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Motion Control To Lengthen Console Hardware Cycles 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-does-the-konami-code-work-with-no-buttons dept.
With the recent E3 demonstrations of new motion-based control for consoles — Microsoft's Natal, Sony's Motion Controller, and Ubisoft's camera-based system for the Wii — analysts now expect the current console generation to last longer than normal. Microsoft exec Shane Kim said he expects the Xbox 360 to last until around 2015, in part due to Natal and new services available through Xbox Live. Signal Hill's Todd Greenwald thinks this cycle may not need to end at all: "Microsoft and Sony have invested so much in their current hardware line, as have third party publishers, that we don't think any party is seriously interested in throwing away these investments and starting over from scratch. For all of these reasons, we think this cycle will last longer than those in the past, and don't see new hardware coming until 2011 at the earliest, and 2012 to 2013 more likely (if at all — if new services like OnLive take off, or if Xbox Live and PlayStation Network become more and more robust, there may not be a need for another console cycle).'"
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Motion Control To Lengthen Console Hardware Cycles

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  • 2015? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Starcom8826 (888459)
    An xbox wouldn't even last until 2015...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      Well, console graphics already look dated. Waiting until 2015 for the next version would be a big boost to PC gaming. NVIDIA and AMD sure aren't going to stop releasing graphics hardware, so people who want a modern gaming experience will have no choice but to go to the PC.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kalirion (728907)

        Dated? Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix doesn't look that dated to me. Then again, I can see how the attempted realistic graphics would be dated though - those are always the first ones to start looking bad. Team Fortress 2 will keep looking good long after Counter-Strike: Source becomes painful to the eyes.

  • Good enough is? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Canazza (1428553) on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:23AM (#28219751)

    Have we really reached the point where "Good enough is"
    Is the XBox 360/PS3 really the pinnacle of console gaming for the next 5 years?
    With the Wii selling bucketloads more initially than anything else, despite having inferior graphics hardware, have the other two finally realised that Faster chips, bigger numbers and impressive specs are really just nothing more than macho posturing?

    • Re:Good enough is? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hattig (47930) on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:47AM (#28219831) Journal

      Both Microsoft and Sony can create faster variants of their existing hardware, but mandate that new games are backward compatible.

      I.e., they can release a PS3.5 as the PS4 that can handle 1080p60* gaming (possibly in 3D with a 3D monitor) based around the same hardware, just running faster or with more resourced. Games detect the console, run in 720p on the PS3 without some fancy graphical effects (assuming physics runs on the SPU in Cell and the new one has ~30SPUs compared with 7 in the current PS3), lower resolution textures (due to less RAM), etc.

      Sony always make a console last 10 years anyway, but they also release the new high end 5 or 6 years into that lifespan whilst the previous model mops up the low end of the market and new poor markets around the world. I think it would be suicide to not build upon the hardware base in the PS3 - going with a new architecture would be a folly given their financial situation.

      * I know that the PS3 can do this, but most games are in 720p, if that.

      • Both Microsoft and Sony can create faster variants of their existing hardware, but mandate that new games are backward compatible.

        As can Nintendo. Most Game Boy Color games early in the GBC's lifetime could display in grayscale on a Game Boy Pocket, and Nintendo has stated that some new DS games will have extra capabilities when inserted into a Nintendo DSi system of the correct region.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by The Nipponese (875458)
      Thankfully we've come to the point where network firmware upgrades keep the the console UX fresh. On top of that, Microsoft has been gradually adding specs to the 360 over the years. I am constantly surprised by the number of people who "just bought another one" because their previous 360 was lacking HDMI, or just didn't want to go through the hassle of M$ replacing it after falling prey to the RRoD. How long will be before M$ just says, "ok, let's add a new GPU to the existing hardware and call it the Ultr
    • by Jurily (900488)

      Is the XBox 360/PS3 really the pinnacle of console gaming for the next 5 years?

      The hardware is good enough for good games. It has been since the Commodore 64. The problem is, games are more and more boring.

      • Re:Good enough is? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tom (822) on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:56AM (#28219883) Homepage Journal

        The hardware is good enough for good games. It has been since the Commodore 64. The problem is, games are more and more boring.

        Actually, I disagree in part.

        Some really good games have only become possible with better hardware. Except that graphics hardware comes last in that list. But more memory and CPU speed have allowed for more complex games. A game like Oblivion or Fallout 3 would not have been technically possible on the C64, even if you would've been happy with Bards Tale style graphics.

        • by Jurily (900488)

          Some really good games have only become possible with better hardware.

          I have to agree. [youtube.com] But even the original 2D version was a classic.

        • by kalirion (728907)

          That's a pretty extreme scenario though. Aside from graphics, how many have Oblivion/Fallout3 done that wouldn't have been possible with Daggerfall technology? Or Ultima Underworld?

          • by Tom (822)

            Very obviously, Daggerfall was possible with Daggerfall technology, but not Oblivion. Don't you think that Bethesda would've made Oblivion if it had been possible?

            The difference is in scale and complexity. The Oblivion world is a whole lot larger and more complex than Daggerfall. Just putting the data (without graphics) down into Daggerfall would probably have exceededd hard drive capacities of the time. AI calculations would certainly have slowed down the game. The physics engine and its related points (e.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by kalirion (728907)

              Oblivion's world larger? I don't think there's ever been a gaming world larger than Daggerfall's. It would take something like two weeks real time to walk from one end to the other without using fast travel.

      • The hardware is good enough for good games. It has been since the Commodore 64.

        Could the Commodore 64 have run a first-person shooter like the Doom or Quake or Unreal series in real time? (Probably not; no 3D rasterizing hardware nor sufficiently fast CPU.) Could the Nintendo Entertainment System have run a social simulator like The Sims or Animal Crossing? (Probably not; enough battery-backed RAM on a cartridge to save the state of a town was cost prohibitive during the NES's commercial era.)

        • The original Doom didn't use hardware 3D -- I remember playing it on a 286 system with ease. Of course, the graphics were 320x200, and the most basic of 3D effects. But that was all software driven.

          Also, I'd count Flight Simulator in as a 3D game. The original one by Bruce Artwick ran on Commodore, Atari, 8088 PCs, etc. And the 3D in that was only one step down from what was in Doom (polygon graphics without a texture overlay, but with light source direction).

          • by sgbett (739519)

            The 80286 was a 16-bit chip

          • by Mprx (82435)
            Doom 1 needed a 386 or higher to run, and a 486 or higher for acceptable framerate.
          • Commodore 64 [had] no 3D rasterizing hardware nor sufficiently fast CPU.

            The original Doom didn't use hardware 3D

            I know Doom used software rendering on an i486 or high-end i386DX CPU. But that's not so easy on a MOS Technology 6510 CPU clocked at 1 MHz.

            Also, I'd count Flight Simulator in as a 3D game. The original one by Bruce Artwick ran on Commodore, Atari, 8088 PCs, etc. And the 3D in that was only one step down from what was in Doom

            But could the C64's CPU handle complex enough enemy meshes at high enough frame rate to make a twitch shooter like Quake 3 Arena?

      • by Deag (250823)

        Really the commodore 64 met all your requirements? Really? Do yourself a favor, take of the rose tinted glasses, and play a modern game for a while. You can pause the game and wait for half an hour before you can play it if it makes you more comfortable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Balinares (316703)

      > Have we really reached the point where "Good enough is"

      No. I'd say we reached it one generation ago. More precisely: one generation ago is when we've reached the point where style matters more than polycount. Not saying that next-gen games aren't awfully pretty: some are. What I'm saying, though, is that there are many ways to go for pretty, and polycount and high-resolution aren't fundamental to a good number of those. See Okami, for instance.

      I suspect this is the lesson Nintendo learned. Last generat

    • Re:Good enough is? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:53AM (#28220179)

      Sorry, it's a hell of a lot more than macho posturing.

      The GFX on the Wii look pretty poor on a decent sized 1080p capable panel. The Wii is sorely underpowered for today's display tech.

      Now, it's still good fun, but I really don't buy into this horrible fanboyish meme that seems to hae taken hold, that the two are somehow exclusive. You CAN have both. There is no reason that bad graphics make good games. A Wii or other machine with Wii-like controllers and Wii-like games but with and updated GFX hardware would be great.

      • Re:Good enough is? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:24AM (#28220311) Journal

        The problem is that the two often are exclusive. Games cost a lot to make and it's easy to blow the entire budget making something look spectacular and then realise there's nothing left to actually make it fun. Similarly, when you're restricted on the graphics front by less powerful hardware, you're forced into making games with selling points other than how they look.

        Obviously it's not always the case, there are exceptions to both rules and I would never be one to argue against better looking games as long as they are still fun to play, but there is a somewhat sensible reason behind the 'bad graphics' argument.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Nursie (632944)

          Oh sure. But I'm not advocating photo-realistic Wii Tennis here! Just a few more pixels would be nice, some more anti-aliasing, that sort of stuff. At the moment quite a few of the games look blocky on a 1080p capable screen, even when using the component/576 mode.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by flitty (981864)
            Wish I had mod points for you. I'm not looking for Gears of War Tennis, I just expect my oblong sphere shaped Mii head not to be a jaggy-mess that can only be rendered in 480p. Even updating to something such as a Wii+, with HDMI and able to render current Wii games in 1080p would keep the Wii alive for a couple more years. Even Wii emulators have been able to do this (there is a youtube video out there of SSBM in 1080p, even though it's youtube, so you can't really tell), so a hardware bump would be app
            • I'm not looking for Gears of War Tennis

              You bloody well should be. Think about it, chainsaw guns, alien bugs, and tennis?

              I don't want to play any other game now, I'm boycotting all videogames until someone makes gears of tennis!

        • by arkhan_jg (618674)

          I'd be quite happy with the existing wii style, i.e. broadbrush stylized cartoony style (wii tennis, mario galaxy, boom blox, little king's story), but running at a higher res. You don't need to turn a game into Gears of War 2 or Alan Wake in order to get a nice looking high res game that doesn't go all blocky and hard to see on a 1080p panel - so some sort of wii 2, with backwards compatibility but a gruntier gpu and anti-aliasing built in would still be nice to see sometime before 2015.

          On the other hand,

          • it will hopefully be a shot in the arm for the platform if AAA titles look a lot better on the PC (or even has some good exclusives that just aren't possible on the consoles)

            PC versions of games pretty much always look better than their console counterparts if you have good hardware, even if the only reason is a better resolution and/or framerate. Now that all consoles are networked and have decent storage space (though not all as standard yet, Xbox a HDD is optional, Wii I'm not sure how much space it has but it probably isn't more than 8GB or so.. PS3s are guaranteed to have a minimum of 20GB, though I upgraded mine from 40 to 320).

            So I don't see what you could do on a PC tha

        • Maybe I'm alone, but I own a Wii and a 360. The Wii is fun for 5 minutes and then gets very very boring. The Xbox has games that are fun for hours at a time.

          So why does everyone just assume the Wii is more fun? Because it moved more consoles? That's no better a metric than # of games sold, which the Wii loses at pretty badly.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AuMatar (183847)

            Because Wii games are more fun. I don't like FPSes, I find them the most boring genre ever invented. And even the non-FPS games- it's the same damn thing I've been playing for the past 20 years. I'm tired of that. Wii games tend to have more new material. Even the games that are old genres have motion controls which give it a nice change. And of course the Nintendo first party games are polished to hell and back.

            As a gamer of over 20 years, someone who uses to spend 8 hours a day gaming- I can't thi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Xugumad (39311)

        > The GFX on the Wii look pretty poor on a decent sized 1080p capable panel.

        They look like a smeared mess, IMHO.

        What bothers me isn't that it can't do HD, but that it doesn't even do an on-board upscale. If it did the upscale as graphics were written into the image buffer, it could get a MUCH better upscaling than any TV could do to the content, by understanding it better.

        • But the SCART or component cables that the Wii outputs through can't actually support that high a resolution (AFAIK, may be wrong), so it is the responsibility of the display itself to do any smoothing/upscaling. The Wii could do some anti-aliasing, but not actual 'upscaling' unless it has an HDMI connection.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            Component cables sure can, the other consoles can do it through them. And the Wii component leads can do 576p, which is a little better, but still not great.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bwalling (195998)
        Two thoughts: First, it's not 720 or 1080, but the Wii really doesn't look that bad. Outside of the first 10 minutes of playing any game, I generally forget completely about the quality of the graphics. It's a first impression that doesn't mean much. The same actually goes for the motion controls - they make it easier to learn, but that only matters for a short period. After that, I'm just playing the game. Second, both paradigms have their problems. With the Wii, sometimes going ga-ga over motion co
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CoccoBill (1569533)

      Have we really reached the point where "Good enough is"

      No, we haven't. As we know, both the PS3 and the Xbox360 are struggling with true 1080p content, most games advertized as 1080p actually run at a horizontal resolution lower than 1920. We need faster consoles still to take full advantage of the current FullHD displays.

      Obviously none of this has anything to do with how good the actual games are, and as Nintendo has shown quite vividly, the actual playability of the games matter more than eye candy. However, I don't see these two issues to contradict each oth

    • Re:Good enough is? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deag (250823) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:54AM (#28221717)

      Well "Good enough" for now. The last update to consoles brought HD compatibility with the now standard HD TV, and good use of internet connection. Without both of those consoles would look like backward technology.

      But we certainly haven't reached good enough for gaming in general. Games do look good enough, but the worlds they simulate need more power.
      For example, go to the top of a building in GTA IV and look into a street in the distance, it is empty. That game does a good job of having an illusion of a busy city, but it really is just that. Four blocks away from you there is nothing.

      Wouldn't it be great if every brick in every building was simulated, and having ten million entities walking around the city with you, rather than the 50 odd that follow you around at the moment.

      Of course you don't need all this to have a fun game, some of the better games on the 360 are geometry wars and braid, both of which are 2D. And the success of the Wii speaks for itself.

      But I think it would be sad if the development of more immersive environments stalled here.

  • That early? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Daemonax (1204296) on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:24AM (#28219755)
    I'm still waiting for the price of a PS3 to come down to a ridiculous price, right now they have a ludicrous price.
    • by creimer (824291)
      Don't feel bad. I'm still waiting for a price drop on the PS2. ;)
      • by tepples (727027)

        Don't feel bad. I'm still waiting for a price drop on the PS2. ;)

        You can probably pick one up on eBay for cheap. Or do you live in a country with prohibitive import duties on consumer electronics, like a few countries in South America?

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        They just dropped to $100 from $120 I think its going to be a little while longer before another price drop. I'm thinking about picking one up, but I did just upgrade my computer so I need to revisit the PS2 emulator which has made great progress.
  • Blu-Ray... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by VinylRecords (1292374)

    I don't think I'll care about my PS3 having a motion sensor. I only play fighting games, Metal Gear Solid, and Ratchet & Clank. No real need or want for motion control from me. I have a Wii and I barely touch the thing anymore (wow I just typed that then paused then laughed) and won't until Mario Galaxy 2 comes out.

    The reason my PS3 has longevity is because it plays Blu-Rays, it won the format war, and unless some new disc type comes along or digital downloads with all of the extra content of a BD come

    • It's a cultural change, games requiring motion. In ten years, any game controlled by a gamepad will be considered unplayable, and gamers will be known for fine physiques. I've been wanting this to happen for a long time. Why can't your computer be powered partly by a bicycle wheel, while the computer monitors your exercise and requests power from time to time? Don't pedal when the computer tells you to, and your computer shuts down. Expansion kits for arms and torso exercises.

      Oh, right - this discrimin

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

        And in The Future...

        #1 "You mean you have to use your hands?"
        #2 "That's like a baby's toy!"

      • Why can't your computer be powered partly by a bicycle wheel, while the computer monitors your exercise and requests power from time to time? Don't pedal when the computer tells you to, and your computer shuts down.

        Good luck keeping up the pedaling long enough to finish downloading the 8 GB game you bought. Or are you talking about a mass migration away from desktop PCs and 150-watt consoles in favor of machines that sip power like laptops and Wii consoles?

        • Well, it would just be supplementary. Presumably it could monitor how long a human should pedal for, and then stop for a while until it determined you needed more. You'd keep fit while just sitting around on teh internet, and you'd get these ripped guys with pale faces and acne who would be the next phenomenon 'discovered' by Wired for a beefcake photo shoot.
      • by alta (1263)

        fine physiques?

        No, sorry, wrong.

        Games will be controlled by the mind, and gamers will be known by their gelatinous forms.

    • Yeah... but it's all about money, and Microsoft and Sony want a piece of that pie.

      There's no doubt that the "hardcore crowd" can make a company money. When Blizzard releases something, it's practically guaranteed to generate vast quantities of cash. But there are a lot more gamers out there than just the hardcore crowd.

      I'm fairly confident that games for... let's call them "seasoned gamers"... won't be going away. Making these games makes people money, presumably enough of it otherwise they would have st

    • Re:Blu-Ray... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EdZ (755139) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:22AM (#28220017)
      The major failing of current motion control systems (wiimote, Natal, whatever the PS3 system is called) is that there's no feedback. You're waving about, and simply hope that the game gets it right. By removing the layer of abstraction the controller provides, you're making things LESS immersive by starkly revealing that the game cannot respond to you in ways other than the visual or the audio.
      Until cheap, reliable haptic control systems emerge (not a for about half a decade if things like the Falcon, and the cost of more flexiable systems, is anything to go by), motion control will be limited in usefulness to a few casual games that don't require fast and accurate responses.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grumbel (592662)

        That claim comes up every now and then, but at this point in time its really kind of baseless. The major failure of the Wiimote is simply that it just doesn't work the people expected it. It doesn't give you 1:1 mapping and thus your movement on the screen ends up having little or even nothing to do with your actual motion. Its not even a matter of precision, its simply not enough sensory data to do any kind of real 3d tracking. That's the sole reason why the experience ends up a little flat, as you end up

        • by eightball (88525)

          You do realize the Wii MotionPlus is scheduled to be released in 3 days (in NA), don't you? The others have just been announced.

        • The PS3, Xbox360, and Wii Motion+ solutions are very different in that they give you real 1:1 mapping.

          Fixed that for you.

          Granted, the camera approach of the 360 and PS3 have advantages and disadvantages over the WM+. But let's not kid ourselves. This is a three way race to full motion control capabilities. Thanks to the existing Wii Remote platform, Nintendo is leveraging their sizable lead to get their own 1:1 solution in consumers hands before the competition.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by grumbel (592662)

            Fixed that for you.

            MotionPlus doesn't give you 1:1 mapping. The controller has still no idea where it is in 3D space. The controller now has sensors to measure rotation independent from acceleration, which will allow to make the mapping of action a good bit better then before, as it will get much harder to cheat the thing, but it will still be a lot of guessing of what the player did, instead of just taking the coordinates and bringing them into them game. So MotionPlus is more an intermediate step, then the solution to the 1

            • MotionPlus doesn't give you 1:1 mapping.

              Incorrect. The Wii Remote has a camera in the controller itself. This camera is used to orient the controller prior to 1:1 use, thus allowing the controller to know its position via dead reckoning.

              This was demonstrated at last year's E3. I'm surprised you missed it.

              • by grumbel (592662)

                The Wii Remote has a camera in the controller itself.

                That won't help much, as the sensorbar has only two points for reference, not enough to calculate a proper position in 3d space. And in games where you are not pointing at the screen it wouldn't work either way.

                This was demonstrated at last year's E3.

                Links are welcome. I havn't seen anything that gets near what Sony demostrated. Thats not to say that the MotionPlus isn't a big improvement, it allows to properly detected swinging motion and such, which would likely be good enough for some decent sword fighting or grenade throwing, but that is stil

                • That won't help much, as the sensorbar has only two points for reference, not enough to calculate a proper position in 3d space

                  You don't need a proper position. The WM+ contains gyroscopes that can measure that. What you need is an orientation. i.e. The Wii Remote has no idea which direction the television is. So without a starting point, how is it supposed to know which way is forward? With the camera, it can obtain a very precise orientation on the 2D overhead plane. Dead reckoning is use to find the posi

  • If you consider the fact that most games are constantly looking for the latest and greatest, whether it be hardware or software or (god help us) controllers, there will be only negative results from the lengthening of the console lifecycle. By extending the life of these boxes, console manufacturers are going to face the waning interest of consumers.

    In some respects, the decision to keep current consoles longer makes some sense. There has not been any serious change in gameplay since the earliest consoles f

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Colourspace (563895)
      I totally agree - never underestimate the power .... OoooooH SHINY!
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:59AM (#28220207)
      I'm not convinced that the "waning interest of consumers" actually exists outside of a niche. Console manufacturers make the most money during the tail-end of the cycle, when the console is affordable by the massmarket and is being produced at a profit or at least a significantly smaller loss. The manufacturers actually don't make a whole lot of money during the period in which it's being sold to "gamers [...] constantly looking for the latest and greatest". Those customers are a necessary part of getting the word out, but the people that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are really keen to please are the people who grab the system and a half-dozen three-year-old games for $300 at Walmart.
      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        This is certainly true. The PS2 still gets at least half the sales of the PS3 every month, and got 50% more in April due to a US price cut of the PS2 that month.

    • by Gravatron (716477)
      I'd save the rise of realistic physics also allowed for new gameplay opportunities. Games like Half-life 2 and LittleBigPlanet showed the power of true physics, by making the gameworld truly interactive, and for allowing the creations of worlds that behave as the user would really expect them to. This opens up all kinds of gameplay possibilities.
    • While improvements in graphics are nice, improvements in processing capability and storage space for physics simulation, collision detection, freeroaming and/or destructible environments are the things that have been responsible for most of the improvements in gameplay over the last few years. More realistic control systems do make games more fun. Think of using a steering wheel compared to a joypad - the joypad is often a lot easier because of the tiny motions necessary to go from lock to lock for counter-

  • The three general purpose cores (3.2GHz each) on X360 is what gives Microsoft the edge here. You can have Natal on core 2, your game on core 1 and system on core 3, everything runs smooth and relaxed. That means the extension like Natal can really be complex and well done. On PS3 you have only 1 general purpose core, that gives you some perspective of limited options.. This architectural advantage gives Microsoft headroom for future improvement.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Natal runs a lot of processing on 'extra' hardware, possibly leaving most of all 3 cores. Sony can do the same if required.
    • On PS3 you have only 1 general purpose core

      The hypervisor in PS3 Other OS runs on a SPE core, not the general purpose core. I'd imagine that the new motion control system could likewise have an SPE dedicated to it.

      • by moon3 (1530265)
        The hypervisor in PS3 Other OS runs on a SPE core

        How could SPE run an OS??

        I suppose you meant that SPE can be assigned under hypervisor control to do some computational heavy task. The hypervisor actually resides on the general purpose core, but has an SPE available to it exclusively to perform SPE suited task like encryption. Thats all.

        SPEs could do very narrow tasks only.
        • by tepples (727027)

          The hypervisor actually resides on the general purpose core, but has an SPE available to it exclusively to perform SPE suited task like encryption.

          Likewise, the new motion control peripheral would have exclusive use of an SPE to do its heavy lifting.

  • Back in 2004 Nintendo were famously going to extend the GC life cycle with new peripherals for the forseeable future [ign.com], including a mysterious EyeToy rival [gamesindustry.biz]. Said peripheral, presumably, turned into the Wii controller. So obviously this is an idea that's been considered in the past. I guess the GC seemed too aged, at the time, for them to actually go through with that.
  • The reason there's no new hardware from the console maker is that there is no new hardware from the chip makers. We hit the GHz ceiling a couple years ago, and as a result today's chips aren't better by enough to make it worthwhile.

    I suspect MS and Sony want to see where the multi-core thing is going (CPUs support a dozen complex threads, while GPUs support a few hundred simple threads.) Will one line of chips take over the other? Will we find masses of simple cores are better than a few complex cores?

    • The reason there's no new hardware from the console maker is that there is no new hardware from the chip makers. We hit the GHz ceiling a couple years ago, and as a result today's chips aren't better by enough to make it worthwhile.

      This is a myth. The clock speed of a processor isn't directly indicative of its performance, which has never stopped increasing.

      Each core in a Core i7, at 2.66Ghz, is faster than a whole 3.8Ghz Pentium 4 and uses a quarter of the power. There's no tradeoff between core count and speed, modern CPUs have both.

      • Yes, but it took us 3 years just to reach "faster". Back in the 90s, you could expect to get double the usable performance in less than two years. We should have had chips running running 2-4 times faster than they are now, but instead Intel has spent half the decade releasing 3 GHz chips, each one merely "faster" than the previous (except for the ones that are slower.) And it's all due to the GHz ceiling.

        Well, *I* call it the GHz ceiling. I suppose a more technical name might be "leakage-induced therma

        • by Spatial (1235392)

          But we can't get one to run at 6 GHz no matter how small we make it, so the only way to boost performance is it with multiple cores.

          It's not though. You can do a lot without increasing the clock frequency; more cores are one thing, but modern CPUs also perform much more instructions per clock, have larger caches and in some cases onboard memory controllers. These all help performance a lot.

          As for the slower high end advancement, I think it's more due to lack of competition than lack of technology. It's only very recently that AMD have become competitive even with Intel's C2D series. They've been competing on price. In the high e

      • Meh - my grandmother is faster than a Pentium 4, and only uses cups of tea for power.

  • Maybe this time they will have time to come down in price enough for me to actually be able to afford to buy one of each before the next generation comes around.
  • Motion controls are NOT lengthening the current console life cycle. That wasn't implied in the article and the notion itself is absurd. Analyst believe that because the console makers are devoting significant time and effort to producing new hardware for consoles that will be 3-4 years old by the time that hardware is released, it is a sign the console makers are planning on stretching out the usual console life cycle. Motion detection is not the cause. Motion detection hardware is being shown as eviden

  • by Alsee (515537)

    With the recent demonstrations of new 640K RAM computers, analysts now expect the current computer generation to last longer than normal. Signal Hill's Todd Greenwald thinks this cycle may not need to end at all: "Microsoft and Sony have invested so much in their current hardware line, as have third party publishers, that we don't think any party is seriously interested in throwing away these investments and starting over from scratch. For all of these reasons, we think this cycle will last longer than thos

  • As I see it the sensible next gen console step for MS and Sony is to just expand on their current technology rather than starting again from scratch and waiting 1-2 years for Developers to catch up.

    If Sony's PS4 was a PS3 with 2 cell chips and latest Nvidia Graphics (say 260 derived) and the Xbox (3?) upgraded to a 6-8 core power PC chip from the current 3 core device with latest generation ATI graphics (derived form their latest DirectX11 chip) then maintaining backwards comaptibility should be relative
  • by 8tim8 (623968) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:56AM (#28221009) Journal

    >... we don't think any party is seriously interested in throwing away these investments and starting over from scratch.

    Man, wouldn't it be funny if Nintendo did a hardware refresh in a year or so and called it a next generation machine? They could make it backwards compatible to the Wii, have simultaneous releases for both systems, but distract Sony and MS to no end. But would it be the Wii2, or the WiiII (or Wiii)?

  • From what we keep reading, we haven't even seen what the PS3 is really capable of. We keep hearing about games being made for Xbox360 then ported to PS3, with the Xbox360 being the baseline, etc.

    Also, with the new Metroid game, we finally see what the Wii is capable of and it's far from cartoony graphics.

    In any case, what matters is games and how far can developers push the hardware. I have a Wii for Zelda and Metroid games, and I'll probably be getting a PS3 to play FF XIV Online. I sure hope I can transfe

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Friday June 05, 2009 @01:14PM (#28224795) Homepage Journal
    I absolutely agree with the article. If they decide to go motion control, then my current console will last me as long as they continue manufacturing it because I have no interest in upgrading to motion control.
  • Uh huh ... and my car's observed fuel efficiency is what the manufacturer advertises it should be, CRTs used to have the viewable area that their advertisements said they did, hard drives last as long as the MTBF's listed in their specs... and I'm sure we'll all live happily ever after.

    If you pull my other leg it plays Jingle Bells.

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