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Console Price Cuts And The Holiday Season

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the negative-money-for-console-love dept.

GameCube (Games) 57

Thanks to CNN Money for their article discussing the state of the console market heading into the Xmas season. The author discusses the lack of major price-cuts for the PS2 and Xbox, suggesting: "Sony feels it can make more money this holiday season from its existing customer base", and speculating: "It's more and more likely that the reason we haven't seen price cuts from Sony and Microsoft is their next generation machines won't hit stores until 2006." If this is the case, it's suggested that "...the life cycle of this [hardware] generation will be the longest of any in the industry's short history", perhaps surprising considering rapidly advancing technology.

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Diminishing returns (2, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100747)

"...the life cycle of this [hardware] generation will be the longest of any in the industry's short history", perhaps surprising considering rapidly advancing technology.

What will a PS3 or Ybox or GameCylinder be able to do that current consoles can't? Higher resolution video? Better audio? More/better networking?

There's little need for the next generation - games already look about as good as can be expected for a normal TV display. Why rush the next generation of consoles when the returns (for extra power) are diminishing to a point it's not trivial (for the average person, not for you) to tell the difference between the Dreamcast and Xbox versions of the same game?

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100762)

I've been wondering the same thing...

The Xbox is capable of resolutions greater than standard television, up to HDTV.

It's got a hard-drive, it's got networking.

What will be next?

I usually look forward to 'what is next' but now I think I finally reached the stage of 'just make more games for this version'.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

rhuntley12 (621658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101167)

Bigger hard-drive, Wireless networking? More ram? It's got 64megs which is a bit lacking. Easier for development? Better lighting/AI/effects/etc require better hardware. Even on the Xbox a couple games can get a bit of a slowdown with the awesome effects. Quieter, more features like VCD/SVCD player, etc? Better security to stop modding?

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7102836)

Hmm..some good ideas.

Yes- the memory is probably the number one change they need to make. Bigger 'worlds' could be loaded, with fewer breaks.

Wireless networking built in would be nice, but I just added an adapter, which does the same thing. But, it was another $80, and it hangs off the back.

Hopefully they'll be able to add enough new features to really make a difference. But I am probably just being naieve (spelling) about the whole thing.

I forgot about the whole 'convergence' thing. DVR, make it the 'music center' of the living room.

Okay...but after THAT, what will be next?

Re:Diminishing returns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109950)

They'll come packaged with a real woman?

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

laird (2705) | about 11 years ago | (#7113162)

The next generation X-box? How about small and cheap to manufacture?

Improved AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#7100840)

I've had this same conversation a lot. I think there's one area that CAN actually use the increased processing power and even larger hard drives...and that's game AI. In the current generation, fighting games only remember what's happened in the current fight. It'd be a lot more entertaining if the games could analyze my playstyle and come up with a unique style to counter-act mine. I'm sure other genres could benefit from this also (FPS, RTS, etc.)

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

X-wes (629917) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100896)

I am not a game designer, but I know that PS2 and X-Box really pushed the limits on capabilities this time around, and may have sacrificed some ease-of-programming as a result. The Gamecube, however, was developed in a way so as to ease development, so its almost premature retirement seems somewhat surprising. Perhaps Gamecube is gently beginning to broaden their audience and dumping their current design scheme?

Still, an upgrade to a new console will most likely not have anything to do with polygon count or frames-per-second; a new console will be successful, just as every successful console was successful, from the creation of good, entertaining games/media. We can only hope that happens with the next generation consoles.

PS: And more online stuff, for better or for worse

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

rhuntley12 (621658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101183)

From what I understand Xbox is the easiest to develop for. And the Gamecube could be easy, but it is the most expensive to develop for.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103671)

I am not a game designer, but I know that PS2 and X-Box really pushed the limits on capabilities this time around, and may have sacrificed some ease-of-programming as a result. The Gamecube, however, was developed in a way so as to ease development, so its almost premature retirement seems somewhat surprising. Perhaps Gamecube is gently beginning to broaden their audience and dumping their current design scheme?

The XBox should be easy to program for, at least for anyone that's developed a PC game before. I don't see a lot of PC game developers complaining about Windows being a hard platform to develop for, except in terms of the number of possible configurations (which consoles generally eliminate). The PS2 is a bit behind in terms of graphics performance. All of the systems could use more memory, and even the XBox' graphics processor is a bit behind the current high-end technology on the PC. This is all nothing new, though, as it's the middle of the consoles' life-spans. There are a lot of extra functions that can be put into graphics chips to help make games look better, and more speed can't hurt, especially as HDTV adoption spreads (and really the XBox supports the highest resolution of the 3). The PS2 didn't even have FSAA support in the US launch titles, because developers hadn't figured out how to do it and Sony hadn't supplied any middleware or sample code to handle it.

So, from here we get better graphics hardware to support higher resolutions and better FSAA, as well as a few new features that we're only just starting to see being used in PC games (because games that were in the beginning of the dev cycle when such technology was introduced are just starting to come out the doors, such as HL2 and Doom 3 in the next 3-6 months). Then there are the benefits of faster processors with things like better physics and AI. More RAM can help image quality by allowing bigger textures, and can allow more information (and textures) to be cached, increasing the amount of time between loads (or allowing background caching with the extra CPU cycles and extra RAM). Faster DVD drives to reduce load times. Faster bus speeds help almost all aspects of gaming. Better dedicated sound hardware.

Then there are the 'extras' that can become commonplace: wireless everything (controllers, networking, etc), though ports would still be nice (both controller ports and ethernet ports), especially since we're still not at the point of widespread adoption (especially for networking). Hard drives for the consoles that don't currently have them (and larger/faster hard drives for the ones that do). Larger and/or more universal memory cards (ie being able to use the same memory card in my PS3, camera, printer, PC, etc.; display pictures on my TV with my PS3 that were captured on my digital camera with the same memory card, transfer songs from my PC to my PS3, etc). Using the hard drive for Tivo-like purposes. I'm sure someone at Sony, MS, or Nintendo can think of something I haven't put here.

Still, an upgrade to a new console will most likely not have anything to do with polygon count or frames-per-second; a new console will be successful, just as every successful console was successful, from the creation of good, entertaining games/media. We can only hope that happens with the next generation consoles.

Amen to that, so to speak, but I still think they have plenty of room for polygon count and frames per second, though it may not be in the way people normally think of these things. To do higher resolutions and FSAA you usually have to increase your baseline polygon count and fps by large amounts, and these are the things that make console games look better (FSAA because your TV's resolution is limited, higher resolution because HDTV uses higher resolutions).

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100952)

Actually, I'd argue that Sony, for one, might feel a push from its own consumer electronics division to push out a new device, most likely with high definition video.

Consumers need an incentive to upgrade to HDTV. Sony, I use as an example because of its wide spectrum of products. However, Microsoft, or Nintendo could also feel a push from other display manufacturers to update the hardware.

As it stands, most people won't willingly upgrade their sets (Geeks and Home Theater buffs aside) to watch the latest survivor in HD, or see a shark swim at them in 1000+ lines of resolution. However, given the right incentive (Madden 2007, where you can read the eyes of the oppoent's quarterback, perhaps or some other "neato" must-have feature), people might upgrade.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103691)

Consumers need an incentive to upgrade to HDTV. Sony, I use as an example because of its wide spectrum of products. However, Microsoft, or Nintendo could also feel a push from other display manufacturers to update the hardware.

Microsoft's and Nintendo's consoles already support HDTV, though Nintendo might (unlikely) feel a push to support the higher resolution that Microsoft supports. Sony has fairly minimal support for HDTV (at the same resolution as Nintendo), on a much smaller percentage of it's titles.

Re:Diminishing returns (4, Interesting)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100958)

1080i and/or 720p HDTV at 60Hz will be the standard for all games on the next generation of consoles. You can do HDTV on Xbox now but going beyond 480p mostly precludes anti-aliasing and limits scene complexity because you only have about 1.2GTexel/sec of raw fillrate. Right now this isn't too big a deal because HDTV has limited market penetration but HDTV is definitely the future.

Global illumination will be a big differentiator too - Doom 3 is the first glimpse of this, but with more powerful hardware lighting will get really compelling. Games like Resident Evil or Fatal Frame will be able to crank up the tension a few more notches.

Procedural geometry and animation through shaders will also add to gameplay. A lush, dense forest with waving branches that have collision with the player and can be broken off or set on fire could provide a bunch of interesting gameplay in a game like Counterstrike.

More memory and more horsepower will allow game worlds to be more interactive. Games like Red Faction and Otogi are a good start but there's a lot more that can be done especially when you add in a good physics engine. You could make a pretty cool demolition derby motocross game where bomb-cratering the track changes the racing line and sets you up to make jumps to new areas of the course, not to mention spattering nearby cars with mud to reduce their visibility.

Gamers want compelling and intensely involving experiences. Presentation is part of how you achieve that involvement. If you're willing to make your game world's representation more abstract you can cut back on the amount of computing power needed to express it, but that isn't what gamers pay for.

Re:Diminishing returns (2, Informative)

CaptMonkeyDLuffy (623905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103417)

Just a quick FYI to tag in here, but the Cube supports 480p as well... No higher resolutions, but it does manage progressive scan, and I at least find it a rather noticeable improvement.

And, I'm not certain about the Xbox, but I know on the Cube side of things the 480p support varies by game(whether its present or not), I believe the XBox has a similar situation, though I'm not certain.

Re:Diminishing returns (2, Informative)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7106696)

Yes, I should've mentioned that GameCube also does 480p. You are also correct that support for this varies a lot from game to game on GameCube. This is for multiple reasons, some technical and some process/testing related. On Xbox you get 480p support basically for free since there's no extra game UI, you're already spending the memory and fillrate for full-height framebuffers and the video circuit setup automatically engages 480p (as long as it's valid and enabled in the dashboard) unless your code specifically tells it not to. As a result there are only a handful of Xbox games which do not run in 480p.

It's fun to show Star Fox Adventures on GameCube and Panzer Dragoon Orta on Xbox to people who don't appreciate how much widescreen and HDTV adds to the gaming experience.

Re:Diminishing returns (2, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100983)

Better physics, no objects passing-through other objects, better AI. There's heaps of room to move, just not in the eye-candy area.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

BigKato (683307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101290)

I hate Objects Passing Through Other Objects in games. Football games are notorious for this. ESPN Football is the football game I've ever played but I encounter this problem frequently. Balls going through a defender's hands, arms, torso!?!, etc., etc. I think I noticed an instance of O.P.T.O.O. in HalfLife2 demo movie, could be mistaken though.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103504)

Yeah, even a game like Soul Caliber 2 ignores the floor when it would be inconvenient for the animation...

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

Flunitrazepam (664690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7107963)

GOOD.

I've never understood why all developers spend god knows how much to add 5 more polygons to a charactor's body instead of improving on collision detecting methods that were laid out 10 years ago.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101046)

This comment reminds me of the infamous (yet misquoted) "Nobody will need more than 640k of RAM." Technology grows, and games grow with it. When Doom was released, who could have envisioned Quake?

Besides, I think your three points are somewhat invalid (high res video, better audio, better networking). What we'll be seeing is more *complex* graphics, which will require a higher processor/vid card to render.

Backwards compatibility (1)

arcadum (528303) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100816)

As long as I can play my ps1/ps2 games on my ps3 I will be happy. If only Nintendo would add a port for NES carts... I could finally mothball my old system.

Re:Backwards compatibility (1)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100834)

As long as I can play my ps1/ps2 games on my ps3 I will be happy. If only Nintendo would add a port for NES carts... I could finally mothball my old system.

If it helps, SEGA added a port for NES carts to the Dreamcast [dcemulation.com] , as it were.

Play NES games on GameCube (1)

dstone (191334) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101118)

If only Nintendo would add a port for NES carts...

Nintendo doesn't have to add a port. You can already play NES games on the GameCube. Investigate the following combo:

Re:Play NES games on GameCube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7102476)

I think he means legal no copy system that the average Joe can use.

Though I will agree this method works, though there are some issues.

It's not an exact version of the game as the screen is truncated either cropped from the original or scaled.

Additionally it would be nice to have the original NES game controller to play on in addition to compatibility with SNES games.

Legal, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7106316)

I'm no lawyer, but I think the legal "copying" issue here is small-to-non-existent since the person asking for the solution clearly owns the cartridges already, so ROM images of their own cartridges would seem to be a legitimate thing to posess. I'm speaking in relative terms, if not in absolute terms, sinnce many (most?) people download or otherwise copy ROM images without owning the cartridge at all, and that's were you have a reasonable claim that Nintendo and the publishers and retailers are being abused.

The other cool thing about doing it this way is once the ROMs are flashed to a 256MB (or even 512MB) cartridge (this is done once only, with easy-to-use Windows or Linux software), you can simply select the game to play from an on-screen menu of all your cartridges (100's if you've got them). No cart-swapping. Less wear & tear.

And no crappy NES controllers to break down!

Re:Backwards compatibility (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101542)

"As long as I can play my ps1/ps2 games on my ps3 I will be happy. If only Nintendo would add a port for NES carts... I could finally mothball my old system. "

Am I in the minority who thinks that backwards compatibility isn't all that exciting? Now, I'm willing to grant you that it's hard to find a working NES system today. Those things broke down quick. But except for the NES, why isn't your old system around to play on?

I just never really considered that a big selling point. It's kind of neat in a way, I mean if I want to consolidate systems it's kind of useful. But it's not something that makes me pick one over another. I like new games, especially if I still have the ability to play the old ones either way.

(Note: I really am asking for insight here, not trying to put you down or argue with you. I'm not sure I'm being tactful enough, though. I'm sorry if that's the case.)

Re:Backwards compatibility (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101841)

One big advantage that backward compatibility can have is the ability to improve the look of older games. The PS2 will smooth out textures on PS1 games, for example, and make them load much faster.

I also never owned a PS1, so being able to play games for it on my PS2 means I don't need to buy another Sony console for them.

Re:Backwards compatibility (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7102198)

The big part to me is the trade-in value, or I'll sell off the old system with the games I no longer want for a good chunk of cash that goes towards the new system.

Other than that, if the older system dies (like, say the PS2 seems to do for quite a lot of people, in many cases due to a plastic gear being turned (and eventually worn) by a metal gear), it's nice to be able to still buy hardware that runs the games (though right now PSOne hardware is still around, how about a year after the PS3 comes out?). I still have my Genesis and it still works, but how much longer can I say that? My NES stopped working a very long time ago, and I eventually got rid of all of the cartridges just because I couldn't play them.

Re:Backwards compatibility (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7102879)

It's great for the first few months.

That way your shiny new PS2 doesn't sit there gathering dust, because you have no games...while your PS1 gets played with.

Santa Claus would feel stupid about that.

Wait a second... (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100940)

"...the life cycle of this [hardware] generation will be the longest of any in the industry's short history"

That's a pretty interesting quote, when you consider that Sony's Kunitake Ando claimed that the emergence of the XBox would shorten the video game lifecycle. Here's a good quote from the ZDNet Article [zdnet.co.uk]
The biggest threat to the PlayStation2 is that the Xbox changes the industry's life cycle

To be honest, I think that this might have been true, but the sour economy in the USA has probably had as big an effect on the console lifecycle than anything. As far as price cuts are concerned, all three companies are waiting to see if the Gamecube price drop translates to a spike in sales. I mean, what's the point in a pricecut if the cube doesn't do any better at a $80 price advantage?

My hunch: There will be a spike, and Xbox and Gamecube will be $149 by mid november.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101081)

To be honest, I think that this might have been true, but the sour economy in the USA has probably had as big an effect on the console lifecycle than anything.

I think another big factor is the increased complexity of game development between generations. It now takes a longer period of time and a larger stack of cash to develop a compelling game than it has in the past (naturally), and so to some extent the console manufacturers have to let the developers dictate the pace of the change unless they can provide easy upgrades of code to the next generation (Microsoft would seem to have the advantage here with their use of DirectX). Just take a look at how long it took some N64 games to be developed, which then had to be retooled for release on the Gamecube.

Additionally, this factor could favor an early Nintendo console release (with some speculating that the new console could be in stores by Christmas 2005). Third-party developers have already been jumping off the Nintendo bandwagon [again], but if they were presented with SDKs for a new system next spring (or even late winter), they might have increased interest in developing games for first console of the next generation. This is an even more appealing strategy if the good folks of Nintendo believe that the PS2's dominance was due in large part to their year's headstart. Personally, I disagree a bit and instead attribute it to the fact - an aberration, by the way - that PS2 included DVD playback at a time when people were still in process of converting from VHS to DVD, but I'm no expert.

As far as judging the sales effect of the Gamecube price cut, I think the effect will be positive but limited. Arguably, the "hardcore" (I'm so tired of that word, but there ya go) gamers have already bought their system(s) of choice, so the people interested in buying a new console are going to be looking at the situation from a "casual" point of view. PS2 software still rules the roost for the casual-type gamer with their extremely wide variety of titles, so I expect most folks are going to continue buying that system.

As for me, I've already got the three (four counting GBA) big boys and being something of an addict I'd think about picking up Nintendo's next console day one, as long as they have at least one stunning game...and hopefully a hard drive. :)

Re:Wait a second... (1)

smhguy (709045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7104537)

I bought a Gamecube Monday night (it was black thank goodness). I was going to go over to Best Buy but was informed they did not have any black consoles left over. Instead had to drive over to Toys'r'us. Of course the main reason I'm buying a gamecube is to play mario kart!!! :)

Re:Wait a second... (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101139)

I seriously doubt Nintendo will be raising the price of the 'cube to $149.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

MIKE HAWK TROLL (710836) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103501)

If they want to compete with the Nokia N-Gage they will! I mean, that motherfucker is priced at $300! Now, unless they want mothers to think to themselves, "Well hey, this is so cheap it must be garbage." they will move the price of the Gamecube to $300. In fact, if the fine minds at Nokia were working at Nintendo, and all other things were equal, they would raise the price of the Gamecube to $400. The higher the cost, the better the shit!!

By the way, have you seen Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the N-Gage? It's a pants-shitting good time my good friend. It fucking makes me blow loads in my pants all day long. I'm just walking down the street and I think about it and then BAM, jizz is in my underwear.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101248)

My hunch: There will be a spike, and Xbox and Gamecube will be $149 by mid november.

At my local Target, Gamecubes are now SOLD OUT. At Gamestop, they are selling more then they were. and the Wal-Mart used to have a HUGE stack of gamecubes and they too are sold out.

I think $99.99 is the golden price. It sounds SO affordable. Double-digits for the latest generation console. (Yes, it's $100, but $99.99 has the double-digit psychological edge)

Re:Wait a second... (1)

laird (2705) | about 11 years ago | (#7113215)

The local game stores that I visit all tell me that the GameCube is "flying out the door" -- Toys-R-Us in midtown NY had huge stacks of GC's, and the whole time I was there you could see people walk over, see the price, and pick up units -- probably sold ten in the hour I was there.

There is the exception of one GameStop where the manager appears to be an X-Box fan, and has so effectively hidden the GameCube displays (literally hidden in the back of the store, behind all of the used software and books, with no sign) that you'd have to search the entire store to find it. Amazingly, at that store, when I asked about the effect of the price drop on GC sales, they sounded annoyed, as if people had been bugging them about it all day, and they'd be happer if the GC went away so that they could give more space to the X-Box. I really have to wonder about that manager -- they're so offensive towards buyers of anything but the X-box there, I'd have to think that they're losing sales. Heck, their PS2 section is hard to find, and the PS2 is outselling the X-Box at what, 2:1?

Anywa

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7117303)

PS2 is outselling Xbox by more like 5:1 than 2:1.

And I'd like to know if anyone in the Boston area can find brand new GameCubes of any color, preferably Platinum. I already have one, but I need one as a gift!

DAMNIT! (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103837)

Xbox and Gamecube will be $149 by mid november.

I hate it when I do that.

"Gamecube" should be PS2. Argh.

2006? (1)

n0wak (631202) | more than 11 years ago | (#7100972)

That seems speculative. I'd be surprised if at least *one* next gen console doesn't come out for the 2005 Holiday season (with, of course, the PSP coming out for the 2004 season), but I'd bet on more. Of course, we won't know for sure until E3 next year -- which will likely have tons of announcements.

Re:2006? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7101079)

I'd be surprised if at least *one* next gen console doesn't come out for the 2005 Holiday season

I think that's what was being said, between the lines. Do the math: 1) Sony & MS are holding out until 2006. 2) Nintendo is pulling out all the stops already in late 2003. 3) The *one* you're expecting sooner should be obvious.

Longest What? (5, Insightful)

TiredGamer (564844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101386)

Let's get a quick-n-dirty rundown...

Atari 2600: 1977 to ~1984 (~7 yrs)

Nintendo Famicom: 1983 to 1990 (7 yrs)
Sega SG-x000 (later Sega Master System): 1983 to ~1988 (5 yrs)

Sega MegaDrive/Genesis: 1988 to 1994 (6 yrs)
Nintendo Super Famicom: 1990 to 1996 (6 yrs)

Sony Playstation: 1994 to (1999, but now rereleased as PSOne today)
Sega Saturn 1994 to 1998 (4 yrs)
Nintendo 64: 1996 to 2001 (5 yrs)

Sega Dreamcast 1998 to 2003 (5 yrs)
Sony Playstation 2: 1999 to ?
Nintendo GameCube: 2001 to ?
Microsoft Xbox: 2001 to ?

The video game industry is well over 30 years old, with the Magnavox Odyssey released in January 1972 [pong-story.com] . It is just plain wrong to say the video game industry is young.

As for this being the longer generation, that's a hard claim to pin down. You can't really say "X generation lasted Y years" because consoles are not released all at once. The 8-bit generation either lasted until the introduction of the Sega Genesis in 1988, or it ended when Nintendo began selling the Super Famicom in 1990? (Or you could even say it never really ended, since Nintendo was still producing Famicoms long after 1990.)

I suppose you could say the Sega Dreamcast marks the start of this generation in 1998, and then if the first next-generation console comes out in 2006 it would make this the longest run without new blood. But wait, couldn't you say the Microsoft Xbox is "next-generation" along with the GameCube, having almost double the power of the Dreamcast and PS2?

Or you could ignore all of this, realize that we're all just waiting for "the next big thing" and start saving your pennies now. ; )

This site [retrofaction.com] and Google are your friends.

Re:Longest What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7101618)

Thank you! I'm glad someone brought that glaring mistake up.

You should also mention the Gameboys lifecycle. Easily eclipsing any other "console", handheld or otherwise.

Hey retard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7104210)

As a proud Dreamcast owner, I would like to point out that the release date of the Dreamcast was 9/9/99, which puts it closer to 2000 than to ... 1998? Are you *RETARDED*? Plus, I bought mine for $50 just before last last Christmas, which places its lifecycle at about:

2000-2001 (inclusive), so that's 2 years instead of 5. Allowing for tolerance ... you're still TOTALLY OFF.

As for the Sega Saturn, you can put the effective lifecycle at:
5 minutes before purchasing Saturn - 5 minutes after purchasing it ... ... which in your math, accounts for 4 years. Good work!

The point is, a console lifecycle for the true console gamers has been much shorter after the SNES/Genesis days--Sega CD, Sega Genesis 32X, 3DO, Jaguar (64 bits! what a joke), N64, the *cough* Saturn... ...then came the Dreamcast, which was hot hot hot for all of a week before the rumors started that Sega was abandoning it... ...then came the triumvirate of consoles. Nintendo is about one year away from throwing away their GameCube and moving their support, Sega-style, to one or both remaining consoles.

The PS2 graphics look dated, *already*.

The XBox runs on a hard drive, so good luck for the collectors who actually believe it will work 5 years from now. HINT: It won't!

So what does this mean for the next console? It will come sooner than you think, within two years is my estimate. But then again, you can just use your creative math, and say 1998+2 years = 2009. Good work!

anti aliasing (1)

imperator_mundi (527413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101478)

still missing and due to the relative low resolution of the TV Sets that hurts quite much.

Re:anti aliasing (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7104625)

That's a playstation issue. I'm not sure why Sony didn't do hardware antialiasing with the PS2-- even the Dreamcast had fullscreen AA. The gamecube has it, too-- but I don't have an XBox to verify on and i'm too lazy to look it up. I suspect it does, though, but it might get disabled at 720p.

Rumors ? Somebody must know ... (2, Informative)

snowtigger (204757) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101508)

I am rather surprised of how nobody seems to "know" when the next generation consoles will be out.

When I spoke to some Xbox developers, they told us that they received a test machine (standard PC) about two years before the official launch. Then some other test hardware dropped in from time to time.

Considering that developing a game takes around two years, we should be getting indications in advance. The developer scene for Xbox is growing bigger (google for xbox development), so I expect them to have a difficult time keeping this one secret.

To show off a new console would be hard without cool games. Simply porting existing games would be too easy, since you wouldn't use all the potential in the console and miss the cool-factor. The least thing to do would be to create new graphics to make up for the advances in the graphics chip.

The same thing goes for the GameCube and the PS2
---
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up space in the middle

Re:Rumors ? Somebody must know ... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7102247)

Not to mention that the Nintendo and Sony consoles usually get introduced into the Japanese market quite some time before the US market. If Nintendo's looking at a 2005 release for their next console, the announcements will probably hit next year as far as the Japanese and US releases go, and developers should start seeing development kits by the end of this year or early next year (at least the top developers and 2nd party developers).

Re:Rumors ? Somebody must know ... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103202)

The motives are different now than they were then. Before Xbox was a reality, Microsoft wanted to seed units to developers as soon as possible to get them working on Xbox titles, and excited about the platform. Now, Microsoft will be trying to strike a careful balance between having tatles for their next generation console, and keeping developers interested in the current generation. Expect Microsoft to wait until the last possible second to send ont development units to a wide number of developers.

Submitter, please think a little more about it (3, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101520)

"perhaps surprising considering rapidly advancing technology. "

No, not surprising at all. Consoles are so powerful today that the visual difference from game to game is limited mainly by the artists. There's enough you can do in real time that a doubling or quadrupling in processor speed isn't going to make $300 worth of difference to the consumer.

The next big upgrade people will be excited about is the ability to do CG in real-time comparable to the stuff we've seen come out of Pixar. Perfectly smooth, anti-aliased, nice shadows, bright color, etc. Unfortunately, consoles are still a ways away from that. What's worse is that when they do reach that point, then what?

I'm not the least bit surprised that niether Sony nor Microsoft are backburnering their next consoles. Unless they can deliver a 'holy shit!' product, they're going to find themselves nicely saturated. They need to be careful, though, they're leaving the door wide open for Nintendo. And those dudes sure like to innovate. Who here wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Nintendo's successor to the GameCube was portable? THat may not sound so exciting in light of Sony's PSP, but then again it would have Nintendo's support fully behind it as well as third parties dedicated to it.

Re:Submitter, please think a little more about it (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7103475)

he next big upgrade people will be excited about is the ability to do CG in real-time comparable to the stuff we've seen come out of Pixar. Perfectly smooth, anti-aliased, nice shadows, bright color, etc. Unfortunately, consoles are still a ways away from that. What's worse is that when they do reach that point, then what?
Heh, you know, I'm surprised how few "perfect spheres" (and no I'm not talking the boobies in DOA volleyball) games have...you can usually see the angles quite obviously. I mean you think a game like monkey ball would be able to have spheres whose shadows have more than 16 or so edges..

Remember the days? (0, Troll)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7101767)

The Intellivision got an upgrade to add VOICE!
The NES had many MBC upgrades, one of which quadrupled the resolution!

You got the SNES/Genesis because the sprites looked so much better, the controller had more buttons and the music was tons better.

With the PSX/Saturn came CDs and 3D. Wow!

With the DC/PS2/Etc. came... BETTER 3D and uh... DVD? MS added a harddrive. . .

Aside from polishing off little things with consoles, there's no real limits they can't reach if they just don't use too many polygons.

But wherever Mario is, I'll go.

Actually, the PS2 has been cut in price... sort of (1)

samsmithnz (702471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7102520)

It half officially has been dropped to $150. BUT you can't buy it at $150. In fact if you go to your local store, you'll find it hard to find the blue box anymore (which is still labeled at $179 if you can still find it - Old stock).

But the new stock comes in a black box, bundled with a crap game (Why can't they throw in a good game?!?), and a network adapter, for $200.

I love this marketing ploy, lower the price, but remove the product, so its cheaper, but the customer has to pay more (for more stuff of course, but I personally wasn't interested in the network adapter or game, I just want to play FIFA at home with my friends...).

Re:Actually, the PS2 has been cut in price... sort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7104916)

Not true in the US.

The regular old blue-boxed PS2's are still in many stores (at least here in NY), and they're not disappearing anytime soon since the new models have just come out in the US (the ones that offer progressive-scan DVD playback and the ability to read +/- DVD discs).

PS2s are still $180 or $200 depending on whether you get the broadband adapter or not.

What I'd like to see in future console releases (2, Insightful)

tuxedobob (582913) | more than 10 years ago | (#7105031)

Since this thread has quickly turned into this anyway, here's what I think the industry should be aiming for in its next releases.

  • Native HDTV resolutions up to 720p/1080i
  • 3D audio processed in dedicated hardware (It'd be nice if the programmer only needed to specify the x/y/z-coordinates and volume of a sound, for example.)
  • Optical and coaxial audio output for at least 5.1 output to a receiver (available to games!)
  • Speaker-wire output for at least a 4-speaker output (I really wanted this one before I got a receiver, but I imagine there are power issues with this.
  • Hard Disk (Not an XBox fan, but I gotta admit; I'm sure it's handy.)
  • Built-in ethernet/modem adapters
  • At least 4 controller ports
  • Optional keyboard/mouse which together only use one port
  • Cheap (With the above? Yeah, right!)

Re:What I'd like to see in future console releases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109553)

Actually, many of the current consoles have these features, if only in limited form. Stuff like an optical cable port (built into the PS2, XBOX needs a HD or Advanced AV Pack), ethernet jack (XBOX and new PS2 "network" models), 4 controller ports (XBOX and GCN), etc.

I'm sure that with features like these being somewhat in-place on today's current systems, most of the above (sans the speaker-wire connections and possibly the mouse) will be fully implemented by the next generation by all three companies.

Re:What I'd like to see in future console releases (1)

tuxedobob (582913) | about 11 years ago | (#7112695)

Yeah, I realize that, but there isn't one with all of them out of the box. I think the XBox comes closest, but that thing is/was a beast, both in terms of size and price. If the XBox drops to $149 or so, it _might_ be worth $200 to look at DOA boobies, though. As well as Marathon 4 (AKA Halo).

The speaker-wire connections are the tricky point, though. It might work better if there were 4 RCA (A/V) connectors on the back for four different speakers. The console company could release speakers that take that connector as input and are powered separately, too. If they can do that cheaply enough (say $50?), then perhaps even 13-year-olds can have a decent, though probably fairly quiet, surround sound system for their games.

New generation complexity (1)

bludstone (103539) | about 11 years ago | (#7112594)

The next generation of consoles (or gen after) will, likely, have movie quality graphics. IE, Gollum rendered in real-time on your home console as you make him throw rocks at frodo to get that damn precioussss back.

This is an amazing accomplishment, but it introduces an unparalleled level of complexity. The industry is simply not going to have time to make as many games... unless...

They develop actors and sets. Dont be suprised if, say, Mitsurugi from Soul Calibur becomes the next "Standard" action hero for a bunch of Japanese samurai games. Hes already got a super-complex model of him ready to go. In fact, were already seeing this, with Nina (tekken) getting her own game.

While it will be interesting to see this development, there is the worry of a stagnation of game types. The "Time To Crate" factor may come into play here, to an almost unbearable level. While tweaks will be available, its quite possible that the door frame in a horror game will look exactly the same in an action game, or RPG. Simply to keep production costs down.

Tweaking and adjusting styles will be where the real gold shines in on future games. Sure, we will still get creative games like Rez, but the standard-type games will become more like Movies. ...and I didnt even mention the in-console standard physics engines or other such ideas coming into play.
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