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Is Console Gaming Dying? 496

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-consoles-when-you-can-play-on-your-phone-right dept.
mr_sifter writes "PC gamers love to obsess over whether PC gaming is dying, but bit-tech thinks it's time to look at the other side and examine if console gaming is really as secure as publishers would have us believe. All three console manufacturers suffered from the recession — this year, Sony announced its first net loss in 14 years; a stunning ¥989.9bn, which includes record losses of ¥58.5bn in its gaming sector. Microsoft also announced its first loss since it went public in 1986 in the second quarter of this financial year, with a $31 million US loss coming straight from the Entertainment and Devices division, which is responsible for the Xbox 360. Not even Nintendo has escaped the financial plague either, with sales of the Wii dropping by 67 percent in the US, 60 percent in Japan and 47 percent in the rest of the world. In addition to reduced profitability, casual games and the rise of the iPhone further suggest the current model is not invulnerable."
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:30PM (#30435706)

    Next question.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:31PM (#30435724)
    Perhaps if they charged less than $60 for a tier one new release, sales would go up.
  • by gzsfrk (519324) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:34PM (#30435776)
    What an ignorant story. We're in the middle of the worst recession/near depression that has ever occurred since videogames came to be, and it's somehow an ominous sign that the companies behind videogames experienced losses either during the whole year (Sony), a single quarter (MS), or simply had lower sales than the previous year PRIOR to the recession? How about looking at it from the perspective that it's amazing that the videogames sector has done as well as it has over the course of the past year, despite a tremendously inhospitable economic climate?
  • by TaggartAleslayer (840739) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:34PM (#30435784)

    Or it could be that we're in a global recession, it's been a rather lackluster year for gaming in general, and all of the consoles have reached the maturity/decline slope in their product life-cycle.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:42PM (#30435868) Homepage

    Yeah. Global economic meltdown + console sales expected to slow down as the generation goes on explains it.

    A 60% drop in sales for the Wii isn't exactly saying much considering the insane and unexpected "we can't keep up with demand" aka "license to print money" sales pace for the first year or two of the console's existence.

    Yeah, so it's not a license to print money any more - I'm sure Nintendo is still doing just fine.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:42PM (#30435872)

    I never got used to the stupid little joysticks and the A button, B button with no obvious functions. And back when i was trying them, there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason for which button did what.

    Add to that the fact that I can play a perfectly good game on my PC using superior controls (F-16 Fighterstick, etc.) and the rich keyboard environment for additional settings, consoles just never seemed to be good gaming option in the first place.

    I guess the only good reason for a console is that you can hook it up to a big screen TV and standing there, waving your arms around like a lunatic.

  • Anecdotally... no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brandee07 (964634) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:44PM (#30435912)

    Consoles aren't in any danger in my house, because I have ceased to maintain a gaming PC. I've switched to console gaming entirely- at the cost of the superior control scheme of Dragon Age, the third-party mods of Oblivion, and the keyboard-and-mouse input that I'm so familiar with. I gave that all up in order to get a game that I know will work when I get home, that won't disagree with my video card or run like a slideshow cause I don't have enough RAM.

    Console gaming is, in my opinion, stronger than ever. It just happens to be a recession and people are spending less on luxuries... like video games.

  • Re:Not for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:45PM (#30435930) Journal

    I find it hilarious that people spend hundreds of dollars on a Wii and then even more money on games and controllers and other shit, only to do stuff they could, you know, do in real life.

    What, like gripe in a real-live conversation instead of posting some stupid shit on slashdot?

    Pot meet kettle...

  • by Vorpix (60341) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:47PM (#30435950)

    there's two questions here:

    1) is GAMING dying?
    2) is CONSOLE GAMING dying?

    1. no. people continue to want to play games. it will only grow as current gamers grow older and have kids who become new gamers.

    2. no. while PC gaming will continue to have its niche market, especially in areas where keyboard and mouse have dynamic advantages (especially MMO and RTS games), console gaming makes modern games accessible to the masses who cannot (through lack of knowledge or lack of money) continually upgrade their PC's to keep up. Consoles give a consistent platform for several years where upgrading is not necessary, and games will "just work".

    Sure during recession all forms of entertainment will suffer cuts, but gaming is far from being alone here.

  • Re:Not for me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pluther (647209) <pluther@nOSpam.usa.net> on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:48PM (#30435966) Homepage

    I don't own a Wii, but I'm pretty sure there are several games available for it other than the "Wii Sports" to which you allude.

  • Console Games (Score:1, Insightful)

    by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:50PM (#30435994) Homepage

    Lets hope so, as PC games have been dumbed down to suit arcade button bash style for consoles, with a stream of terrible lazy titles over the last few years, & now you only purchase half a game & are sold the rest via micro payments.

    Added to this, is that once FREE user created content, is in the process of being blocked & turned into a micro payment hell.

    Also, you are now sold just a licence like the PSP Go titles & all downloaded content, so you can no longer sell, lend, take around to a friends house to play easily, give your software away for free or even sell the software when you sell your console as Sony's EULA for both the PS3 & PSP Go states you have to wipe your hard drive before you sell it or you could face criminal prosecution.

    Game consoles & greedy corporations like sony, microsoft, EA, etc are destroying the gaming industry through greed.
     

  • by Eil (82413) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:51PM (#30436006) Homepage Journal

    Is Console Gaming Dying?

    No.

    All three console manufacturers suffered from the recession -- this year

    All car manufacturers suffered from the recession. Is driving dying?

    Not even Nintendo has escaped the financial plague either, with sales of the Wii dropping by 67 percent in the US, 60 percent in Japan and 47 percent in the rest of the world.

    The Wii has been out for quite awhile too. Wii games (and therefore licensing) can continue to be massively successful, even if sales of the console peter out. You left out the fact that despite falling sales of the Wii (which can actually be a good thing if it indicates market saturation), Nintendo is actually the only one of the three that posted an overall profit.

    In addition to reduced profitability, casual games and the rise of the iPhone further suggest the current model is not invulnerable."

    Are you an idiot? The iPhone is not going to replace anyone's XBox, PS3, or Wii. Mobile phones, PC games, and console games all serve entirely different markets. None of these are going to take over the other in the foreseeable future. Stop trolling the easily-trolled Slashdot editors.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:53PM (#30436050)

    at the cost of the superior control scheme of Dragon Age

    Ha! Dragon Age on the X360 has made me consider putting together a proper gaming PC again. I beat the game (no, not on Casual setting), but micromanaging the battles through the radial wheel was tedium personified. And I never did figure out which direction on the D-pad changed the target selection in what way. There was a general dense of direction, but then it would do something unexpected, or select a target way offscreen.

    And, hey, Bioware? Maybe a little contextual influence on the target selection? Maybe? In the middle of the battle I don't need to select the locked chest 500 feet down the hallway, and I really don't need to loot the corpse of a fallen enemy right when a darkspwan is swinging an axe at my head. It's the little things like that that cry "polished" over "let's port this bitch over quickly". KTHX.

  • Re:Not for me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prockcore (543967) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:54PM (#30436060)

    Instead of writing that presumptuous post chastising some random guy you don't even know, you could've gone outside and we wouldn't have had to read your condescending bullshit.

  • Re:Not for me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pizzach (1011925) <pizzach@gmailTIGER.com minus cat> on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:56PM (#30436108) Homepage
    • Some games can be used at training simulators, instead of forcing you to lose golf balls or forcing other people to go after miss-thrown frisbees.
    • Not everyday is a sunny warm day. It could be raining, winter, etc.
    • Some people don't have the health to.
    • Some people like the tactile feel and required body dexterity compared to thumb games.
    • There are other types of games.
    • These is such a thing as matter of preference.

    In other words, under any of this situations you would come off as a jack-ass if you said just what you wrote. There is no holy grail way to play games.

  • Re:Not for me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pseudofrog (570061) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:02PM (#30436158)
    A video game isn't (normally) a replication of a real activity -- it's an activity in and of itself. Just because it is based on a sport doesn't mean it's a simulation intended to replace said sport. Using your logic, people who play ping pong ought to go play tennis since ping pong was inspired by tennis (IIRC).

    I don't really like bowling, but I like Wii Bowling. It's more convenient, cheaper, and much faster. Not to mention that I suck at bowling, and would have to invest a significant chunk of time and money to become proficient enough to actually enjoy it.

    I find it hilarious that people spend their valuable time on Slashdot arguing that others aren't wasting their time the correct way.
  • Re:I doubt it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:08PM (#30436244)
    I think you hit it on the head. Hard core gaming is dying not console gaming.

    I don't think that's true at all. "Hardcore" gaming (I hate that term) isn't declining, it's just being OVERSHADOWED by the massive growth in the entire gaming market. It's a smaller piece of a vastly larger pie. That may bother some egos, but isn't really a bad thing. Probably good for the industry.
  • Larger problem (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:14PM (#30436328)

    Look at the parallels to 1983.

    Too many consoles? Check. We have the Wii, Xbox360, PS2, and PS3 all jockeying. Back in 1984 it was Coleco, Vectrex, Atari and Mattel (plus a bunch of people making Atari/Mattel clones) battling it out.

    Loss of control of licensing? Well, sort of. It's not that there are nonlicensed titles, but the licensing is so wide open that the shovelware problem is just as bad. There are maybe (if you're optimistic) 20 good titles for the Wii, out of a selection of well over 300. Similar ratios exist for the other consoles (hell, there are maybe 5 good games for the PS3 at best).

    Overhyping and epidemic of crappy movie/TV license titles? Oh, you'd better fucking believe it. Activision are at the forefront of "crappy movie games", but there are plenty from other sources. Between those and overhyped "blockbuster" titles that can only get a high reviewer score if it's bought and paid for (one of the reasons Gamerankings now only aggregates from the few big Gamespot/IGN-level sites, rather than including honest sites that actually played the real game instead of partial publisher-provided demos with a promise of "everything you don't like will be fixed so review as if it was"), what do you expect?

    We had a minicrash a while back when Sega almost folded and turned themselves into a "software developer"; it's quite ironic that they're now primarily publishing on their former biggest rival's (Nintendo) console. Then again, no Sega game has been worthwhile in years; they even managed to crap up a few good Nintendo franchises (see F-Zero GX, a pale imitation of its predecessor).

    The only reason that yet another console manufacturer hasn't fallen out has been that they're all bankrolled. Nintendo is the "too big to fail" of Japan and are very canny about making sure none of their manufacturing is at a loss, even though their hardware is far inferior (gimmicky controller that rarely sees its features truly used notwithstanding) to the other two. Microsoft and Sony have deep, deep pockets. Sony isn't about to let the PS3 go when they're counting on it to push Blu-Ray (their proprietary format), just like they counted on the handheld camera market (Betacam) to push Beta and the PS2 to push DVD back when Sony was one of the 6 companies that held licensing interest in the DVD format.

    Outside answer? Yeah, we're looking at a crash. It may not be as total as the 1983 crash, but the market can't exist at the level of shovelware being pushed. Something has to give, a number of developers need to die, and certain overly abused lines need to get radically scaled back (Activision's yearly Tony Hawk crappings, for instance: after seeing Tony Hawk: Ride we might as well rename the series Tony Hawk: Bird Poo and get it over with).

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:17PM (#30436356) Homepage Journal

    It also seems like there are more games released for console that do not make it to PC than the other way around. I may be wrong on that due to not following PC only games

    You're right that you're wrong. Pretty much every shareware, freeware, or free software game for PC is a PC exclusive. If you thought Apple's App Store model wasn't friendly to small studios and individual developers, the model used by Sony and Nintendo (and for Xbox 360 games that use the console's advanced features) is far more of a hassle.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:24PM (#30436480) Homepage Journal

    IMO both console and PC gaming are dying - in a figure of speech.

    "Rise" of casual gaming now only further highlighted that gaming as many of us relate to it is a rather smallish niche of modern entertainment. For many people the idea that one has to spend hours and hours before screen (TV or PC display) only to learn controls - before s/he could enjoy a game - is simply absurd. E.g. I take my (now decade old) FPS skills for granted and even though I write this it is still hard for me to imagine why many people just can't "get it".

    The point is that we do not need skills to enjoy movies or TV shows. And the learning divide, for as long as it would exist, would be making gaming business vulnerable.

    Console gaming in that respect is even more vulnerable: PC gaming in a way is self-sustainable thanks to the fact that a gamer can become game developer rather easily. Console gaming on other side creates only consumers who depend completely on a business to provide entertainment to them.

    Though thanks to Nintendo's WiiMote (and following it Sony's Wand and MS' Natal) I'd say console business has a pretty good shot at making games more accessible. As business and market, they are still pretty strong and still manage to come up with something new.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:26PM (#30436504)

    The next question is: what exactly would the mechanism of "console gaming dying" be anyway? I would argue that the death of console gaming would/will have look like one of the following scenarios:

    1. Most of the "major" games will be released for the PC and not the consoles.
    2. New major consoles will not be released, eventually the consoles out there would lag so far behind PC that 1 would happen
    3. All major consoles will become so PC like that they will be indistinguishable and it will be pointless to talk about PC vs console

    1 doesn't seem to be happening, and I don't really see many signs that it will happen any time soon, there seem to be more releases of significant games for consoles than PC. I think everyone but the most ridiculous fanboys of a given console would agree that games -should- be released on all platforms that can support the game. I want to choose what platform to game on based on my needs and equipment, being denied a gaming experience because I don't have the right hardware, or having to choose hardware based on -artificial- game availability is not a good situation. (Emphasis on artificial. Obviously MS isn't going to release their Halo games on a nintendo console, and obviously I'm not expecting to run Crysis 2 on an NES.) So I hope that more games continue to be released on all platforms, PC and console.

    2. Consoles obviously aren't as powerful as PCs, but again, 1 seems far from happening. Already, the idea with MS at least seems to be delaying the next console for longer. If the next generation (and I mean the -actual- next generation, not the current xbox 360/PS3/wii generation which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "next gen") is still a loss for the console makers, I suppose they might decide to not release another one. Games would continue coming out for them for a while, but eventually enough customers would migrate away from the PC to where the consoles become obsolete. Games are to this day coming out for the PS2 [gamefaqs.com], and the next generation of consoles is undoubtedly going to be released, so it will be quite a few years before console gaming dries up completely.

    3. Doesn't seem very likely to me. Consoles are aimed squarely at people who want to plug in and play immediately, without messing around with hardware or software configurations. I think MS is having enough headaches with the optional hard-drive in the 360 that they're going to move away from even that, back to "one console, one hardware configuration." I don't see any signs from nintendo that they'll start making games that can run on both their hardware and other hardware, and given the sales of the wii, even with this recent decrease, they'd be nuts to do so any time soon.

    So I don't really see -how- console gaming could be dying. Slowing down temporarily, sure, but it's not like console gaming is a living thing, where if it's vitals (sales) drop low enough, the beast is going to die and not be revived.

    For the next next question I'd like to propose one of the following: do game journalists feel the need to declare "X is dying" -entirely- because it gets attention they're not getting otherwise? Do even they think that a trend like "sales declining" should be extrapolated to ridiculous extremes like "IT'S GOING TO DIE COMPLETELY!!!" [xkcd.com] Is rational commentary on videogames dying or did it ever even exist in the first place?

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lidocaineus (661282) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:54PM (#30436780)

    I didn't know F-Zero GX was so badly received - it appears to be fairly WELL received in fact. Are you talking about direct comparisons to the fun factor compared to the other versions, as if so, do you have any claims to back that up?

    I find Sega's situation completely disheartening however. They used to be all about really cool, slightly off-beat games, or REALLY well done "more normal" type games. It's really sad to see them in their current state where maybe a handful of interesting games per year comes from them anymore (MadWorld, HotD: Overkill, Valkyria) when they used to pump out game after game of awesomeness and originality.

  • Re:it's not dying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by windex82 (696915) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:55PM (#30436794) Homepage

    And you don't even have to leave your house to get the games.

    And you'll never be able to resell them. And, if Steam decides to ban you, you lose access to your entire library. Even if you're banned because someone stole your credit card, you have no recourse.

    No one I know resells their games anyway... PC or Console, if they didn't want to have it they would have rented it.


    Since everybody has a computer anyway, a $100 graphics card will get you better graphics than a console at a lower price than a console.

    On a much tinier screen, with a far less comfortable input device...and did I mention that your games will get progressively slower unless you plunk down $250 every year for a new video card? And if you have a laptop, you can't upgrade at all.

    I have 46 inches of useable space on my desktop, its just a matter of what you plug your screen into...

    And 250 a year? Not even close... try 250 everytime a console is release AND you get to play your existing games AND the new games. Too bad the console makes all your current games garbage....

    smart ass answer = Unless you're playing a 2D scroller, joysticks are for losers.

    Unless you're playing RTS or FPS, keyboards are for losers.

    (which pretty much just leaves scrollers and sports)

  • Re:it's not dying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:25PM (#30437172) Journal

    And you'll never be able to resell them. And, if Steam decides to ban you, you lose access to your entire library. Even if you're banned because someone stole your credit card, you have no recourse.

    So how does someone stealing my credit card get me banned exactly? Do I keep my steam password in my wallet? Or is because some cretinous thief tries every credit card they steal on steam in case they have an account? I know this would theoretically work but please, if you have my credit card you have a limited amount of time to extract as much cash as possible, if you then take it home and log in to my steam account by emailing Steam support then the Police now have a lovely electronic trail to follow. That is such a collossal risk I very much doubt anyone would bother unless they really wanted to see what bars look like on windows.

    I know many people bitch about steam banning them, but I have a sneaky suspicion they do one of the following which I never do:

    1) Download a game hack (Actually this only gets you banned from online gaming AFAIK)

    2) Try and resell or buy a resold game on ebay (Not sure if this gets you a ban, might just mean you wasted the money if you bought it)

    3) Lose their email address, username, password and previous bank account details all at the same time (not really a ban, you just lost the account).

    You might argue that these things should not get you banned, but I don't really care. I do not plan on doing 1 or 2 (even for that Operation Flashpoint crap I recently purchased) and 3 is impossible. If I lost my email account, username and password I would still know my previous credit card number from a statement, or by asking my bank.

    The people I do sometimes feel sorry for are people who use some wierd bit of PC optimisation software they do not understand or buy a game on ebay only to discover the reason it was so cheap was that it was previously used by a hacker. I know it is a bit harsh but as an honest net player who has never cheated I realise that if they bent the rules in any small way for niavity then the cheaters would just exploit this. Anyone who has read anything about trying to bypass should know that humans are often the weakest link and the social engineering can often net the best results.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:26PM (#30437188) Journal

    If you have to spend "copious amounts of cash every year" to upgrade your rig, then you're doing it wrong. A well thought-out build should easily last several years, or, about the same lifespan of a similarly priced console. You're doing nothing more than throwing out the same tired argument that technologically impaired people have been using for the last decade. Consoles are a great option if you don't like to have control or options, that is it.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:33PM (#30437258)

    "Rise" of casual gaming now only further highlighted that gaming as many of us relate to it is a rather smallish niche of modern entertainment.

    Small niche? Some of the biggest games are making more than movie releases nowadays. Would you consider movies a "smallish niche of modern entertainment"?

    (BTW, I don't say this as a hardcore gamer... I'm just barely a gamer at all, I have a PS2 I got only a few years ago, and have I think way less than 20 games.)

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Archr5 (1097341) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:42PM (#30437402)
    You seem to be a little scattered with what you're saying, but the gist seems to be "of course there will be a crash, look at all the crappy games that are coming out."

    What you're failing to notice is that those "Crappy games" are selling... What we're seeing now are Once great publishing houses (Midway, etc) that have too much overhead and outstanding debt to function in the low effort - high reward shovelware market.

    That's not a sign that the market is failing, it's a sign that Some publishers aren't lean enough to hack it and they're going to falter as a result.

    You can crap on Activision all you want because Tony Hawk: Ride was bad. But they made $550,000,000, in FIVE DAYS by releasing Modern Warfare 2. And don't think they aren't constantly raking in the World of Warcraft dollars... Most of what Activision puts out is garbage, but as long as projects mostly cover their costs, and the company as a whole doesn't put too much money on one horse, they'll be fine.

    The bottom line is, it's a recession. Every industry is seeing large declines, (the average is something like 18%) and will this kill off some poorly structured developers/ absolutely, Is it a "Crash" or does it spell the doom of console gaming? Absolutely not.

    Even if developers die, the Platforms will go on.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subsolar2 (147428) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:54PM (#30437572)

    I doubt that he meant $400 (amount sited by person he replied to).

    But he is right, if your upgrading every year, then you are doing it wrong by buying the cheapest components that will just barely play current games right now. I built my gaming system three years ago and spent about $1200 (system, keyboard, mouse, new LCD) and just now starting to feel some performance issues.

    A 360 does not cost $300, it costs $300 + $50/year for Live + $10 extra each game over PC + $600 for HD TV + $50 for an additional controller + $30 x 2 for chatpads or about $1300 in three years.

    Don't tell me console gaming is any cheaper as I happen to own both.

    Don't say "well you can use your regular HD TV" and I say my wife & kids would like to watch their TV programs, or "you don't need a HD TV" and I tell you it sucks as I've had to suffer playing games that the text is unreadably small on a SD TV.

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:55PM (#30437592)

    Did you not note that I pointed out DVD was in the PS2 for the same reason?

    Sony has a hand in the design of Blu-Ray. They, along with a set of other companies who also "contribute", gain a certain amount from the royalties on discs/players adhering to the blu-ray format, the same way they were connected to DVD.

    Sony's setup has always been this way. They never implement an open, universal standard unless they absolutely, positively have to. Look at the amazing number of "standards" they've tried to develop themselves (Beta vs VHS, Compact Disc they had a hand in, DAT, Video8/Hi8, Minidisc vs Philips Digital Compact Cassette, Sony ATRAC vs MP3, Sony SACD vs DVD-Audio, MMCD vs SuperDensity till they gave in and "contributed" their patents to merge EFMPlus into the DVD standard with Toshiba, Memory Stick Duo vs SD, SDDS "Sony Digital Dynamic Sound" versus DTS and Dolby Digital, and of course the craptacular UMD format). Their goal is to make their proprietary "standard" the industry standard, and rake in the royalties, not unlike Microsoft's "embrace, extend, destroy" philosophy concerning open standards.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:20PM (#30437938)

    What ailing movie industry?

    http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/12/13/2254218 [slashdot.org]

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:44PM (#30438248) Journal

    Well lets see....I gave my 2006 era PC (3.6GHz P4, 2Gb of RAM, 7600GT) to my oldest and he is currently playing L4D on it and it sure looks nice to him. Granted that's not Crysis, but he hasn't seen anything newer that he wants ATM so I can't answer how Crysis would run. But of course he also uses it to chat with his friends, watch Youtube, check his emails, etc. My 2004 era PC (Socket 478 2.8Ghz Celeron, 2GB of RAM, X1950) is currently playing MMOs for his little brother, AuraRose and Lunia I do believe, along with the Youtube and reading up on Wii games (cause the little twerp figured out he is getting one for Xmas)

    See to me that is the big difference between the PC and consoles, in that after it is done with gaming duty it can just get passed along to another member of the family who will be quite happy with it. In fact my gaming PC from a decade ago (733Mhz Compaq with 384Mb of RAM and an MX4000) is STILL going and makes a perfect web surfing and video watcher for my mom. My current PC (AMD 925 quad, 8Gb of RAM, 750Gb HDD, ATI 4650 1Gb, Win7 HP X64) cost me $750 before rebates and probably around $625 after, and frankly since PCIe seems to be the standard going for quite awhile I figure it'll be probably 5 years or more before it gets to be a hand me down.

    So considering the fact that I am not only able to game with it, but I am watching NCIS over a USB TV Tuner right now (The new Windows Media Center is reaaallly nice!) and checking my email after just ordering my GF's Xmas present (yes I know I'm a late shopper, but I went fast shipping and will get it here by Friday) and posting here on /. I really do think it is a good value for the $$$, don't you? Oh and let us not forget mods are actually FREE on the PC and can keep a game fresh for years, like the Freelancer I was playing last night. So much better IMHO than being nickel and dimed to death over every little addon....errr I mean DLC.

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RedK (112790) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:54PM (#30438386)
    The 3 1/2 floppy disagrees with you. Not to mention, like you say, a lot of companies are part of the Blu-ray association and as such, if every maker of Blu-ray devices is part of it, no one charges royalties. Like DVD, Blu-ray is very much design by committee with no one company controlling it. This is the exact opposite of proprietary.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:07PM (#30438534)

    The point is that we do not need skills to enjoy movies or TV shows. And the learning divide, for as long as it would exist, would be making gaming business vulnerable.

    I have to disagree with this point. I first began to avoid watching TV 7 years ago as a bet with a roommate in college, and it's been long enough that I have "unlearned" the attention span needed for the pattern of commercial breaks in a show. If I try to watch a show now with family, the (from my viewpoint) constant interruption is extremely irritating, but it's just normal to everyone else.

    The skills for TV are so ingrained in most of us that we don't even know they are there unless we get rid of them.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbhacking (979169) <[moc.oohay] [ta] ... isiurc_tuo_neeb]> on Monday December 14, 2009 @10:35PM (#30439446) Homepage Journal

    I still have to take issue with your $600 "for HD TV" though. First, there's absolutely no reason to buy a TV - all the better flatscreen computer monitors have HDMI (or DVI, a simply adapter from HDMI) and if necessary you can get an adapter to output VGA from the Xbox 360 (though at that point the money is probably better spent on a high-quality display). Such a monitor, capable of at least 1920x1080 (1080p, i.e. full HD) will cost well under $300 for 32" if you take the time to shop around a bit (I've seen as low as $240). If you need bigger they're available, although selection decreases. You either need one with speakers or a decent set of external speakers, either of which will add no more than $50 to the price tag. Throw in $6 for a HDMI cable + shipping (they're vastly cheaper online than the hideously overpriced Monster cables you find at electronics stores) and you're talking at worst about $400.

    If you're going to use it the same way you do PC gaming - that is, primarily single-player or online - you can get a nice 24" display (with 1080p and HDMI) for under $200. In fact, you may not even need another display - just use the one connected to your PC. It's not like you'll be using the PC at the same time, and you presumably already have a good monitor and adequate audio setup. For that matter, it's probable that such a system will be adequate for 2 people (you mentioned buying only one additional controller) provided the space its in has room for a second chair.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqlrob (173498) on Monday December 14, 2009 @10:36PM (#30439450)

    Don't have Live, so no cost there.

    How much for used games for the PC, and where can I walk in and buy some?

    No chat controller either.

  • by Hacker_PingWu (1561135) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @12:31AM (#30440336)
    With both the PS 3 and especially the XBox 360, you still have driver/firmware problems, and have to download updates from PSN or XBox LIVE to fix them (e.g., you cannot play most video codecs on the XBox 360 without downloading a firmware patch. If you want to play most burned media from a PC and don't have a LIVE account, you're mostly screwed). You still have to download updates to your console to utilize expanded content for games (e.g., to play DLC for Fallout 3, at least for 360, you need to install a patch. Map packs for Halo, etc.). You may not have to deal with keys not working, but for what you gain for not having that, you lose tenfold in hardware issues/failures and restrictive online user agreements. Like being banned from XBox Live if your console is modded. Or unknowingly exploiting a glitch while playing online (http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=17039).

    Hardware failures, like all of the problems XBox 360s have had with overheating, failures/RROD, and permanently damaging game discs by etching the read surface when given the slightest poke while running. PS 3 hasn't been free of its share of hardware problems, with several hardware recalls over crashes/black screens the first week of release to similar issues about a year ago with the new firmware implementation. And unlike consoles, where your entire system is shot not if, but when you have an issue - PCs usually only have issues with specific applications or hardware, that does not cripple the entire system. And if the problems you have *do* cripple the system, it's almost always through a mistake of your own doing. Many older, but *new/unused* PC games can be had for $20 or less... the whole Civilization IV collection on Steam, for example... I don't buy that you're reselling your used games for the same price. But if it's true, then you live in a very different world than the rest of console gamers throughout the world. And new console games cost 1.5 to 2x the cost of most new PC games.

    You may be satisfied with the current graphics level, and that's fine. But once the development cycle for the PS 3 or any other console ends in a couple of years, you need to buy a whole new box - instead of simply needing a new graphics card for a PC... and that's *if* you need to upgrade, instead of your card lasting another 2-3 years. And with the new current generation of consoles, and likely future generations to come: your price of admission is roughly equal, and often exceeds that of a PC. XBox 360 system (not the striped down "Core" package) cost $400 at launch. The PS 3 cost $499 for the 20 GB model, and $599 for the 60 GB model at launch, and was marketed as a tool to store and watch video, play music, and browse the internet... in other words, an overpriced, gimped PC. Future console releases are likely to cost as much, if not more at launch.

    For roughly the past decade, a sturdy decent PC that would last for a good 4-5 years without needing a major overhaul never cost more than $500. 4-5 years being longer than the average 2-3 year life cycle of consoles. For the past 5ish years, a sturdy decent PC capable of playing any game you could want and last for a good 4-5 years+ without needing only a small upgrade here or there afterward should only cost $400. And if it to you 'everything seems to be released for consoles' you simply aren't fluent/aware of the PC game market, which has *always* had a higher volume of releases - if not all of them massively publicized - even if we only consider corporate releases and ignore mods, and ignore the plethora of free small games and browser apps. This is even more true commercially with interfaces such as the Steam engine making publication of inexpensive, Indy titles much more accessible.

    You don't escape most of the problems PCs can have when you use consoles, they only change form & become the manufacturer's problem. And it makes sense, because it's all computer hardware we're talking about anyway, console hardware
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by happyemoticon (543015) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @02:22AM (#30441018) Homepage
    • Children pick up video games very quickly. Children are naturally drawn to video games of all kinds because the idea of moving a controller and having something on a screen respond is almost magical to a child. Don't you remember being a child?
    • There is a constant supply of children.
    • Old people die.
    • Therefore, both the amount and percentage of people who can play real games is constantly increasing.

    Once you know how to play one game in a particular genre you're pretty much set. Only once in a while do you encounter a game with a real learning curve, like Demon's Souls or Ninja Gaiden, and even then, gamers will STILL play them because it's actually refreshing to feel like you're LEARNING rather than just storming in and facerolling a bunch of bad guys who are trivially different from the ones in the last game.

    Furthermore, developers won't stop making hardcore games because the casual space is bigger (and I doubt it is, because hardcore gamers buy MANY more games per year). As long as there's enough of a market to make a profit, there will be games. Look at Galactic Civilizations 2, or Sins of a Solar Empire, or EVE Online. There aren't as many people who want to conquer the galaxy as there are people who want to stop terrorists in Modern Warfare II, but the games are there because the customers are there.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:33AM (#30441894)

    It's rather sad that you realise in the first half of your post that a direct PC/console comparison is stupid, and then continue to make the same stupid comparison further down.

    The idea that an extra $300 will make a general use PC capable of gaming better than a console is laughable. They're different platforms, sticking a decent graphics card in wont make up for the fact that a console is dedicated to gaming (as you note earlier on) is exactly what allows it to run better games at better framerates well after it's spec drops below the average spec of a PC.

    The generic nature, the nature of the fact PCs can have an unlimited amount of addons is what cripples them in terms of gaming performance, the various generic buses capable of handling a plethora of different addons is what acts as a bottleneck in relation to buses dedicated to transferring game related data between game related hardware.

    Don't be an idiot and try and turn the perfectly "you can't make a direct comparison" argument into an attempt to show the PC as somehow superior- use it for what it is, an argument that simply points out you can't make a direct comparison. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages for it's specific purpose, each has a different price point. The very idea that you can get more gaming bang for buck out of a PC compared to dedicated gaming hardware is quite simply false otherwise they'd simply put in standard PC components all the way through rather than have custom built processors, motherboards and graphics cards. The benefit of the PC is although you get much lower bang per buck in terms of gaming, as you correctly state to start with, you can do fuck loads more than just gaming with it.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bronney (638318) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:40AM (#30441926) Homepage

    Same here bro, last time I tried to watch some TV during dinner I got so pissed off by the commercials I torrented the whole season.

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BeardsmoreA (951706) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @07:42AM (#30442470) Homepage
    Seriously, this is the way it goes:
    • Kid - pocket money + xmas presents, little knowledge - consoles
    • Student - loans + part time job, knows enough to throw a rig together, happy to pirate all software - PC
    • Working Adult - disposable income, what little time available for hobbies precious, DOES NOT WANT THE HASSLE: back to consoles

    That's the path that I and most of my peer group at work (for major IT name) have followed, and I'd give 50:50 odds you're in the middle segment at the moment. When you realise that you just cannot be bothered fighting whatever copy protection is stopping you playing that legally purchased disc in your hand, and you've got too much to lose to torrent the new release of Windows, maybe things will look different.
    Maybe I'm wrong, and the upgrade cycle is really your hobby, with gaming an occasional bonus - that's the other way to go.

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @09:46AM (#30443250)

    A lot of the stuff they put out is partnerships and they participate in many of the industry standard committees.

    Yes, so that they can get their patents included in the "standard." It's part of the ongoing barrier-to-entry collusion on the part of the "standards committees"; if you're part of the committee, you generally have some form of patent-access trade so that you can produce the "standard-based" equipment with no patent cost. If a new guy wants to come along and enter the market, the "standards committee" members (of which $ony is one) all agree to hike their access costs to an exorbitant amount to keep real competition out of the marketplace.

    They've sectioned up the market quite nicely to themselves, really. Note how LG is given de facto control of the entry-level segment, as long as they agree to not compete higher up.

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