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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Game Profitability Under Threat 102

Posted by Zonk
from the it-is-mighty-costly dept.
The BBC has up an article looking at the dwindling opportunities for profit on games in the coming years. Soaring prices for game development, the increasingly-entrenched segmentation of the marketplace, and overwhelming emphasis on sequels means that it's looking increasingly dire for game development houses. While the success of the DS means that there's a wide market for games on that platform (witness Square/Enix's movement of the Dragon Quest franchise), the phasing out of the PS2 means that for the moment there is no 'leading platform' for game creation. The article talks about how the various game companies are responding to this challenge, as in Microsoft's reliance on exclusive deals and Sony's absorption of development houses into their infrastructure.
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Game Profitability Under Threat

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  • by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:49PM (#18170820)
    This article starts off talking about how it's hard to turn a profit writing games, and then uses a "solution" that a hardware vendor is using to sell their consoles as an example. What's going on here? Where's the story that goes with the headline?

    Companies will get their costs in line. Either it will turn out that increased costs from games going HD will be a myth or become a myth as tools improve (most likely), or smart companies will know where to make tradeoffs to get their costs down. Many studios will fail and go out of business, which has been par for the course for ages. Ideally, they'd figure out that marketing and licensing costs are the bulk of the budget and take the money from there, but I'm not holding my breath.
    • "Tools Improving" is not what would lead to a large enough reduction in development costs to offset the massive quantities of content that now have to be produced for a game ... The likely cost reduction will be a massive investment in content development in developing nations.

      Basically, a company like EA can take a similar ammount of money as it would take to develop a few games (say $50 Million) and invest it to train and pay artists in a country like Columbia to produce their 3D models (and other game as
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        Yeah, that's the industry's position. You nailed their talking points.

        The problem is that content creation isn't only incrementally harder today than it was for the pre-rendered scenes of yesterday. The pre-rendered scenes of today largely don't exist. All the talk about how much harder it is to make next-gen content is mostly a poor justification for increasing the cost of the games to $60.

        You can count on one hand the number of games which have $20 million content budgets. When you hear about titles with
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          Crap.

          That should say:

          "content creation is only incrementally harder today than it was for the pre-rendered scenes of yesterday."
          • Yes/No ...

            On an individual model basis, it isn't any more expensive to create a model for a PS3/XBox 360 game and a similar model for a movie.

            Where the problem comes in is if you're producing a movie of the Wizard of Oz you can have very limited environments, with tons of cut and paste content for wider shots and no one will notice. In a game, if the Castle at the end is not fully modeled (and full of *mostly* original content) people will notice.

            For the longest time I have tought that Nintendo was very cle
  • by Astarica (986098) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:57PM (#18170972)
    A game is not entitled to make money due to some intrinsic 'goodness' value. If I spent a billion dollar to make the greatest game ever, I would expect to lose money on this because I don't think you can physically sell enough copies to make up the development cost. This means even the greatest game ever is not worth spending a billion dollar on it. If you make a really cool game that no one bought, maybe it's not as cool as you thought it was.
    • World of warcraft has pulled in over a billion now. They'd have recouped their cost. That's not to say you're wrong, just that 1 billion is too low a figure.
      • by Astarica (986098)
        The profit model of a MMORPG is very different from the average console game which I think is what's being discussed here. You can afford to take bigger losses at the start because you get a source of continous profit. This is not possible with the average game. If I don't recoup my costs after 1 year for my RPG/FPS/sports game/whatever, then it's almost certain I'll never recover my costs, that is if anyone's even still selling my game.
    • "A game is not entitled to make money due to some intrinsic 'goodness' value. If I spent a billion dollar to make the greatest game ever, I would expect to lose money on this because I don't think you can physically sell enough copies to make up the development cost."

      Just remember "Who" the market is, a market is no more then a collection of individuals making choices. That "market" can make increasingly bad choices without direction. The problem was that game developers let game console companies drive t
  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:59PM (#18171020)

    This necessitates a change in the way games are made. One of the fundamental problems is that we're building games in bigger, shinier forms, without streamlining our method of production. As our graphical capabilities increase, we will be tempted to include more and more content into our games. That 900-polygon character that took an artist 1 week to create now takes 2 artists 3 weeks, what with technologies like parallax mapping.

    I have believed, and still believe, that procedural content is the answer. There is a limit to how much manpower a development team can consume whilst remaining profitable, and IMHO we're already at that line. We need to start letting the machines figure out our content. This does not necessarily mean complete and full generation of assets by algorithms, but rather that our tools need to be streamlined as such. Software like ZBrush have drastically reduced (for the skilled user anyway) the amount of time required to build high-poly models. We need more tools like this for textures, for all other aspects of game development. We need to let go of the manual shift stick and build more powerful tools that will take more off our coders' and artists' hands.

    This also means the segmentation between game developer and technology developer. For years we've seen some companies stick stubbornly to building their own engines, a costly affair. It should be clear to developers by now that, if you are in any way serious about graphical horsepower, you need to license an engine. Building your own engine from scratch is no longer feasible if you want to get your game done on-time and on-budget. The industry will, in time, become the playing field of dedicated technology developers who license their engines to developers, much like Valve and Epic are doing now.

    The gaming industry is holding onto archaic ideals. It is like the car factory that insists hand-built is better, and refuses to mechanize any aspect of their production. It is now suffering the consequences, and like it or not they will have to change.

    • The gaming industry is holding onto archaic ideals. It is like the car factory that insists hand-built is better, and refuses to mechanize any aspect of their production. It is now suffering the consequences, and like it or not they will have to change.

      Except that most major development studios are still "hand-producing". The problem is no-one (to my knowledge) has managed to consistently, successfully do all of the things you're suggesting across the board -and- managed to turn an obscene profit doi
      • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:29PM (#18171548)

        Agreed. I would have suggested a solution had I been aware of one.

        That said, it's not about doing the things I'm suggesting and turning an obscene profit - this is about restoring profitability, not about making game development so cheap that everyone is rolling in the dough - that won't ever happen.

        IMHO we need technological development in tools. We are still using the same 3D modeling tools, the same texturing tools, and the same map-building tools that we've been using since the release of Half-Life 1 8 years ago. The difference is that what we're doing now is many times more complicated than before.

        In 1999 a wall was 2 polygons, and a 256x256 flat texture.

        Now, we demand things like geometrically modeled light switches on these walls, power outlets, and other little things that add to immersion. We also need normal/parallax maps on all of this, not to mention specular maps too. We've added so much on top of what we used to do, without once stopping to really, completely rethink the way we interact with our tools.

        When I first saw an artist use ZBrush, I was blown away. Here we have something that is smart, it is awesomely predictive, and it reduces the workload of the artist dramatically when it comes to modeling high-detail meshes. We're talking a couple orders of magnitude less time to do the same thing. And all it took was a brand new interface and way to interact with the type of models we're used to seeing.

        Let's see the same sort of rethinking for our animation, for our texturing, and for our mapping.

        • That IS the flaw in the model. We the buyers don't DEMAND that, we just WANT a game with some FUN, decent gameplay and a relatively stable release. Instead we get the same fscking crap, redone with better graphics but lacking the fun, the fact that the developer spent 3 times as much remaking a crappy game, and 5 times as much advertising it, is not the consumers fault. Make a great game and you won't HAVE to advertise it...viral word of mouth will do it for you...
          IMHO the game industry is falling into the
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Applekid (993327)
            It's the culture that they've cultivated.

            I have a nephew that's 10 years old. Last time I saw him he was a toddler. His family flies into town and I ask if he likes video games and he says yes and figure a bonding moment is afoot.

            At the time I was playing Megaman X 8. He thought it was kind of neat, but declined to play it. He pretty much declined to play anything in my library. I said a few things about the titles I had and what makes soandso a playable and good game, and the answer I got back was:

            "It does
            • Interesting post (and a shame it wasn't modded so) That said, I'm curious how you would explain the success of the Nintendo Wii?
              • by Applekid (993327)
                I'd say Nintendo's marketing directed to non-gamers for the system is a brilliant move, and the motion sensing is innovative enough to get conventional gamers interested.

                That said, my nephew isn't interested in one. Which is good since that's at least one person who won't potentially get their hands on it from the shelf before I do. ;)
          • Make a great game and you won't HAVE to advertise it...viral word of mouth will do it for you...

            Beyond Good and Evil, for example?

            • by LordMyren (15499)
              i wonder how the developers feel about BGE's market performance. it was slightly broader target audience than most games, but still mostly a gamers game. great stuff though.
          • Make a great product, and you won't have to advertise it...

            Commodore's winning strategy.

        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          We are still using the same 3D modeling tools, the same texturing tools, and the same map-building tools that we've been using since the release of Half-Life 1 8 years ago.

          Well, if we ignore all the advances those programs made since 1997... The programs may carry the same names but the functionality has improved so much that your work speed is much, MUCH higher.
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      I'm entirely in agreement with you. I think what's happening is that there are weaknesses in the current industry model popping up. The $60 dollar price tag is still not that bad considering the massive cost of development. The margins are getting strained to the edge and so businesses are looking for alternatives to make their money. The resale market, gamefly's rental/try-before-buy system, and Steam's electronic distribution/self-publishing.

      The funny thing is that though development costs have skyrockete
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by p0tat03 (985078)

        I would like to also add that games like Dead Rising are good examples of the type of rethinking we need to do in modern game development. Here we have a mall, modeled in excruciating and beautiful detail, filled to the brim with zombies. Yet, content-wise, it didn't have nearly as much content as, say, Half-Life 2. Why?

        That hallway you blew past in 0.75 seconds in Half-Life 2 took someone hours upon hours to create. That same amount of time went towards creating the nice store in Dead Rising that you cou

    • > we will be tempted to include more and more content into our games.
      People don't appreciate (or understand) how complicated reality is, until trying to simulate it.

      Content will always be the bottleneck. Whether it is audio, video, geometry, AI, or narrative, crafting a good game is always about trying assets to keep these in control.

      > I have believed, and still believe, that procedural content is the answer.
      After seeing demos such as .kkrieger - chapter I (Quake/Doom quality in 96K!) I certainly hop [theprodukkt.com]
      • Doh! Previewed and still didn't close the anchor tag.

        *sigh*
      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        - CPU overhead -- we just don't have the horsepower to generate "good" procedural textures in real-time. Basically why would I trade IO (loading) time (of premade textures) with CPU time (generating)??? As CPUs get this faster, then this balance will definitely shift to procedural textures.

        I beg to differ. With the introduction of new storage media like Bluray and HD-DVD, there is nothing stopping us from generating procedural textures offline, storing them, and calling them back later. While games like

      • by bunions (970377)
        disclaimer: gross generalizations dead ahead, take evasive action

        > Hand-Built is better

        I don't think this is true at all. Hand-built is better, sometimes, because of the degree of customization it allows, but factory/machine-made items tend to have a lower defect rate and tighter tolerances.
        • But this is a game world we're talking about -- it's all about providing an 'unique' experience.
          How does having a lower defect rate, and tighter tolerances help in a game setting?

          Sure, there will always be some error in artist created geometry / textures, etc, but isn't the issue about:

          - Quality
          - Quantity

          It's easy to have a computer generate quantity, but the quality [of textures] is lacking. The hope is, that procedural textures, will allow us to approach that first domain.
          • by bunions (970377)
            I agree with you, I was just pointing out the flaw in the obligatory car analogy.

            I think procedural content generation is overra like that, then ok, maybe procedural is the way to go, but it's not going to replace talented artists ated. The kind of textures a machine can generate covers a fraction of the area that human-generated content does, and does it pretty poorly. If all you're looking for is something that tiles and looks "roboty" or somethingnytime soon.
      • Better tools will help, but they cannot remove the increase in essential complexity inherent in modern hardware/game environments. To my mind this is much in the same vein as the multi-core development issues [slashdot.org] mentioned earlier this year. Both of these are problems without easy solutions, and both are completely relevant to modern game development.

        People on slashdot may care about original/fun gameplay, but eye candy sells games and that means working around both hd content and multiple-cores...to make Ma
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        A problem with stuff like kkrieger is that that kind of generation is not meant for reducing development times, it's meant for compressing data. Procedural only has an advantage if it takes less time to mathematically describe a set of assets than to make them by hand. Very few things can be described mathematically in reasonable time and most objects in our lives are too complex to be handled reasonably well by a mathematical description. You can use procedurals to generate lots of similar things but games
        • > and most objects in our lives are too complex to be handled reasonably well by a mathematical description.

          Right now, yes. But at some point in the future no.

          EVERYTHING in the universe is built by [upon] math. Everything from DNA to how photons interact -- The universe IS the computer simulation.

          The main problem with re-constructing an universe is
          1) the hierarchy is a DEEP one (atoms -> molecules -> cells -> organs -> body, etc), and
          2) the Universe has time on its side. Eve
          • by KDR_11k (778916)
            Let's say I want to procedurally generate an animal 5 years old. I can see the day where I start the simulation with a single cell along with properties of growth, and run it far enough where the animal is 5 years old.

            Let's not forget that that would probably require a supercomputer and a few years worth of CPU time to calculate. Organisms are VERY complex systems, so complex indeed that we don't even understand them fully yet. An organism doesn't grow in a vacuum either so you'd have to simulate a limited
            • True, but mip-mapping doesn't play nice with procedural textures.
              • by KDR_11k (778916)
                Why not? As long as you're not changing the texture in realtime (e.g. UT's and Serious Sam's effect textures) there shouldn't be a difference.
    • by jafac (1449)
      Simple solution.

      The game companies that figure this shit out will profit.

      The ones that do not, (or do not copy these methods) will perish.

      And until the first company figures it out - then the market will stagnate. Like automobiles. Like software. Like aerospace.
  • Ignores Online (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The article focuses on the typical console game, a high budget sequel/licensed product that needs hundreds of thousands of copies to make money. In this environment the little guy can't make money.
    However, the introduction of online downloading has opened up another avenue for the small time developer.
  • Games take as long as you want to make them take, and cost as much as you want to spend on them. Minesweeper, as we all know, is fun. It takes about two days to fully design, test, add "alternate modes of play", make decent graphics for, include crude DRM, and add to an online store (I know because I've done it). Total cost? In business terms, about £300UK ($600US) including the rent on your office. Now admitedly, the total earnings were $15US with no real advertising, but the point remains: make a ga
    • by tepples (727027)

      Minesweeper, as we all know, is fun. It takes about two days to fully design, test, add "alternate modes of play", make decent graphics for, include crude DRM, and add to an online store (I know because I've done it). Total cost? In business terms, about £300UK ($600US) including the rent on your office.
      Sure, that might work for PC, but what's the cost to get your work onto a gaming platform that sits on top of a TV or onto a handheld system?
    • by Lissajous (989738)
      Umm - you're the original creator of minesweeper? Nope, I doubt it. You created something that is as fun as minesweeper but is neither minesweeper nor a derivation thereof? Again, I doubt it (though admit the possibility). Or are you saying that it takes two days to fully copy minesweeper, plus add some stuff in that you thought of whilst killing time sat at your desk playing the original minesweeper. (checks website linked from your profile) - yup, that's closer to the truth.

      So, to summarize, 2 man days, $
  • by krotkruton (967718) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:07PM (#18171176)
    I know this is a really crazy idea, but if companies want to be successful, maybe they should focus more on making innovative games instead of following a formula for making profit.

    This so-called "emphasis on sequels" doesn't seem real to me. I see the big companies pumping out sequels (EA being the most obvious), but I don't think they are doing it because it's what consumers want, only that it's easier to re-vamp a game than it is to come up with a new one. At least some people I know have gotten smart to this system, and if a new EA game comes out, they'll wait for the sequel cuz they know it's coming. Similarly, I buy every other FIFA game, since there isn't much of a difference between any two consequtive titles (not that there is that much more of a difference between any 3, but at least you get a graphics boost). The emphasis on sequels isn't something that is demanded by the market, it is created by the publishers. As a contrast to the EA games, consider Final Fantasy, where each game not only provides a different world, but a different style of gameplay, mini games, character development, etc. I know it's hard to change a sports game from year to year, but if you can't make anything new, maybe you shouldn't spend a lot of money making the same thing.

    In a market where most games are just clones with different graphics, what do the companies expect? Come up with something innovative instead of remaking the same tired games. Katomari Damacy for $20 anyone? Innovation and a low price in box. So what if the graphics sucked. If you can't compete with the Gears of War in the graphics department, don't try.

    As we look back at the most popular games, they are rarely sequels. Innovation is the key.
    • by Mathonwy (160184)
      You're making a common [incorrect] assumption in your post:

      Popular != Profitable

      As much as we might wish it to be otherwise, game companies are, above all else, COMPANIES. That means that, their goal is NOT to make "good" games from a player perspective. Their goal is to make PROFITABLE games. They want the games that will net them the highest total revenue.

      Games, at this point, are very risky things to make. They cost a bundle, both in production costs, and advertising, shelf space, and all the other t
      • You're making a common [incorrect] assumption in your post: Popular != Profitable

        Actually, I never said that, nor have I ever assumed that it is true. However, my definition of "popular" in this context, is that if a game is more "popular" than another, than it sells more copies. Now, as I'm sure you know since you demonstrated you can give a basic explanation of economics, profit is maximized when the price is set where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. Since companies don't know the demand for

    • I know this is a really crazy idea, but if companies want to be successful, maybe they should focus more on making innovative games instead of following a formula for making profit.

      Innovative games are for profit. They don't compete in the same arena as the other games, and come at the market sideways. If you want a WWII FPS, there are hundreds on the market and you have to put a lot of time, money and effort in differentiating yourself. You want a Dancing game? There are much fewer. You want a Guitar

      • Innovative games are for profit.

        It kinda sounds like you are saying that as a counter, which implies that I don't think innovative games are for profit, although my whole point was that innovative games might be able to make a better profit than standard formula games. I was trying to contrast the innovative games with games that follow a formula like almost every EA sports game. Not sure if you were trying to counter, but I thought I should clarify my point in case it wasn't clear.

        As for the rest, I
  • Good news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mdielmann (514750) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:16PM (#18171346) Homepage Journal
    I've been waiting for this for a long time. Maybe we can get something besides yet another sequel, a movie spin-off, or a blatant rip-off of another game. Perhaps they'll have to settle for plot and gameplay (or at least just gameplay) instead of stunning graphics and no substance. As a proud new owner of a Wii (yay!), I have to say the graphics are good enough, maybe not a match for the XBox 360, but the games are fun. This matters most of all. Of course, new ideas are a risk, while sequels are a known quantity with an established market. I think that's how the marketing goes...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brkello (642429)
      Blah blah blah. They come out with games like Okami and people like you don't buy it. There is plenty of innovation but everyone just buys the sequels and complains that there are no original titles without even bothering to look. I bet you love Zelda on your Wii!
      • by mdielmann (514750)
        Got to admit, Okami looks interesting. Ironic that the first review I read likens it to Zelda (which I do like). But I also like air hockey in Wii Play - it has a very enjoyable interface. I also support other games that don't generally count as mainstream.
    • I've been waiting for this for a long time. Maybe we can get something besides yet another sequel, a movie spin-off, or a blatant rip-off of another game. Perhaps they'll have to settle for plot and gameplay (or at least just gameplay) instead of stunning graphics and no substance
      Actually the opposite is true. There will be more focus on sequels/licensed games because those are the only ones that can support the volumes needed for profitability..
      • by mdielmann (514750)
        Or you go back to the basics. Go for gameplay and not glitz, or big names, or huge marketing. IIRC, Doom was profitable in one month. It had something engaging and new, and did away with all the crap big game businesses did. In time, the next id, the next Maxis will appear. It will be interesting, and I doubt it will be a big game studio that does it.
        • Or you go back to the basics. Go for gameplay and not glitz, or big names, or huge marketing. IIRC, Doom was profitable in one month. It had something engaging and new, and did away with all the crap big game businesses did. In time, the next id, the next Maxis will appear.
          That makes sense for the PC world, but the console world is different. The install base is smaller, distribution is more expensive, and shelf space is limited.
  • by neo (4625) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:54PM (#18171984)
    The cost of making a game in the major categories is staggering when you look at what you're up against. But invent something completely different that's just fun to play and you can open up a whole new market. You can't win by making a new FPS, increasingly accurate physics and polymesh technology.

    You're going to win because your game is just plain fun.

    It doesn't cost a lot of money to make a game fun, it just takes a fun idea. If you insist on remaking the same games because you're afraid of loss, you've just painted yourself into a nice corner.
    • The cost of making a game in the major categories is staggering when you look at what you're up against. But invent something completely different that's just fun to play and you can open up a whole new market. You can't win by making a new FPS, increasingly accurate physics and polymesh technology.

      Just a side note:

      Okami : innovative and fun game Sales: meh
      Zelda - TP: Sequel with sort of tacted in controls Sales: Stellar

      Puzzle Pirate : Innovative and fun game Sales: Meh
      EQ2 : Sequel, increbily teidus Sales:
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        At least for the Okami - Zelda comparison I'd say the sales numbers are deserved (though maybe they shouldn't be as extreme), Okami just isn't as good as Zelda. I know I found Zelda TP awfully easy but Okami is even easier. I haven't even emptied one stomach yet* in Okami about 30 hours in whereas I've died a few times in TP (mostly during the early game, towards the end you have so many hearts you practically have to fall asleep to die). Okami's puzzles are simpler and even when they aren't Issun will rub
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:55PM (#18172010)
    There seems to be this belief that HD games are somehow inherently more expensive to develop. PC's have supported "HD" for years and game development costs haven't spiraled out of control. Games are getting exceedingly expensive to develop because developers are becoming overly ambitious. Endless sequels are merely a symptom of a larger problem. Sequels exist as a means to reduce costs and to cash in on a popular franchise. This certainly isn't a recent thing: look at the endless Street Fighter clones.

    By no means are developers ambitious in terms of unique gameplay. Rather, they're putting excessive amounts of effort into exploiting the latest graphics techniques, developing expansive storylines and introducing increasingly complex control systems. What I think they're trying to do is provide a more cinematic experience. They're trying to reproduce movies in a video game format. Hence the obsession with overly realistic graphics and the cinematic-type presentation. It's inevitable that games inspired by film will also command movie-sized budgets.

    Needless to say, this doesn't necessarily translate into entertaining gameplay. I think many developers have lost sight of what constitutes good gameplay. However, I don't think they care. The average consumer is easily impressed by the cinematic patina contemporary games exude. Let's face reality, developers keep producing these games because they sell. The Wii demonstrates that there is a desire for something else. But Nintendo doesn't possess some sort of holy grail of unique gaming. The unique controller can only go so far. Many others have offered unique and compelling gameplay. PCs, outside of the FPS, RTS and RPG clones has offered tons of neat games for years.

    Look at what indie developers are producing. And many of them are exploiting high resolutions to their fullest extent. Some of these games look phenomenal. Some have a unique visual style which enhances gameplay. I inevitably am drawn back to the Wii as compared to the other platforms. There is this prevailing opinion I see that expects the Wii to somehow solve all these problems. It won't. The system is hindered performance-wise and the controller while great for some games is nowhere near as flexible a device as some believe.

    I predict that within a few years Nintendo will introduce an HD-capable Wii. I think it will be a smart move for Nintendo, but it will also mean anyone who currently owns a Wii and then gets the upgraded model will have likely spent $400-$500 on the two systems. Suddenly the pricing won't all that different from an Xbox360 or PS3.

    I don't expect most large developers to change their ways. They may occasionally offer something different but the for the most part we'll see more of the same. Perhaps we'll see the game industry work more like the movie industry. Ultimately, the problem lies with the nature of business and the lack of consumers who can think independently.
    • I predict that within a few years Nintendo will introduce an HD-capable Wii. I think it will be a smart move for Nintendo, but it will also mean anyone who currently owns a Wii and then gets the upgraded model will have likely spent $400-$500 on the two systems. Suddenly the pricing won't all that different from an Xbox360 or PS3.

      Wha, huh? Are you saying there was no differnece in buying a PS1 and PS2 at launch (total $600) than buying a PS3? There is a massive difference between buying a console, the

    • by cowscows (103644)
      There won't be an HD capable Wii in the sense that it'll be the same old console just with higher resolution output. While I don't doubt that Nintendo will release another console in the future, it will be an all new platform, just like each of their previous home consoles have "replaced" their predecessors. This new console will likely support HD, but it will not just be an upgraded Wii. It will be an entirely new system. Games created for it will not work on the Wii.

      If Nintendo does release an upgraded Wi
      • by tepples (727027)

        While I don't doubt that Nintendo will release another console in the future, it will be an all new platform, just like each of their previous home consoles have "replaced" their predecessors. This new console will likely support HD, but it will not just be an upgraded Wii. It will be an entirely new system. Games created for it will not work on the Wii.

        Game Boy vs. Game Boy Color? GBC games that came in black cartridges had a fallback mode that allowed most of the games to be played on an original Game Boy.

    • by CaseM (746707)
      I predict that within a few years Nintendo will introduce an HD-capable Wii. I think it will be a smart move for Nintendo, but it will also mean anyone who currently owns a Wii and then gets the upgraded model will have likely spent $400-$500 on the two systems. Suddenly the pricing won't all that different from an Xbox360 or PS3.

      I agree that for $50.00 more we could/should have had something akin to Xbox 360 graphics on the Wii. The Wii is overpriced for what it is.

      That said, however, I don't believe
      • by valintin (30311)
        Gamecube has a high resolution mode. There are games that support the high resolution mode and games that don't. People buy the fun games and apparently most people don't actually use the High-Res mode. It's been discontinued on the current models of the Gamecube. Did that split the userbase? Not really because both modes work.

        There should be no reason to think a High-Def mode wouldn't work for the second gen Wii. Developers only have to pay attention to the market they want to sell to. Graphics are
  • Many studios still develop their engines and tools themselves, they even start from scratch with each game. Artists don't have experience with the tools, there's no proper documentation, everything is unstable, things often have to be redone to work with new technology. It's ridiculous if you look at it from a distance.

    Using licensed technology is a way out, but it forces you to do things in a certain way that may influence the game in many ways you don't expect.

    Solid reusable tools are going to be more and
  • I'm sure World of Warcraft is turning a profit.
    • Yeah, seriously. If there are at least 8 million people playing this game on PC and Macs, why do people keep insisting that PC is dead, and whinging about the lack of a "leading platform"? Whatever. I swear, some people have such a bizarrely myopic obsession with consoles that it's like they're wandering around with bags over their heads.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:19PM (#18176442)
    Graphics is a bruteforce problem. Throw more artists, programmers and hardware at it and eventually you get something pretty. The problem is fairly well understood and instances brilliance (HDR, Bloom, Pixel shading, etc..) can be replicated. Most of the time it links back to math. Giving some framework to think around.

    Gameplay is much different. Throwing more designers won't nessacarily make the game more fun. No amount of hardware will make somethign instantly fun (sex toys are a notable exception). Many innovation seem out of place in other venues and every accuses you for ripping an idea off. And math doesn't determine is something is fun so you have a ironically more artistic thought proccess to come up with innovative gameplay.

    Given these graphics will always advance steadily while gameplay waits for the occasional genius to spurt once in a while.

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