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Games Technology

Has the Console Arms Race Stalled? 231

An article at Eurogamer argues that even with a successor to the Wii on the horizon, the console arms race we've watched over the past few decades is in the process of changing dramatically, with base hardware taking a back seat to software and peripherals. "Even the most basic yardstick for console improvements has become a little hard to read. It used to seem like a reliable idea that every five years or so, consoles would catch up to the PC — a platform which sees advancements every few weeks — and remain competitive for a while, before the PC's cutting-edge accelerated away. ... However, the upgrade cycle appears to have slowed considerably — with games that actually demand cutting-edge systems being few and far between, and core gamers far more likely to continue happily playing on two-, three- or even four-year-old PCs than they were in the past. ... If not a halt to progress, this is certainly a slowing — and probably one which is welcomed in most quarters. Consumers love improvements in graphical quality, but most would probably prefer to see any major increase in development budget being spent elsewhere — more detailed content, more expansive storytelling, more progress in areas that have been neglected in the former headlong rush to cram more polygons and effects onto every screen."
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Has the Console Arms Race Stalled?

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  • Yes. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vegeta99 ( 219501 ) <[rjlynn] [at] []> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @04:40AM (#36206802)

    Yes it has.

  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @05:06AM (#36206900)

    ... one of the real issues is risk aversion and title stagnation. Every modern game has to cater to the lowest common denominator due to game budgets, in a way the lust for pretty graphics has caused game developers to reduce the game aspect of games and simplify games to such an extent they become little more then stale worlds of aesthetically pleasing art. It's been a long time since I've seen game (not a movie or movie game as I like to call them) based on _just_ the idea of the game rather then going for the special fx and bling. Take the latest L.A. Noire, the more graphical horsepower has increased the less the focus is traditional games and more on cinematic experiences and IMHO that is a negative thing since the more passive games become the less interested I am.

    It's one of the reason I can't stand modern "RPG's" there is barely any participation left because the action gaming mechanics have been ripped out of them to make sure people who don't like participating in their games can watch and run through the content. This is bad because it alienates what many of us got into gaming for in the first place - to participate rather then be pushed through content on a conveyor belt of automated-combat. FF12 takes the cake in what I consider the devolution of games where all you have to do is navigate once you set your auto-battle. At that point why even bother "gaming"? Why not just a walkthrough on youtube of someone else playing and get the same experience for $0 money down?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @05:27AM (#36206980)

    spending thousands of (pounds/dollars) on a gaming pc capable of playing the latest games

    Honestly, I keep hearing people say this, but this is simply not true.

    I'm fairly certain I can define myself as a hardcore gamer. And whenever I buy a new pc, I buy high-range but not ultra-range parts, keeping the total price below ~750 Euros (monitor not included).
    And my current pc has already lasted 3 years, being able to play ALL the latest games. And my previous pc lasted about 5 years, also all the while able to play all the then-latest games.
    Both pc's I've upgraded in their lifetime only once: adding some memory (which costs maybe 40).

    Sure, at first all the settings go at high and everything plays fine, and when it gets older you can't crank all the settings to the highest anymore, but NEVER below medium.
    A pc easily lasts 4 years capable of properly playing the latest games.

    ps. Screw graphics, this is the age of the indies!

  • by lucian1900 ( 1698922 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:02AM (#36208200)
    Actually, that's not really true. Consoles are extremely underpowered (yes, even PS3 and Xbox) and they're often the quality bottleneck for crossplatform games (PC and consoles).

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