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How the PC Is Making Consoles Look Out of Date 568

Posted by Soulskill
from the reaching-hardware-limits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What has been clear from this year's Game Developers Conference is that consoles are beginning to show their age. With nothing beyond a possible Nintendo update on the horizon, developers at this year's GDC have turned their eyes to the PC. The article includes three videos that give a fantastic insight into where PC graphics are headed, including a version of Epic's Unreal engine, Crytek's Cryengine 3, and DICE's Frostbite 2 engine. Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."
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How the PC Is Making Consoles Look Out of Date

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  • Not only graphics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devxo (1963088) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:13PM (#35433666)
    You also need a PC with keyboard and mouse for precise controls. That's something consoles don't offer. There is no way you can use console to shoot me as fast as I can shoot you with a mouse. As soon as I see you, you are dead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      Actually the Wiimote is pretty good for aiming, once you get used to it. Only flaw is turning is slow.
      • by Superken7 (893292)

        I used to think that, too. I currently have a Wii and an Xbox and guess what: I find shooters to be more precise with the xbox controller. (the technique, of course, is totally different (less natural) but more precise in the end)

        I would have never thought that I would find it to be that way. Its surprising and I still don't know why it is, but its true for me.

        • Re:Not only graphics (Score:4, Interesting)

          by causality (777677) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:44PM (#35434132)

          I used to think that, too. I currently have a Wii and an Xbox and guess what: I find shooters to be more precise with the xbox controller. (the technique, of course, is totally different (less natural) but more precise in the end)

          I would have never thought that I would find it to be that way. Its surprising and I still don't know why it is, but its true for me.

          It's possible that I have a bias here because most gaming I do is on a PC. I am therefore open to suggestions that I may not perceive it that way if I had equal experience with each kind of input device. Having said that, at least in my personal experience I know no better controller for something like a 1st-person shooter than a keyboard and mouse. It seems like with an Xbox-style controller I can be either fast or precise depending on the sensitivity setting, but it is quite difficult to achieve both. It often ends up being a balance or a trade-off.

          With a mouse I can be slow and precise or I can be fast and precise. It is far easier, for me, to suddenly turn around and get a fast yet accurate headshot against an enemy alien (or whatever) with a mouse. With an Xbox-style controller I often barely miss the headshot and end up getting myself killed or having a big struggle that could have been a fast encounter.

          I think it's partly because the mouse can cover more ground more swiftly. I can flick it across the mousepad in a fraction of a second. I can also suddenly stop its movement and the cursor instantly stops with it. Also, a mouse cursor usually has an acceleration setting that makes the sensitivity setting less important. With an Xbox-style controller it seems more important during gameplay to maintain a positional advantage, i.e. to get the drop on an enemy. With a mouse and keyboard I feel more like my reflexes and ability to pay attention are the primary limitations.

          The comparison you raise is interesting to me. I have hardly ever used a Wii and even then I have never tried playing a 1st-person shooter. I think for a shooter the Wii controller may be hamstrung because the one-handed controller is trying to provide the functionality for which a PC would use two hands, one on a mouse and the other on a keyboard. For that reason I can see why you would say the Xbox controller is better albeit less natural.

          • I think for a shooter the Wii controller may be hamstrung because the one-handed controller is trying to provide the functionality for which a PC would use two hands, one on a mouse and the other on a keyboard. For that reason I can see why you would say the Xbox controller is better albeit less natural.

            No, the problem with the Wiimote is that either the turn function has to be on the control stick, or on the pointer. If on the control stick, you're back to control stick limits for turn speed. If it's on

            • by Mekabyte (678689)
              Games like the upcoming Conduit 2 get around the off-screen problem by using the Wii Motion Plus gyroscope for directional input when pointer information is missing. They also have a button mapped to 180 degree turn.
          • Re:Not only graphics (Score:4, Informative)

            by bberens (965711) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:32PM (#35434828)
            I've always been of the opinion that it doesn't matter much, PC or Console for FPS type games. If everyone is playing from the same (or similar) input devices, then everyone is on equal footing. There is no "mouse point and click" on the console, so if PC provides more accurate input, so what? That doesn't mean that the console requires more or less skill than the PC version of a game, it just means that the two different versions are slightly different in that regard. The last time I was really into a FPS was when Counter Strike was still fairly new on XBox. I had some friends who were big PC players and they would always tout that if we could play against each other (them on PC, me on XBOX) then they'd roast me. That's probably true, but if we were both on XBOXes I probably would have roasted them. It didn't make much difference to me one way or the other.
        • by chammy (1096007)
          That could be because of the heavy autoaim you get in any game that has a regular controller. With most of the Wii shooters I've played there isn't much in the way of autoaim. At least not as much as something like Halo or COD.
    • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:18PM (#35433740) Homepage Journal

      Doesn't matter, as long as your opponents have the same limitations. It's still frustrating at times, but it got me out of the PC upgrade cycle for a while, and it's been a good experience. Console graphics of this generation have definitely been approaching "good enough" in my book, and the next generation will definitely last a good while too. Even in PC gaming recently there haven't been many games pushing the latest hardware to the limits.

      • by rainmouse (1784278) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:31PM (#35433928)

        Even in PC gaming recently there haven't been many games pushing the latest hardware to the limits.

        Thats usually because most PC games are being held back by developers pandering to console version limitations from the very start of the development cycle.

    • by nametaken (610866)

      History tells us that most people don't care, and happily forgo that in favor of simplicity, equal rigs and a lower cost. The advantage of superior controls on a PC is irrelevant to them.

      • Re:Not only graphics (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dc29A (636871) * on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:46PM (#35435038)

        I had a PS3, tried the whole "ditch PC gaming for consoles" trend. Didn't work for me for many reasons:
        - Don't like console controller. I could never get used to it.
        - No complex strategy games like Civilization, no good RTS games, very few decent RPG games.
        - No good MMOs.

        So I got a new SB 2500K rig, never been happier. Steam/Impulse are fantastic, and new PC hardware is not expensive at all (unless you want to go into multi screen / Extreme CPU setups). For the common layman like me, a midrange quad core with a midrange video card is all I need.

    • by Decessus (835669)
      Except precise controls have never been something that most people who play video games cares about. It's really not that much of an advantage except in twitch games like multiplayer COD. You certainly don't need pin point precision for rpg games, platformers, action adventure games, ect. They just need to be good enough.

      The biggest perceived advantage that a console has over a PC is ease of use. There is no installation to worry about. You simply put the CD in the drive and play. You also don't have
      • There is no installation to worry about. You simply put the CD in the drive and play.

        Should I assume you don't have a PS3 or Xbox 360?

      • by ifrag (984323)

        You also don't have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars on upgrades in order to play the latest games.

        Unless you intentionally buy the BARE MINIMUM components on an upgrade then the PC is going to be good for years likely. So yes, if you go into a PC upgrade with extreme penny pinching then maybe you'll need another upgrade soon. No serious gamer with some discretionary income should be doing that, as that will waste far more money in the long term. Spend on the video card and the box will perfo

    • I'd say the ~200 million market is safe, and will be the "platform" at least until 2015, when the Wii 2, Playstation 4, and Xbox 1080 arrive on the scene and blow PC graphics out of the water (or at least consoles are on par with PC).

      It's a cycle and it's been happening for 30+ years now. PCs have always been more advanced, but then a new console arrives every ~5 years and comes close to what a PC can do. The console remains dominant.

    • by tuffy (10202)

      Precise controls at first-person shooters and strategy games, at least. Keyboard and mouse are completely inadequate for other genres such as racing (where a wheel would be best), platforming (analog stick), golf (motion control), fighting (multi-button arcade stick) and so on.

      They're certainly not a solution for everything.

    • by Symbha (679466)

      I gotta say, you really seemed to have missed the point.

      I would much prefer to sit on the couch, and play a shooter on the 60" against other people sitting on their couches, with the exact same hardware that I have. Even if it means I can't aim quite as good as I could with the keyboard and mouse. But not if the games on my pc look so much better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chammy (1096007)
        I'd rather sit in my comfy computer chair, chat with friends on Teamspeak as well as in-game chat, and alt tab out of the game to browse the web inbetween rounds. It's not so much the graphics, its the convenience of being able to do more than just sit there and play games.
    • by mldi (1598123)
      I tend to tense up my hands when playing intense video games (like a fast-action highly competitive FPS). This inevitably leads to repetitive motion injuries for me. I've tried to train myself to relax more, but I just can't make it happen with a mouse.

      That isn't the only reason I prefer consoles, but it's a contributing factor. Of course, there are exceptions (Super Meat Boy on consoles KILLS my hands).
  • There was a time when Sega, Nintendo and Sony would all design unique hardware. Later on these unique designs became less common, and now thanks to consoles like the Xbox, the common design is an intel chip (or IBM), a standard PC graphics card, etc.

    It's going to take a quantum leap in hardware design in my opinion. They can start with moving away from DVDs and going to solid state storage. They can go the fastest possible read, write, access times, for ram and data transfer speed between the different chip

    • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:18PM (#35433734) Homepage Journal

      There was a time when Sega, Nintendo and Sony would all design unique hardware. Later on these unique designs became less common, and now thanks to consoles like the Xbox, the common design is an intel chip (or IBM), a standard PC graphics card, etc.

      er

      Wii :
              * CPU: PowerPC-based "Broadway" processor, made with a 90 nm SOI CMOS process, reportedlyâ clocked at 729 MHz[120]
              * GPU: ATI "Hollywood" GPU made with a 90 nm CMOS process,[121] reportedlyâ clocked at 243 MHz[120]
              * "Starlet", part of the Hollywood package: an ARM926EJ-S processor reportedlyâ clocked at 243 MHz.[122]

      PS3 :
      CPU 3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine with 1 PPE & 7 SPEs
      550 MHz NVIDIA/SCEI RSX 'Reality Synthesizer'

      XBox 360 :
      CPU 3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon
      500 MHz ATI Xenos

      Not really off the shelf parts you'd find in a Dell!

      • by shoptroll (544006) *

        Certainly not off the shelf components, but IBM and ATI made a boat load of money off this generation of hardware that's for sure.

    • by click2005 (921437) * on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:18PM (#35433736)

      Its not that PCs make consoles out of date really. The higher cost of the more powerful consoles required MS & Sony to subsidize the initial cost and to justify it by making them seem a longer term investment. PCs are very easily upgradable.

      I'd bet that the next gen MS console will be a MIPS/ARM CPU system with GPU modules that can be upgraded. It'll run WindowsEntertainmentOS (a combination of WindowsMediaPlayer, DirectX and Windows 8/9). It'll be like a PC but locked down so the media/games industry won't moan too much. People are only just buying 1080p now. PCs took a big step backwards when LCDs became dominant. CRT monitors had much higher resolutions.

      In the future you wont buy games you'll buy game engines then 'rent' the level/texture/map data which is only available via a steam-like streaming service. It'll kill most piracy and that hated second-hand games market. They might allow games to be sold but only if they get a percentage.

    • You're just describing a PC basically. Consoles are good because they're simple. Developers only have to handle one set of specs and can fine tune the end experience just the way they want. Customers (parents, gift givers) know that their games will work as intended on their system.

      With a little more RAM and a modern day graphics card the PS3 and Xbox 360 could easily do beautiful high framerate 1080p 3D gaming. The current gen of consoles has lasted for a decent while because they're already "good enough"

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Here's a hint: At their heart, they're still a "PC" inside.

        Yes, it's a PPC CPU driving the lot of the current gen. Yes, the PS3 has extra stream processors.

        But, in the end, the only thing that makes them special/different is a constrained set of device interfaces to code to combined with some strictly applied DRM on the system (I'd say "hardware" DRM, but PS3's don't really have that, now do they?). If you explicitly defined NVidia or AMD as the only GPU vendor, picked an explicit part in that lineup, did

        • I'm aware of all that, but it doesn't really change any of what I said.. locking down hardware does have an appeal in certain scenarios. The strategy works well in a few markets, the most obvious ones I can think of right now being consoles and Apple products. So clearly it must offer something attractive to the average consumer, and sometimes even to geeks.

          In the case of consoles, fixed hardware appeals to the geeks that are bored of "my CPU/GPU combo can get 20 fps on Crysis!" ePenis displays. In the case

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Exactly. I just finish Dead Space 2 on the XBox. Stunning looking game even blown up on a 65" screen. I need to spend another $1000 so I can get some extra lighting effects?

        The only upgradability I can see for a console is things that would not stop any game from running on any console regardless of the upgrades installed. For example, maybe buying more RAM for the system or graphics card. The game could take advantage of the extra RAM if it's there, otherwise just default to the base level.

        Eh... even typin

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:43PM (#35434102) Journal

      It's going to take a quantum leap in hardware design

      You mean the smallest possible change?

    • by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:53PM (#35435128)

      Could it work? Certainly. Could it be sold for under a couple grand? Doubtful.

      Consoles used to be able to beat computers for gaming value simply because computers weren't really designed for gaming. Now computers are arguably designed _solely_ for gaming. That's the real test. If you look at the marketing for high end desktop components, it's almost all about gaming and multimedia. The only way for consoles to remain a better value is to either have the console as a loss leader or to lower the price through volume - but even with volume, a console would have a hard time doing much better than Dell. Yes, making something really revolutionary would be great too, but no matter what, you'll mostly be running PC hardware. It's already build for gaming; why reinvent the wheel?

      There's a reason we don't have things like cartridges on PCs already, and that is because optical media is good enough. And cheap. Nobody is going to pay a premium for games on cartridges, because there's just no benefit to it. Blu-ray can already read data at 288Mbps+. Do you really need more than that right now? You don't need anything near that fast to read video data for full 1080p, so even with massive resolutions you should have plenty of data left for the game itself. If you're reading and writing, then yes, solid state is great. But for read-only data, there's no reason right now to move beyond Blu-ray.

      What consoles really need to do is be simple. Realize that people aren't buying a console to have the latest and greatest high-tech gaming system anymore - they're buying one so that they can have a system that's easy to connect, easy to use, and that they can play with their friends. Especially playing with friends - focus on the ability of a console to easily have 4 players (or more) in the same room. Hell, throw two video cards into it so it can output to 2 TVs, and have 8 controller ports. That's something you'll never see a computer do. Basically, make the gaming console a _social_ device.

    • by labradore (26729)

      Your idea is a gaming geeks dream and a business manager's nightmare. Consoles are popular for consumers, publishers and developers because they offer standardized, large market platforms for the game products. Games cost tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. You have to amortize that cost over a lot of copies. Third party publishers can afford to put new games on two of three console platforms because it makes sense to add 25% to the production effort to net a 33% increase in potential ma

  • we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games.

    Until the average person is willing to spend six or seven hundred dollars on a media center PC to play games, I'd imagine. It really doesn't matter how good the graphics are if you're viewing it on a 17" computer screen. Most people don't want to be stuck in front of a computer when they play games. They want to be in their living rooms, sharing the experience with others.

    • What about putting the PC in the living room, jack it to the TV if its screen is larger than the PC's, and plug more than one controller? There are infrared peripherals for PCs, there are HDMI/SVGA/S-Video/Whatevs sockets, there's everything.
      • What about putting the PC in the living room, jack it to the TV if its screen is larger than the PC's, and plug more than one controller? There are infrared peripherals for PCs, there are HDMI/SVGA/S-Video/Whatevs sockets, there's everything.

        Besides the higher price, bulkier setup, and all the issues related with maintaing a PC, what other benefits do you see here that a console doesn't offer?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Osgeld (1900440)

          you can run what you want on it without fear that the sony goons are going to kick in your door and take all your shit

        • by chammy (1096007)
          The ability to play any video codec, browse the web, play mods, and do other tasks impossible on a console?
        • by mangu (126918)

          Besides the higher price, bulkier setup, and all the issues related with maintaing a PC, what other benefits do you see here that a console doesn't offer?

          Hmm, let's see. How about running all your PC applications? I could never really understand why someone who already has a PC at home needs a console.

          I will turn your question around: What benefits does a console offer that a PC doesn't? This is anecdotal, but everyone I know that has a console is someone who has some difficulty in maintaining a computer. If you have a PC you don't need a console.

          If you have limited specifications, you can do with a netbook plus a console, and the total cost will be lower t

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)

      I don't have anyone to share with you insensitive clod! *sob*

    • They want to be in their living rooms, sharing the experience with others.

      Absolutely. I used to scoff at consoles, but their value is in the fun of the games. The obsession with graphics, framrate, and horsepower doesn't necessarily translate to a better experience. It's like arguing that 3D makes movies better. One of the most fun games to play is Super Smash Bros. It's not cutting edge technology, its just . As long as there are people who are only playing games for fun, and just want to put a di
      • Re:Until.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:32PM (#35433948)

        Fun fact, you can play those games on a PC in the living room. The Wii emulator dolphin can do HD. Which a real wii cannot.

        • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@NospAm.anasazisystems.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:49PM (#35434244)

          A wii-emulating dolphin!? Good god, what is this, Johnny Mnemonic?

        • Fun fact, you can play those games on a PC in the living room.

          Absolutely true. However, while setting up a media center PC is no big deal to you or most of slashdot, it's intimidating for a lot of people. There are people who enjoy video games, but do not not enjoy technology. (These are not the people of slashdot :-) It is for the non-tech people, who I think outnumber the other, that consoles are meant for. Now, in 20 years when the current generation who was raised with technology is parenting, t
  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:16PM (#35433710)

    I quit playing console games last year and switched to PC games. I credit the release of StarCraft II. I had to get a video card for my PC for the first time in years. I have all three current gen consoles and they are now mostly for streaming video.

    • It really is a cycle go back generations now.
      Lets go with the Pong System (A Console system that played one game) As well a few other Custom game consoles
      Then the Apple and Atari (I am going to classify the Atari as a computer is it was marketed as such) where the Personal computer was used to play games the advantage was multiple games.
      Then the Nintendo console (Cheaper then a full computer and played multiple games)
      386 and VGA PCs (256 colors, fast computer... Wolfinstien 3d, Doom, then added CDROM etc.

  • Said many times (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:17PM (#35433720)

    But I still prefer console. A PS3 at that. Sony may be evil.. and they may gradually strip out features people have already paid for and do all manner of slimey underhanded stuff.. but as long as I can play every day shooter and plants vs zombies and the occasional "real" game.. I'm happy.

    Console is nice because it's consistent. My PS3 is probably for the most part identical to yours. I don't have to worry about how much ram I have or my video card to know I'm getting the full, intended experience.

    The bleeding edge "every last FPS" stuff may end up moving to PC, but I think consoles will still have a place for people like me who want to just buy something and start playing.

    • by Jorl17 (1716772)
      "And they may gradually strip out features people have already paid for and do all manner of slimey underhanded stuff"

      That's just like what Valve and Microsoft do. Some people are already used to that lowlife.
      • That's just like what Valve and Microsoft do. Some people are already used to that lowlife.

        Please show me an instance of Valve doing this.

  • by cream wobbly (1102689) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:17PM (#35433722)

    Am I missing something? Consoles have always lagged the availability of hardware in PCs. Plus, when you throw $1000 at a problem, you're going to get better results than throwing $300 at the same problem.

    What might be a better analysis would be an analysis of how programmers are targetting each platform. In the "good old days", you'd target the specific hardware of a Gameboy. The Playstation, you'd talk to libraries if you were nice, but you could still hit the metal. Nowadays, you're not going to be hitting the metal in anything; so I'd bet the advantage of console hardware, being a known target, is lost when compared to the unknowns of a PC.

  • Nothing unexpected.

    Current console generations like the XBOX 360 have been along for like 5 years!

    It's always the same. When the next generation of consoles are released they will be much more powerful than any PC, after a while then they will be more or less equal, and in the end of each life cycle PC games will be substantially better (graphics wise, of course) than console games (which would represent today's state).

    "The article includes three videos that give a fantastic insight into where PC graphics a

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:19PM (#35433752) Journal

    FTS:
    "Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games.""

    PCs have, for the most part, outclassed consoles in terms of graphics for years. For most games which are available on the consoles and PC, the PC version will almost always feature higher resolutions and better textures and other graphical bells and whistles (even in cases of console ports). However, pure graphical power isn't why people buy consoles and not PCs. People buy consoles because it's cheaper (at least, it's cheaper than buying a state of the art video card every two years), it's accessible, and its better integrated with their home theatres. I think consoles will stay the target platform for blockbuster games for a long time.

  • Graphics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:23PM (#35433802) Homepage

    The thing is, it's not all about graphics. I can spend £40 on a game for my PS3 that's, what, 3 years old? And it will be very, very close to what the PC version is like. Or I can spend £10 less on the PC version, but I'd need to spend hundreds of pounds upgrading my PC every year. And then I'd have to put up with all the DRM junk. And PC versions tend to be buggier. So no, right now, I don't really "get" the appeal of PC gaming. The cost vs reward doesn't add up.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I can spend £40 on a game for my PS3 that's, what, 3 years old? And it will be very, very close to what the PC version is like

      Because the PC version is a port of the PS3 version which was pre-crippled to run on the PS3.

      And the PC version will probably cost $5, not 40 pounds. I can't imagine paying that much money for a three year old game.

      • by Bake (2609)

        I think he was referring to his PS3 being 3 years old, not the game.

    • by dstyle5 (702493) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:07PM (#35434498)
      Hundreds of pounds every year? My 3.5 year old PC still plays games well enough and the only things I've done to it are add more fans and hard drives. If you are forced to upgrade every year you either bought a very cheap PC to begin with or are upgrading without reason. My PC is finally starting to strain under new games like Dragon Age 2, but my 8800GT and 6850 still get by well enough for most games. The need to upgrade ever year is a fallacy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)

      The thing is, it's not all about graphics.

      Good, because I've been running better than 1080p since before it was called 1080p (got my 24" 1920x1200 monitor in 2007).

      I can spend ã40 on a game for my PS3 that's, what, 3 years old? And it will be very, very close to what the PC version is like.

      Only it will require the use of a controller as opposed to a kayboard and mouse. This may be a boon, I'm not passing judgement, but I prefer mouse + keyboard.

      Or I can spend ã10 less on the PC version, but I'd need to spend hundreds of pounds upgrading my PC every year.

      Wrong, wrong, WRONG. My PC is from 2006/7 (4 / 5 years old compared to your 3 year old PS3). Kentsfield Core 2 Quad Q6600, nForce 650SLI motherboard, GeForce 8800GTX graphics. I have upgraded nothing since I bought that, and I spent

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      I'd need to spend hundreds of pounds upgrading my PC every year.

      That hasn't really held true since the early 00s. This is partly because many PC titles are ports of console games now and so don't push the boundaries as hard, but also because the pixel wars tapered off where you no longer have monitors released with ever-increasing DPI. Both of these facts make me sad, but the fact remains that a 4-gen old card can competently play most modern PC games. Even if you may have to turn down some of the eye ca

  • Popularity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arctech (538041) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:29PM (#35433884) Journal
    In the scope of things, the fact that the 360 and the PS3 are showing their age doesn't translate to a mass migration of developers to the PC platform. For a long time now, consoles have gained and held the larger gaming audience compared to the PC, and that market continues to be the biggest and most profitable market. For the majority of the time, PC's hold a significant technological edge over consoles, which is nice for when you want to punch things like Crysis ahead of the graphics curve, but it isn't as if all the console gamers converted to the PC platform because Crysis was pretty.
  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:29PM (#35433894)

    i go way back to the Riva TNT2 and voodoo2 days. i bought a top of the line voodoo2 the day it came out back in 1998. cost me $299. these days a top of the line card is $500 or more and it sucks enough electricity to power a small town.

    x-box 360 cost me $299 same as my PS3. i can also use each one to watch media on my tv without the hassle of doing it on the PC which is usually in the opposite side of the house or room. the games are usually the same which means that the gameplay experience is the same. most people won't spend the money just for the graphics card. the "gamer" is now a 40 year old person that plays Cityville on facebook. not a nerd playing Doom, command and conquer or starcraft on their PC

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      i go way back to the Riva TNT2 and voodoo2 days. i bought a top of the line voodoo2 the day it came out back in 1998. cost me $299. these days a top of the line card is $500 or more and it sucks enough electricity to power a small town.

      While I agree that power usage is insane on high-end GPUs, have you ever heard of inflation? $299 in 1998 money probably isn't far off of $500 in today's money.

      • by alen (225700)

        meanwhile the average computer prices have dropped. back in 1998 the average laptop cost $3000. today it's $700. the prices on Intel CPU's have dropped along with other components. the only ones to have gone up are graphics card prices

      • by cbope (130292)

        Not to mention, factor in that console games are (almost) always more expensive than their PC counterparts. I added the almost because some recent AAA title PC games which are also on consoles are selling for roughly the same price as the console version. That is ridiculous, considering that console hardware is sold for basically zero profit and money is made back on game licensing. PC games *should* be cheaper.

        Me, I'd rather have cheaper games, although I do have a Wii and PS2. The consoles are for casual

    • x-box 360 cost me $299 same as my PS3. i can also use each one to watch media on my tv without the hassle of doing it on the PC which is usually in the opposite side of the house or room.

      Both 360 and PS3 have way too much fan noise to be decent media centers. Connectivity is also limited, especially for the 360, and a lot of the media software just plain sucks and you have no option to do anything about that.

      the games are usually the same which means that the gameplay experience is the same.

      Nonsense. A-list title ports to consoles are always dumbed down in one way or another, especially for the 360 which has to run off dvd and therefore has to have low res textures, and sometimes also has content removed. Geometry is normally simplified for the console versions and detail

    • by uncanny (954868)
      Factor in value as well though. Can you run adobe creative suite CS5 on a console gaming system?
  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:32PM (#35433936)
    Not only do PC gamers generally have better hardware than consoles (better CPU, GPU, RAM, keyboard, mouse, TrackIR head-tracking), they also get better and more diverse titles.

    For example, take flight simulators. Consoles have 'flying games' but not 'simulators' per see (not in the class of: X-Plane, FlightSim X, IL-2 Sturmovik, LockOn Flaming Cliffs 2, DCS:BlackShark, or DCS:A-10C). Yes, these are 'niche' in terms of the overall game market, but who cares about what the producers think? A product that matches your interest is either available for your platform or it is not. Consoles simple don't have the *breadth* of titles that PCs do.

    While Wings of Prey was nice for the consoles (although it looked better on the PC) it really lacks the depth of something like DCS:A-10C (if you have the kit to use the DirectX 11 graphics in 64-bit it is amazing). Have a look at the DCS:A-10C trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co8LKJh6Xc0 [youtube.com] (not a redirect to goatse, I promise). Or Flaming Cliffs 2 (aka LockOn Platinum): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99_hoJNj3ys [youtube.com]

    IL-2: Cliffs of Dover looks amazing as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVUSp1V3cVw [youtube.com]

    I bought a PS3 at launch and it is great for casual gaming or gaming in a few genres (FPS, RTS, RPG, racing) . If that's all you want then it is fine. However, the depth of the experience is very shallow to what you can get with a PC. Consoles may make more money for the publishers, but it is certainly not a better experience for players (I personally *hate* not being able to join my mates on some servers since the console doesn't always let me decide which servers to join, which is something you can usually do with a PC). I won't even start discussing modability for PC vs console ...
  • I like PC games because they are so amazing, but I like the consoles because my whole family can gather around and play (and their graphics are very decent too albeit not as amazing as the PC).

    Both have strengths.

  • As long as the consoles are still the source of a significant return on the investment of running your game studio for a couple of years, they'll continue to be worth targeting. Piracy's a lot easier on computers than on consoles. And making games with this level of detail is going to get even more stupidly expensive.

    Plus of course other factors like "some people prefer sitting on the couch with a gamepad to hunching in front of the computer with keyboard/mouse".

  • Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."

    Wow... just wow. I guess the successes of the DS and the Wii weren't mainstream enough for these guys to notice.

  • But the worst of all worlds would be if nothing but PC gaming on Microsoft platforms remains standing. Fortunately that is a problem that we can solve and are solving, while having a lot of fun doing it.

    It is my belief that this generation is the last hoorah for the console world. Economies of scale in computer graphics hardware dictate that the life of a console generation must be kept unrealistically short in order to avoid the kind of obsolescence we see now, while the cost of developing exclusive conten

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      You are living in a dream world and perhaps should consider stepping back into reality. This generation of consoles has so far sold around 200 million of them. If anything it is PC gaming that is gradually dieing, consoles offer consistency and reliability to the developers and price and simplicity to end users. Console gaming is still increasing while PC gaming while not on its last hoorah it is certainly becoming more niche and for the hardcore. If anything I think the next gen of consoles will perhaps br
  • The competition in the console hardware market is PUNY compared to the competition PC hardware markers are faced with. It's relatively easy to make a console and sit on your loins for the next decade or so until somebody else bothers to innovate -- as long as the console hardware is impossibly to modify, the console marker has a monopoly on hardware as well as development licenses. On the other hand, PC market competition is FIERCE, because it's an open platform -- anyone can make PC hardware, anyone can ma

  • Considering that these leaps in eye candy are only possible with the current state of PC graphics, we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games."

    What a load of crap.

    Consoles will be the target platform for the development of blockbuster games as long as there is an audience for them. I love the PC as a gaming platform, but blockbusting developers care primarily about one thing, sales. You have this huge installed base of 360s and PS3s, and the people who buy games are playing on these consoles. Also consider that in our economy, the people who want to play new game "x" are not going to be able to go buy the new hardware required to play new game

  • by LordStormes (1749242) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:03PM (#35434430) Homepage Journal
    As a PC and console developer with over 50 different consoles connected to my TV, including everything from the Fairchild Channel F to the 360 and PS3 Slims, I consider myself something of an expert on this. Since 1974 or so, the same pattern occurs. Consoles come out, with comparable graphics capability to the current-gen PCs. Everybody says, "Wow, look at these awesome graphics!" (I remember when they said that about the IntelliVision!) Then, the console is released, and it's the "current-gen" console for 4-5 years, effectively freezing innovation on that console. During that time, several revisions of the bleeding edge in PCs occur. Right now, the current-gen consoles are running on 2006 tech, so everybody correctly says, "Wow, the PC can do so much more with 5 years more evolution than the Xbox!" and they're right. But when the Xbox 720, PS4, and (insert ridiculous name Nintendo comes up with for new console here) come out this/next year, the gap will be closed, and everybody will sound stunned with their "Console gaming is back!" articles. Rinse and repeat in another 5 years. The only way to break the cycle would be more frequent updates of the consoles, which defeats one of the biggest draws to console gaming, the "No matter what, if you have an Xbox, you can play this game and have a good experience" factor. Compare that to the middle-to-high-end gaming PC I bought in May 2010, which now can't run 80% of the games being released this summer on their optimum settings. PC gaming is for people who want to pour money into upgrading their hardware every 6 months, and console gamers are people who would rather spend that $200 on the Assassin's Creed box set that includes actual DNA from Ezio Auditore than another 8 gigs of video RAM. This is a non-story.
    • Well you overlook something in your statement, you wont necessarily have to play on maximum settings. The consoles have stalled the development at least to the degree that the console level is the bare minimum which by then is a low range pc card (not from Intel)
      so you have the choice, you can operate on a budget and never change the graphics card and ram until the next console cycle and you still will have better graphics than on the console, or you can work your way along the bleeding edge then you are in

  • So this article makes sense until the new consoles are out. Then they'll be back on par. It's like complaining about an extra cups of water at the finish line when there are still people running the race. "All this water...it's such a waste. What are we doing to do with it all? This is a catastro...oh. Here they are. We're good."

  • we wonder how long consoles will be the target platform for development of blockbuster games

    As long as "blockbuster games" are defined as first person shooters and nothing else, probably forever.

    You define gaming as playing FPS, and FPS only, buy a console.

    You define gaming as FPS in addition to everything that isn't a FPS, buy a PC.

    Its that simple.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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