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Games Entertainment

Should Game Consoles Make Breakfast, Too? 292

Ryan writes "Is the idea of 'convergence' (the notion that a single digital appliance will handle multiple tasks) in gaming consoles even worth it? CNET News has an article discussing the issues of convergence related to gaming - it seems like a lot of consumers aren't worried about the bells and whistles, yet they keep throwing them at us." The article mentions the "underwhelming" response to Sony's PSX console/DVR combo, whose "arrival in North America--originally slated to happen in time for the 2004 holiday shopping season--is now set for an unspecified date in 2005."
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Should Game Consoles Make Breakfast, Too?

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:47PM (#9983961) Homepage Journal

    "Should Game Consoles Make Breakfast, Too?"

    Not a bad idea:

    If you play console while it's making breakfast it won't scream "What are you doing?! Don't touch me!"

    You can eat your breakfast without the console whining to you.

    If breakfast is cold you can beat the console without feeling guilty.

    You can demand beer for breakfast and the console won't complain.

    If you throw out the console it won't hire a lawyer to take half your stuff.

    Man, if RealDoll.com could "converge" this new console concept with their products they'd be trillionaires.

  • by Samir Gupta ( 623651 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:48PM (#9983982) Homepage
    Nintendo have always been sceptical of the "Everything and the kitchen sink" approach that Microsoft and Sony have taken with their consoles. They do but one thing -- gaming -- but do it well, unlike their other competitors who want to be a DVD player/CD player/PC/Internet terminal/TiVo. Their philosophy is to focus on one thing -- gaming, and make it our core competency, continuing to come out with seminal hits that people synonimize with the video game industry, Mario, Zelda, and so on.

    They are continuing this trend with our future game consoles, and I do believe that because of Nintendo's laser-sharp and well-defined focus, that Sony and Microsoft's leads will be short lived in the next generation.
    • But isn't nintendo in last place when it comes to sales? Wouldn't that mean their approach of doing things differently than Sony and MS be wrong?

      I like how my XBOX is a high speed DVD player, replaces my CD player (and CDs).

      Its not like these software features cost a lot to add, they simple copy/pasted the code from their other products (ie: Windows media player)

      If it doesnt add to the cost, why not add it?

      I found it pathetic that the SegaCD could play audio CDs and the cube cant

    • Their philosophy is to focus on one thing -- gaming, and make it our core competency,

      So you work for Nintendo, then?

      Cheers, Matt

  • Kinda obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CarrionBird ( 589738 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:49PM (#9983984) Journal
    The only people craving convergence seem to be the gadget companies looking for another gimmick.
    • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:50PM (#9984004)
      I personally liked the convergence of the PS2 and a DVD player. For $15 extra I had a fully functioning DVD player with remote *and* a gaming console.

      This was at a time when DVD players were well over $150/ea. Seemed like a great bargain to me.
      • same here, until my TV's speakers died.

        since then I upgraded my computer to something decent, and I can use it as a DVD player and as a PVR...

        my only minor annoyance is when I watch TV, I have to reposition my computer's speakers and subwoofer (from gaming setup to TV set-top)

        now if only I could play console games on my PC...
    • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:00PM (#9984139) Journal
      Why i hate convergence in my electronics:
      1. All-in-one = single point of failure when something breaks, and needs to be replaced.
      2. Generally speaking, all-in-one devices incorporate propietary technologies to promote lock-in and/or reduce 3rd party tech licensing costs for the company (SONY!!!!).
      3. Quality of stand alone components is usually much higher. Think stereo equipment.
      4. Modularity = more cost effective upgrade path.
      5. All-in-one = usually more complex than individual devices. Stand alone means you can learn and understand the functions fully before moving onto the next component. Sometimes the 'role' of a device is confused when it is consolidated. e.g. Does 'play' mean play the .mp3, the CD, the DVD, or the video game???
      6. All-in-one convergence not always a logical combination. Digital camera cell phones? mp3 player cell phones? Cell phones tend to be the worst examples of this phenomenon.

      Convergence usually is successful if its the result of a natural evolution of a product. I don't think that marketers can force convergence on its audience...especially when its marked up substantially.
      • "Convergence usually is successful if its the result of a natural evolution of a product. I don't think that marketers can force convergence on its audience...especially when its marked up substantially."

        Said the guy using a $3,000+ computer that does email, porn, games, video, Slashdot, and music.
        • I've never spent more than $1500 on a PC. Today, I wouldn't spend more than $1000. And that's Canadian $.

          And true there is some convergence with the computer, but i justified it only for an application suite, internet access, digital pictures, and video games.

          Music is a nice add-on (mp3s) but does not replace my stereo and receiver.

          I don't watch TV on my computer, nor DVDs. I don't make cell phone calls with my computer. I copy and edit digital camera photos with my computer, but I see that as an ex
          • I guess I'm at the other extreme.

            I've spent around $2000 on my computer. I use it to watch TV and DVDs -- I don't watch enough of either to justify a standalone player. As a side benefit, I can use the TV tuner card as an FM radio. I use it as a music player because it's cheaper to rip a batch of CDs to FLAC than to buy a player that can handle 50 CDs at once. My computer doesn't double as a phone -- yet.

            It's an Athlon XP. I'm tempted to take convergence to the extreme and use it to fry an egg.
        • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:38PM (#9984567) Homepage
          Right. The conclusion, then, would be that the only worthwhile "convergence" device is one which is completely general-purpose in design and upgradable/extensible in function. Not by successively hacking on one feature onto a previous design, releasing it, then repeating. Particularly not in the highly price/space/power conscious environments of cell phones and consoles.

      • This is why I like UNIX better than most other OS's. You have various different tools, and while useful on their own (sed, grep, awk, etc) you can build a better mousetrap (or any mousetrap, for that matter) by combining them. Sorta like legos.
      • The "convergence" move arose out of the success of the PC. The idea is that general purpose devices can work really well, and allow reuse of components. The problem is that the reason the PC did well is because it was open, general purpose, reconfigurable, and available from many sources. There is no General Purpose Cell Phone 2004 Standard. I can't just buy a "phone platform" and replace parts in it from another vendor. Instead, I have to buy an increasingly expensive, proprietary and complex system.
    • oh?

      personally, especially with programmable electronics, I'm rather pissed if it could do something but they just decided it shouldn't because "it didn't fit the image"(like play video and music files or just choose to support the companys own properiaty formats)... .

      like having the ability to play mp3 in a dvd player. a feature that is in practice something that doesn't add to the cost of the machine if it were there or not(or streaming ability in a tivo like already network connected machine, or the abi
    • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:19PM (#9984348)
      People always say convergence doesn't matter, and it doesn't, but it really does.

      Lemme explain.

      I would have bought the PS/2 for the same price if it didn't have the DVD player built in. Most people would have. But when I was getting a console, the fact that it had a DVD player built in mattered to my view of the value I'd get from the purchase. It made me feel good about it.

      Now that we've used the PS/2 for a while, we find that we use that DVD player all the time. It's not the best DVD player on the planet, but it sure beats the VHS sitting next to it that we ignore. Because of that use, once again I feel I got good value for my money on the purchase. I think it's much more 'worth it' than I would if it didn't have a DVD player built in. It makes me feel good about buying more stuff from Sony, because I know they try to give me more than just the basic function listed on the box.

      Contrast this with the ill-fated DVR version of the PS/2. With the regular PS/2, the DVD was a 'gift'. It was added value that I did't feel I was paying anything extra for. The new super box, on the other hand, was a lot more expensive. I would be paying for everything. And, because I already have a PS/2, I'd end up with actually less value then what is listed on the box.

      So, to summerize:

      Convergence is great if you get more than you pay for and it doesn't cost the manufaturer much more to give it to you (sony was using DVD as the media anyway. The DVD movie player cost them almost nothing to bundle in). It's great because the consumer feels he's getting good value for the money.

      Convergence is bad if the consumer feels he's paying extra for a bunch of redundant stuff he'll never use.

      I sure hope manufaturers are paying attention to this post :-)

      • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dracolytch ( 714699 )
        You're absolutely right (As my PS2 is my main DVD player), but I'd like to take the concept a bit futher...

        I bought the PS2 when it was new... So I got a new gaming machine, and a DVD player. Two new things that I didn't have before. I thought it was a pretty hot deal, and I thought $200 was a great price.

        Now, however, is another story. I already have a PS2, so I don't need one of those, and I already have a DVR... So I'm OK in that department. While the DVR is a new enough technology that people are
      • Re:Kinda obvious (Score:3, Informative)

        by AvantLegion ( 595806 )
        Why are you putting a slash in "PS2"?

        PS/2 is an old IBM computer, and since then, a port type for plugging in keyboards and mice.

        "PS2" is already annoyingly close to "PS/2", no need to go adding the slash too.

      • You almost nailed the problem.

        People are used to the fact, that when they buy in bulk, the price is lower.

        So, what would you buy: game console from the (currently) biggest vendor of game consoles for $170 and DVR from the (currently) biggest vendor of DVRs for $200, or half-assed device that is console and DVR, but costs how much? $600? More?

        Same goes for camera+palm+mp3 player vs. separate components.

        I will never buy convergence device, that is more expensive and less featureful/usable than the sum of
    • I've got nothing against convergence, if it doesn't cost me. Given a choice between a console with a DVD player and an equally powerful console without one at the same price, I'd obviously take the one with - unless games came into the equation at at all, but who'd be dumb enough to care about them?

      On the other hand, if the one with a DVD player was even another fiver, I'd probably go for the one without. I already have a DVD player, and sure I have to swap it with the console, but you can get multi-way ad
  • Divergent functions! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:49PM (#9983991) Homepage
    I don't know how they do things in Asia, but around here, Playing games and watching TV are very divergent functions.

    On the other hand, can those things play games and record TV at the same time?
  • Nintendo cereal system!
  • Please just give me a phone that lets me do stuff phone related. I want a phone that will:
    • Make calls
    • maintain a phone book
    • let me upload my voicemails to my computer for archiving Even my oldest answering machine in the 80s let me change tapes to save messages.
    Why do they keep adding crap like virus-ridden operating systems and video games, when they don't even have the basic voice features working yet.
    • by angst7 ( 62954 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:54PM (#9984065) Homepage
      Agreed. I've never even used my Xbox to watch a DVD. I bought it to play games not track my stocks or turn on the lights when I come home from work.

      I've got the same problem with my new wizbang Nextel/Motorola cell phone. It's smaller does a zillion neato things, but it gets consistantly worse reception than the one I had for the last three years that simply called people.
    • "Why do they keep adding crap like virus-ridden operating systems and video games..."

      Ok: Everybody that's gotten a virus through their phone, raise their hand. Nobody? Ok. Anybody that's played games on their phone, raise their hands. Hmm quite a few.

      "when they don't even have the basic voice features working yet."

      Uh, yeah they do. Been working great since 97.

      Make a call: Check.
      Recieve a call: Check.
      Save phone numbers into a phone book: Check.
      Recieve voice mail: Check.
      Voice Mail indicator: Ch
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Uh, yeah they do. Been working great since 97.

        How about the "save my voicemails for archival purposes" that the grandparent post mentioned. Old tape-based answering machines did this. Seems a new one could easily upload a .mp3 to a computer in the same way they do it with videos.

        I'd much rather a phone upload a voice mail than upload a digital picture - yet the phone vendors added the latter feature but not the former. This is so much more silly because I already have a digital camera that takes bet

        • "How about the "save my voicemails for archival purposes" that the grandparent post mentioned. Old tape-based answering machines did this. Seems a new one could easily upload a .mp3 to a computer in the same way they do it with videos."

          Thanks to some of the general-purposeness of cell phones, you can do that. The Nokia 3650 allows you to record phone convos and save them to a file.

          "This is so much more silly because I already have a digital camera that takes better pictures than the phone."

          How come
      • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:22PM (#9984377)
        Uh, yeah they do. Been working great since 97.[snip] I have no clue when it became so fucking fashionable to complain about cell phones here. There are a lot of people these days that don't even have a landline because their cell phone handles the job just fine. So spare us al the "basic voice features" karma-whoring line. Every single story that mentions cell phones has one of these comments modded up, even though it's so obviously wrong.

        Complain about something legitimate, and you are trying to be fashionable? Wow. I guess I have been fashionable since 2000. That is when I ditched my cellphone because it was a pointless cost. It is a sheer convenience that people have treated like a necessity. I had the first StarTac that Motorola produced, back in 96 I think. It was analog. Phones today give no better call quality than that phone did then. Once I realized that "digital" was no better than analog, I got rid of it. My wife and I have a pre-paid phone for emergency use only, and spend about $10 a month on it. We rarely use it, it simply isn't necessary. I don't know where you live, but I live near Chicago, and call quality sucks here. I get sick of hearing people yelling "Hello? Hello?" into their phones, or worse yet see people driving and trying to figure out if the call got dropped or not. And Nextel has their cool 2-way service, but I have never been able to understand what anyone is saying using that.

        Don't believe the hype, you don't need a cellphone.

        To answer the question of "Why do they keep making and selling crappy features instead of improving call quality", I have to ask: "Why do you have a cell phone? Have you given them a reason to improve call quality?" If you own a phone now, and keep signing contracts every year or two, then you are showing them that it doesn't MATTER if call quality sucks, people will still sign on the dotted line.

        • I agree that cell phones are for the most part a "created" necessity, but I've ended up relying on mine. I travel a lot as a student doing internships, so having a phone that works from anywhere in the country and has no long distance charges really works out great for me. I don't have a land line, so cell phones are the cheapest and most practical way for me to stay connected. Regardless, I never carry my phone with me, and either leave it in the car or at home

          Believe me, I've tried and tried to get rid

        • Actually, my cell phone quality's just fine.

          It's my phone that sucks.
      • Don't Forget:

        Poor quality digital camera: Check
        Smaller size: Check
        Smaller buttons: Check
        Smaller screen: Check
        Color screen: Check
        Smaller battery: Check
        Reduced signal strength to allow smaller battery, camera, and color screen to last same amount of time: Check
        Reduced manufacturing quality to cut costs to keep phone reasonable price: Check
        Outkast ringtone: Check
        $2 charge to download non-annoying ringtone: Check
        Not a single GSM bag-phone or car phone: Check
        611 AT&T tech support call routed to I

      • The cellular market in the US still has problems. There are quite a few things wrong with the state of cell phone networks and phones in the US market. For example:

        Make a call: Maybe, if you're not in a dead zone. Even then the quality of the call varies widely depending on you are and where the caller is.

        Receive a call: Ditto.

        Save phone numbers: Yep

        Receive voice mail: Not immediately, or reliably. I just received a message that was left by another Verizon user for me over 18 hours ago. We're on the sa

      • I'd go for a cell phone company that doesn't funnel all 411 requests through a human being and charge me $1 for the privilege. [Alternatively, in my car - oops, uh, where I never make any calls while driving - I keep the dead tree directories in the back seat so I don't keep getting charged if I want to find out the phone number of some local business.]

        Don't any of them have an online white/yellow pages that you can look up automatically with text messaging for less money?

      • Ok, so you're upset about all of the people complaining about problems that no one has?

        Has it occured to you that just because you're not aware of a problem doesn't mean it doesn't exist? Some of us have actually noticed the difference in battery life with new phones. Some of us notice that features have been packed on without improving call quality. Some of us still get dropped calls in major metro areas.

        "There are a lot of people..." does NOT mean everyone!
    • What is especially galling to electronics manufacturers is that the combination of cellphone convergence and cell providers demanding cheap handsets as loss leaders for subscription lock-in is that profit margins are going to be driven to hell if you phone is a camera, audio player, GPS device, PDA, game system, yadda yadda, because "free" handsets will undermine the market for standalone versions of those devices.
    • There are plenty of robust, cheap phones that will make calls and hold a phonebook perfectly well if that's what you want (think Nokia 3330 - can be had for very little money and is damn near indestructible). As for uploading voicemails, they're stored remotely so how would a phone handset upload them? I'm sure you could dial into your voice mailbox with a modem and some software and then grab the sound output on your PC.

      If you don't want a phone with all the new things then don't buy one, but why deride t
  • Feature Creep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deacent ( 32502 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:51PM (#9984015)
    The optimist sees "convergence" while the pessimist sees "feature creep". Guess that makes me a pessimist.
  • Separate But Equal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:51PM (#9984020)
    Although these 'combos' are good for people that have none of the offered tech but want them all, I believe separates are the way to go. Then I do not end up with 3 DVD players (1 standalone, 1 w/PS2, 1 w/XBox).
    A better idea is to have all these 'parts' interconnect in a more seamless way - have additional devices plug in to a master controller, which would allow infinite connections (instead of the current setups where the 3rd game system is connected on the 'tape' monitor.

    • In this case, there's really nothing wrong with a gaming console being a DVD player; unlike the DVR idea, these devices already have all the technology they need, such as the DVD drive and the decoder(for in-game FMV), so it might as well be used as a selling point to sell more of these things and allow users to skip getting a stand-alone DVD player. Now the PS2 DVR on the other hand isn't close to being like this, as it's more like a DVR with a PS2 built on(and not sharing too many resources in the process
  • Underwhelming response? Dammit, I was looking forward to Playing my cake and eating it to. /me ducks

    Yo Grark
  • by Dorsai65 ( 804760 )
    C'mon. Do ONE thing, do it well, and do it inexpensively. This stuff is starting to look more and more like those 8-track/cassette/turntable/tuner lashups from the 70's. Sheesh.
    • > and do it inexpensively
      You hit the nail on the head: The manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, Tapwave) aren't interested in selling you something cheap -- the box itself is a big cost, so adding more features amount to higher profit.

      Another factor is the japanese real estate market: there isn't any real estate. Houses and apartments are tiny, so one device that does six things is a big help.

      However, they make more money off the software licenses, so you'd think that a small price would h
  • I can say they they will make toast.

  • Let's face it, the PS2 has been out for how many years now? and Japan, of all markets, is definitely saturated with PS2s.

    If you already have a PS2, and you're in the market for a PVR, would you:

    * buy a PVR that has another PS2 in it, therefore paying an unnecessary premium,


    * buy just a PVR at a lower cost?
  • as soon as you can converge (real life) sex and gaming than you have a convergence I'll buy.
  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:53PM (#9984049) Homepage

    But don't try to do it all with hardware.

    Imagine a device that I can plug into my TV. It will play DVDs, it will take my CD's, convert them to MP3s (autmatcially putting in track names and authors), it will allow internet surfing (yes, a TV isn't as good as a monitor), PVR, game playing, paying bills online, etc. it will handle VOIP (with built in message manage), IM, home automation, home security, water the lawn when it needs it, etc.

    Sounds nice, I'd buy one. Oh wait I have one, its called a computer. None of the things I mentioned above are new. Rolling all of these features into one device is going to take forever. However, build a nice fanless computer. Make it a DVD player and have some basic MP3 functionality. Release. Do a software update to allow web surfing. Do a software update to do home automation (thermostat, time lights, etc). Do a software update to ... you get the picture. The thing is, this can all be done today, nothing is new. But trying to build it all at once is the wrong way to go at it. Start slow, release often. Sure most of us on slashdot aren't going to be the target market, but our families, friends, and other non-techno people are.

    • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:04PM (#9984192) Homepage
      But don't try to do it all with hardware. Imagine a device that I can plug into my TV. It will play DVDs, it will take my CD's, convert them to MP3s (autmatcially putting in track names and authors), it will allow internet surfing (yes, a TV isn't as good as a monitor), PVR, game playing, paying bills online, etc. it will handle VOIP (with built in message manage), IM...

      The sad thing is, you can already do all of those things with a modded xbox. [xbox-scene.com] And what's even sadder is, it'll cost you under 200 bucks.
  • Nothing New (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nexzus ( 673421 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:53PM (#9984050)
    I remember the 3D0 and the CD-i being touted as all in one devices, and they failed miserably. Panasonic and Phillips seem to forgot that it is - and I hate to point out the obvious - all about the games. Being able to play movies, or record TV shows should just be a bonus, not the focus of a console.

    Plus, I would rather have devices that performed one function, and did them well, than one device that could do several things rather poorly. The PS2 is a great game playing machine, but makes a lousy DVD player.
  • Next Week: New Game Consoles Only Play Games

    Next they'll release deticated devices for each feature and call it innovation.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:56PM (#9984080) Homepage
    maybe there was an "underwhelming response" because they were charging an arm and a leg for the fricking thing.

    Tivo = $99.

    PS2 = $150.

    Tivo + PS2 = $900?

    what kind of math is that?
  • What if pacman could eat the commercials on your DVR... ?

  • Hell No! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:56PM (#9984086)
    > Should Game Consoles Make Breakfast, Too?

    Hell, no! That's what cell phones are for!

  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:57PM (#9984093) Journal
    The "set-top box" is a white elephant. Not just because of technical hurdles, but the very fact that people don't want it.

    I have a seperate DVD player and XBox. The fact that the XBox can play DVDs didn't stop me from getting the DVD player. Why? Because I want to watch a movie upstairs while my kids play Soul Calibur II. Simple, huh? Why should I buy two $500 devices when a $40 DVD player and $120 Xbox do what I need?

    And hey, when my XBox breaks, I can still watch DVDs, play CDs, pay my bills online, keep my milk cold and fresh, and make delicious toaster pastries.

    All-in-one devices are single points of failure.

    Not to mention the "jack of all trades, master of none" angle. Sure the XBox can play DVDs. But not in 640p (ok after modding and hacking it can). Even a $40 DVD player has progressive scan these days. It's a specific example, but of a general trend.

    Just like instead of a reliable phone with good battery life, manufacturers think we "really want" is a shitty phone, grainy camera, buggy PDA, and laughingly unplayable games.

    Hell, a clie is small enough that I can duct-tape it to the phone myself, if that's what I need.

    I can see niche markets for some of this convergance stuff. The rich guy who did a 100,000 dollar remodel of his living room, and an a/v rack with room for a DVD player, TiVo and PS2 just aren't in the budget. Fine, he can pay the premium.
    • The "set-top box" is a white elephant. Not just because of technical hurdles, but the very fact that people don't want it.

      Says you.

      When I spent $200 on an Xbox, you couldn't get $40 DVD players then.

      Plus, "convergence" is just natural. I mean, what should MS have said: "Duhr, we've got a DVD drive in our game console, hey, let's make it NOT play movies! LOL!!!111"? Yeah, that would've been great. Likewise, the first CD-ROM based game consoles could play audio CDs. Again, a capability of the hardwa

  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone ( 681598 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:57PM (#9984096)
    Must there be an "overwhelming" response to any product in order to consider it a success? Why does every movie have to be Spider-Man? Why does every game console have to be a PlayStation? Why does every book have to be Harry Potter?

    Business would be a lot better if management would stop looking for the ultimate money grab and spend more time on the quality of their products and the non-monetary value of their business.
    • Must there be an "overwhelming" response to any product in order to consider it a success? Why does every movie have to be Spider-Man? Why does every game console have to be a PlayStation? Why does every book have to be Harry Potter?

      I also subscribe to the "Special Class" system of product marketing. Everybody's a winner! Yay!
    • Must there be an "overwhelming" response to any product in order to consider it a success? Why does every movie have to be Spider-Man? Why does every game console have to be a PlayStation? Why does every book have to be Harry Potter?

      Instant gratification for everything except the movies.

      Many, many, movies suck fucking ass and the MPAA complains about how piracy is the reason that their money is slipping down the drain. Perhaps if they weren't so cocky about their work and they made better shit instead o
    • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cmburns69 ( 169686 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:17PM (#9984334) Homepage Journal
      I suspect that by "underwhelming" they meant they couldn't sell enough to cover their costs.

      Products and services can thrive without being the biggest or best. But that will always be the goal, because the returns are almost always greater.

      Killing a project that costs more than it's worth is good business. For the most part, Sony devices perform their primary function very well. Their TV's are great for watching TV, their consoles are extremely fun, their cameras take good pictures.

      A company as big as Sony doesn't get where it is without having business smarts.
    • It is not just management. How many times do you hear people talking about how Apple is dying. Apple has a better share of the computer market than Ferrari has of the car market, and yet people don't shun Ferrari because they are a small slice of the available options.

      Look into Troma for an interesting, intelligent take on the issue. No, really. Troma may put out some godawful cheap crap, but Lloyd Kaufman, the founder and president, really has a very well positioned view on the movie industry. He's b

    • A) Investors are stupid
      B) Businesses are stupid for being run by investors

      That's really all there is to it. Without the investors a company can stand on its own merit and not owe anything to anyone but its employees and customers. Advertising turns your customers into products. Investing turns yourself into a product. We're reduced to becoming products who buy products from products. No one is actually making anything anymore!
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:57PM (#9984101) Homepage Journal
    The idea of a do it all box is intriguing, but I'm still more inclined to want to keep these things separate. For one thing, if I want to take my gaming console to a friends house, it won't mean ripping out the heart of my home entertainment system. Also, when one thing breaks, it won't mean losing it all. On the other hand, with a good design and price point I might be inclined to buy both a dedicated unit as well as a combined unit. Perhaps the best bet is to take a component system approach which will give the consumer the choice of building the system the way the way he/she wants to.

    As for bringing PCs into the picture, I think Apple may be on the right track with their Airport networking which allows streaming of music from your computer to your stereo system. I like that because it keeps the computer in the office where I want it. So I like the idea of various devices being able to work together without having to be in the same box. Unfortunately, I can see entertainment industry's paranoia getting in the way of these efforts since they are so worried about people pirating music and movies.
  • Pffffft!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:58PM (#9984104)
    I'm sick of convergence. Any device that does several functions usually only does them "okay". It does not of them "excellent".

    I'm tired of manufacturers shoving convergence down my throat. For example, I want a cellphone that does one thing...gives me excellent performance as a phone. I don't give a damn about it being a camera, I have cameras for that. I don't give a rat's ass if it can function as a PDA, I have a PDA for that. I just want it to be a phone, and be a damned good one. Not a piss-poor phone/PDA/camera/kitchen sink.
    • I think people may have learned that when you cram more stuff into 1 box, that means that box just has more stuff that can break. I dont want to buy a $600 PVR/DVC/XBOX/Waffle iron, when i know there is a good chance one (or more) of those will break, and i will have to send it away to be fixed at some outrageous cost and time, or shell out another $600.

    • That's why I got an LG VX3100 [lge.com]
      It works, it makes calls, and has the bare minimum of other crap included with it. 2 games, and that's about it.
    • Re:Pffffft!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, maybe you enjoy carrying a separate cellular phone (make that two, actually--one for GSM and another for TDMA), pager, PDA, camera, MP3 player, calculator, stopwatch, and handheld videogame all around everywhere, but I'd much rather carry one device that does it all.

      No, we're not at the point where all of those functions can be adequately performed by a single device YET, but we're getting closer.

      No one's forcing convergence on you. If you don't want an address book in your mobile phone, just don't
  • if convergance is not desired.... why then do people mod x-boxes and add all sorts of cool functionality (like media centers, file shares, web browsers, etc etc etc)?


  • Presuming that convergence is market driven and will therefore happen anyway, I could ask "which would you rather have make your breakfast: PC, console, cell-phone, girlfriend?"

    I'd rather have my PC make my breakfast, 'cuz I often eat things other people think are wierd so I'd like to be able to alter the spice to taste. I just know my cellphone would get hammered with telemarketers spewing sauteed spam. And I don't want to depend on an s/o to make me breakfast-- I'm hungry everyday, not once every 25 yea

  • by Agent Green ( 231202 ) * on Monday August 16, 2004 @03:59PM (#9984119)
    And not only that, convergence takes away choices...kinda like those all-in-one stereo pieces of shit.

    If the CD player in one of those dies, you may as well throw the whole thing out, since it's made so cheap that the repair cost isn't worth the effort. This goes for almost any multifunction device.

    I like my PS2...and I also like my TiVo, but when the time to upgrade to HDTV comes along, I'm really only going to want the new PVR/tuner. Even if I like the Sony PVR, what happens to the X-Box or Nintendo fan? They simply get junk they don't need and had to pay for.

    I don't want to replace an entire system when a subset of that system either breaks, or I want to upgrade.
  • I never got into the whole console gaming thing. I found using both my hands to move/shoot in a first-person shooter was too much of a shift from having my hands separated by a keyboard and mouse.

    Then there's the issue with porn. I can't get it from a console. And even if I could get it from a console system, I'd not want to bring my hands together to manipulate the experience.

    With a computer and porn, I have one hand on my cock and one hand on the mouse clicking interactive nipples and dragging those
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:00PM (#9984140) Journal
    if it was priced lower than US$600 (last I heard). I really love the device and would scoop one up in a second if I couldn't go out and buy a computer to do all the same things for less than the cost of the PSX.

    I think Microsoft learned this lesson the hard way; offering too many unused features at too high a price. They seem to be steering the Xbox successor to more profitable waters, and maintaining the core focus on performance.

    On top of it all, I think is Sony is trying to milk the PS2 market for all it's worth with the price of a PS2 around $149.99, four years later.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • What I'd like to see, would be devices that knew how to talk to each other, whereby I can get an all in one device, or the seperate systems, and it wouldn't make any difference. I personally imagine all of this on Gigabit, and talking with something similar to Apple's Zeroconf (used to be called rendezvous, but I'm pretty sure it's got a new name now). Imagine a TV that advertised that it could accept audio or video streams, a DVD player that offered out video, a stereo that offered audio streams, speaker
  • by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:02PM (#9984170)
    They have stated, many times, that they build systems to play games, and thats IT.

    Good games.

    Good, high quality, fun, games with recognizable characters.

    People line up for the next "mario" game because the last 20 have been fantastic. It sells systems, and has a great track record.

    I mean, have you played windwaker? Its a friggin work of art!
  • by gathas ( 588371 )
    One of the big reasons I ended up buying my kids a Gamecube is that these console systems are very easy to use. I toyed with the idea of getting the kids to use a pc for games, but that meant me spending lots of time installing games, teaching them how to start them, changing screen resolutions, etc. Game compatibility was also a big issue. With the Gamecube (other consoles are them same), all they need to know is power, eject and reset (heck they don't even need the last one). All the gamecube games we
  • A breakfast-making game console would've been a real possibility had Microsoft used an Athlon XP instead of a Pentium III. Why, you can cook eggs on them! [ncku.edu.tw]

    I'm gonna go hide now...

  • Beyond the clock radio, what's ever worked better from putting two different functions together?" (from the article)

    I prefer a regular alarm clock and a seperate radio with better sound, so even that one doesn't fly.

    Sure I like doing lot's of things on my PC, but when I make a phone call, I like to do it from a telephone. When I fix my car, I like ordinary ratchets with regular sockets (sorry Bob Vila, no pocket socket). When I want a fork or a spoon, I do not want a spork. The Mega-Gadget 2000 may lo
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) * on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:17PM (#9984328) Journal
    device is a modern stereo or home theatre receiver. Sure, if you're a dedicated gearhead you can buy a separate tuner, pre-amplifier and amplifier (if you're really dedicated you'll have an amplifier for each channel and if you're insanely dedicated you'll have an outboard D/A converter for your CD player and an outboard phono preamp if you have a turntable) but for the most part modern receivers are fairly well designed and do what people want them to do, switch components, process signals, make things louder and let you listen to the radio (which is unfortunately an afterthought as a lot of the tuners in modern home theatre receivers are crap). Part of this synergy is due to the fact that a receiver doesn't have a lot in the way of moving parts (with the obvious exception of switches, knobs and the like) so, with solid state components being as durable as they are there's not a lot to break down, and if something does break you're probably better off just replacing the whole unit. Once you add some moving parts to the mix (such as receivers with built in CD/DVD players) you've changed the dynamic as it's possible to have the really annoying failure mode of having the CD/DVD player go tits up while the rest of the system keeps working.

    As a purist I'd rather that my Denon home theatre receiver didn't have an AM/FM tuner in it, because the tuner section is crap and because I don't listen to radio on my home theatre system, but I don't have to use the tuner, I could even put an outboard tuner in if I wanted to, so it does no harm except to my aesthetic sense.

    Manufacturers of all-in-one devices would do well to ask themselves if jamming all of these devices into one box achieves any kind of synergy that makes the sum greater than the parts. Even when there are natural synergies that are inherent to the hardware, such as the ability of the X-box and PS/2 to play DVDs, you may still find that users don't find this useful, as evidenced by the number of people I know who own both an X-box and a DVD player or a PS/2 and a DVD player.

    Of course it might be nice if software developers would ask the same question. Do users really need an office suite that does all of the useless crap that MS Office or Star Office does? Or would users be better served if developers looked for natural synergies in software products?

  • The reason people aren't running out to buy one is because everyone who is going to buy a PS2 either has one, or is still waiting for it to be $99. The PSX has no new features that improve on the PS2's gaming ability. It just has a DVR(which, again, people who are going to have a DVR already do).

    I'm for all-in-one units, as long as they don't cost a fortune. Here's what I would want in one.

    1. DVD playback
    2. CD playback
    3. Convert DVDs, when inserted, to DivX and store on hard drive.
    4. Convert CDs to (in
  • by rlandrum ( 714497 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @04:26PM (#9984423)
    I have a HDTV that I bought in 2002. It has a built in HD receiver, and I thought I would save $500 on a HD receiver by getting this TV. I hooked it up, and it's great.

    Now I want to add a tivo. Hmm... No video out from the TV. There's nothing. No RCA, or even COAX outs from this HD receiver. It's all routed internally. Even pulling the back cover off revealed nothing useful to "hack" into.

    And now I see HDTV external turners with built in Tivo. Those are really cool, and I'd love to get one, but there's no HDTV inputs on the back of my RCA. Guess the engineers didn't think people would ever be connecting such devices to their HDTVs. I mean WTF?!?

    Convergence blows. It basically locks you into something that might be obsolete in a few months (or years, if you're lucky).
  • As Ted Turner once pointed out, "the great thing about TV is that it's so passive".

    All these fancy gadgets make television far more complicated. And they tend to have absolutely terrible user interfaces. The VCR/DVD interface has shaken down into a mass of tiny buttons and stateful on-screen menus, different for each manufacturer.

    Overall integration is terrible. You'd think there would be a "Buy" button on TV remotes by now. No way. Just getting all the volume controls to play together is beyond the in

  • Forget the pairing of console game + entertainment center.

    True gamers want:
    Console game + toilet.

    Close seconds:
    Console game + keg
    Console game + firearms + range
    Console game + vending machine

    and I guess we would need the obligatory
    Consol game + one-handed keyboard!
  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @05:53PM (#9985280) Homepage
    If your game console is going to make breakfast, it is going to have to have a cereal port.
  • by Thedalek ( 473015 ) on Monday August 16, 2004 @08:19PM (#9986486)
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this before, but most "convergant" devices have zero multi-tasking ability.

    So, that $900 PSX can record TV shows and Movies to DVD or internal HD or play games, but not both at the same time. If you want to play Final Fantasy X while you're recording Stargate SG-1, tough.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments