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Ubisoft CEO Expects Set-Top Gaming, New Apple Hardware 45

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from the ibox-istation-or-iii dept.
GamesIndustry reports on comments by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot about what to expect from the coming generation of gaming hardware. In addition to greater integration between game hardware and set-top boxes, he said he doesn't expect Apple to stop with the iPhone as a platform for games. "We will see more customers coming to the videogame industry, and they will not only come to the basic consoles like we have today, but they will start also to come on all the boxes that you see under the TVs. TV boxes will be more powerful, and with accessibility, will help to take more people. So we will see more consoles on which we will be able to put product." Guillemot continued, "... because you saw new interfaces with the Wii, with the Wiimote, and also with the DS, with the stylus, what we see for the future is that there will be also big announcements in interfaces. And it will not only happen on consoles, but it will also happen on those TV boxes as well."
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Ubisoft CEO Expects Set-Top Gaming, New Apple Hardware

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  • I wish the gaming industry would care about control interfaces less and worry about gameplay more, but on the other hand I feel like the idea of alternative control schemes besides a normal game controller is here to stay.

    And I have to admit, if I end up getting a next generation console, it will be a wii (that is if I ever get bored of my PS2 :P)
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:47AM (#28136891)

      They care about markets. It's just that.

      What matters is selling games. And who do you sell to better than to people who don't know better. Games for gamers? Bah, they know what they may expect, they may expect gameplay and even replay value. It's a lost market, let's focus on the ignorant masses who don't even know what we could deliver if we put our minds to it.

      Why do you think he pushes for set-top boxes and other gadgets that the "average" person may have in his living room, but the average gamer most likely won't have?

      • Well that's a pretty depressing outlook :(

        I think there's still importance in quality regardless of market.

        I think you don't have to be a PRO LEETZOR GAMER HARDXCORE to spot a shitty game. I think that anyone who's half-way intelligent and going to devote time to sit down and play a game is going to be able to say "okay this is fun and interesting" or "this is neither fun nor interesting, who is this mama and why does she cook?"

        But you are right in pointing out that as non-gamers paradoxically become
    • by am 2k (217885)

      Gameplay is influenced significantly by the user interface, so your statement doesn't make sense.

    • Build a motion sensor into your typical remote, give it a couple of gaming buttons, one of which should be a trigger button. Build a flash player into your set top box and you've got about a potential million flash games you can play on your STB.
  • I was going to be funny and say "how the hell are we supposed to play games with a controller that only has one button", but extending what the Wii started, it could actually work.
    • Re:Controllers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skraut (545247) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:49AM (#28136905) Journal
      For years we played games with an Atari joystick with one red button. AND WE LIKED IT! Sheesh kids these days need to stay off my lawn.
    • The Mac had a one-button mouse, it's perfectly possible.

      I'm going to expect that controls will be less than enlightened though, one button or two. Some of them are not going to fit well to the hand, and others will be counter-intuitive.

      I'm putting my money on the social and convenience convergence, and not games.

  • Convergence. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:45AM (#28136881)

    I'm not sure that we'll see gaming spread to multiple devices as much as we'll see multiple devices converge, certainly Sony and Microsoft seem to be trying hard to make their consoles more than just gaming machines, both not only have the ability to play media, but are pushing it quite strongly as a major part of the offering. Both have also filed patents/spoken of the ability to play TV shows in future addons or console iterations.

    Many people laugh about the Zune, but although it's not the greatest product I can see where Microsoft is going with it - there's effectively 4 areas for technology in people's lives, office, home computer, home entertainment and on the move. Currently MS doesn't have much of an on the move offering whilst Sony does with the PSP and Nintendo does with the DS, Microsoft has strong offerings in the other 3 areas, so presumably they're just now trying to tie up the last area.

    But it's not as simple as tying up the last area, I've been expecting, and we've been seeing a move for a long while towards all these areas interoperating with the end goal being a sort of scenario where say, using Microsoft as an example, you walk close to your future Xbox/PC with your Zune in your pocket and it'll wirelessly pick up your songs and let you play them through that system's sound system instead. Your XBox live arcade games may automatically "jump" onto your Zune so you can play them on the move, your Xbox live friends profile may link with your contact list on your favourite IM program on your PC. Perhaps you could flag a document as important at work and it'll jump home with you via your Zune or via the net so you can continue working from home on it and that sort of thing. Rudimentary attempts at all these things already exist, but the experience isn't tied together well right now, it's not seamless enough.

    I think Apple, now realising they're strong in the on the move area, and are doing pretty decently in the home PC market realise that perhaps it's time to make a push into the home entertainment market too.

    Effectively, whilst we tend to think of Microsoft as the Windows company, Apple as the iPod company and that sort of thing we'll see a change towards the idea of them all offering solutions that integrate really well between all these areas. I wouldn't be suprised if you could eventually walk into a shop and buy a full offering - a big box with your PC, your console, your mobile device all in it, but with the option to buy/upgrade each individually still.

    Companies like Ubisoft need to be looking towards this sort of convergence I think rather than just seeing the arrival of completely separate devices because I think it will deliver unique opportunities. To give an example of what I mean, look at how successful Tamagotchi and clones were, now imagine if you had a virtual pet that would not only live on your device, but could be left at home on your console, or brought to work on your mobile device, and your administrator at work had set a policy to allow entertainment software outside work hours and on lunch times so you could play with it on your work machine during lunch.

    • Re:Convergence. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:52AM (#28136923)

      you walk close to your future Xbox/PC with your Zune in your pocket and it'll wirelessly pick up your songs and let you play them through that system's sound system instead. Your XBox live arcade games may automatically "jump" onto your Zune so you can play them on the move

      No problem on the technical side. I can see a DRM hassle though. Play your Zune sounds on an Xbox, without paying extra for it? Transfering games from XBox to Zune? In case you didn't notice, one of the things DRM is supposed to make impossible is media shifting. And of course platform shifting. I can well see that their marketing and sales didn't consider you playing a song that you rented for Zune on a device that more than one listener could listen to, so it's being disabled.

      In theory a good idea, and I'd love to see it. I just don't think it's going to fly.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Yeah I don't disagree, I didn't want to stray too far off path with the DRM argument, and also the question of whether for example we even want our work and personal lives to be so closely intertwined.

        DRM is arguably the single thing holding it back, attempts have been made to produce DRM that allows it but it has indeed been rather weak. I'm guessing we'll see one of two things happen, either DRM will work (to an extent) in their limited environments because they're using custom hardware, or they'll have t

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        one of the things DRM is supposed to make impossible is media shifting. And of course platform shifting.

        That is a load of dingo's kidneys. DRM is supposed to prevent you from doing any of that stuff without spending more money. It's an attempt to create vendor lock-in; you need compatible DRM. The whole idea of DRM is to prevent you from giving tracks to your friends, except as a trial; for example, DRM that enables you to give away the file, but it only plays five times. Then you have to buy it, and you're not allowed to trial it from the same source again.

      • There's some games on PSN that can be played on the PS3 and PSP, you pay once and can play them on both.

      • by milkmage (795746)

        but precedents have already been set.

        AppleTV lets you play your DRM'd content from iTunes, and you can sync the same content to multiple iPods.

        PS3 and PSP allow remote play (some games on the PS3 are playable on the PSP) DRM is preserved because the game needs to be registered to the same account on both sides. i think the remote play games are limited because of hardware constraints on the PSP side (you're not going to be able to play CoD4 on the PSP because the PSP can't handle it)

        360 and Zune integration

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by hal2814 (725639)

      "certainly Sony and Microsoft seem to be trying hard to make their consoles more than just gaming machines, both not only have the ability to play media, but are pushing it quite strongly as a major part of the offering."

      And they're both being outsold by a machine that is so obstinate in being a gaming-only machine that it won't even play a regular CD or DVD even though it has capable hardware. We think of Microsoft as a Windows company and Apple as an iPod company because that's what they're best at. Why

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Xest (935314)

        "And they're both being outsold by a machine that is so obstinate in being a gaming-only machine that it won't even play a regular CD or DVD even though it has capable hardware. We think of Microsoft as a Windows company and Apple as an iPod company because that's what they're best at. Why would a consumer get stuck with a Zune for convergence's sake when they could buy an iPod and still keep their Windows PC? The only party that benefits is Microsoft."

        There are still questions to be asked though regarding

  • Aside from the point of thinking that there will be more people playing games because of game availability for set-top boxes, The rest of what was said seemed a bit silly. I guess I'll look forward (not really) to getting a wiimote for my DVR.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Actually, a wiimote could be really quite handy for something like a MythTV or Tivo.

      At the most basic level it's really only just a wireless mouse.

      If you wanted nothing but cursor keys, you never would have bought your first real mouse.

  • by Celeste R (1002377) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:53AM (#28136931)

    Set-top boxes? Perhaps so, but I don't see it as the way that the industry must go.
    .
    Take for example: the Wii. It does something specific very well, and it does it fairly cheaply too. There is nothing wrong with the idea that you can chain up devices to be able to do things. Except, perhaps, for people who live under rocks, because apparently they haven't ever seen a VCR and a DVD player hooked up with a TV.
    .
    The convergence of technology in products can be counter-productive, especially in things that people pour significant amounts of money into. It also makes it that much easier for marketing to muck up a good design.
    .
    Convergence is a luxury, but it's not necessarily a recipe for success. I -want- to be able to abandon the old or faulty hardware. I want to be able to take something out of the set-up I have for my entertainment center, and not feel lobotomized. And furthermore, I don't want to have to deal with jumping through hoops for the corporation just to be able to do something as simple as playing a game. (and you -know- that Comcast will nickel and dime you).
    .
    Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube? You're raising the hardware's bottom line and the rent of the device only to get it outdated in a few years.
    .
    And speaking of which, I seriously doubt that good customer service for faulty devices will be part of their planning, but it -will- happen. The product of this thinking is cheap designs that don't compare well with the competition.

    • by tepples (727027)

      There is nothing wrong with the idea that you can chain up devices to be able to do things.

      Other than that real estate is expensive enough in Japan that devices have to be small, which is part of why the original Xbox failed.

    • by hal2814 (725639)

      "Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube?"

      To back up your point, there are plenty of hotels that have gaming systems on their cable boxes. You'll see a controller attached directly to the box. The newest one I've seen has an N64 controller attached.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Gaming boxes combined with say... cable boxes... yes, it could work. Would I buy it? No. A cable box goes out of date fairly slowly than people think, whereas who here still uses their old Gamecube?

      Instead of putting the gaming hardware in the cable box, it makes more sense to put the cable hardware in the gaming box. I already watch all my TV through my Xbox anyway. And yes, I still use my old gamecube, and N64, and SNES, and NES, and Atari 2600 for that matter.

  • with the signing of Richard Teversham from MS Xbox division and the fact that the hardware spec barrier to entry of the gaming markets has been significantly lowered thanks to the Wii I think the next generation will be a shoe-in for Apple. WIth all the brand awareness they have, how well known they are for ease of use in their devices and the uncanny knack they have for catching the mood of a market and turning it on its head. One fly in the ointment is that I don't think they have the experience for knowi
  • Why are these CEOs, and I do mean plural, intent on providing what they think we should buy instead of what the market actually wants to buy?

    I understand that some men of vision can provide new markets, but this is far from the case.

    They want what all software publishers have wet dreams about: vendor lock-in.

    It's not gonna happen. I will never abandon my PC for gaming. Apple and gaming are antonyms. The two go together like oil and water, sheep and wolves.

    so, Ubisoft CEO, I say NO! I won't buy it. Not

    • by PriceIke (751512)
      This is my problem with console gaming in general. This past month I've upgraded my PC gaming rig for the third time since I bought it back in 2002. I can play with my choice of controllers, including a keyboard and mouse (which I prefer), I can upgrade RAM, processor and video hardware, and I also get to do things like look up stuff on the internet and check email. Consoles are closed systems that you can't upgrade. That mentality should have died in the late 80s/early 90s, but folks like MS and Sony want
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        PC gaming controllers make me want to throw my PC across the room.

        They're crude, crappy and overpriced when comared to their console counterparts.

        I want to assimilate console controllers into my PC, not remain trapped with PC only controllers.

        I see Apple shooting themselves squarely on the foot with their controller. It might
        kind of fly in a market that isn't well defined yet (AppleTV). However, I see them
        getting creamed in any area with sophisticated entrenched experienced competitors.

      • by solios (53048)

        Consoles are closed systems that you can't upgrade.

        Your assumption is that this is a Bad Thing.

        For a lot of people, myself included, it's a Good Thing. A very good thing. I buy the console hardware, and every game for that console works with it.* I don't have to upgrade the console every few months in order to get optimal performance for a new game. I don't have to spend triple the price of the machine over the life of the machine just to play the games it's designed to play. I can, instead, spend the

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Apple and gaming are antonyms.

      My Apple IIgs is an awesome game machine.

  • by quelg (1565531)

    Ten reasons why I think Apple will/must release a gaming console fairly soon:

    1. It is an extremely lucrative market. http://au.gamespot.com/news/6209281.html [gamespot.com] (e.g., Nintendo: US$18.5B revenue, $5.6B profit) and one that Apple has so far lost out to the PC on. No one buys a Mac for gaming.
    2. Having said that, games are still already being written for the Mac. It's not like a new player is entering the field with no momentum or knowledge
    3. Mac sales are increasing compared to PC sales and the market is expand

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