping on primary system RAM, and probably also underestimated the performance hit it would cause because of the die space trade-off.

Re:It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#46295739)

Microsoft saved $12 going with DDR3. Granted this is much less than they expected, but they still saved money. So why is the XBone $100 *more*? The Kinect. The Kinect is what is killing them.

Re:It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 8 months ago | (#46295775)

But no one cares that much if the game runs in 900p or 1080p. Stores don't set up the consoles side by side with the same games. The consumer has to some digging to find out one is slightly better. The cost difference is because they have dozens of extra parts to manufacture, assemble, and eventually ship. There is also sunk costs they need to recapture from the Research and Develoment of the camera. Plus patents they need to license.

Re:It's not Kinect that gives the PS4 the edge (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 8 months ago | (#46295801)

The added cost of the silicon does not add 100 bucks, unless the yields are absolutely atrocious (they shouldn't be and there's no talk of them being so).

If there is a 100ish buck difference in manufacturing costs, Kinect is the main reason.

Was going to buy a PS4 but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295155)

My awesome Dad wanted to give me a new gaming system for Chrismas. He wasn't sure if he should have bought the PS4 or Xbone. "I bought you the Xbone because it was more expensive. I got the right one, right?" I couldn't bring myself to tell him that it only cost more because of kinect and that I planned on buying a PS4 for this very reason. I'm very grateful and I do enjoy my Xbone but I certainly was not willing to pay $100 buy one myself. I also approve of his methond for figuring out right system to buy lol.

It's not just the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295171)

I find the kinect spooky and intrusive in many ways. Not just that it is a monitor device that can be abused by "some" government but all the information it can gather about the users including health information. I don't trust any company with more personal information than absolutely necessary, and the kinect gets too close.

That doesn't seem right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295177)

Price is set by companies based on their assessment of supply and demand, not cost. That's why historically consoles lose money on direct hardware sales; the idea is to penetrate the market enough to get sufficient owners of your console, then charge license fees for all the games on there. Selling consoles is a mix of exclusive games, graphical fidelity, and price point, but not cost.

MS made a bet that they could get sufficient market penetration with the Kinect to create a critical mass of gamers who have Kinects, attracting developers to make games for it, which gives them more exclusives as Sony and Nintendo could never get a motion sensor required game on their consoles. However, again, it's about market penetration to make this work, so if the upped the price by $100 for the Kinect then that was a really poor, short sighted decision.

I applaud MS for making a gamble with a new technology with potential, however this was a substantial risk, as the history of non-controller hardware is littered with the corpses of glove controllers, light guns, and dance dance revolution mats.

Kinnect (2)

deadweight (681827) | about 8 months ago | (#46295181)

I have one someplace in a box. We used it about a month and decided it was useless crapware. The old WII does bowling SO much better than the kinnect is about the first thing you find out. It was always going out of area or not sensing the right motion and otherwise being useless.

Re:Kinnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295405)

The problem was you, not the Kinect. You're lazy and can't spell.

Re:Kinnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295547)

Maybe wii just pretends you are a better bowler then you are?

Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295207)

I thought it was XCP.

For some it's not just a game console. (2)

zolon (605240) | about 8 months ago | (#46295217)

I use the Kinect rather heavily. As I use my XBox One as a media center more than a game system, the Kinect plays a large role in my usage. I like not needing to find a remote control to do anything with my setup. Also, with Skype I am able to see my grand children, as they have an XBox One as well. The ease of use is such that even my wife, who is not a geek, is able to utilize the system. Now, could they have sold it as an add-on, or as a bundle option. Yup.

Re:For some it's not just a game console. (1)

Megane (129182) | about 8 months ago | (#46295457)

Also, with Skype I am able to see my grand children

Too bad for MS that grandparents aren't the market segment they were shooting for. Consoles are sold for little or no margin, or even below cost. The big money is in the "razor blades", aka games. How many games have you bought for that system?

Re:For some it's not just a game console. (1)

zolon (605240) | about 8 months ago | (#46295535)

Interesting, as I am in the targeted demographic. I'm below 45 years of age. (Step-Grandkids) As far as how many games I own for the console, at the moment I own all but 3. I am not really into FPS games on console (PC still wins that market in my eyes), yet I will be getting Titanfall on it.

Re:For some it's not just a game console. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46295471)

Sadly I have better videoconferencing with a pair of very old Polycom conference units. I sent one to my daughter preconfigured. She hooked it up and now we have pro level video and audio on the calls plus I can control the camera on their end to pan/tilt/zoom so when the grandkids are playing with something I can zoom in to see it better.

Bought both for less than $160 total for 2 units on ebay. even though they are standard def they have a better image than the Xbone's skype does.

Local source for Kinect for Playstation (2)

Technician (215283) | about 8 months ago | (#46295223)

If you want one cheap and don't want to wait for delivery for your Sony, simply check your area thrift stores. They are almost as common as Guitar Hero Guitars, Microphones, and Wii Balance Boards.

FYI, the Rock Band/Guitar Hero microphones show up on a PC as a decent Logitech USB Microphone. Not a bad mic for under $5.

Resentment built in (2)

MCROnline (1027312) | about 8 months ago | (#46295327)

If I were invested in the whole Xbox ecosystem I would resent having to shell out more for a device that basically brings nothing to the table as a gamer. Looking across at my PS4 'rivals' they basically get a more powerful console for a lot less money. To add insult to injury Xbox fanbois try and point out the flaws in the PS4 ecosystem, flaws which the XBox has too.. "Look, you have to pay for multiplayer now!", which although is a new added expense, was ALWAYS an expense for the XBox. Microsoft have already tweaked the XBox OS (Whatever its called) to reduce the CPU and memory usage of this device, but in doing so they admit that their console is the weaker of the two spec wise. All the way resisting the overwhelming public demand that they need to drop the requirement for the device and instead pushing their "living room agenda". In this day and age people are price conscious, Microsoft forgets this. Sure there are exclusives that tempt people to drop cash on an XBox, but the financial difference is so large, this "exclusive" system doesn't have the pull it once had. Microsoft needs to drop the mandatory add on requirement before its too late.

Re:Resentment built in (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46295429)

If you are invested int he Xbox ecosystem the Xbone has no advantages. Nothing crosses over, your games all will not work with the new system. Microsoft was stupid to not allow xbox360 games to run on it to make it easier for people to transition across.

I think the reason is that most people would notice that it is not that much better than the Xbox360 so why even buy it.

but how profitable is it? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46295361)

This reminds me of way back in the day when SOE increased the subscription to Everquest from $9.99 to $15.99 per month. Everyone decried it as the end to SOE, because they lost about 30% of their accounts (mostly alt accounts) But they were wrong, it was a great plan financially. If you have 100 users @ $10/month you're making $1000/month. If you have 67 customers @ $16/month you make $1072 AND you have less overhead. Also, a lot of those users eventually came back at the higher rate. SOE was making more money than ever and had fewer customers to serve. Not only that, but they set the standard for all their future MMOs and in fact, the industry in general settled on that rate.

So the question isn't in the popularity of the xbox, it's the profitability. If the Kinect makes each user more valuable via marketing and such, then the lower number of users may be a moot point. The only question is: Just how valuable will that marketing data be?

Re:but how profitable is it? (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 8 months ago | (#46295749)

(mostly alt accounts)

This is incorrect. They lost mostly casual infrequent players. The multi-boxing alt players raised the biggest stink because they were heavy players, heavily invested, and their little hobby got a lot more expensive on them overnight, but the 'silent majority' that left were the more casual players.

If you have 67 customers @ $16/month you make $1072

Slightly better than break even, but at the cost of marketshare in an business where "critical mass" is crucial to growth and sustainability.

AND you have less overhead.

Again, incorrect. As they lost mostly casual infrequent players they lost the group of users that weren't really costing them anything in the first place. They lost the people who were playing once or twice a week for a couple hours.

The 'hardcore' crowd sucked it up, they were getting a 100 to 200 and beyond hours per month of entertainment so even at $15 per month, even for $15 per month for a couple accounts it was still good value. But the casuals dropped like flies. And new players similarly dropped the game.

And you needed those casuals playing, they formed up the feeder guilds that provided new players someone to play with and learn the ropes until they were ready move to the raiding guilds.

Also, a lot of those users eventually came back at the higher rate.

But most didn't, and a lot of people who'd have joined at $10 didn't join. And as you said, the price jump set the standard for the industry, and a lot of people who were playing 2 or 3 MMOs cut a title as a result.

Plus SOE wanted $30+ bucks for a new expansion every 3 months, adding effectively $5+ / month to play since most expansions were nearly indispensible -- between the new convenience features they added, and the fact that it was usually tough to find anyone to play with outside the latest expansion zones the vast majority of players kept up with expansions, even the casuals.

Not only that, but they set the standard for all their future MMOs and in fact, the industry in general settled on that rate.

And now they are nearly all Free 2 Play with premium tiers, which is what they should have done back then. (Although SOEs Free2Play restrictions even today border on asinine -- why can't you move the XP / AA slider on a silver account in EQ2? At least they finally removed item unlockers and "frequent upgrade reminders" but they still haven't got the 'mix' right in my opinion.

So the question isn't in the popularity of the xbox, it's the profitability.

Short term profitability vs long term sustainability. Giving up some profit today to make more over the course of the games life cycle is worth it. That 30% of the accounts they lost stopped buying expansions, stopped introducing new players (some of which would have become core players) etc.

Trust me it wasn't mostly 'alts'. They were just the loudest group of complainers that STAYED.

I've never understood... (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 8 months ago | (#46295381)

....all the hatred for Kinect. People cite privacy and all that, but the hatred for Kinect goes back much farther than that. There was incredible hatred for the device at the initial release well before there were any privacy concerns. That's a shame, since it is the most innovative thing that Microsoft has ever developed. Download Kinect Party and play the demo for awhile--it's incredible that they actually were able to make something like this even work!! I have always thought it was very cool. The kids love it--a lot of them don't even know how to play a standard controller game. In fact, the only real "failure" of the Kinect system was by developers failing to realize its full potential. The reason it wasn't "optional" in the XBox One was that it's an important interface into the whole system--ideally, with its incredible revolution, it would also act as an add on controller in games (although that's not been realized, yet). I don't understand why people clutch so tightly to their 20 year old controllers like it's the Bible. Can't we try something new?

Re:I've never understood... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 8 months ago | (#46295989)

....all the hatred for Kinect. People cite privacy and all that, but the hatred for Kinect goes back much farther than that. There was incredible hatred for the device at the initial release well before there were any privacy concerns. That's a shame, since it is the most innovative thing that Microsoft has ever developed.

That, and oddly enough a shitload of people bought the original Kinect, despite the hatred by the gaming elite. A ton more people bought the 360+Kinect combo. Did every one of them love the Kinect games, probably not. The kinect, to its credit, was the thing that finally gave the 360 the edge over the Wii, despite it costing a ton more to get a 360+Kinect than a Wii, people ate it up. And now we have more haters saying they dont want the Kinect with the One? Go sell it on ebay and quit whining, you are a minority and most people love the Kinect features.

Re:I've never understood... (1)

DdJ (10790) | about 8 months ago | (#46296107)

....all the hatred for Kinect.

In my case, it comes from owning one for my 360.

First, the requirements for a space to use it fully are absurd. I do not have a tiny living room, but the way it's laid out, I can't use the amount of floor space that Kinect games "want" me to. The optimum viewing distance from my TV is taken up by a couch and an easy chair, and there's an actual wall right behind them.

Second, Microsoft got so excited about using the Kinect for non-game purposes that they virtually destroyed other modes of interaction. The home screen and tabs and so on for the 360 are now so optimized for the Kinect that they're more awkward to navigate with a standard controller. Sure, the "home" UI started to degrade back when the "NXE" was introduced, but the newer tile-based scheme is even more terrible. (In particular, navigating lists now involves list items that are very large so they're easy to "hit" with the Kinect, which ends up meaning far fewer items per "page".)

(Basically, the Kinect did to the XB360 for controller users what touch screens did to Windows 8 for keyboard-and-mouse users, if you follow my meaning.)

The Kinect is still physically attached to my 360, but it's turned off almost all the time now. The only time it's turned on is when my nephew comes over and wants to play "Kinectimals" (the only Kinect-based game I use that I think is actually improved by the peripheral -- I might add "Dance Central" to that, but that game is too impacted by the floor space requirements discussed above, so it's impractical for me to play).

All that said, I'd still have considered the XB1, Kinect and all, if it had come with solid backwards compatibility. But it didn't, and so I have absolutely no investment that the XB1 could leverage. Starting from a clean slate, the Kinect is, for me, a huge strike against the XB1, based on my extended experience of actually having used the original version.

It's also hated by most players. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46295411)

Every single Xbox owner I know that has a Kinect does not use it at all. the games for it suck, even Forza Horizon had support for it but it rarely works right. and if you have windows behind you it fails completely.

The $100 difference does make a difference as well, I know a lot of hardcore console gamers looking at the PS4 instead of the Xbone this time around, and they were Xbox360 hardcore fanboys.

Re:It's also hated by most players. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295733)

Is it ironic that windows are Kinect's greatest weakness? Someone explain irony with a car analogy so I can understand!

Re:It's also hated by most players. (2)

rwa2 (4391) | about 8 months ago | (#46295941)

So I don't really game console, but I hear Child of Eden was maybe the only game that used Kinect right, and it's pretty much an abstract musical game that lets you shoot lasers from your hands.

I did get a PS2 and a nice wheel to play GT4... and now that the PS4 is out I might shell out for a used PS3 so I can play GT6. But yeah... Playstation tends to have a few really good exclusive titles, while XBox tends to just be a cheaper and easier to use (well, OK, "dumbed-down") gaming PC. But I already have a gaming PC, so.

Which is a shame, since I used to work next to the Forza devs, and have to admit the 3-screen setup with a good wheel / shifter / pedals they have in their lobby feels awesome. But XBox never supported the somewhat-affordable Logitech G25 / G27 wheel, and I'm not going to shell out 2 - 3x as much for the slightly nicer German racing wheel / shifter that does work with an XBox or three that I don't have.

Re:It's also hated by most players. (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 8 months ago | (#46296139)

So I don't really game console, but I hear Child of Eden was maybe the only game that used Kinect right, and it's pretty much an abstract musical game that lets you shoot lasers from your hands.

I think it's worth noting that the Kinect support in "Child of Eden" is optional. I got the game, and played it Kinect-style for a little while, but ended up getting too tired too quickly to get very far.

Fortunately, you can also play with a standard controller, as if it were just an updated version of "Rez". And that's the only way I play it now.

Cruel Inversion (2)

StikyPad (445176) | about 8 months ago | (#46295515)

pushing a product on the public with the hope that it will be useful once we have it is a cruel inversion of how product adoption should be handled.

Nonsense. People buy a product like a game console speculating that they will get future use out of it. This doesn't always pan out, as many second and third-gen consoles can demonstrate quite well. You can certainly make the argument (and I believe the author has) that the XBone raises the risk too high, and that's a valid point, but the only inversion going on here is the one between reality and wishful thinking.

Re:Cruel Inversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46296281)

Part of the problem is that if Microsoft wanted to include the Kinect so that everyone has one (so that developers will develop for it) then THEY should have paid for that to happen. Making the CUSTOMER pay for something they don't want is (as demonstrated by the sales figures) a Bad Idea.

Haters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46295519)

I love Kinect Fitness for working out. I bought it on purpose.

Re:Haters (1)

DanSSJ4 (1693476) | about 8 months ago | (#46295765)

And you could have bought the Kinect separately for this purpose just like the Wii Fit Balance Board.

$100 piece of exercise equipment is cheap, but $500 for a console with hardware inferior to the $400 alternative doesn't make any sense.

I like playing rockband, but packaging every console with a guitar and set of drums wouldn't make much sense either.

Making everyone buy it just because you like it doesn't make sense.

A typical Microsoft maneuver (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46295737)

The sort of thing they're well known for, basically the MO of MS: force an unpopular product/feature onto an existing client base and just expect them to suck it up now or wait for the "corrected" release (the next version). Either way, they'll pay eventually.

And yet in spite of this institutionalized douchebaggery, they somehow keeping making money. Someone please remind me again how up is down, black is white. What a world.

Sega Anyone? (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 8 months ago | (#46295787)

As much as I'm not in favor of an always on camera controlled by a shady mega-corporation, anyone who lived through the late 80's-early 90's knows how little third party support you get when you have optional components.

I'm sure there were plenty more, but here are a few off the top of my head. (for the Genesis) Sega CD, Sega 32x. (for the NES) Powerglove, (for the Saturn) Twin-Stick, (for the PS2) Trance Vibrator, (for the DC) omg...so many. Maracas, Fishing Reels, Mice, Keyboards, Microphones, Cameras, etc.

None of the above got much love from developers, because of market fragmentation. The good news (for DC owners) was that those controllers allowed flawless ports of their arcade titles since you had the same controller setup...and also the Trance Vibrator is both super creepy and clearly brought to you by the same minds that created tentacle rape pr0n.

Re:Sega Anyone? (1)

phishen (1044934) | about 8 months ago | (#46295897)

Good point. And how many games did you try out just because they supported the NES Zapper? Hogan's Alley, anyone?

The Kinect could have been awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46296175)

The xbox's problem was microsoft's failure to demonstrate the kinect's value by making sure there were good launch titles that used it to it's fullest potential.

It's still a great piece of technology and the killer app would probably be a fighting game if the system is precise enough to support it's use. Honestly, it's the only reason I might have had to buy a console rather than sticking with pc gaming, or eventually turning a pc into a steambox. Because it offers possibilities you won't find anywhere else.

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