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The Economist Looks At The Console Industry

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the what-will-happen dept.

Games 215

Fromeo writes "The Economist is running an interesting article discussing the state of the console industry, along with their usual interesting graph, showing the cycle that the industry follows."

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215 comments

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This is a comment (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773781)

This is a subject


You see, I switched them. That is the funny part. Oh yeah, FP.

Who Cares? (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773843)

Didn't yet get the story from the AP news wire yet?

The "pledge of allegance" was declared unconstitutional!

OMG, what will happen next???

I think osama must have had something to do with this that sneaky evil camel trader! We should bomb canada!

Economist , Console! (0)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773787)

Those are 2 words that don't go well together.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

siliconwafer (446697) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773800)

FP?????!#%$#@%$#@%$%$@$$

yeah, i got the FIRST POST. prolly not. I AM NOTALAMER

Consoles.... (3, Funny)

DigitalHammer (581235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773821)

Why buy them? As my friend would say "They're a downgraded computer in a shitty-looking box".

Re:Consoles.... (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773888)

You forgot to add "with games you can't get for a PC" to your statement.

Re:Consoles.... (1)

DigitalHammer (581235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773964)

That's why we've got emulators. Most games for consoles eventually get ported to PC anyway...think of Atari games, the original sonic games, Grand Theft Auto 3, etc...some are old but still get ported. Emulators play the new stuff on PC for you. There (was) bleamcast and bleem! and theres snes 9x and even a ps2 emu out. Also, consoles' technology gets out dated in a matter of weeks or use outdated parts as soon as they come out.

Ummm... (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774338)

you still can't get the following games for PC. All of which I truely love...
FFX
GT3
MGS2
Dynasty Warriors 2 (or 3)
Dragon Warrior VII (ps one)
And for x-box:
Halo (yes, where is that MAC game they call Halo Mr. Jobs? Mr. look how awesome macs are at macworld Mr. Jobs? Too bad it came out for X-Box first!)
Game Cube:
Pikamin.
Super Monkey Ball
RE:Zero
DreamCast:
Soul Calibur (the one true fighting game)
I mean sure if you want to wait like ten years to steal these games then you don't have to buy them. And yes, if you are using an emulator you are stealing, there is NO grey areas about them. Just admit it you thief.

Whales! (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773901)

I believe that one day satan will rise from the earth to rule with a loving cock of flame!

Re:Consoles.... (1, Interesting)

Bob Kronkel (580551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773909)

Exclusive games? Better graphics? Hdtv support? They don't crash? They don't make you use windows? Cheaper? They don't require upgrades every 2 years?
theres more reasons, but the simpsons is on.

Re:Consoles.... (1)

DigitalHammer (581235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774091)

Exclusive Games? That's why we've got emulators.

HDTV support? X-box only.

Don't Crash? I beg to differ. Try playing Super Smash Bros. on N64 with 4 characters using specials at the same time. You'll see the difference then.

Cheaper? Yeah, but hardly worth the value when you're paying for outdated parts.

Better graphics? Depends if your talking about Xbox or PS2. PS2's getting pretty crappy now...GTA3 on PS2 was a BAD, lagtacular idea. Xbox? Geforce3 simply drives up the cost. Even with M$'s oversized bank account and lowering Xbox's price to 199, it loses a jesusload of cash in the process-about 200 per unit. "Better graphics" can only go so far.

Upgrades? That's the consoles' downfall. When some new fangled game for the Xbox comes out that uses a lot of pixel-shading power, will the Box lag like a hippie's mind on LSD? Of course it will!

Re:Consoles.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774119)

gamecube uses hdtv support also

Re:Consoles.... (1)

DigitalHammer (581235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774156)

Ive played the GC on HDTVs and non-HDTVs and there's really no visible difference , with the exception of resolution.

Re:Consoles.... (2)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774556)

All the consoles now have HDTV support, GC has had it since the start, same with X-Box. Sony just realeased a special hdtv adaptor in Japan.

BTW, All you emulator thiefs can go take a long walk off a short pier.

Re:Consoles.... (4, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773931)

Why buy a $1500 gaming computer, with all the worries about compatible hardware, flaky software, etc. etc., when you can buy a $300 console, plug it into your TV, and be on your way? I have a console because I use linux on my main box, and if I'm working and want to take a break, I don't want to have to save everything, shut down, reboot into Windows, play the game, shut down, reboot into Linux, and re-open my work. There are also all kinds of games (like Gran Turismo) that are unavailable on the PC.

Yeah can't wait to... (2)

Twister002 (537605) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774111)

...play Neverwinter Nights on my console.

oh

But we WILL be able to play it on our Linux boxes, once we get all the flakey software drivers and hardware compatibility out of the way. :)

Re:Consoles.... (2)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774369)

When I take a break from Gran Turismo, I like to reboot into Linux:) 4+ usable GFlops, gotta love this box!

[goro@ps2]$ dmesg
use boot information at 0x81fff000(old style)
boot option string at 0x81fff100: root=/dev/hda1 crtmode=ntsc
Loading R5900 MMU routines.
CPU revision is: 00002e20
Primary instruction cache 16kb, linesize 64 bytes
Primary data cache 8kb, linesize 64 bytes
Branch Prediction : on
Double Issue : on
Linux version 2.2.1 (root@anps2rel1) (gcc version 2.95.2 19991024 (release)) #1 Wed Nov 14 18:28:00 JST 2001
no initrd found
Console: colour dummy device 80x25
Calibrating delay loop... 392.40 BogoMIPS
Estimated CPU clock: 294.240 MHz
Memory: 30828k/32760k available (1192k kernel code, 672k data)
Checking for 'wait' instruction... unavailable.
POSIX conformance testing by UNIFIX
PlayStation 2 SIF BIOS: 0250
Linux NET4.0 for Linux 2.2
Based upon Swansea University Computer Society NET3.039
NET4: Unix domain sockets 1.0 for Linux NET4.0.
NET4: Linux TCP/IP 1.0 for NET4.0
IP Protocols: ICMP, UDP, TCP, IGMP
Linux IP multicast router 0.06 plus PIM-SM
Starting kswapd v 1.5
PlayStation 2 device support: GIF, VIF, GS, VU, IPU, SPR
Graphics Synthesizer revision: 00005515
Console: switching to colour PlayStation 2 Graphics Synthesizer 80x28
pty: 256 Unix98 ptys configured
...

Re:Consoles.... (1)

Zorton (2520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773965)

I disagree. I've always found having a console to be handy when all your computers are either working on something or not working on something.

Of course I had consoles before I had any real computing power under my control but still having the control pad and everything sitting right there was nice. Plus one didn't have to make sure he had the latest hardware to run the games. You could be assured the machine would support the games you wanted to buy (although slowdown was common in the past).

The biggest disadvantage I see is the lack of a good resolution display for them. Networking is a definite lack but if the companies could manage to get a broadband standards based implemtation out there i would be quick in line to buy. Heck maybe even HD TV would made them look nice.

Of course there is the lack of disposible income in my current budget but that's another issue :)

Cheers

Re:Consoles.... (1)

akintayo (17599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774030)

I see the console as a calculator, a special purpose computer that does its job very well. Just as it is dumb to buy a PC to do an ocassional calculation, IMHO it is also dumb to buy a PC just for games.

I think the PC has wider variety of more innovative games, and the only selling points for consoles are cost and simplicity of operation. I know a lot of people think the consoles have better graphics, but I still think Fifa 98 for the PC looks better than the newer PS and PS2 versions

Re:Consoles.... (3, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774630)

well, I'd say that a well equipped gaming PC will blow an Xbox or Gamecube (sorry, I dont put the PS2 in the same league, but thats for another flame-ridden thread ;) away in terms of:

- FPS
- resolution
- online play
- saved game complexity

but the consoles win with:

- FPS consistancy (games designed at a 'lowest denominator' level in terms of performance, so you dont slow down as much as PC games do when stuff gets really messy)
- control
- $-per-unit-of-performance

Also, dont forget the suitability of certain types of games:

- online lends itself to PC
- fps to PC
- PC games more editable
- loading times on consoles usually better (or at least Gamecube just blows everything away with its cute lil miniDVD media)
- multiple people at the same time .. duh, console :)

I dunno. As always, it depends on what you like to play. Some people need their Quake, others their Platformers. Console games are often designed to be more pickup-and-play than PC games too.

The fact that most people have larger televisions than monitors helps the console in terms of display real estate in most homes too ..

Okay, thats all I can think of. Spewing over. :)

Re:Consoles.... (1)

Chillblaine (586808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774386)

Let's just clarify something : Console != Computer. Apples and Oranges.

Why buy them ?

Steps for getting a Game running on a console :

  1. Buy Game for console.
  2. Insert Game in console.
  3. Power On.
  4. Play.
Simple.

"shitty-looking" - Damn, looks like I just fed a troll.

Simple rationalisation Re:Consoles.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774825)

Why buy them?

I used to think the same thing. In fact, my thinking was 'you're always better off spending the console money upgrading the PC'. But I've recently taken a good hard look at my PC and decided its time to piss off the shitty Win98 partition and go completely Linux, and at the same time 'legitimise' my software ownership by throwing out all my pirated microsoft software. The only thing I had the Win98 partition around for was to play games. So, one PS2 and one partition format later, and I've vanquished the evil empire altogether.

I consider my console cash has bought me a little freedom from tyranny, and perhaps a little better quality of life.

R. Kelly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773845)

is a stupid fucking nigger.. he should have his penis and testicles cut off as a punishment for what he did do that girl

no, i am not a racist.. i am going by the definition of nigger as stated by the greatest comedian himself, Chris Rock

and if you don't believe me.. i myself am a cracker

-robert turner

Interesting quote. (3, Insightful)

tshak (173364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773865)

I found the following interesting:
the opportunity to create a network of consoles through which all kinds of entertainment content, including films, games and music, can be distributed. That was Sony's original aim with the PlayStation 2.

All of the XBox naysayers talk about how the "XBox is a PC" and how MS won't focus on the gaming experience but try to bundle it (see the recent PVR leak). However, it is obvious that Sony is trying to do the exact same thing - this is not the first time I've seen mention of a "Sony digital media center". So, really, the only "true" console is the GC, which of course a silly contention.

PVR was not a "leak". Nor is GC silly. (2)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774451)

Microsoft stated when the XBox was released, that they were discontinuing their UltimateTV PVR in hopes of merging it into the XBox. This pissed a lot of people off in both camps. First, who wants a console when they just want a PVR, and second, who wants a PVR with monthly charges when all they want is an XBox. Their online strategy costs even more money on a yearly basis. Nintendo was smart and has seen what has happened to the CDTV, Dreamcast, and soon Microsoft and will just stay a true to life 100% console machine for the masses while Sony and Microsoft try and duke it out in an unwinable online arena (Really, who cares when all the online games are already on the PC and play BETTER on the PC?) .. Kudos to Nintendo for keeping their boat afloat.

More interesting quote than that... (2)

srvivn21 (410280) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774758)


Sony's PlayStation business currently generates around 60% of the firm's profits. That figure has exceeded 100% at times.


How the hell does one business line exceed 100% of a compannies profits?

Re:More interesting quote than that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774804)

1) screw customers

2) ????

3) profit!

Re:More interesting quote than that... (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 12 years ago | (#3775082)

Pobably because some products loose money.

This JUST IN off the AP newswire (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773871)

People are Evil... more news later!

8192 bits by 2030! (4, Funny)

Wesley Everest (446824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773916)

Gotta love how the game industry plays with their numbers of bits. I imagine it'll take another hardware generation or two before the marketing guys come up with another number to hype.

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (0)

Bob Kronkel (580551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773941)

Hey man, you know that xbox 2 will have 40,000 megawintons of fun! Included in the box!

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (3, Funny)

Fnord (1756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773973)

I wonder how these reporters would react if you pointed out to them that the Gamecube and Xbox are both 32 bit and the PS2 spends most of its time in a 32 bit mode.

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (2)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774918)

They'd probably stare blankly at you.

Dunno what you mean about a PS2 32 bit mode though. Unless you're referring to most of the intructions only operating on the low 32 or 64 bits of its 128 bit registers.

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (2)

Fnord (1756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774982)

I'll admit I don't know as much about the PS2 as I do the other machines, but from what I remember, the PS2 has the ability to turn each of its 128bit scalar registers into 4 32 bit element vectors. And this vector mode is the prefered way of doing most hard calculations (considering you rarely need to deal with 64 bit numbers much less 128).

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774288)

Actually the industry has severly downplayed the number of bits in their systems. This was a big deal esp when the jump from 16 -> 32 was made (3D0 era), but since then most manuf. usually just mention it, vs making it a key selling point (e.g. the 128bit Emotion Engine vs the 128bit Playstation2).

I guess this is a combination of the industry realizing that bits don't mean much beyond 32 and that the average user is now computer savy enough to know that the number of bits really doesn't matter (now the Mhz, why everybody knows that _it_ is the most important factor in performance ;)

Re:8192 bits by 2030! (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 12 years ago | (#3775094)

You'd be able to address every sub-atomic particle in 31 different universes.

Can it forecast (2)

sheepab (461960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773932)

When Ill be getting My Playstation 20?

Re:Can it forecast (1)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774270)

Yeah, that will be rad. Isn't that the one you snort through your nose?

Hardware vs. software (0, Redundant)

wpmegee (325603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773944)

Most console companies routinely lose money on the actual hardware. To wit: Microsoft loses at least $100 on each console it sells [wired.com] .

Also, the actual games themselves don't cost more than a couple dollars each to manufacture (even on DVD), and that's including the box, instructions, etc. So let's see, MS makes $40~ on each game, so it must sell at least 2-3 games to make the X-Box profitable. And selling a remote for $30 (to play DVDs) doesn't hurt either.

Re:Hardware vs. software (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773997)

Also, the actual games themselves don't cost more than a couple dollars each to manufacture (even on DVD), and that's including the box, instructions, etc.

Aren't you forgetting those pasty-faced, caffeine-consuming individuals that produce the funny patterns of 1's and 0's on the DVD? What do you call them now ... programmers? Most of the programmers I've talked to need to eat occasionally, and live somewhere with a roof.

Re:Hardware vs. software (1)

Antity (214405) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774208)

[Poster said games would only cost a "couple of dollars" a piece]
Aren't you forgetting those pasty-faced, caffeine-consuming individuals that produce the funny patterns of 1's and 0's on the DVD? What do you call them now ... programmers? Most of the programmers I've talked to need to eat occasionally, and live somewhere with a roof.

Do you know of any console game programmer that actually earns that much money per game that it would be of any relevance in the two-digit dollar range on a video game actually sold? Remember, they sell ten thousand if not hundred thousands of modules.

Most console companies try to get about $50 per module, no matter what it did cost to produce and no matter the quality.

Can't be coincidence.

Re:Hardware vs. software (2)

Fnord (1756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774366)

Just because programmers don't get paid per unit sold doesn't mean they don't factor into the profits of a game. Games cost upwards of $5 million to program upfront. Your $40 of profit per game doesn't even get factored in until this investment is returned.

Re: Hardware vs. software (1)

Antity (214405) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774546)

Using your figures, a game costing $5 million to program and bringing back $40 of profit per module would mean that this game would have already brought in production costs (just brainware) after selling about 125,000 modules.

Anyone any stats for consoles like PS2, Dreamcast et al?

Re: Hardware vs. software (2)

Fnord (1756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774640)

The $5 million number is a *very* rough estimate, and most of the bigger selling titles cost much more than that to develop. Then you have to take into account advertisement costs, distribution (you do have to pay trucks to take your game to best buys across the country you know), and apparently legal fees (at least most current game companies feel the need to sue anyone that writes any program that interacts with their game in any way (companies like Id withstanding)).

Re:Hardware vs. software (2, Interesting)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774124)

Just one minor note... Yes, it's the software that makes the money on consoles. But, not all that profit goes to the console maker. If EA or Sega or someone else develops the game, I believe M$ makes about $10 on each unit that developer sells for the X-Pox. That $10 is a licensing fee of some sort. When M$ is the game developer (as in their first big seller-- Halo) then they probably get something closer to $40. Anyway, rumor has it -- http://www.redherring.com/insider/2002/0624/xbox06 2402.html -- that M$ will lose about $2 Billion (with a B) on the X-Pox over the next two years. Don't feel sorry for them. They have something like $40 Billion in the bank.

Re:Hardware vs. software (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774207)

I don't know why that red herring site is not posting properly. I'll just go away now...

Re:Hardware vs. software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774662)

Becuase there is a space in the URL... Click here [redherring.com]

Linux is Dead by pwpbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773969)

So whatever happened to Linux At tech expo open source software is hard to find By John W SchoenMSNBC NEW YORK June 26 Just a few years ago one of the hottest topics at this annual confluence of PC hardware and software makers was the socalled open source alternative to Microsofts industrydominant Windows operating system Soon open source proponents argued PC users would be liberated from the burden of paying for software The Linux operating system and other open source alternatives written by devoted bands of volunteer programmers would be available to anyone for the cost of a download But today Windows is still running on the vast majority of PCs So what happened LINUX HASNT gone away But after attracting widespread attention and generating several moonshot initial public offerings during the tech boom purveyors of Linux software and support have fallen back to earth along with their stocks Earlier this month Red Hat which sells about half of all Linux software reported a loss of 43 million on an 8 percent drop in revenues in the latest quarter as corporate customers continued to squeeze every penny of their computer budgets Ironically those tight budgets have helped fuel adoption of Linux by managers of large corporate technology departments Created by Finish college student Linus Torvalds and continually updated and improved by a loose confederation of programmers who arent paid for their work Linux is available without the steep licensing fees that come with commercially produced software Companies like Red Hat sell upgraded versions and provide technical support but dont charge licensing fees Those continuing upgrades have begun to generate increased interest from costconscious technology managers A recent survey of 800 companies in North America and Western Europe found that some 40 percent said they were either using or testing Linux according to the research firm IDC With some 27 percent of the market Linux is now the second most popular operating system for servers supplanting the decadesold operating system UNIX Microsoft holds the top spot MSNBC is a MicrosoftNBC joint venture Numbers like those have caught the attention of computer hardware makers Last year as the personal computer slogged through the worst sales crash in its history Linux server sales jumped by more than 50 percent to 400 million with IBM leading the pack Linux used to be just a bunch of geeks trying to change the industry said Elizabeth Phillips a HewlettPackard spokesperson Now Linux is becoming more mainstream every day Linux is also shining brightly on the radar screens of software makers like Oracle which is heavily marketing the latest version of its highend corporate enterprise software which generates mainframelike horsepower using clusters of relatively cheap servers running Linux LINUX BOOT CAMP But Linux has hardly made a dent in the desktop and home user markets At PC conventions like this one Microsofts Windows operating system still rules with some 94 percent of the operating system market for desktops and laptop PCs according to IDC Despite its growing popularity among computer professionals its still not completely user friendly Its for geeks said Faber Fedor a New Jerseybased consultant who helps small businesses upgrade to Linux Near the end of a long hallway in the basement of the Jacob Javits Center at a wellattended conference called Linux Boot Camp Fedor walked a roomful of developers and IT managers through the basics and not so basics of converting to the Linux world Until recently interacting with Linux was almost entirely textdriven much like Windows precursor DOS So converting meant learning an arcane vocabulary of computerese to give the PC even the simplest commands But Linux software is getting better and now more closely mimics the Windows world that the vast majority of PC users are accustomed to A Linuxbased opensource email program called Evolution looks pretty much like a standard Windows desktop OpenOffices provide most key features offered by Microsoft Office including a word processor spreadsheet and mail program Fedor says these alternatives offer more than a familiar look and feel We dont get viruses he said Last year viruses cost the business world billions but every one of those was on Windows WOOING THE HOME USER But adopters of Linux still face hurdles living in a Microsoft world High on the list of headaches is incompatibilities with files created with Microsoft products like Word Small software makers like Lindows are trying to help desktop users bridge that divide Still Linux evangelists like Fedor say that as long as new PCs come preloaded with Windows the open source community faces an uphill battle spreading Linux beyond corporate IT departments into the home Linux partisans point to some small victories WalMart recently began selling a house brand PC at rock bottom prices available with Linux for the thriftiest PC buyersThat thrift among home PC buyers though has further hampered the spread of Linux to home desktops Its another reason software developers like Dave Potter of Fountainville Pa prefer writing programs for corporate users He says he doesnt see much point writing Linux applications for individual PC buyers Home users are cheap he said At 4995 youre going to have to sell a whole lot of copies to make it in the market And as Linux proponents continue to try to enlist desktop PC users Microsoft is busy reinventing that desktop With sales of new PCs in their worst slump in decades Microsoft is hoping to reboot Windows sales by leading the charge toward the Tablet PC a sort of PDA on steroids With new technology to recognize and manipulate handwriting and speech Microsoft and its hardware and software partners are hoping to usher in a whole new platform by giving users all the capabilities of ink according to Microsoft Group Vice President Jeff Raikes Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry are hedging their bets by designing several variations of the device from a standalone tablet about the size of a standard piece of paper to a laptop with a display that flips around and folds flat with the screen facing outward The goal is to replace rather than augment existing PCs according to Leland Rockoff a director of Microsofts table PC project We see this as a primary PC he said Theyre not appliances theyre not companions theyre not secondary But Rockoff says the companys strategy with regard to open source software will be the same as it is with Windows XP

-pwpbot

Just to be clear (2)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773980)

For people who may have misread the summary as I did ... The Economist article concerns game consoles. Given the range of topics on /. it very well may have been about "consoles" (e.g., WYSE terminals).

Clarity isn't a four-letter word.

Re:Just to be clear (0, Troll)

ajmarks (447148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774107)

I think it's safe to assume that almost every slashdot reader knew what the headline is about. If you didn't, you're dumb.

Clarification (0)

ajmarks (447148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774373)

That wasn't a Troll. It was flamebait. Silly moderator.

Re:Just to be clear (-1)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774428)

Odd I first thought it was about the Greeting/Get Well Card Industry. I must be stupid too.

Re:Just to be clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774298)

Except there isn't a "console industry" that deals with tty or wyse or whatever specifically, so i don't see how anyone could confuse these.

Slashdot linking to The Economist... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774006)

... is like the National Enquirer mentioning Scientific American.

Re:Slashdot linking to The Economist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774669)

Except the Enquirer spells all their headlines correctly.

Error in article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774012)

X-Box is a 32 bit console. GameCube is a 64 bit console. They have them both grouped as 128 bit consoles.

Yup.

Re:Error in article (0)

Bob Kronkel (580551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774081)

a lot of people (including M$) call xbox a 256 bit constole.
I wonder when people will realize that "bits" are a highly inaccurate way of classifying consoles. They should be talking about processors and video ram and stuff like that.

I mean, if Game Boy advanced is 32bit, and so is xbox, you'd think people would figure out that they should find a new system of classification.

Re:Error in article (3, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774694)

People who arnt in the business of comparing (ie, not techies or wannabe techies) rarely make that comparison. Doubly so for products they would never even be comparing when making purchasing decisions.

Its just a number for sales people to rattle off to parents, who invariably think one of two things:

- gee, that number's higher than the last time I heard it

or even worse

- gee, that number's high

It was like MMX - it was a useless feature when salespeople were pushing it, but shoppers really seem to be fooled by numbers and acronyms. The only part that ticks me off is how hard it is to teach a non-technical person to never put stock into what they hear, and more importantly, never put stock in their own ability to interpret it. For some reason, people dont all seem to act like they can talk the talk with cars, planes, other technical things - but there is something about technology that makes lots of newbies think they can get some sense of perspective in the jungle of specs and features out there. I know I might sound somewhat elitist, but I hope for my sake a mechanic knocks some shit into me if I ever go off on engine specs and prepare to drop serious money on my assesment of the sales lingo I'm presented.

Wow (graph error) (3, Funny)

simm_s (11519) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774072)

The X-Box has a 128bit processor, dude I can't wait until Intel releases that for my PC.

Re:Wow (graph error) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774362)

Uh, that would be a 128-bit graphics processor, which Nvidia has already released for your PC...

the console industry sucks (-1, Flamebait)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774082)

the console industry sucks

Re:the console industry sucks (0)

DigitalHammer (581235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774179)

Bingo. As I had stated before "computers in shitty-looking boxes".

PWP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774092)


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Email me and tell me what you think of widening! [mailto]

Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (4, Informative)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774104)

My god...this article has more inaccuracies than a Slashdot story!

but Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all intend to release plug-in adaptors to link their boxes to networks.

And WHERE do you plug in the Xbox broadband adapter, eh?

Both Sony and Microsoft decided that ordinary modem connections were too slow to do justice to their advanced consoles.

Really? Then why does the PS2 network adapter have BOTH network and modem ports?

All three firms are losing money on their consoles, though exactly how much is difficult to say.

Wrong again! Microsoft is the only one doing this!

And as far as that sales graph goes...not a single one of these systems is 128 bit. The GameCube and Xbox are both 32-bit systems (PowerPC-based and Intel x86, respectively). I don't know about the Emotion engine in the PS2, but I suspect that with less than 32 MB of RAM, there's no reason for it to have more address lines, so it's probably 32-bit as well. And the Dreamcast uses a SH4 processor...That certainly isn't 128-bit either.

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (2)

bbk (33798) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774264)

Some companiese have plans to release USB analog modems for the XBox, that hook into the controller ports, for those people without broadband.

I agree that most of this is marketdroidspeak...

AFAIK, the "graphics" portion of the chipset is how most consoles are measured... The chipset in the dreamcast was a 128bit memory interface PowerVR chip, for example. The PS2/Xbox/GC all have equivalent or better graphics chips.

The whole "xx-bittedness" of a console really means nothing. It's the games - I play more of my Sega Saturn library now that anything else, just because the games are damn fun.

BBK

Back in the day..... (3, Insightful)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774481)

It was that the bit rating of the console was always the main processor. Not the graphics. The NES only had 4 bit graphics, but it was an '8-bit' system. Sega genesis could only display 64 colors at once and the SNES 256, yet these were all, '16-bit' systems. The main processor was the heart and soul of all the consoles before the current generation. As it would do almost all the work. Only in the last generation did we finally see co-processors that could actually do more then flip a couple of bits. So now they rate it by the largest thing in the system they can get away with, which is usually the size of an internal register.

You really just can't compare apples to oranges which is what they are doing. All these systems over the years have compeletly different architechures. From the Atari 2600 to the X-Box, the only similarity is that they are all modeled after turing machines. So at the end of the day, they should be compared on which games they have and not how powerful they are.

Re:Back in the day..... (2, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774936)

All they are trying to do is show how there are "generations" of consoles. Why split hairs over the details... we are talking about the Economist!

They correct themselves (2)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774266)

Later they say that

Sony and Nintendo both plan to release adaptors for their consoles

So they really don't know what they are saying.

All the consoles to date have not had greater then 32 bits worth of addressing. The new consoles PS2, DC, X-Box (in the GPU) , even Jaguar, have many 128-bit (or larger) data paths and multimedia registers. The PS2 has a over 2000 bit wide bus in the GS, but only 4 Megs of vram. I love how they say the nintendo 64 is actually 64 bits ;p

Also they missed the Atari comeback effort in the early 90's after the Genesis came out. Both the Lynx and the Jaguar are not on this graph.

Re:They correct themselves (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774309)

Also they missed the Atari comeback effort in the early 90's after the Genesis came out. Both the Lynx and the Jaguar are not on this graph.


Yes they are. You just can't see them because their lines are being hidden by the abscissa of the graph.

Re:They correct themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774540)

First of all, i think when they say 'atari systems' they mean pre-crash systems (as if mattel, magnavox, coleco, and bally never entered the console market)
So the Jaguar/Lynx numbers are probably in the 16 bit line.

(even if not, the lynx didn't sell THAT badly.)

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (2)

dimator (71399) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774336)

All three firms are losing money on their consoles, though exactly how much is difficult to say.

Wrong again! Microsoft is the only one doing this!


Are you sure about this? 150 bucks seems really cheap for a GC...

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (2, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774498)

Yes, Nintendo has stated many times that they can sell the Gamecube at $99 and still make a profit. They have always stated that they will have the trump card no matter how fierce the pricecuts get, and you know what? It's true.

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (2, Insightful)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774667)

Not only is it true, but I just love getting those dividend checks from Nintendo along with the quarterlies that prove that it's true.

MSFT is really hurting - bad. If they can't sell 8-10 games per xBox, they lose money. Period. And the only reason their metric of games per box is where it is, is the 3 game bundles they sell it with ...

At least I'll be laughing while I play Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey on the GameCube and The Sims on the PS2 ...

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (1)

tealover (187148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3775077)

I Can gaurantee you that Nintendo cannot make a profit on the GameCube at $99. They don't control the costs of their components, unlike Sony; They are subject to market prices.

Also, if we were to believe you, Nintendo would have been very stupid to set the price of the GameCUbe at $199. If they could have broken even by selling at $99, can you imagine the sales they would have racked up ?

Don't let your antipathy for the other console manufacturers dither your common sense. It's not becoming.

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (2, Informative)

MarvinIsANerd (447357) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774454)

the "128 bit" refers to the width of the graphics bus, not the cpu. the nintendo 64 wasn't "64 bits" either, but its graphics bus was 64 bits wide - at least, that was their marketing spin on it.

as for losing money - all three manufacturers are indeed losing money on the hardware - not just microsoft although they are definitely losing the most money - none of the three companies are profiting from the sales of their hardware at this time.

the number of bits that a cpu can crunch in a register has no relevance to having more or less address lines.

Re:Wrong Wrong WRONG!!! (4, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774673)

And WHERE do you plug in the Xbox broadband adapter, eh?
Into the ethernet port on the back, perhaps?
Wrong again! Microsoft is the only one doing this!
I have yet to hear real numbers from a reliable source (and I have talked to several people inside MS) that prove or disprove this point. All the console manufacturers use the same business model.
And as far as that sales graph goes...not a single one of these systems is 128 bit
Already been pointed out many times, but an argument could be made that the (128-bit) graphics processor is now the most important part of the console (it's certainly doing far more work than the 32-bit CPU).

Another inaccuracy... (1)

srvivn21 (410280) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774906)


Sony's PlayStation business currently generates around 60% of the firm's profits. That figure has exceeded 100% at times.


How does one business line generate more than 100% of a company's profits?

Reminds me of a book I read... (2, Interesting)

5h4k4-2u1u (587853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774166)

Just finished a read that covered the beginnings of the console wars pretty well called The Ultimate History of Video Games [amazon.com] , while it's not quite as complete as the title would have you believe, and it's not the easiest read in the world, it's still has a lot of information about how the economy and people who purchase video games drive the market.

It will be very interesting to see how the competition pans out over the years... Microsoft and Sony make quite an assumption that gamers are really looking for the "Total-Multimedia-Experience" and "Network Gaming". Personally, I'd just like to see innovation replace the same old styles of games being re-released with a facelift every year...

Fact Check: Are they ALL losing money? (3, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774184)

Okay, this is a matter of some debate from the many articles I've read on the console industry. Are they all really losing money on the consoles?

It seems pretty clear that Microsoft is losing money in a big way on the consoles. I have seen nobody suggest otherwise, and if you think about what their hardware is and the price it makes sense that they are losing money.

For sony, the profit/loss question seems more up in the air. I've seen most places say that they are losing money on it but I've seen some articles suggesting that the loss is minimal or may in fact be a small profit.

As for Nintendo, I've gotten the sense that they are actually making at least a small amount on their consoles. They didn't throw in all the power that the other two companies did planning to instead rely on the power of their collection of games as incentive to buy.

So does anybody have any reasonable factual information about how much the companies are or are not losing?

Re:Fact Check: Are they ALL losing money? (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774335)

According the the Inquirer [theinquirer.net] , the PS2 costs Sony $185 to get out the door. They also claim that each Xbox looses $150 for MS.

http://www.theinquirer.net/25060210.htm [theinquirer.net]

I don't have any references about Nintendo, but I've heard rumors that they can build a GameCube for That means that for at least a little while, Sony was pulling in a cool $115 in profit on each PS2 they sold.

One related curiosity... (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774478)

So it would appear from those figures that Sony, at least, may be making a small profit. But I'm wondering, are those prices purely the hardware cost per unit?

Each manufacturer does a lot of marketing. Also add to Microsoft's hemorraging that I'm sure they have to put quite a bit of money into getting exclusive titles for the X-box. Sony has enough market share that developing only for PS2 makes perfect sense. Most of the exclusives on Nintendo are all manufactured by Nintendo. So, in the end i have to believe Microsoft is really hurting relative to the other manufacturers. Having said that though, they have billions in the bank, they can afford to take a hit in the short term if it pans out long term.

Gamecube costs less than $99 to make. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774520)

For the record, Nintendo has stated that they eventually plan to sell the Gamecube for $99 and still turn a small profit. They did this from the getgo, and was a very smart decision. I dont know anyone who uses their PS2 or XBox as their DVD player since they BOTH have a LOT of movie compatability problems. It was a good idea, but didnt work out. Nintendo saw no need to try and fuse anything but pure gaming into the console.

Re:Gamecube costs less than $99 to make. (2, Informative)

TheQuantumShift (175338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774957)

Funny, I kepp hearing about the ps2 having problems with movies, but every dvd I put in has worked fine. Granted I've only tried about 50 or so...

Their cycle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774225)

..can kiss my ass. Look at Gameboy and Playstation. Reminds of stock analysts...forcing data to fit their hypotheses.

Atari and the 80s (3, Interesting)

freeweed (309734) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774226)

Rather frightening that on the graph, everything pre-nintendo is labelled "Atari systems". Of course, society back then pretty much equated Atari with video games (see: Blade Runner for a good chuckle).

I know the VCS pretty much decimated all competition back then, but does anyone have any harder figures? Adding the Colecovision and Intellivision into the pot, there must have been some signifigant inroads into Atari's numbers.

The funniest though, has to be the fact that they say Atari systemS. Sorry folks, but other than the venerable VCS/2600, Atari didn't really do squat in the marketplace.

Re:Atari and the 80s (2)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774782)

The funniest though, has to be the fact that they say Atari systemS. Sorry folks, but other than the venerable VCS/2600, Atari didn't really do squat in the marketplace.

I think that's the point they were getting at. The 2600 represents the pinnacle of Atari's achievements in the console market. After that, they were fairly irrelevant.

Nintendo (1)

I_redwolf (51890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774272)

People keep counting nintendo out and it's really the only console maker that I can think of that has games that are worth making multiplayer versions of. When I think playstation 2 I think violence adult mature games, kickboxing and shit nothing really multiplayer. When I think Xbox I don't think about much because there are no games but when I think Nintendo I think of all sorts of multiplayer games, they don't necessarily have the best graphics or any of that but they are really fun. Could you imagine multiplayer mario kart?!?! An online tournament of mario kart (time to email nintendo).. if the next big thing is multiplaying consoles. It'll definitely be ps2 , xbox VS nintendo. This is gonna be good.

Huh? (1)

cascino (454769) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774328)

Sony's PlayStation business currently generates around 60% of the firm's profits. That figure has exceeded 100% at times.
Huh?

I think they're trying to say... (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774469)

that the firm's other divisions lost so much money at times that it ate into the profits that the Playstation would have earnd had it been a separate company.

True, true. (0)

DooBall (564455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774364)

"A generation that grew up with games has simply kept on playing."

Wrong as usual... (4, Interesting)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774401)

Nintendo stated many times that they plan to eventually offer the Gamecube for $99 and they will still be turning a profit on the machine itself. However, they didn't plan on cutting prices so soon to fight the competition. As usual the person writing the article just assumes all the consoles are losing money when in fact Sony has refab'd their system for the pricecut so they dont lose money, and Microsoft has done nothing but lose tons of money from the start.

Not just Wrong, MSFT admits defeat (1)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774619)

In recent news in the WSJ (don't know if online, I read the print version), they will be offering some xBox games for the GBA and GameCube, specifically including Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey.

OK, it's official, I have absolutely no reason to buy an xBox anymore.

broken metaphor (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774429)


Nothing illustrates the battle's ferocity better than the eye-watering price cuts of the past few weeks.

It makes people cry? Maybe the hardware makers, I guess.

Not just for kids anymore... (2, Interesting)

rob-fu (564277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774477)

Perhaps the reason why 'gaming is no longer the province for children and teenagers' is because that when gaming consoles became popular (i.e. in the day of Atari/Colecovision and then NES/SMS) these same people were children/teenagers themselves? (Ok, that may be stating the obvious)

And why didn't NEO-GEO make it into the chart? That was by far the best console during that time...too bad it was $100 a game (or some ungodly price like that) and some ridiculous amount for the console. I knew a kid who had one, but he was a prick and never invited me over to play it, because he was a spoiled brat.

Re:Not just for kids anymore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774633)

SNK's master console was included with the 16 bitters.

Graph #2 is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3774482)

The second graph is wrong. (provided by sony, go fig.)
The third wave (16 bit) started in '87, with the PCEngine. Even if they are american-only numbers, it should have started in '89, not 90.

Huh? (5, Funny)

Ex-Parrot (587949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774516)

Sony's PlayStation business currently generates around 60% of the firm's profits. That figure has exceeded 100% at times.

That sounds like either new math or Andersen accounting practices.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

baboyer (109846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3775010)

It's called subsidies. They were using profits from the games to offset losses in other groups. Because of this, the profits from the PlayStation business were actually larger than the profits for the whole company.

60-100%? (2, Insightful)

layingMantis (411804) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774521)

Sony's PlayStation business currently generates around 60% of the firm's profits. That figure has exceeded 100% at times.

Wtf? This is a surprise to me. So Sony is basically dependent on their video game console? If the number "exceeds" 100%, then all of Sony's electronic hardware and music properties are (or were), losing money. And Sony has only been in the 'console' business for 8 years or so.....

This is probably false info, considering all the other inaccuracies in this bad article.

Re:60-100%? (2)

NoBeardPete (459617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3774857)

While the numbers do sound suprisingly large, they do not imply that every other business of Sony's was losing money.

Say I run a business with 4 arms. Arms 1, 2, and 3 makes $1,000 this year. Arm 4 looses $2,000. My net profit is $1,000. This means it is accurate to say that Arm 1 made %100 of my profit. Nonetheless, most of the arms of my business are making money.

All it takes is for them to write off a bunch of loses at some point for this to be feasible. I'm not too familiar with Sony's business, but it wouldn't suprise me if, say, they wrote off a bunch of loses because of overpriced aquisitions they made during the tech boom that subsequenty dropped in value. If this write-off was as big as their profits from all non-PS businesses, that would make the quoted figure correct.

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