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Activision Wants Consoles To Be Replaced By PCs 344

thsoundman writes with this excerpt from thegamersblog: "We live in a world where we have multiple platforms for gaming: PC, PS3, 360, Wii, etc. Each platform has varying amounts of power when it comes to playing games. Activision, one of the leading cross-platform publishers, wishes to move away from the 'walled gardens' set by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. ... [Activision CEO Bobby] Kotick’s solution is to turn to the PC, where it can set its own model for pricing — not unlike what Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft and Kotick stated that Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."
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Activision Wants Consoles To Be Replaced By PCs

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  • Apple's new mac mini (Score:0, Interesting)

    by YtsaeB ( 180014 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:08AM (#32836534) Homepage

    Apple are on the right track for this type of box with the latest revision of the mac mini, having a HDMI port and a nice small form factor. If you could get a decent graphics card in there, you've got yourself a nice box.

    The biggest problem here is, people really don't want another thing to plug into their TV, and in Steve's D8 interview he mentions that specifically about where the apple TV and soon to be Google TV product just don't have a way to make money. Perhaps gaming is the answer?

  • Re:Already Done (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paganizer ( 566360 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .1evorgeht.> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:11AM (#32836544) Homepage Journal

    Sounds to me that they would do better by talking to video card manufactures; if everything was based on a video card, it wouldn't really matter what sort of PC you had; add TV out hardware (if you can find a video card without the hardware already there) and use the GPU for the games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:21AM (#32836586)

    There are no shortage of companies that want to tinker and salivate over how Blizzard's business model works. It's a game, direct to consumer, that has a monthly recurring fee with a very nice retention rate. So far, everyone has been absolutely god awful at pulling this off. The desiccated and dismantled battlefield of competitors goes to show, Blizzard has magic that isn't easy to reproduce

    I think the closest analog that Activision could come to is Steam. Yet again, deeply entrenched business model, direct to consumer with a nice retention rate.

    What Activision wants is control over the entire food chain. They are neither ready, nor well developed enough to jump from a business model they know incredibly well, to what is working on a, very profitable basis, but across a very, very narrow list of businesses that pull it off.

    The best thing Activision could do right now is ditch the idea of a PC under the tv. People for generations of games have made a very clear delineation for where they want their pc's and where they want on their consoles. And any company such as a Dell or an HP would be complete morons to go after that failed market again, and again.

    What Activision needs to do, is sit down with whoever they have doing arcade games. Take that, pop out a Steam like client, and make it a)not a crippled, bloated piece of shit b) not DRM'd to the point where you're screwing with your call center numbers by increasing traffic off a small step into the market and finally c)make it compelling.

    God the number of amazing indie developers out there that would kill to have Activision's resources behind their projects, without Activision being a general corporate pain in the ass... Go for the small market see what you can do there, it's your test pool. If you can't work out strategy there, then you're not going to do it where the big fish play. Remember, small nimble teams with experience.

    Then again, since when has Activision listened to anyone screaming "NO THAT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA, WOULD YOU PLEASE NOT DO THAT" and then watched whatever they've tried doing bomb, and tumble into disaster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:27AM (#32836614)
    Bnet will be his walled garden. I don't think anyone thinks it's unlikely. Unlikely to succeed? Sure. But really, it's already headed that way.
  • by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:30AM (#32836636)

    This still affects MW2. Recently they released a second multiplayer level DLC and changed some of the gamemodes (added a "pure" gamemode with no killstreak rewards).

    First of all if you want to play the new maps you have to play them in specific gamemode that rotates between team deatchmatch, demolition, sabotage and all the other modes. You cannot select the gamemode you like, but have to play those you hate too. Of course this isn't told on the sales page, but at least this time around I knew it will be the same thing and did not buy the DLC. They will probably be available in a month or two for the other gamemodes, but the funny thing is that those who don't have the DLC cannot join the games that have the DLC. This devalues the game for the old players, as they have much less people to play with and possibly can't even find a game to join.

    Secondly, they removed Capture The Flag gamemode to make room for the "pure" gamemode. It was my favorite one with Sabotage, but now I cannot select it. Obviously this would had not been a problem with dedicated servers where the server admin could choose it freely.

    Then theres also the cheaters.

    It just sickens me how they ruined otherwise good multiplayer game in their pursue for more cash.

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:24AM (#32837166)
    From all reports I have seen of late I would have to agree with the OP, They seem to be pretty well out of ideas as the user base has been rapidly shrinking. The upcoming XPac looks completely uninspiring and is unlikely to stem the hemoraging for any significant time. I say this as someone who still plays the game and is even on the beta, though the week on the beta has made me seriously question why I bother anymore.
  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:24AM (#32837484) Homepage

    Call of Duty 4 in a ATI x600: []

    50 fps. Perfectly playable.

  • I said older, not laptops made with low power consumption and cheapness as goals. That's like expecting MGS4 to run on a PSP.

    The PSP has games developed specifically for the PSP. So why don't I hear more about games developed specifically for netbooks?

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @09:17AM (#32838652)
    Personally, while I respect your opinion, I think your looking at it the wrong way. On console you just throw the game in and it will look EXACTLY as the developers intended for it to look. While on a PC with older hardware I have to tweak the settings, read forums to work out the best settings and in game command line options to adjust the game. The older your hardware gets the less likely the game was tested with your machine specs in mind and the harder and harder it gets to eek out that performance. I have been gaming for 20+ years now and while tweaking has gotten infinitely easier it is still a pain and is essentially time wasted, I spend all my working life working on servers in a datacenter, the last thing I want to do when I get a new game is spend time trying to tune it. I play FPS's and RTS's on the PC and some of them even with modern machines can cause me to spend hours tuning, MW2 for example took me weeks to get working right due a multitude of activision bugs, video driver bugs and several other incompatible programs I had making it all but unplayable in multiplayer, all the while I cursed my friends who decided to get it on the 360 or PS3. The Nirvana that Activision perceives doesn't exist, besides which their only reason for wanting this is greed, they have no desire to make gaming better for you or me, simply a desire to find a bigger and more sustainable pig trough to eat at.
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @10:42AM (#32839910)

    because they are based on Adobe Flash! That's why people are so vocal about iPhone not having Flash because it's the leading platform for "low spec" PC games... sure the graphics are simple, but it's the same game everywhere. There are far more people playing Scrabble, Farmville, or Bejewled for 15-30 minutes at a time than playing the "AAA" console games.

  • by Dashiva Dan ( 1786136 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @11:26AM (#32840496)
    Well. XBox and PS, etc, are really just customised PCs running customised OSes.
    Sounds to me like he's basically looking to 'open-source' the platform.
    I'm sure there'll be minimum requirements and standards, and, should this pick up like he seems to hope, you'll basically end up with a gaming console that happens to be upgradeable and open.
    So it will be cheaper to buy to begin with for the same performance, and open ended to allow incermental upgrades.
    The games developed would be like standard PC games, with configurable levels of detail. The mor epower you have, the more detail you turn on.
    As it's looking at running on a TV, the resolution will be fairly low (even in HD, as compared to a PC) meaning it will already run faster than most current PC setups.
    Yes, he's surely out to make money. Good for him. He's taking an approach I can get behind.
    I really hope he suceeds, as it will give both the PC hardware and software industries in general reason to innovate faster again.
    Yes, it will mean that to benefit from the advances you'll need to fork out more money than you would in the long run with a console, however that will be your choice if you want to take advantage of the innovation that is generated.
    If you don't want to take advantage, then don't buy the upgrades, don't get the newest games. Stick with the low base that the consoles will have, and you've lost nothing. Those who can afford a few extra bucks will drive the industry forward, and in 6 years time it will be much further along than it would have been otherwise, and even those who can't afford the high prices will reap those rewards.
  • by gknoy ( 899301 ) <gknoy AT anasazisystems DOT com> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:46PM (#32841642)

    consoles hold back the development of games. Even something like XBox 360 has only 512 megs of memory, which severely limits how complex gameworlds it can represent; just compare with the 2 gigabytes minimum on newer PCs, and 6-8 gigs or more on high-end machines.


    Having a restrictive (yet capable) standard sandbox enables a developer to focus on working within those constraints, which can allow them to exercise creative freedom. Look at some of the most interesting and innovative games recently -- Portal, for example. Good games don't necessarily push hardware to it's limit.

    Sure, you don't get as many "Crysis" equivalents (in terms of how hard they flog the hardware). However, you can get things like Heavy Rain, Portal, Rock Band, and tons of other innovative games. What makes a game good is gameplay and story -- if games are like cupcakes, then graphics are frosting on the cupcake. Sure, we always want better, but it's not sufficient (or even necessary). Lego Star Wars or Tetris Party don't really flog the hardware, but are still awesome games because their gameplay is excellent. Heavy Rain may not exercise the sort of hardware in a high end gaming PC, but it's main draw is the story and the degree to which you interact with it.

    A fixed console target allows developers to push that hardware to the limit, and still have their target market consist of everyone with a console. With PCs, when the Next Crysis comes out, how many people will have (or will buy) the hardware for it? Fewer, I imagine, than those who already have an Xbox360 or PS3 or even a Wii.

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @01:19PM (#32842134)
    So, stop caring about trivial graphics differences, and pay more attention to gamplay. I still play my PS2 more than my 360; I still play X-Com more than any PC game released in the last couple years. At this point, what do improvements in graphics matter?

    Consoles and PCs have long ago reached the point where they can create a large, detailed, world. Yet, if you look at an RPG on the PS3 compared to one on the SNES, you'll find it's often smaller and shorter. Yes, the salt-shakers on the table in the inn are individually modeled in beautiful 3d; but the WORLD is small, because of the immense expense creating those graphics, and the perception that graphics are the most important aspect of modern gaming.
  • by Dashiva Dan ( 1786136 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:35PM (#32844276)
    There is some truth in that, but it's a poor argument at best.
    Good programmers squeeze the best they can out of their code. Look at successful games that are on both PC and console, and see how they perform on comparable hardware...
    The reason you see some evidence of this is because one of the (down?)sides of having an open platform is that anyone can easily write for it, from hobbyists all the way through to professionals, which means you're going to see a lot of poor performance at the low end on the curve.
    I do agree that having a standard environment to program for is very nice for a programmer, but it is still limiting.
    The companys (both hardware and software) that will suceed in an open environment will be the ones who don't employ lazy programmers, or those that can box everything in to pre-selected hardware.
    I still far prefer the open environment.

    btw, I'm a professional programmer, and I have worked with many other programmers over the last 10 years. Yes, there's a ton of lazy programmers out there, but I don't think they'd be any better working on open or closed platforms. The good programmers will do the best they can with either.
    I would like to see a more standardised cap put on what 'reccomended system requirements' the industry aims for as a whole, however.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.