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DirectX Architect — Consoles as We Know Them Are Gone 434

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the something-about-a-nomad dept.
ThinSkin writes "DirectX architect Alex St. John swims against the current and predicts the demise not of PC gaming, but of game consoles, in an exclusive two-part interview at ExtremeTech. In part one, Alex blasts Intel for pushing its inferior onboard graphics technology to OEMs, insists that fighting piracy is the main reason for the existence of gaming consoles, and explains how the convergence of the GPU and the CPU is the next big thing in gaming. Alex continues in part two with more thoughts on retail and 3D games, and discusses in detail why he feels 'Vista blows' and what's to become of DirectX 10."
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DirectX Architect — Consoles as We Know Them Are Gone

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  • Go figure... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:27PM (#22825106)
    A DirectX architect says that console games are on the way out, and PC games are coming back. Surprise, surprise.
    • by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#22825188)

      DirectX architect Alex St. John swims against the current...
      He is clearly making his way back to his birthplace, in order to spawn.

      His mind is clearly a-buzz with hormones, let's not be too cruel.
      • Re:Go figure... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by aleph42 (1082389) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:18PM (#22825458)
        Not that I have any faith either in that guy, but sure would love PC gaming to win over consoles.

        I mean, consoles really are like cell-phone: a product line whose whole logic is consumer lock-in. They sell the console without a profit (like cell phone are sometimes sold for zero), and make up future on expenses which you are forced to make to the same company (through the license cost on the games).

        What do you get in exchange for that? A PC (complete with hard drive, internet connection, support for usb, etc), excpet you can't use it like a PC. If the same games where made for PC directly, you would simply win on all fronts (even on the price; it's true that you save on the console, but you lose that by the lack of competition on games).

        The hardware design of the PS3 could be sold as CPUs and GPUs (6 cores, why not if some games support it?).
        I shouldn't have to wait for an extra year for GTA4 to be available for PC, only to inevitably find that it's a laggy on recent hardware, being a port.
        People who get locked up with a console, only to buy games made for 4 different consoles and thus completly unoptimised are being ripped off.

        • If the same games where made for PC directly, you would simply win on all fronts (even on the price; it's true that you save on the console, but you lose that by the lack of competition on games).

          Not necessarily. A lot of ames for consoles are designed to let four players play on one big screen. (Several genres other than first-person shooters and real-time war sims don't need the screen to be split.) PC games, on the other hand, tend to assume that each player owns a separate computer and a separate 17 inch monitor. This can get cost-prohibitive if multiple players live in one household.

        • Re:Go figure... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:41PM (#22825644)
          Though no Urophage, I love my Wii. When I play with my kids (or even drunken buddies), I think back to my C64 roots and lo, I am thankful.

          I am not convinced that a PC analog could have replicated, in the given timescale, the user experience there.

          I do think that the PC, once fully integrated into everyday entertainment, will compete in this regard, but the console is/has been a vital stepping stone to what is clearly a fun PC-based future.

          The main benefit of consoles is supposed to be ease of development. From what I understand, PC game developers are rather hamstrung by the need to factor in the thousands of potential hardware configurations their products might encounter.

          I see all of these problems as a consequence of the immaturity of the field, a short-term hassle to be stomached until the way ahead (open, common standards) is clear and obvious to all the major players.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Targon (17348)
            The purpose of an API is to handle all of those different hardware configurations, so individual applications do not need to. The problem on the PC side is that too many developers are getting paid by NVIDIA to "enhance" the game for that specific brand of video card, and that means that the game now needs to compare the video card in the computer to the abilities of the game, and then do all sorts of adjustments.

            A proper API would be one where the application does not need to even be concerned about what
        • What do you get in exchange for that? A PC (complete with hard drive, internet connection, support for usb, etc), excpet you can't use it like a PC.

          That's the whole point.

          When was the last time your Play station got a virus? How much do you spend on your Play station's anti-virus software every month? How many controllers can you plug into your PC? When was the last time you had to install a game on your XBox? Or install drivers for your newest controller? Or work through compatibility issues between your latest game and your PS3's GPU?

          It's also true that for the price of a microwave, I can get a nice laptop, that connects to the internet and all that. But it kinda sucks at heating food, doesn't it?

          There's a reason the Wii is selling so well, even though it doesn't even support HD graphics. People don't want something with internet, that can do their taxes, that catches viruses, that they can read their email on, or that has the bestest fastest hardware.

          They want something they can play fun games on, with other people, in their living area where the television is, on something that isn't the size of a desktop PC. And they want those games to work when they plug them in, every time. About the limit you can expect from a console consumer is blowing the dust off the cartridge pins.

          Are PC's more powerful? Sure. But there is a whole bunch of overhead that comes with the advantages of the PC over a game console that are just not worth it to the majority of console players.
          • Well you could hook up 4 controllers to a PC (USB), but most games don't support them.

            The other advantage to game consoles is that they hold up better than most regular PCs. That may change with hard drives and other parts to fail. I have a NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Genesis, 32x, Sega CD, Dreamcast, and GBA all working. i can play the same games on them now I could play in the past. With Windows, games that ran on Windows 98 no longer run. Many games don't even make it to the next windows release. For instance, LucasArts games have terrible compatibility issues. Some of the win98 era games didn't even make it past a DirectX update! Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic has terrible memory leaks and graphics card bugs. (its' great otherwise) I've got a pile of games I can't play anymore that also won't run in emulators yet due to 3d or opengl requirements. I don't have a PC that will run Windows 98 handy anymore either.

            It is very rare that I get rid of a game console, but PCs come and go. (and windows versions) In fact, the only console I've sold in the last 12 years was my xbox.

            PC gaming has a place, and some companies like id and blizzard know how to make games run on several os versions (or patch them). I couldn't imagine WoW on a console or QuakeWars. I hate FPS on consoles. They look bad and the controls suck. SImulations tend to be better on PCs and Macs too.

            I think there is a market for both. If you look at articles, it seems like cell phone gaming is the hot ticket right now anyway.
            • by iocat (572367) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @12:19AM (#22827052) Homepage Journal
              I understand that PCs are more powerful than consoles in a given generation from a numbers perspective... but consoles alwasy just seem to have better games, presumably because PC game makers always have to build their games for a lower common system that is less powerful that the state of the art.

              The games on NES scrolled better and more smoothly than Commander Keen. Gran Turismo or Ridge Racer IV felt faster and smoother than Grand Prix Legends or CART Racing from Microsoft. I loved GPL and CART Racing, but there ya go.

              I respect Alex St. John, but as Apple and MS proved, the most technically superior solution doesn't always win. For me, the choices are down more to comfort and ease than technology: TVs and couches are more comfortable environments than monitors and desk chairs. Disc --> console --> playing is easier and faster than PC startup --> install --> driver download --> install --> restart --> startup --> run --> crash --> patch --> STEAM ID check --> etc.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by merreborn (853723)

              I have a NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Genesis, 32x, Sega CD, Dreamcast, and GBA all working. i can play the same games on them now I could play in the past. With Windows, games that ran on Windows 98 no longer run.

              You have to keep *nine* separate hardware platforms around to play your console games, and you're suggesting that's an *advantage* over having a single PC? That PC can run emulators that will play ROMs from many, if not all of the 9 platforms you have; and if you want to get older PC games work

          • When was the last time your Play station got a virus?

            PCs may be notorious for viruses. That's if you don't keep them secure.

            Besides, a PC game-only PC wouldn't have to worry about viruses if they never downloaded anything from the internet. Granted, even if they download stuff, it takes, what, under 20 seconds to scan a file? I've gotten a couple of game patches with viruses.

            How much do you spend on your Play station's anti-virus software every month?

            AVG, many FOSS alternatives, etc. are free as in beer.

            How many controllers can you plug into your PC?

            Lets see: Joystick, keyboard, mouse, gamepad, guitar...

            You don't even need some of those. A standard keyboard has over 100 key

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by CronoCloud (590650)

              You don't even need some of those. A standard keyboard has over 100 keys and replaces gamepads. Then the mouse replaces joysticks and, again gamepads.

              ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh you must be joking, or else not old enough to remember the old days.

              There was a time when computers were expensive and not everyone was guaranteed to have a joystick. So devs put in keyboard controls...in action games. Which sucked, and even if you could control the game with a keyboard it wasn't optimal, or fun, or comfortable.

              Now you

          • It's also true that for the price of a microwave, I can get a nice laptop, that connects to the internet and all that. But it kinda sucks at heating food, doesn't it?

            I just put 4 Gigs of RAM in my laptop, so it heats up food just fine, thank you very much.
        • Re:Go figure... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:49PM (#22826406)

          Not that I have any faith either in that guy, but sure would love PC gaming to win over consoles.
          Except that it is not PC gaming, it is Windows gaming. So given that choice, I would prefer that Windows gaming be defeated by PS3, Wii, and yes, even XBox 360.

          And return stronger as genuine, cross-platform PC gaming.
        • Re:Go figure... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by burnin1965 (535071) on Friday March 21, 2008 @10:12PM (#22826528) Homepage

          What do you get in exchange for that? A PC (complete with hard drive, internet connection, support for usb, etc), excpet you can't use it like a PC. If the same games where made for PC directly, you would simply win on all fronts (even on the price; it's true that you save on the console, but you lose that by the lack of competition on games).

          Well, you get something else, a box that you know you can plug the games into and they just work. The purpose and use of PCs is widely varied so there is no guarantee that you buy a game, pop it into your PC, and it just works.

          There are other benefits as well, lack of spyware, viruses, trojans, etc., although that could change with the new direction consoles are taking.

          And yes, as Alex had noted, if every PC sold, including the all in one integrated boxes, included the latest and greatest eye popping GPU technology and CPU technology then the PC gaming market would be much simpler, but what can I say, the guy is a doofus.

          When I'm building a headless server and I purchase an all in one motherboard to support the system the last thing I want is some high priced bleeding edge GPU soldered into the motherboard, cranking up the cost, generating heat, and really doing absolutely nothing.

          The PC gaming market is what it is because the PC is a general utility tool that you spec for the purpose, you don't spec it to meet the needs for one persons marketing desires.

          Oh, and by the way, in some cases those consoles that you believe cannot be used as a desktop even though they have desktop type hardware, some of them can. You can run a linux desktop on the PS3 [youtube.com].
        • Re:Go figure... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 21, 2008 @11:01PM (#22826792)

          Not that I have any faith either in that guy, but sure would love PC gaming to win over consoles.

          Not to burst your bubble, but I hope you're wrong. I hope neither wins and that PC, console, cell phone, smartphone, PDA gaming markets all continue. The more the merrier. Bring the simple games to all of them more easily and make cross-platform and open development tools and practices the standard. Targeting just one console is fine too, but really if we don't have to tools to easily target multiple platforms, then we don't have healthy competition. We end up with more and more "exclusive" titles so we have to buy multiple systems of miss out. Worse yet, in such a market one player could gain the upper hand and suddenly we have another monopoly that leads to slower innovation, higher prices, and fewer choices.

          Forget hoping either PC or console gaming "win" and join me in hoping game players "win" by having healthy market producing games and losing money when those games suck.

          If the same games where made for PC directly, you would simply win on all fronts (even on the price; it's true that you save on the console, but you lose that by the lack of competition on games).

          The problem with this is "PC gaming" is pretty much the same thing as "Microsoft wins" since they control 90%+ of all PCs and the proprietary DirectX APIs. They're aiming at removing just the competition you're hoping for with DirectX and a PC or Xbox. If the other consoles "lose" (even if the Xbox does) nothing stops them from being the gatekeeper of all games and that means higher prices and fewer choices.

    • Xbox uses DirectX (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:38PM (#22825618) Homepage Journal

      A DirectX architect says that console games are on the way out, and PC games are coming back. Surprise, surprise.
      If you're trying to make a "consider the source" argument, please let me remind you that Xbox and Xbox 360 game consoles use DirectX.
    • Re:Go figure... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by adisakp (705706) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:42PM (#22826370) Journal
      A DirectX architect says that console games are on the way out, and PC games are coming back.

      First of all, Alex St John was hardly a primary DirectX Architect. He was, however, the first official DirectX Evangelist. That's like comparing Spock to Uhura.

      Second, ASJ's current software company, WildTangent, is predominantly mentioned as some of the cruftware most of you guys were screaming to have removed in the Sony article earlier today.

      Third, DirectX is doing as much for consoles by making the XBOX easy to program as it is for PC's. Why do you think the original XBOX console came out of nowhere and did so well? It took the best of DirectX ease of programming and subtracted a big chunk of the cruft and compatibility pains of Windows PC's and put them to work in a common target.

      The one thing I agree with ASJ is that Intel is own worst enemy when it comes to PC games. Intel wants the PC game market to thrive which will help sell their $$$ high-end processors but there is nothing out there recently that has held back the PC game market more than the crappy performance of Intel's IGP's which are in about 70-80% of consumer PCs.
  • Consoles... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_liek_turtles (1110703) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:30PM (#22825124)
    For gaming, consoles are about as "Just Works" (no Xbox jokes, thanks) as you get. For people who lack computer expertise, but like playing games, how can PCs beat that for the time being?
    • For games.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      ...how can PCs beat that for the time being?

      Why should they? What I'm saying is PCs for work and consoles for games. I think it's good that there's a specialty computer for games. That'll relieve some of the pressure on PC makers from having to make these boxes "for everybody". I don't know about you, but most of the graphics capability for my PCs goes unused. And the only reason I can think of is that Intel or whomever designs them that way so that these things "fits all". I'd like an even cheaper mother

      • by schon (31600)

        ...how can PCs beat that for the time being?
        Why should they?
        Hi there, I'd like to introduce you to this thing called the article. [slashdot.org] Perhaps you might like to read at least the summary, so that you can partake in this discussion without looking like a complete and utter moron.
      • I think that there is going to be convergence here, between home PC, DVR/Media Center, and game system. The differences between all of these things are really just interface, as more of the connections become wireless. I can imagine the last "wired bits" being that between CPU/GPU and display. Think of a local "cloud" of interface and display devices.

        The problem is one of developing interfaces that make it feel "console simple" to sit down and play a game that is being displayed on your main display (the on
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by supabeast! (84658)
      That's not as true as it should be. Last week I purchased Unreal Tournament for my Playstation 3. To access some of the game, I had to update the operating system on my PS3. Tomorrow I'll have to install a patch for the game itself. My Wii needs updates now and then, too. If consoles start to get much more like PCs, we'll see spammers creating zombie supercomputers by hacking Folding@Home-enabled PS3s and using them to blast out gobs of spam while stealing our Playstation store credit card numbers. And I'm
      • To hack a PS3 like you're complaining might happen, they have to get much much much more like a PC. If you have gotten a PS3 to run unsigned code, you can become an instant internet celebrity. Right now, there just isn't a reason to fear Folding at home can be used as a zombie.

        Granted, it is lame to wait for a stupid update to load, but this update was meant to enhance your PS3's functionality, not to correct crappy reliability (thought the previous OS update was to fix reliability issues).

        Updates that mo
  • No argument there, of course, but how does he think game consoles are dead/will die and regular computers will win back the gaming scene, if the savior OS for Windows is so dead in the water?

    Something else he is missing is that game consoles have introduced lots of people who aren't computer savvy to gaming. I think they will tend to stick to consoles especially when consoles don't have all the problems with malware and viruses that PCs do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      I think they will tend to stick to consoles especially when consoles don't have all the problems with malware and viruses that PCs do.

      That, I suspect, will change as online gaming becomes ever more popular. Furthermore, if the "convergence" that Microsoft is always harping on comes about (with consoles being used for more and more computer-like functions) you'll see consoles becoming targets as well. Hell, even the handhelds have resident Web browsers and WiFi capability, and probably a metric fuckton of
      • That, I suspect, will change as online gaming becomes ever more popular.

        Change back to PCs, you mean? Doubt it. Even Sony's managed to finally figure out the online angle, and both the Xbox and the Wii already rock in that department. If anything, decent online compatibility on the consoles will swing things completely the other way.

        you'll see consoles becoming targets as well.

        Even if it does get to be the problem it is on PCs (very doubtful), it won't matter. It's a trivial task to reset a c
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Change back to PCs, you mean?

          I specifically used the term "convergence", which is what Microsoft (and Sony) would like to see happen. That's where the "console" turns into an entertainment center and a home computer. IF (and that's a big 'if') that actually happens, you will see consoles become malware targets. Furthermore, if the convergence between PC and console does happen, you'll find that it won't be so easy or desirable to "reset" your console, for much the same reason that "resetting" a PC is suc
          • In spite of all of the predictions of that convergence, I think it won't happen for many.

            The reason is that PCs will always be good for doing actual work. For that, people will always want a desk, a nice monitor, and an upright chair. A gaming console just does not provide that experience.

            I have a nice big screen TV in my living room, a comfy couch, a coffee table, and end tables. There is nothing about that setup conducive to writing reports, coding software, or doing graphics stuff. And I think it i
      • People have been trying to make that convergence happen for years with limited-to-no success. But there are a host of reasons the console market is what it is today, and difficulty of piracy is only one aspect. Write-once-run-anywhere is really true for consoles: your game runs on any PS2, XBox 360, NES, whatever console it was originally designed for ... it just works.

        What I see as the most overriding factor is the hardware subsidy. The economics of a $300 device are wildly different from a $2500 multi
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Write-once-run-anywhere is really true for consoles:

          No it is not: you don't understand the term. At best you mean "Plug N' Play" or something similar. Write Once means I can write this code and it will run intact on multiple platforms. You can't run software written for a Playstation on an X-Box, the architectures and software tools are entirely incompatible. Sure, the same game may exist across different platforms, but under the hood it's different software.

          The economics of a $300 device are wildly d
    • I think this guys needs to be taken with the grain of salt he deserves.

      You realize the whole PC vs Console argument for HIM is because PCs don't have enough DRM to ensure games don't get pirated. His viewpoint on DRM makes Microsoft look like the anti-DRM corporation.

      PS Anyone that installed Wild Tangent knows to just run from anything this guy touches. The best thing that happened to Microsoft and DirectX was this guy leaving.

      BTW HE DID NOT WORK ON THE 3D ASPECTS of DirectX as much as he would like people
      • by F-3582 (996772)
        And I guess he got severe depressions from the experience that 2D console games always looked better and ran smoother than games developed for his beloved DirectDraw architecture. Looks like a lot of things unspoken between those consoles and him. I can literally feel his grudge....
  • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:32PM (#22825154) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft dislikes Intel graphics because they're publicly documented for full 3D use by Linux and other Free Software. Intel has put a tremendous time into developing X for them, employing many of the key X developers. I use them on a laptop and desktop, and they work excellently. They are not yet as fast as some other graphics chips. But then again they are better than anything we had at Pixar when I was there :-) Time flies.

    Bruce

    • That's interesting, but this article is about someone who doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, and hates Intel graphics chips for the same reason any other game developer hates them: They're utter garbage.

      I'll enumerate the primary reasons quickly, since I don't expect you to be intimately familiar with the relationship between graphics programmers and graphics driver developers (it's drastically different from Intel's relationship with the X developers):

      1) Intel graphics drivers are possibly the most inconsistent drivers on the market. Any given user with a particular Intel chipset might have one of a hundred different driver configurations, as a result of the fact that the chips are bundled with different motherboards which then come with their own driver package... and when you add pre-built machine vendors into the mix the situation is only worse. If their driver quality was extremely high across the board, this wouldn't be an issue, but...

      2) Intel graphics drivers have a bad stability track record, at least on Windows. They have a tendency to return invalid/nonsensical error codes from driver calls that shouldn't be able to fail, or to silently fail out inside a driver call instead of returning the error code they're supposed to... resulting in graphics programmers having to special-case handling of individual Intel graphics chipsets (and even driver revisions). In my case, I ended up just having to shut off entire blocks of my hardware-accelerated pipeline on Intel chipsets and replace them with custom software implementations to avoid the incredible hassle involved in coming up with specific fixes. (The wide variety of chipsets and drivers out there meant that for my particular project - an indie game - it was impossible to ensure that I had worked around every bug a user was likely to hit, so I had to just opt out of hardware accel in problem areas entirely).

      3) Intel graphics chipsets have sub-par performance across the board, despite marketing claims otherwise. This is mostly problematic for people developing 'cutting-edge' games software, where it creates a 'he-said-she-said' situation with a game developer/publisher claiming that a user's video chipset is insufficient to run a game while Intel claims the complete opposite. (in most cases, Intel is lying.) This is particularly troublesome in areas like support for cutting-edge shader technology, where an Intel chipset may 'support' a feature like Pixel Shader Model 3.0 but implement it in such a way to make it completely unusable. Users don't benefit from this, and neither do developers.

      4) Intel graphics chipsets harm the add-on graphics market by discouraging users from picking up a (significantly better) bargain video card from NVidia/ATI for $50 and dropping it into their machine. This hurts everyone because even though that bargain card is significantly better (and most likely more reliable), the user already 'paid' for the integrated chipset on their motherboard, and the documentation that comes with it attempts to make them believe that they don't need a video card. I consider this a dramatic step backward compared to the situation years ago, when integrated graphics chipsets were unheard of and people instead had the option of 'bargain 2d' video cards like Trident or Matrox that would do everything needed for desktop 2D, but also had the option of fairly affordable 3D accelerator cards if they wanted to play games occasionally.

      On the bright side, most integrated ATI/NVidia GPUs these days are mature enough to be able to run games acceptably and meet the needs of a typical user. The only thing really holding the market back here, in my opinion, is Intel's insistence on marketing inferior products instead of partnering with ATI or NVidia to please their customers.

      Of course, this is unrelated to your point that their Linux/Free Software support is superb, as is their documentation - I'm inclined to agree with you here, but it unfortunately doesn't do much to outweigh their other grievous sins.
      • Don't forget that several generations of Intel GPU chipsets use CPU operations to function fully.

        Even the big Intel argument for 915 chipset to be 'Vista Ready' and promising Aero(WDDM) drivers, and then realizing there was no way technically to implement this since the 915 chipset shoved too many of the DirectX features though the CPU/SSE instead of handling the opertions inherently.

        Intel's bastard stepchildren from the 915 to the current x3100 STILL shove operations though the CPU and use SSE optimization
      • Great explanation! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:56PM (#22825746) Homepage Journal
        Thanks. This makes more sense now. It is radically different from our experience on Linux, though. I once came to the Intel X developers with a rather obtuse problem in the i965 driver that made it run at half-speed. It turned out to be related to the MTRR (memory type and range registers) and a BIOS bug. Believe it or not, the problem is activated by a BIOS FAN setting!

        Now, on the mailing list for this driver, I immediately got access to the lead developers. OK, they knew I was Bruce, but it looked like they were treating all callers the same way. They connected me with Intel BIOS programmers, etc.

        Now, imaging having this problem in the Windows world. You would be routed to a call-center employee in India who would go through a script with you.

        I am using the same driver with i915 in an old Sony laptop and i965 in a new duo motherboard. Both seem to work fine. I don't know how much lower-level DirectX is than GL.

        Bruce

    • by Hatta (162192)
      How many games do you play on your intel 3d accelerator?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) *
        How many games do you play on your intel 3d accelerator?

        My 8-year-old son and I play Flightgear. We have two 1280x1024 monitors, both displaying different rectangles of the same graphics plane, and we sometimes pull the window wide so that it displays across both screens at around 2500x1000. The driver still delivers full accelleration when we do that. It gets about 14 frames per second in 2500x1000 mode. We have the CH yoke, pedals, and quadrant. We've played some of the other Open GL games that come with

  • by Johnny Fusion (658094) <zenmondo@NOspam.gmail.com> on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:37PM (#22825180) Homepage Journal
    I use a console when I want to step away from the computer. Console games have some advantages over computers, one you never have to check for system requirements.

    As to the demise, I mean lots of people (me included) are still playing vintage game consoles. Heck I got an Atari Paddle Set that works of AA batteries that I still play. But perhaps that says more about the timelessness of Breakout and Pong than consoles...

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:42PM (#22825226)
    WildTangent actually gained some attention back in 2001, when the offered a web 3D plugin and a dev-enviroment that didn't cost a bazillion dollars. They let their heels drag, only kept offering their plattform for Windows and basically ignored any opinion-leaders in multimedia or VM-based gaming & 3D. WildTangent today is next to insignificant and their 'Orb' VM console (which afaict only runs on MS OSes) is nothing but a pimped WildTangent Plugin/Player and won't gain any traction beyond some niche group who wants to play a console game on the PC. For whatever reasons there may be.

    Bottom line: Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Shit, anyone who commissions a huge model penis for the initial launch of his product can't be all bad.

    Seriously, check your history, am I right or am I right?
  • by joeflies (529536) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:52PM (#22825280)
    OEM video is for gamers in the first place. OEM video is just fine for what it is - people who use computers at work on office documents, presentations, and web browsing.

    No matter what GPU is on the on-board video, it won't be enough for gamers.
    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
      OEM video is for gamers in the first place. OEM video is just fine for what it is - people who use computers at work on office documents, presentations, and web browsing.

      Ever used a laptop? There's a plethora of people (college students and young working adults, mostly) who would love to play a 3d game, but can't because their 1300 dollar laptop has an Intel chip in it.

      No matter what GPU is on the on-board video, it won't be enough for gamers.

      You're mistaking "gamers" for those people on the cutting e
    • No, he's just wishing that there were more systems that would play newer games. The more computers that are put out there that can't run games released two years ago, the fewer potential customers of pc games there are. He's arguing that if there were more gamer level pcs, there would be more gamers.

      Washes self with holy water to remove the stain of having used the word gamer. shudder
  • by fred fleenblat (463628) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:54PM (#22825294) Homepage
    That worked out well.
  • He's obviously very very excited about this glorious WildTangent Orb business, which I (as a somewhat-in-the-know gamer) have never heard of. Ever.

    I gave up around the time he started talking about booting up an HP or Toshiba or Gateway and doing something with Orb. I was just getting nothing out of this article.

    Curious question though. As far as I knew, the 'future' of gaming is all about more specialization in chips. He's talking about merging the GPU and CPU, but the big things I keep hearing about i
  • by SilverBlade2k (1005695) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:01PM (#22825346)
    Console gaming will eventually kill PC gaming. It is cheaper for developers since they don't have to make the game to work on 20 million PC configurations, only 1 console configuration. Plus, consumers have to spend a fortune to upgrade their systems to play the newest games. Even some video cards alone are more pricey then a whole console system.
    • by WilyCoder (736280)
      As a graphics programmer, I can back up your statement with lots of headaches caused solely by the bajillion (technical term) different hardware configurations out there. You'd think following the standards would be enough but then you would being shortsighted...
    • Microstudios (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      Console gaming will eventually kill PC gaming. It is cheaper for developers since they don't have to make the game to work on 20 million PC configurations, only 1 console configuration.
      A lot of microstudios develop for PC because they are too small to qualify for console development licenses. What do you suggest for them?
  • Break out the board games ladies and gentlemen.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:02PM (#22825354)
    Consoles are winning and will eventually win. The reason is simple:

    Updating your video driver (or other drivers) is not a fun part of gaming. But for PC games, it's usually the first level you have to play.

    Now that consoles have comparable graphics and sound to a mid-level PC, there's little advantage to using a PC over a console for games. And there are often large disadvantages.
    • Consoles will have similar graphics and sound capabilities to PC's for about six months to a year. Neither platform is going to go away anytime soon.
      • by Kohath (38547)
        Games take 2-3 years to develop. And there'll be another new generation of consoles in a few years.

        Also, there's a price consideration. It doesn't matter, on average, what the new graphics cards can do. It matters what the $70 graphics card can do. It matters what the reasonably-priced laptop graphics systems can do.

        You post underscores another big problem with PC gaming -- the compulsion to upgrade your system every six months or every year. I paid a lot for my console, but it'll save me 5 times over
      • by F-3582 (996772)
        If you looked at the launch titles and measured the time PC games took to achieve similar results, you might be correct. But that would be a somehow unfair comparison. Console games are evolving, as well, and therefore you should take landmark titles for this comparison.

        For example, take Conker Live and Reloaded. When did PC games start to look like that awesome title? Or God of War. Metroid Prime is a good example, too. Final Fantasy XII or Shadow of the Colossus probably not, because they had pretty lo
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by amn108 (1231606)
      People who, for one reason or another like or know enough to do a driver update without smashing their machine to pieces, will always prefer PCs because PCs were and will stay to be the bleeding edge of hardware that drives all these games today. It is perhaps appropriate to call the whole PC gaming a sort of testing grounds for the future of gaming, and every 5 years or so, some manufacturer or another (MS, Sony, Nintendo at this time) decide to cement the testing grounds into a stable, non-volatile gaming
      • by Kohath (38547)
        But the game developers don't see it that way. They are making games that perform about the same across 2-3 platforms, including consoles and medium-end PCs. They don't make bleeding-edge games because the bulk of the game-buying public won't afford the computer needed to play a bleeding-edge game.

        Try listing the bleeding-edge games. I'll start: Crysis. Are there any more?

        High production-values games need to sell a LOT of copies to make money. And you just can't sell that many to guys who have $400 gra
    • by lycono (173768) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:34PM (#22825590)
      I happen to like FPS games. I also happen to hate FPS games on consoles because I much prefer using a mouse over a joystick to aim. Chalk it up to my inability to learn how to use the console controller correctly or chalk it up to the inadequacy of the controller for these kinds of games. Either way, I still prefer playing with a mouse. This is a huge reason I don't play many console games.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tycho (11893)
        This may make you feel worse. The game play speed on Unreal Tournament III for the PS3 runs 15% slower than the Windows version. This is to say that independent of actual system or frame rate, perceptually the PS3 version will not feel as fast. However the controls should respond in a similar way. This speed difference is perceptible, it may have been introduced to bring the PS3 version of UT3 down to more of a Halo 3-like speed, like console gamers would have expected. The speed difference also ruins
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The game play speed on Unreal Tournament III for the PS3 runs 15% slower than the Windows version. This is to say that independent of actual system or frame rate, perceptually the PS3 version will not feel as fast. However the controls should respond in a similar way.

          Interesting, didn't know that. But it is obvious why it should be so: aiming with a 3/4 inch joystick using delta control is just a much slower process than aiming with a mouse, using direct control. Hence the need to slow the game down to achieve similar perceptual difficulty. I don't think it was a response to Halo at all, just that the same problem is solved in the same way.

          I would like to see the joysticks on Sony's controller just a little longer next time round, or maybe a rev of the current gener

    • Show me where I can buy World of Warcraft for a console.

      Oh, and while I don't often bring this up, updating my drivers is:

      apt-get update
      apt-get dist-upgrade
      reboot

      That's all drivers, on the entire system. On OS X, it's even simpler: When your computer asks you if you want to update now, type your password and click OK. When it finishes, it asks you to reboot; click "reboot".

      Only on Windows is this kind of thing a chore.

      • I'd say that WoW is an outlier, it's a popular game but it's just one game.
      • by Kohath (38547)
        Arguing exceptions like MMOs, Linux machines and Macs doesn't really advance things.

        The point is that consoles are going to take more and more of the game market share away from PCs. The point was NOT that PCs would eventually stop being used for games.

        Consoles have the upper hand now. That will continue for at least 2 more years. PCs won't catch up and take over like the Wild Tangent guy says. He's wrong -- for the foreseeable future.
    • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday March 21, 2008 @08:02PM (#22825788) Homepage Journal

      there's little advantage to using a PC over a console for games.
      Other than the fact that PC users can download and run games released as free software, freeware, or shareware, produced by any developer with a copy of Windows and a copy of GCC [mingw.org]? Consoles such as Wii are restricted to developers that are established businesses with actual office space (see warioworld.com for details), and the game cannot include copylefted free software because the console makers outright refuse to allow the developers to provide Installation Information.
    • I just tried to install Peter Jackson's King Kong on my PC, only to yank it off because the Starforce copy protection causes all sorts of problems. Plus, I don't like having to upgrade my hardware every 2 years to keep playing. I'm basically lazy, and I like just poppint in the disk and playing a damn game.
  • by chicago_scott (458445) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:10PM (#22825388) Journal
    I just recently bought a console. The main reason was because I was tired of needing to buy a new graphics card every year in order to to display the best graphics and have the best performance for the newest games and the only reason I needed to upgrade was for games. I did this when I went from PCI to AGP many yeas ago, thereby needing to buy a new motherboard, new processor, memory, etc. (I have also upgraded the motherboard several times since then in order to have a faster processor and memory.)

    I didn't want to do that again in order to upgrade to PCI-E, so I bought a 360 console for less than half the price and I don't intend to upgrade my PC again for at least two or three years. I think a 3.2 GHz processsor and 2 GB of memory will be fine for software development for at least that long.

    I also wanted to play games on a large screen and not have to sit in the same chair where I work all day when I'm relaxing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Consoles, blech! I have two, and yes it's fun to sit and stretch out on a comfy couch with a large TV when playing games, but the games simply just don't compare to PC games-compare the graphics of Oblivion or Bioshock on a xbox 360 to a PC and the PC is noticeably superior on an average PC. Also console games really are 'dumbed down' in order to be playable on consoles with their limited graphics and limited controllers.

      The thing with a console is that you are in exactly the same situation as a PC. Inst
  • I read the whole portion of the interview under the "Vista Blows" link in the summary.

    Unless I missed something, no where did he even explain why Vista blows, other than a vague reference to DirectX 10 being "bloated". I would have sure appreciated just a little bit more elaboration here.

    • Re:"Vista Blows" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by perlchild (582235) on Friday March 21, 2008 @08:18PM (#22825872)
      Vista's multimedia channels are DRM encumbered. This was thought to be a good thing(pro-RIAA) except it slows down all mp3/aac you can play on the system, even in games...

      Now even microsoft encourages game developers to use the system libraries, for playing those standard formats(like they did on XP). Except now they make some games all but unplayable.

      I'd say that's an example of vista sucks, and it's pretty closely tied to DirectSound, not DirectX.
  • Computer gaming is always going to slant the playing field in favor of the gamer with the biggest budget.

    I predict this guy is wrong, if only because some of us don't care to perpetually upgrade a machine so we can play games with our friends.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:25PM (#22825514)
    1) He claims to be a 3D expert, but for some reason he only worked on the 2D aspects of DirectX while he was at Microsoft. (DirectDraw, etc)

    2) His current software and games are very much NOT 3D, so he is commenting on the 3D market why again?

    3) His argument about PCs not being good gaming platforms is that they don't contain enough DRM? Truly, go back and read this again. What the hell does he want, a gun pointing a peoples faces if their mouse gets near the rip or copy button?

    4) Throughout the article they keep talking about WildTangent Orb, which is a program that competes DIRECTLY with Windows Vista & Windows Marketplace & Games for Windows, in Rating games based on system performance, and providing a consistent expectation for the gamer.

    5) WildTangent huh... Ok, anyone that installed this software or has removed it from a friends computer would shudder to think that this guy has any insight when it comes to programming at all, let alone 3D gaming. (WildTangent is borderline Spyware, and the games are kludges, slow, etc.)

    6) He thinks DirectX is bad and Vista is bad, but argue that they the best that can be done with 3D gaming. Hmm..

    7) He talks about the DirectX hardware abstraction levels and implies DirectX 10 is further from the hardware than previous versions. This is really really inaccurate, as DirectX even opens a new diret pipeline for shoving calculations and physics to the GPU. The only place DirectX 10 is 'further' from hardware is the removal of DirectSound, but this has been replaced in 10.1 with a new hardware layer that is compatible with the new Vista sound subsystem. This stuff makes me think the guy is insane, has a chip or both.

    8) His argues about current 3D technology is tricks, but raytracing is real 3D? Um, raytracing is also freaking tricks, especially if you work to get any performance out of it. (And this is just in studio level rendering we are talking about, let alone gaming). Moving raytracing to games or adding it to current 3D technologies would be great, but it is going to take more 'tricks' for good performance and STILL WILL NOT BE REAL 3D, any more than current gaming technologies. He is an expert and yet doesn't understand this? Holy cow...

    9) The only thing I can agree with in the article is the portion about onboard Video being a bane to the gaming industry, and Intel being a horrible proponent of bad entry level 3D chipsets that can't even run Flight Sim 98, let alone a current game with more than 15fps.

  • Each can coexist and have their own niche, and perhaps that is the way it should be. Some games you absolutely need a keyboard for. That being said, I had zero interest in reading TFA until I saw that he admits "Vista blows".
  • And so, what you see, is one of the reasons that games that have 40 million dollar budgets and that too close to 80 percent of the cost of the game is art now, is that art replaces, or fakes, the absence of good 3D or realistic 3D and physics. Because instead of having a realistic interaction with the [game] world, what I do instead is create a lot more animations. For every possible scenario in the game....
    This is why we need real-time raytracing and real-time physics.

    Getting great graphics from the next generation of raster engines is going to cost even more. Sure, you can sit there and micromanage every goddamn thing on the screen and get graphics that look good enough that you can't tell them from optically correct rendering at a glance. But that costs you five times as much as building a model and telling the graphics engine to render it, and letting the software figure out where you need shadows and hilights and bloom.

    The other side of this is the Myst problem. Remember Myst? Remember how you could only go where they're rendered the scenes? Now in many modern games, guess what, you can only go where they've prepared the scenes. You can't even walk across a flowerbed and around the back of the tavern, because they haven't prepared the back of the tavern. you get puzzles that involve figuring out what rope to grab to climb up a 45 degree slope, and if they haven't decided that you're going to be able to climb that slope you can't... even if you've got elf boots and a magic rope.

    Why? Because it's so damned expensive to get them looking good.

    Let the computer do the stuff that we know how to make a computer do... simulation... and let the humans worry about making the simulation fun.
    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
      A lot of people like the straightforward, game-tells-you-where-to-go style gameplay. See Final Fantasy and its popularity.

      For you, try Morrowind.
  • by m0llusk (789903) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:34PM (#22825588) Journal
    How about some improved software? Why do NPCs in supposedly advanced games often just stand around or walk back and forth continuously for the entire game? When are simulated game realities going to become interesting enough that interacting with virtual elements is as interesting as shooting them?
  • This guy's on crack. Nothing will change from the way it's been the last decade or so. There will always be console gaming for the economics/simplicity factor, and there will always be PC gaming where the latest 3D card blows consoles away... at the expense of economics/simplicity.

    -J
  • http://linerider.com/ [linerider.com]
    http://www.nekogames.jp/mt/2008/01/cursor10.html [nekogames.jp]
    http://www.wiicade.com/playGame.aspx?gameID=213 [wiicade.com]
    http://www.wiicade.com/playGame.aspx?gameID=22&gameName=Paintball [wiicade.com]

    Simplicity is beautiful.

    10 years from now the biggest gaming platform will be the mobile phone.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:49PM (#22825694)
    As long as pc's have free online play and user mods and maps that are free Consoles will still be behind.

    There are some payed for mods on the consoles but they are not the same as the free stuff on the pc.

    Also who would want to pay for LIVE and for the game as well paying a monthly fee for the game for something like WOW?

    There are also a lot of cool free and open pc games that will never be a consoles.

    Also there are games that work better with a mouse and mouse are not used that much on a consoles.

    Games also like to use the web and other stuff on the same system that they game on.
  • Hardware and more... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toejam13 (958243)
    FTA: The first one is that, from many points of view, Microsoft and Intel come from an enterprise background. They're enterprise-centric. So in many respects the consumer market, from their point of view, is an after market for stuff really designed for the enterprise

    This is because enterprise customers have a higher rate of legitimate purchases than home consumers (what is the rate of Windows piracy in China and India?). Furthermore, while enterprise customers may receive deeper discounts on their bulk
  • by cerelib (903469) on Friday March 21, 2008 @10:48PM (#22826732)
    He first rails on Intel for crappy graphics,

     

    And so if you see a PC that is not denuded by things interfering with it by Microsoft and Intel, in many cases like an Intel crappy graphics chip, or a bloated Vista operating system, it's a fantastic gaming platform. And the shame is, if the low end of the PC market, the mass market PCs that everybody buys did not come with these crappy graphics chips on them and was not burdened with a fat OS, that the PC would be a larger contiguous gaming platform than all the next-generation consoles combined, probably would be clearly superior;


    and then proves how great the PC gaming market is by mentioning the success of a game that does not need much in the way of graphics hardware,

     

    the PC is the home of the most profitable game in history generating more revenue than the top 10 console games combined--that's World of Warcraft generating a 1.2 billion dollars a year in revenue, that's a pure PC game.


    I am so tired of the PC gaming industry blaming its demise on Intel giving people cost effective graphics that do exactly what their users want. The whole reason for the demise of PC gaming is because the market split because consumers want different types of computing devices at prices they can afford. The PC has tons of possibilities, but all the industry seems to create are rehashes of the same old ideas; mostly FPS and RTS. Traditional PC gaming is not dead, but it is in a losing battle with the consoles because it is failing to innovate. The real PC gaming growth is in small games that are fun, addictive, and sometimes are the center of online communities. Hell, I had to kid a Yahoo Pool addiction a few years ago and I don't think I will ever see anything like that on a console.

Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer. -- R.W. Hamming

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