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PlayStation (Games) XBox (Games) Games

Next-Gen Game Consoles Still Years Off 386

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-more-years-of-stagnant-graphics dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Gamers who have grown bored with the current generation of game hardware will have to sit tight a bit longer. Word on the street has it that the next PlayStation won't be ready until 2014, and the next Xbox won't appear until Christmas 2013 at the earliest."
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Next-Gen Game Consoles Still Years Off

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  • Weird abstract... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FaxeTheCat (1394763) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:01PM (#37822878)
    >bored with the current generation of game hardware

    If the gamers are bored with the game hardware, they may find it immensely more interesting to start playing games on it.
    • I enjoy my games immensly on the 360, but i cant help but wonder what new hardware would allow for. The 360 has some serious improvements over the 1st gen xbox, both in terms of graphics and what it can do gameplay wise (physiscs, amount of objects on screen etc.), recently with forza 4, i got a very good taste of what the 360 is really capable off, but i couldnt help but wonder, if 2005 era hardware (and let's be honest, in 2005 my PC was stronger then the 360 already) can pull this off, what would be poss

      • by jgagnon (1663075)

        Talk to the game makers and ask them why they are not making games for your modern PC hardware.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          There are a couple games that take good advantage of PC hardware. Just Cause 2 was pretty good at it, although not the best. Metro 2033 had hardware tessellation (DX11) graphics, something none of the consoles can do, and so did Stalker: Call of Pripyat. And of course, The Witcher 2 was looked amazing IMO, far and away better than anything any console has done yet.

          Actually I think the bigger problem is PCs themselves. A lot of them are pretty old and don't support the newest features, so if you want your g

          • Re:Weird abstract... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2011 @05:17PM (#37824160)

            The problem with the PS3 is the GPU, it's essentially a GeForce7800GTX with a few mods. The other problem with the PS3 is the OS. It's so memory hungry compared with the 360. The 360 uses 32MB and it has a 10MB embedded frame buffer for render targets. The PS3 uses (last time I programmed it) 40MB main memory for the OS and 7MB of video memory with no embedded frame buffer. MSAA needs more memory in the PS3 but does NOT on the 360, unless you're going to do more processing on the MSAA frame buffer. The GPU on the PS3 is so slow that you use a significant amount of CPU time reducing the load on the GPU. You usually do backface removal, degenerate triangle removal, zero area triangle removal, offscreen triangle removal and triangles hidden by occluders removal just to reduce load on the vertex pipe. Then you do MSAA resolving and any other image post processing on the SPUs as well.
            The PS3's GPU is a boat anchor. A year later and 75% the speed!
            I will say however that it was fun to program. You spent all your time doing cool shit optimizing around the GPU, whereas on the 360 you spend your time dong game code. Booooring.

            CATCHPA: irking. The perfect work do describe the PS3

            • by Dogtanian (588974)

              You usually do backface removal, degenerate triangle removal, zero area triangle removal, offscreen triangle removal and triangles hidden by occluders removal just to reduce load on the vertex pipe

              Is a "degenerate triangle" one that is effectively just a line- and wouldn't that then be a "zero-area triangle", or is that latter used to refer to a single-point triangle (i.e. all vertices the same point)?

              • According to this site: http://www.mathwords.com/d/degenerate.htm [mathwords.com] it is effectively a line segment. However, there are three points involved which is probably where the need to determine it can be "reduced" (my term, probably not mathematically correct) to a simpler form. Some calculation has to take place to determine it is in fact a "degenerate triangle".

            • Wow. Fascinating input from a programmer who enjoys the challenge of code optimization. Old school. Wish you hadn't posted anonymously so this post could be modded up and seen by others.

            • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @10:23AM (#37831130) Journal

              You can see it best when you run a console game on a PC, the only taxing thing is when you turn all the options on (in your graphics driver) and raise the resolution because on the same resolution and same options as a console, your PC will fall asleep.

              It ain't just GPU or even memory. It is even such a simple thing as HD speed. What game developer would code for the slowest laptop HD out there? A console developer.

              Put all the limitations together and you can see why some of the biggest money earners in gaming history have not made their way on to the console. The Sims and WoW. None of the games are visually immidiately impressive but they simply take a LOT of memory and a LOT of random disk access.

              Why? Because they are non-linear games. The next time you wonder at the marvel of the graphical complexity of a BF3 or even a Rage, ask yourself this... how much am I seeing at a time? Randomly? The games are on rails, with very old style dark corridors between areas to allow the swapping of areas. They remind me a LOT of theme park rides. Where you have large rooms seperated for sound and sight with dark corners.

              The real way to tax a PC is to load up the Sims or Operation Flashpoint and to load up the scene with different models. The makers of F.E.A.R. talked about this, they could choose either to have a room impress with lights or with monsters but not both. Next time you see a "big" area on a console, ask yourself, what is missing. What did they have to cut in Y to make X happen.

              With a PC, you can simply do both. That is why custom maps, mods and whatever are often so much more impressive to what the original game developers can do. Because anyone that uses mods KNOWS their PC must exceed the recommended spec, not just meet minimum. But on the console, it is all the same absolute minimum approach.

              Remember all those people that thought a PS3 would make a good linux machine? They probably never tried it. When was the last time you where happy with a PC with 256mb memory, the smallest and slowest laptop HD they could find and a power consumption that would make Nvidia blush?

      • by robmv (855035)

        More FPSs and remakes in "True" HD of HD games for PS3 and XBox360. I am not desperately waiting for a new consoles generation. The more fun games I played this generation are PSN games that do not require so much GPU power, like both Echochrome games, Pixeljunk games and many others. Not that I not love games like Uncharted, Battlefield, Gran Turismo ... those games will be/are amazing with better hardware, but the fun is not proportional to graphics for me

        • Re:Think Avatar (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dutch Gun (899105) on Monday October 24, 2011 @05:47PM (#37824566)

          How many times do we fall for that line?

          "The (next generation of console) will offer graphics comparable to (the latest Hollywood CGI-laden blockbuster)". No. No it won't. It never has, and won't until our computers are so powerful that real-time photo-realism with nearly unlimited levels of detail becomes trivial. As good as current hardware is, it's still nowhere near that point, unless you're content with rendering a very limited scene, which is what all those impressive tech demos do.

          Movie graphics are pre-rendered, of course. They take anywhere from minutes to hours per frame to render, and they can use high-end server farms to do this. Consoles are real-time systems. They must render their scene using commodity hardware in 1/30 to 1/60th of a second, in addition to computing everything else a game requires (physics, animation, audio, AI, etc).

          I'm guessing some people would be pretty surprised at how much smoke and mirrors are still used, even on modern systems, in order to keep the frame rate reasonable with decent graphical fidelity. If we (speaking as a game developer here) want to be able to run on a reasonable range of systems, we have to do crazy amounts of optimization work. Our artists still have to reuse textures, conserve memory, reduce polygons, use LODs, and simplify shaders. If that's still not enough, then we're forced to cut content out (simplifying models or geometry) until we CAN run in real-time.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Part of the problem is that if players are focused on what the graphics can do then they're always going to be wanting something a bit better. It would be a better idea to focus on what the games can do with gameplay instead. Ie, is the game actually fun as opposed to what it looks like.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        I enjoy my games immensly on the 360, but i cant help but wonder what new hardware would allow for.

        Try building a gaming PC using 2007 components, that'll give you a good indication of what consoles can do in 2012.

    • by Anomalyst (742352)

      bored with the current generation of game hardware

      Post had a typo: s/bored/boned/

  • More polygons means more work for artists which means higher budgets and more risk. What's the incentive for a new console when current gen consoles can do anything one could actually want to do?

    The question is, what sort of game are people going to want to play that will require new hardware? If you're just throwing a new coat of paint on the same old game designs, what's the point?

    • a good example of new possibilities would be forza motorsport. Fm4 has no open wheeled cars, partly because there is no animation/simulation code for open wheel suspension. This could be down to the fact that they simply didnt have the code for it, it could also been just beyond the capacity of the 360 to properly simulate/render the suspension components. Newer hardware would solve that.

      Another issue that the next gen xbox would tackle is the disk format. downloadable games might be the future, but for the

      • by vlm (69642)

        The question is, what sort of game are people going to want to play that will require new hardware?

        a good example of new possibilities would be forza motorsport. Fm4 has no open wheeled cars, partly because there is no animation/simulation code for open wheel suspension. This could be down to the fact that they simply didnt have the code for it, it could also been just beyond the capacity of the 360 to properly simulate/render the suspension components. Newer hardware would solve that.

        Yes, interesting, but looking at pretty pictures is not "playing". Much like watching TV pro sports is not "exercising".

        I'm thinking the main achievement of the next game gen is an explosion of standard hardware... 100% of controllers will have a really nice microphone and/or bluetooth mic so game designers can count on it for ALL users. 100% of next gen systems will have something like the kinect so game designers can count on it.

        Bracelet accelerometer controller interface? Headband unit with accelerome

    • by HRbnjR (12398)
      Battlefield 3 is coming out for PC and the consoles tomorrow. The console version is restricted to 24 player multiplayer, whereas PC users get 64 players, nor is my Xbox capable of the resolution, texture detail, or view distances of the PC version :(
    • by Thantik (1207112)

      More polygons does not mean more work for artists at all. 3D models are created in full resolution and poly count reduced to fit the poly budget of the machine they are targeting. In fact, it might actually mean less work for artists due to less optimization needed. Even 2D sprite games with large item counts (Diablo II, etc) are now created in 3D and rendered as 2D sprites to save on time.

    • by MrDoh! (71235)

      There isn't much point. I think the next BIG (well, currently happening) change is the availability/easy mode gaming.
      iphone/android/appleTV/GoogleTV. A quick AngryBirds/Whatever 2 minute game session whilst the adverts are on, then back to the program.
      dollar or 2 for a game, short duration. Done.
      The costs for new platforms in both hardware and development are making games crazy prices when our phones aren't far off the same gfx ability as gaming rigs of only a few short years ago.

    • by DrXym (126579)

      More polygons means more work for artists which means higher budgets and more risk. What's the incentive for a new console when current gen consoles can do anything one could actually want to do?

      Not necessarily. I expect most graphics are done in Maya or similar and then the polys are reduced down for production. So even in modern games it may well be the inputs are high poly models. They probably even fiddle around with the reduction to see how low they can go.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:09PM (#37823030)

    They're already past the 5-year traditional console lifespan (a tradition that's been sacrosanct since the Atari days). And with Playstation gaining ground every day, they're looking real long-in-the-tooth of late. PS3 has MMO's now, user-created content, games that don't have to span several discs (because of the blu-ray drive), blu-ray movie playing capability, etc. The 360 was in the lead for a long time (in the U.S. at least) and MS could have easily secured that lead if they had followed the 5-year lifecyle and bitch-slapped Sony with a next-gen console in Christmas 2010. Instead we got the Kinect, their Wii knockoff that came years after the Wii novelty had worn off (my Wii is sitting in my closet if anyone wants to buy it).

    It's a real shame too. Call me a nationalist if you like, but MS was the first American company to compete in the console industry since Atari. And it was nice to not have to wait until a title had been released in Japan for several months to finally get it in the U.S. Sony and Nintendo always treated the west like they were doing us a favor by lowering themselves to even release a game outside of Japan. MS was the first company in a long time to treat the U.S. and Europe as a first-class market instead of an afterthought. And they actually gave us Western-centric games instead of just poorly-translated JRPG's to boot.

    • The 360 was in the lead for a long time (in the U.S. at least)

      You mean excluding the Wii?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Wait, at what point did the PS3 start "gaining ground every day"? Last I checked (2 months ago), the Xbox 360 had been thoroughly outselling the PS3 almost constantly since the Kinect came out (a year ago, now).

  • Years off? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:09PM (#37823036)
    The Wii-U is due out next year.

    I know there'll be people saying it's not a next-gen console because it's graphics aren't much if any better than a PS3, but I would say it is, because it is one that has been designed after seeing the results of the current gen. Like the Wii, Nintendo decided the key to advancement was not pushing graphics, but other aspects of the user experience.
    • by AdamJS (2466928)
      Not much better? A 4890 with 512MB to 1GB VRAM is a massive improvement over a 256MB 7600GT, especially in the realm of heavily optimized console systems.
      • by Viewsonic (584922)

        Exactly. A lot of people really have no idea how powerful the WiiU really is. The specs are quite a big step over the current generation. The real question will be if Nintendo will catch up with the PS3/360 for online gaming. If they can bring it to the level of the PS3 and keep it free and open for developers to integrate (Ie. STEAM), it'll be a huge hit. By the time MS and Sony come out with theirs, they will be 40 million consoles behind Nintendo, and may never catch up again.

      • by captjc (453680)

        What sucks is that its potential will never be fully realized (at least by any third party). All development is done for either a PS3 or 360 and then ported. To make it worse, by releasing in the middle of a console generation games will not look much better than any other console, but when the new generation comes out the new consoles will probably have way more horsepower. So either Nintendo will have to release a new console to keep up (doubtful) or the Wii U will be dismissed in the same vein as the Wii

      • by Narishma (822073)

        As far as I know, Nintendo hasn't released the WiiU's specs. Where did you get those numbers?

  • ...when you can add a stick / camera for more money?

    Personally, if I want to play tennis or go bowling, I go out and play tennis or go bowling

    • by tepples (727027)
      But if you want to box (like in Wii Sports or Punch-Out!!), can you find a sparring partner without the cops showing up?
      • by hal2814 (725639)
        "But if you want to box (like in Wii Sports or Punch-Out!!), can you find a sparring partner without the cops showing up?"

        You can if you do the same thing you'd do for any other sport on this earth and find a suitable playing field. Boxing is a sport that many people enjoy participating in and gyms with practice rings are readily available if you know where to look.
  • The next generation of consoles are the PS3 with Move and the XBOX360 with Kinect. Both the 360 and the PS3 still aren't being completely utilized to their full processing potential, the move/kinect just opened up a whole bunch of new gameplay options, and NOBODY wants to drop $400 on a brand new console when their current one isn't being utilized enough. The market isn't ready at all for a new generation of consoles, and Microsoft & Sony realize this. They've been planning for it.
    • by AdamJS (2466928)
      What? They are most certainly being used to a very high caliber. There's only so much optimization and CPU-centric tasks you can do, and the ones that would benefit most (AI and similar) aren't being targeted at all as a primary concern for future (and Kinect/Move) games. One of the largest limits on these systems is their low RAM size. And compression can only take you so far; eventually, there's a point where you simply don't have enough.
      • You're absolutely right about RAM, the 360 and PS3 both have a pitifully small amount of memory. But I was talking about the Cell-broadband engine, multithreaded games applications, and the PS3 and Xbox360 development kits. I haven't worked on 360 or PS3 myself first hand, but what I've heard makes it sound like things are far from perfected and fully utilized.
  • The next generation of game consoles is in your hand. It's running either iOS 5, Ice Cream Sandwich or Mango, depending on why your interest lies (sorry, Android is the closest you're going to get to Linux).

    The phones are selling such high volumes and adding capabilities so fast that any new hardware console, ostensibly designed for games only, will have a problem getting to critical mass. Not only are we in a post-PC world, we're in a post-game-console world as well.
    • Smart phones screens are to small and touch screens only work for some kinds of games and for others they suck big time.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Not only are we in a post-PC world, we're in a post-game-console world as well.

      And a post $75 game world. Like it or not, your next hundred game purchases are probably going to be much cheaper than your previous hundred game purchases...

      One big cultural issue is that "REAL gamers exclusively play remakes of sequels of FPS that cost $60 each" but I don't think that's gonna fly on the iOS / Android world, or at least it hasn't started to fly. A touch interface is nice for scrolling and scroll-like game interfaces. Not so good for FPS triggers.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Phone gaming is a lot of fun, and has a low barrier to entry so it's not going anywhere anytime soon. That's the advantages.

      The disadvantages are that it's not well suited to truly social gaming (things Rock Band or even just HALO LAN parties), completely impractical for some still-very-popular game genres (FPS, music simulator games, realistic racing or flight sims, RTS, and probably others). Now, consoles aren't perfect for all those either (RTS on a console is a joke compared to on PC), but they're very

      • by Relayman (1068986)
        XBox 360 is just a box. You use the game controller to actually play the games. The same could be true with the "phones": Set them down and plug in or bluetooth a wireless controller to them. You could also use an external video monitor if the screen is too small.

        Wow! What a business opportunity for someone.
    • by Urkki (668283)

      The next generation of game consoles is in your hand. It's running either iOS 5, Ice Cream Sandwich or Mango, depending on why your interest lies (sorry, Android is the closest you're going to get to Linux).

      Nah, a console needs a GPU, which alone will suck more power than the whole phone. Phone hardware is power-constrained, not just by battery, but also by heat management design of a phone. Also, while touch screen is fine for many kinds of games, it just doesn't cut it for most arcade and action games.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Android now has APIs for game controllers. I would be happy to buy an Android based console that had HDMI out, and perhaps a WiiMote type controller to handle touch.
    • phones don't have the battery life to play high end games for a long time and if you need to be on AC why not just use a PC / Console then?

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      The next generation of game consoles is in your hand. It's running either iOS 5, Ice Cream Sandwich or Mango, depending on why your interest lies (sorry, Android is the closest you're going to get to Linux).

      The phones are selling such high volumes and adding capabilities so fast that any new hardware console, ostensibly designed for games only, will have a problem getting to critical mass. Not only are we in a post-PC world, we're in a post-game-console world as well.

      Again with the post-PC and post-console prediction. The opening of a new market doesn't automatically mean the death of a previous market. Also, try telling me that I should be playing a game like Skyrim on my phone instead of a 60" screen with surround sound home theater speakers, and we'll all know that you and I are *very* different demographics.

  • With the cell processor design of the PS3, increasing performance should be easy and it should be able to retain backward compatibility w/o much if any trouble. With as inexpensive as ram is now , hopefully there will be no reason to skimp there.
  • For those saying that there is no need for a new generation of hardware, realize that most AAA console titles can't even hit 720p at 30FPS on the 360 (See Halo), let alone 1080p30 or better yet, 1080p60. With the same assets and amount of effort on the developer's part, a new hardware generation would easily allow for 1080p60 as the default, with anti-aliasing. That's aside from much more robust programmable shaders, faster Blu-ray drives, hopefully 16-32GB of solid state storage for texture/asset cachin
  • Current consoles are good enough for pushing pixels on to 2d planes with a limited rectangular window. What we really need is a real innovation in display technology, and I'm not talking this stereoscopic, trick of the eyes gimmick. I'm talking the 3d holographic displays you see in science fiction. The ability to project any object anywhere into mid air. Make this possible and then you'll see a real need for better processing power.
  • An "Open" game platform and standards would kick PS3...XBox to the curb of ancient technology history, and finally allow global "Open" game platform innovation.

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