We Really, Really Don't Need New Consoles

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We Really, Really Don't Need New Consoles

Yahtzee believes the best way to improve gaming as a whole isn't to force new gaming consoles onto the market.

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Amen Yahtzee, I started my gaming years on the PC, and the way things are now heading I may come back full circle to PC gaming again.

At least they now have an excuse to make games that "look amazing" and have "never seen before graphics", instead of delivering unique and engaging experiences that would require actual effort to make.
Whoop-dee-doo, I'm thrilled...

I'm wondering how would a console advance in areas other than the graphics department. Going all out on a controller isn't one such area, the Wii and the WiiU both prove that. Whoever answers me that question is a hero.

The more I hear about the new consoles the less I like them. I'm starting to think I should switch to PC.

I have a decent gaming PC, and it's filled with plenty of great titles. But the PC market doesn't supply me with some of my favorite genres, i.e. JRPGs, fighting games, hack and slash and sports titles.

Sure, I can play some great WRPGs and some stellar FPS titles, but that's not enough for me, and I cannot subsist solely on indie titles. These days, you sound like too much of a bitter old man for me to take seriously anymore.

Wow. You just wrote down almost word for word my views on the new generation Mr Croshaw. I've been an avid console gamer my whole life but now for the first time I have a (fairly) high quality gaming pc and I'm not going back, even for my beloved infamous series. Everything I hear about these new consoles just makes me not want them even more.

Speak for your self. My PC keeps crashing and blue screening when I play games. So, yeah, consoles are my method of gaming that works 100% of the time.

Im all for better graphics. But i think the 360/PS3 should be the level where graphics are and spend the extra power of the next gen consoles on building better worlds and gameplay. It seems, for me anyway, that every new console just focuses on graphics and we get less a game for it. The new tomb raider an gear of war had great graphics, can we stop there and now focus on the game worlds and story. Look at a game like Deadly Premonition, crappy graphics, crappy controls and crappy everything. It was the only game i have ever stopped playing after 30 mins. But i went back to it and forced myself through all the crap and the story and characters are excellent.....i loved it.

So next gen, more about the gameplay than graphics. I played COD2 and it was amazing, i thought in the future big scale battles and wars, open worlds and awesome gameplay. But what happened? Better graphics but the CoD games grew more linear.

Pshh, it's not like we could keep on making games on 512mb of RAM, this console generation is going to be fine for the same reasons the last one was.

People won't buy PCs because everyone about a gaming PC is a little bit fiddly, requires a little bit of knowledge and requires replacing the PC everyone already has for something they only need for gaming. And then if you want it set up in your lounge it's a huge huge fuss that doesn't even look right.

I mean no offence, your points aren't bad, but the continued success of CoD suggests you're taste is not the arbiter of market growth, the highly specialised group of Escapist forum goers aren#t any indicator for things going badly for the PS4 or nextbox

Anathrax:
I'm wondering how would a console advance in areas other than the graphics department.

Processing power and RAM. In short, the ability to do more things at any given time. Whether the possibilities that introduces are worth the upscale in cost (across the park - for devs and consumers) is down pretty much to how developer's use it, and your personal opinion.

As an example, the size of things like cities in Skyrim. The engine simply doesn't have the power to match up what we see in game to what we were lead to believe it was like in the lore. To the point where much of the lore was rewritten in the intervening years to allow the limitations of the hardware. Riften, the massive sprawling mess of a city in the south? Sacked during the war, and only rebuilt as a shadow of its former self within the fortress walls. Winterhold, the huge city that stood on the site of where the first men arrived from Atmora? Fell into the sea. Whiterun, the massive trading hub made of several distinct districts? Yeah, you get the picture.

All of them sacrificed because the Xbox's hardware, arguably the weakest of Skyrim's platforms and the baseline to which it had to conform, simply couldn't handle anything bigger.

Whether having the hardware to render those cities in their intended detail is worth the risk that Bethesda would probably just fill them with more cut and paste, dull cardboard NPCs is again up to you.

I remember hearing that the reason ME3 didn't have the ability to holster your weapons the way you could in the first two was because Bioware couldn't scrounge enough RAM out of the 360 to enable the animations. If that's true, it's one more example of how a more advanced iteration of hardware could help with the realism or immersion or whatever you want to call it.

The more spare power you have in the background, the more you can use on running complex AI. Something which everything from tactical shooters to RPGs to open world games like GTA could benefit from.

I don't know whether developers actually will get off their arses and make use of better hardware, but there are potential 'game-changers', if you'll excuse the pun, that they could bring to the table.

Personally I'd rather be optimistic about that than adopt this bizarre staunch pessimism of Yahtzee's.

By all means worry about the possible uselessness of the next gen, but we haven't even seen the friggin' consoles yet, let alone anything like a launch title line up.

Remember when everyone laughed off the Xbox as an ugly box that would prove to be yet another misguided Microsoft blunder? Remember when, hidden in a series of largely unknown launch titles, there were a handful of images and scant details of 'yet another' FPS that happened to be called Halo?

I really couldn't agree with this article more.

FloodOne:
I have a decent gaming PC, and it's filled with plenty of great titles. But the PC market doesn't supply me with some of my favorite genres, i.e. JRPGs, fighting games, hack and slash and sports titles.

Sure, I can play some great WRPGs and some stellar FPS titles, but that's not enough for me, and I cannot subsist solely on indie titles. These days, you sound like too much of a bitter old man for me to take seriously anymore.

It's of note that there's no reason they COULDN'T supply those games you like to the PC, or Mac or even a Linux operating system. They just don't, or won't. They'll make excuses, of course, but all those excuses fall flat in the face of the success of enough PC titles small to ungodly large that it's pointless to try and say, "we can't/won't because _____" because they've all been disproven by this point.

No, the controls aren't an argument either. The PC is capable of handling any form of control you like. They make a Wii-mote work on the BC. Gamepads work on the PC. I've seen people get dual screen games working on the PC. The PC is capable of handling all the controls, visuals, mechanics and more there's no question, and there's no question of the success of many PC titles. There's no reason not to, they just won't, and don't buy their, "But it'll get pirated" nonsense, because if Valve, Blizzard and others have proven anything to us over the years, it's that all the pirating in the world can't stop a smart developer from making a killing in the PC market. It's not just large developers either, plenty of large developers do have successful presence in the PC market, but countless medium to small to independent studious also have found great success on the PC platform. It's not a question anymore, it's a definite fact. PC gaming is not, nor was it ever, dying - it's stronger than ever.

kiri2tsubasa:
Speak for your self. My PC keeps crashing and blue screening when I play games. So, yeah, consoles are my method of gaming that works 100% of the time.

Sounds like a personal issue. Windows, Linux and Mac OS all are at points where they're wholly stable for even the most casual of users, regardless of which one, two or three of three you might want to go with. Having worked in tech support long enough to know it all too well, anything I see a person with problems with their PC or Mac or whatever these days, it's almost always a problem on the user's end. There are exceptions, mind you, but they're so rare as to render you, 'keeps crashing a blue screening' nonsense laughable. Especially the bluescreen part, if you don't know why then your windows OS is old enough to make your commentary even more laughable.

UrinalDook:

Remember when everyone laughed off the Xbox as an ugly box that would prove to be yet another misguided Microsoft blunder? Remember when, hidden in a series of largely unknown launch titles, there were a handful of images and scant details of 'yet another' FPS that happened to be called Halo?

I remember it very well. I also remember that the Original Xbox never made back its money, and that as successful as the 360 seemed at first its hardware issues kept it from ever being first to the extent that PS3 now has more sales in the latest numbers I've read, you know, the PC3 that everyone considered last for most of this generation. There's something to be said for staying power, and the 360 has proven that it doesn't have it. The original Xbox was a brick, it was ugly and though it had arguably the most power of its generation it did the worst.

Power means nothing, and when your first console didn't make its money back, and you're already putting out the 360, I see problems. When the 360 can't manage to outlast the disaster that was the PS3 (seriously, the PS3 was behind this entire generation, the fact that it's suddenly outpacing the 360 is disturbing because that usually doesn't happen - the last two generations have showed me firmly that the guy in last usually stays in last), I see problems. When your employees don't see the big deal about always online consoles, I see a problem. When Halo is no longer in the hands of Bungie, and the new studio handling Halo has proven themselves incompetent, and Bungie have gone multiplatform with their new game, I see a problem.

kiri2tsubasa:
Speak for your self. My PC keeps crashing and blue screening when I play games. So, yeah, consoles are my method of gaming that works 100% of the time.

Then keep a console that works 100% of the time, rather than one that will crap out when your internet fails. It's one thing that Yahtzee didn't mention, but really should; when the new consoles come out, you can buy the old ones (along with their massive libraries of polished games) for cheap. I'm not going to have $600-800 to spend on a PS4, but my roommate and are probably capable of scrounging up $200 for a PS3/XBox 360 with a few games, and we're willing to live without the newest games (or pick up the cheaper versions that will be published for the older generation).

Seems like yathzee has finally joined the console industry is doomed club I myself have been considering membership but I rather wait until I know a bit more about the new ps4 and the new xbox.

Anathrax:
I'm wondering how would a console advance in areas other than the graphics department. Going all out on a controller isn't one such area, the Wii and the WiiU both prove that. Whoever answers me that question is a hero.

The way I see it, the niche for home consoles that is accessible and easy home entertainment, is a remnant from a time where Computers required a degree to operate, and portable media didn't exist.
Now we have smartphones on one side and easily setup PCs on the other.
Consoles need to find something only they can deliver. A new niche. We already have great graphics on PC, everything is easy to setup and operate, and social media is everywhere, too.
Just adding one of these things to a console doesn't justify the console's existence, it's just redundancy.

It's not my job to determine that niche, but they either find it, or die.

I find the "lack of backwards-capability" argument moot. Yes, you can have more than one console hooked up to your television. No, I don't want a more expensive console.

And I'm excited for a new console generation in Sony's case. They're ditching the Cell and moving on to something easier and cheaper to develop for. So, more indie games getting more platforms which means more players playing more indie games. And consoles won't be holding back PC's as much as this generation has. It's 7/8 year old tech; time for an upgrade. It's really like comparing my smartphone (which I'm writing this with right now) to my 7 year old flip phone for work that can't do anything other than text and call.

I'm going to take a look at the Xbox reveal whenever Microsoft feel they have polished what sounds to be quite the turd enough for public display. I'd love to be wrong but the piles of rumors emanating about the Xbox Another One (Which I am now calling it until it gets a real name.) just don't inspire much hope.

At the same time I was underwhelmed to say the least about the PS4's reveal, though it at least has a few interesting points about it that might get to me to switch back over to the Sony side of things. But, if neither have strong launch libraries, or try and force always on or any of the other deal breakers. I think I'll just build myself that rig I've promised myself for ever. Cause I'm not getting suckered into another disappointing console generation.

The point about backwards compatibility is in opposition to Shamus Young's point that it had to be dropped for Sony to move forward, due to the strange architecture of the console.

However, the point about having a bunch of games to having zero games is dead on and until it's solved, it is not worth getting a new game console. They will be too expensive for a device that gathers dust. Which sucks because I don't want 5 fucking machines in my house to play 10 years worth of games. I don't know how you make that work in Sony's case but until they resolve it, there's no point in getting a new system.

Anathrax:
I'm wondering how would a console advance in areas other than the graphics department. Going all out on a controller isn't one such area, the Wii and the WiiU both prove that. Whoever answers me that question is a hero.

How about making it smaller and more silent?
Like ouya small. Dvd drive small.

Giant boxes with loud fans seem to be the accepted standard for some reason.

I really don't buy this argument that game production is going to become so much more costly that it will be a problem because of the new consoles. Did Crytek go out of business when they made Crysis - a game that laughed at current consoles and made current PCs cry? Did the PC versions of The Witcher and The Witcher 2 cost CDProject so much that they lost money? No. There are a lot of amazing looking games made by smaller studios that make plenty of money.

When Tomb Raider loses money on 3 million plus sales, it's not because the game cost that much to make. It just indicates that the Studio is a mess and that way too much money was wasted on marketing. I wouldn't be shocked if the new console generation brought about problems for companies like EA, but gaming on the whole will be fine.

What's really weird about this argument is that the majority of AAA games are already being created with the high res assets that are needed for the future consoles. Just look at the PC versions of those games. They're already at 1080p and higher resolutions, 3D and multiple monitor support, better physics, and high res textures. And a good part of this work isn't even extra work. It's not like artists sit around creating artwork for games that run at 720P. They create super high res textures that are then compressed to various levels for the consoles and different PC settings.

I would agree that forcing developers to use gimmicks lik Kinect and including social options is a waste of money, but not enough to make game production super expensive. I also wouldn't be surprised if the new console generation doesn't do as well at first as the last. It is true that the change in graphic fidelity isn't nearly as obvious this time. I'm betting a lot of people will stick to their old consoles for a few years.

I own a PS3 but it's mainly a blu-ray player. I have no interest in dropping several hundo for a PS4 when I could get the same result from adding a bit of memory and a new graphics card to my PC.

I'd actually like to see the AAA Game industry hit that iceberg. Their business models are Toxic to the industry as a whole. I'm sick of seeing perfectly good games break the bakes of their creators because their development process was so bloated (not to mention executive compensation) that there is no way for them to make a decent return or meet the publisher's ludicrous sales goals. The sooner this cancer stops setting trends and sucking the creative vision out of studios the better.

The great thing about the new console generation is that the three big platforms in cross platform development will run on basically the same architecture. Should make development less clunky.

I grew up on console gaming (started with the NES). I've owned SNES, Genesis, N64, PS2, Gamecube, 2 360's, PS3, and Wii. Until about a year ago, I could count the games I played seriously on a PC, on one hand. In the past year, I don't know if I've turned on my 360 more than 2 times, my PS3 is used exclusively as a Blu Ray player, and my Wii was sold off long ago. Since then, I've played nearly everything on the PC or my iPhone.

Are there occasionally technical issues? Rare, but sure. The thing is, there's issues on consoles now as well, since the motto now is "ship now, patch later" on consoles as well. Only it takes a LOT longer to patch on consoles. My 360 is constantly trying to sell me anything other than games and slowing everything down to do so, and trying to sell me digital things which are going to vanish shortly (when the Nextbox comes out and they of course start turning servers off) for ridiculous prices.

I'm sorry, but PC gaming is just better right now. I hope console gaming returns to where it was 10 years ago, where I could trust that when I put a disc/cartridge in, it will just work, there won't be ridiculous security/monetary concerns, and everyone can be happy. But that's not what console-makers/game publishers want. They want to shove as much advertising, as much extra crap which would have been free unlockables, and as little time testing as possible down our throats, and then berate us for thinking we then own the games and can do with, and resell as we please. At least on Steam, I'm paying FAR lower prices, so even if I don't get to transfer the game, I've paid little to do so.

Also, and this is a bit off-topic, I know, but the other answer is tabletop gaming. Many board/card games are just more fan-friendly and more fun than video games right now.

Clovus:
I really don't buy this argument that game production is going to become so much more costly that it will be a problem because of the new consoles

It's already too costly, requiring larger studious and more intricate, complex and time intensive (to make) visuals on next gen consoles will not help things, and if you think otherwise, you know surprisingly little about tech and the industry. You can blame it on marketing, but only to an extent. It's obvious too many studious are sinking too much money into titles only to not meet their sales, while smaller projects or cheaper projects sell less, but actually make their money back and then some.

I agree with your closing sentiment, the rest just sounds like hit trolling to me tbh. Console hardware has to move forward or consoles in general will die, they already have valve snapping at their heels.

What is it with escapist staff and making stupid proclamations amount console/PC gaming? I still remember with great resentment that retarded opinion video movie bob put up.

This is a sad example of finding points and examples to fit your pre-determined argument rather then coming to a consensus free from bias

I do agree with some of the points made...but this was just ridiculous.

The Wii U is not selling well because it's not much more powerful then PS3, xbox360 if at all. What existing console owner is going to spend 300 on a new console, which is basically the same, that most 3rd party devs are not supporting and who's exclusives are not even out yet.
If the Wii U was significantly more powerful we would be able to gauge what it's sales really mean for the PS4/nextbox

As someone mentioned above. COD sells a crap load on consoles. What Escapist wants is not what the market wants.
I am not sure on console or pc or both. Other PC fanantics can spare me their 'you can build a similar spec pc at the same price' rubbish because if you were to build a PC with 512RAM or 256 gaming RAM it would not even touch the PS3 or 360.

I will see the performance difference between PS4 and a good gaming rig 6 months after release, compare prices... and make a decision.

UrinalDook:

Remember when everyone laughed off the Xbox as an ugly box that would prove to be yet another misguided Microsoft blunder? Remember when, hidden in a series of largely unknown launch titles, there were a handful of images and scant details of 'yet another' FPS that happened to be called Halo?

Remember when the AAA market was totally unsustainable and the only games that could turn a profit were Call of Duty, Halo and anything made by a single college student in their dorm? And then a new console forced developers into a completely alien set of hardware that tripled the standards of the most costly elements to program for? And then do you remember that those companies couldn't afford to take chances like the ones that led to Halo?

The xbox "another one" that I want uses the exact same operating system and software, but just has upgraded hardware. Is that so weird? Run old things better, have the ability to run new things. Done. Sold. Let's keep playing.

Why do consoles feel the need to completely reinvent the wheel when they release a new version? Seems like a waste of energy.

The hardware companies are hoping their consoles will be the central house computer of the future. If they get that, it'll be like printing money. Alas, realising such a sci-fi dream will require a few generations of controllable devices, control protocols and technical standards and the first generation hasn't even started yet.

No TV/light switch/fridge/security alarm company is going to make their stuff controllable by a house computer unless they know what house computers and protocols will exist in lots of homes to control it. As that controller doesn't exist yet, that means at least another generation after the next one (unless PS4 or XBox whatever will suddenly come with such a set of protocols). That means the console designers have somehow got to stay in the game as they wait for the sci-fi dream to coalesce into working technical standards and industry partnerships. Until then, more generations of consoles being pushed despite having no good reason to exist.

If and when this eventually kicks off, imagine the mess as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony uses their technical standards as weapons against each other. Imagine the profiteering if one succeeds in dominating such a market.

PREACH IT!

I hear ya, man. PC Gaming Master Race. Consoles can go fuck themselves, that entire industry can burn for all I care.

Welcome to the glorious PC master race, Yahtzee. We saved a chair for you.

The reason the Wii didn't stand to well with "hardcore" gamers was more than just a simple gimmick. To play a Wii game had the player use so much physical excursion that players would tire out quickly from games that were enjoyable to play for more than 30 minutes. So much physical movement from the player to make an avatar move in a specific manner is far more annoying than having a touch screen on a game control.

To me, the touch screen is more than a gimmick. A gimmick in a video game console or game is when a "feature" is terribly implemented. When it is done right, it's now a feature. :P I have a Xbox 360 and a ps3 and have already noticed how many shooters I have in my library compared to action/adventure games and fighting games. Though the game that sold me the most on the touch screen was not Mario or Nintendo Land. It was Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. A game that allows the player to decide was secondary HUD options that they don't want to clutter the TV screen to be displayed on the gamepad screen. And I LOVE it so much. Do I "need" to see my comrades health? No, but I have it on the second screen just to see who is not healing. -_-

P.S. I have a gaming PC as well...but Monster hunter man....Monster Hunter O_O

On the issue of backwards compatibility, SEGA, long ago, had hit upon a terrific idea, in my opinion, with the Dreamcast. As I recall, the Dreamcast hardware was designed to be scalable. This meant that improvements to the existing capacity (speed, resolution, sound, etc.) could be obtained by simply making incremental increases to the number of pipelines, clock-speed, etc. in the hardware, and it would still be the SAME underlying hardware architecture. As a result, the hardware is instantly and inherently backwards compatible without the need to invest further R&D (or packaging old hardware alongside the new hardware in the same box, like with the PS2 and original PS3). There were a lot of other nice ideas in the Dreamcast's design that were intended to enhance gameplay enjoyment; unfortunately, developers went with graphics escalation in the PS2 (because they were counting polygons and not understanding that the Dreamcast's lower polygon count was not as much a factor because it used those polygons more intelligently) and the false promises of being able to do things like Reboot in real-time.

Overall, I would agree with Yahtzee's basic point. We don't need new consoles; the current ones are more that adequate. What we need are better quality games, and by that, I don't mean higher polygon counts, higher-fidelity render engines, higher texture resolutions, or bigger empty landscapes; I mean games that play better, have more interesting gameplay and game-mechanics, have more interesting concepts and themes, and are designed with identifiable and unique styles and art-direction (used to be a time you could tell which studio or publisher developed a game just by looking at it and feeling how it played; nowadays, all games look and behave about the same). We're well past the point that graphics add anything to the game.

Great article, Yahtzee, one that explains easily many of the reasons why neither the PS4 or XBox 3-Online Supertree are of any interest to me. It does leave out the biggest reason for my apathy, one that would understandably not occur to you given your job as a reviewer: I have such a massive backlog of games from this genreation that I am in no rush to grab the next game console. Especially one that has zero backwards compatability.

The word of the day is: anathema, something loathed or detested.

Anyways, I indeed agree. One of the reasons why I probably won't get a WiiU (besides the hardly useful tablet controller that drains energy like a flushing toilet) is its lack of Gamecube compatibility. What if I want to get back to Super Mario Sunshine or finish Zelda: Wind Waker? What if I want to play those weird Capcom games? The Wii doesn't seem to take much space in its backwards compatibility, so why can't the WiiU go back 2 generations?

Also, the PS4 had better have a dozen or so PS3 games or "streaming capabilities," or I'll just get a PS3 this summer with its wide range of exclusives and HD remakes.

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