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Games Industry Off Its Game

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the aiming-for-a-higher-score dept.

Businesses 132

A Washington Post article explores the problems facing the games industry in this year of console generation turnover and lackluster PC game sales. From the article: "There are other potential problems. The new-generation consoles look best when plugged into high-definition TV sets -- and it is not clear how many people will buy a new television just for the latest version of the Madden football game. And the cost of the new gaming systems continues to rise. Perhaps no question haunts the industry more at the moment than the mystery of when Sony's PlayStation 3 will come out and how much it will cost."

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132 comments

White Flag (1)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784896)

There is no question about it, there will only be Revolution!

Re:White Flag (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784954)

Damn you! I wanted the first Revolution post :(

But yes, Revolution - doesn't require HDTV, will be cheaper, will try to bring new gameplay systems to the ... sofa. It certainly bypasses the problems in the article.

XBox360 and PS3 are great for the (admittedly large number of) people with a HDTV and who are happy to connect the console to that HDTV (younger men, mainly). Of course games will still look good on a normal TV, especially if the extra power not being used on HD rendering is used to improve anti-aliasing instead.

Re:White Flag (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785119)

What's the resolution of a standard TV set? 640x480? Why anti-alias at all? It's not like you can really tell the difference. Play Enemy Territory on a standard TV with s-video, at 640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768, I can't see the difference with a 3X magnifying lens. The jaggies all look BLURRED.

Re:White Flag (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785191)

You must have a very poor quality TV. Even with S-video you should be able to tell the difference, and with component video or RGB it is very easy.

Re:White Flag (1)

mabba18 (897753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785898)

Only HDTVs have component video or RGB. Most regular TVs just have coax, composite video, and maybe S-Video. There is a maximum resolution [wikipedia.org] that each input can take, and after that it does not look any better.

Re:White Flag (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785984)

My 32" Sony Wega (non-HD) has component video inputs...

Re:White Flag (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786268)

Component was out before the HD-TV set ever was. Remember those front-projector TVs you'd see in bars? They used component, Red, Green, Blue. Only thing that's changed is there is more than one type of signal that goes down the wires, now. Your Wega only handles the standard RGB signal that's sent over those wires, whereas high-def TVs will be able to pick up and use those other signals that give razor-sharp definition.

Re:White Flag (1)

tekkou (944664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786531)

I've got a 27" Panasonic TV that has component-in (I bought it specifically for that) and it is not HD. Might want to get your facts straight.

Re:White Flag (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786638)

Only HDTVs have component video or RGB

Except if you live in Europe, where RGB signal over Scart is supported by practically all TVs.

Seriously though, PAL-RGB looks great, even if it is only an effective resolution of 768x576. The colors have to be seen.

Re:White Flag (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786331)

Poor quality no, poor brand name, yes. Sony Trinitron, 27". Only Sony product I own, simply because it's still plenty useful for gaming. You can't tell the difference switching from s-video to composite input coming out from my GeForce FX 6200.

Re:White Flag (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785215)

I saw a great post somewhere about how Sony was going it fight the Revolution, and it could be very intersting if it is true. It said that Sony has been working on a similar controller setup (copied after it was announced) along with the EyeToy. The plan would be to release PS2 games that used it. Because there is so much expiriance out there with the PS2 development would be cheap. They can get the price of the little slimline PS2s down to about $100 (which will undercut the Revolution price, whatever it is) and the system is already in however many million homes. They think that by doing this they could expand the life of the system 2 years or so by grabbing casual gamers, and maybe sell 50 million additional systems (I'm guessing world wide) with this plan.

Pure speculation, but very interesting.

On a side note, I saw that the Revolution development kits cost $2000 which is just a fraction of what most kits (PS2, etc) cost, especially the cost of "Next Gen" systems (PS3, XBox 360). They say this would reduce the financial risk of trying to make a game for the revolution (which makes sense). I just wish they'd open it up (somehow) so end users could program it (I'd LOVE to do that, even if it must be done in a locked-down-sandbox with an interpreted language). They could sell the best user created programs on their online service.

Re:White Flag (2, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786292)

"I just wish they'd open it up (somehow) so end users could program it (I'd LOVE to do that, even if it must be done in a locked-down-sandbox with an interpreted language). They could sell the best user created programs on their online service."

They will, I guarantee it. I have been personally told *twice* by Nintendo reps. that open development truly means even single person, 1st time game developers. Now, most likely this will be a scaled down dev kit but it will be there.

What I'd like to see is a cool free tile based 2D dev kit opened up for it, that would be my ultimate wet dream for a console. A steady stream of new and innovative 2D games.

Re:White Flag (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786757)

I don't care if their idea of an "open console" means "here is a virtual NES devkit, and you can download your creations to the Revolution". Giving hobbiests a REAL development platform on a real console, no matter how scaled back (within reason, like I said above, NES is enough, SNES would be great, PS/N64 would be fanstastic) would be a major boon for a large number of reasons. First of all there is NO hardware out there for people to make games for except the PC. Sure, you can try on the GBA or whatever (questionable legality, requires special hardware, etc). Or there is the XGameStation (interesting, powerful enough, but $200 compared to "free" if you already own the Rev.). The Net Yahorzee (or whatever) for the PS showed people wanted to be able to do this (I almost bought one). And if you could send your creations to freinds/relatives then all the better.

Nintedo could hold little development competitions (Sony did that once with the Yahorzee, I remember playing the games on a PlayStation Underground CD) which fosters talent, good will, etc.

I don't understand why these companies don't do this. Why not do it for the older consoles? Now that the PS3 is out (hypothetical), release a dev-kit for $100 that lets you make PS2 games (I know you can do it with the Linux kit, but they need better libraries instead of "here is the chip manual, figure it out" which is where I understand the Linux kit puts you).

And if they don't sell the console at a loss (or sell a "developer" version for an extra $50 or something) then they will only make money off the people who buy the console to develop for it.

All I'm left with right now is waiting for Parallax's Propeller [parallax.com] chip (read about it here [makezine.com] ) which looks like a great little console on a chip to me.

Re:White Flag (1)

kaldrenon (954188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786423)

I know that with each passing year, with each new leap in creativity on the part of hardware and software developers, the gaming market opens up to a larger and larger section of the market. Especially with the advent of the original Playstation and some of the first impressively realistic sports titles, not everyone who plays video games is a "gamer". Nonetheless, I definitely think it's a wise move on Nintendo's part to consider making this development kit, as well as any planned stripped down and marked down versions. The biggest, most loyal market for video games is still those of us who are just as interested in the technology and the development as we are in the games. I know people who enjoy making games more than they enjoy playing them, although they are still gamers at heart. I don't expect Sony to have a great deal of luck competing if all they're going to do is make the PS2 prettier and cheaper, and increase development for the Eye Toy. I haven't seen any successful Eye Toy titles, and to be honest, that doesn't bother me. Viva la Revolution!

Re:White Flag (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786711)

I don't think it would be possible to do anything more than what we've seen with eytoy on the PS2. The thing is, if you've got input systems like gyroscopes and optical sensors, you're going to want to design your hardware specifically for acomplishing those tasks. Trying to lay that on the PS2s CPU might be a little tricky.

Re:White Flag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785438)

Yeah I'm in the market for a new TV. My 24" tv is just not cutting it in the living room, but guess what? I'm also not willing to spend more than a $1,000 on a TV. I'm looking for something bigger than 31" and right now the CRTs are 1/2 the price of any flat panel (LCD or Plasma). So what do I choose?

Now add this on, I don't watch cable TV, I don't watch broadcast TV. I have a 400 DVD changer that I watch movies and seasons of shows. I don't spend more than 12 hours a week watching TV that way.

So is a HDTV flat panel right for me? No. what about an EDTV flat panel? Still no, because the price is still up there. Well I have been looking at HDTVs and some of them say Compatible with 1080i but the resolution that it displays isn't 1080i equivilent! (the resolutions I have seen match the 720i/p size)

As for game system. I got the GC, and I'm going to get the Rev, because of price and because I want fun games I can pick up and play for 30 min, not games that require me to watch cut scenes.

Re:White Flag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785564)

Dance, Dance, Revolution?

sam is korea ! (0, Offtopic)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784899)

KOREA ! ^^

Re:sam is korea ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786754)

So what is up with Korea by the way? I have been watching the Olympics with an interest in true sporting events like the Alpine Skiing events, Hockey (sorry Canada, Russia Rules!), the Cross Country events and the truly impressive Snowboarding events.

But I've discovered that Korea is, and apparently has been for many years, obsessed with short track speed skating. I mean WTF! That is the absolute gayest event ever. It is in fact scientifically gayer than ice dancing, and even demonstrably gayer than the Summer Olympic event of synchronized swimming.

Good (hand) job Korea in becoming the gayest country on earth.

Shouldn't that be... (1)

Zwets (645911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784918)

The new-generation consoles look best when plugged into high-definition TV sets
Shouldn't that be "The new-generation consoles look best when shut off"? Or is that quantum consoles?

Re:Shouldn't that be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785049)

Well so far this has held true for the Phantom.

Madden on the 360 (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784928)

"how many people will buy a new television just for the latest version of the Madden football game."

Two of my coworkers have the XBox 360 and HD TV's and both have called the game a waste of money.

-Rick

Same Here (1)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785038)

Two of my coworkers have the XBox 360 and HD TV's and both have called the game a waste of money.

The 360 and HD doesn't compare to Doom3/Fear/CoD2 on a really nice monitor (like the NEC GX90^2 [futureshop.ca] ).

Re:Same Here (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786606)

I got a 360 and COD2 on a nice monitor, and it sure is pretty :) but more importantly, it is some real fun to play online with my buddies

Re:Madden on the 360 (3, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785039)

and it is not clear how many people will buy a new television just for the latest version of the Madden football game.

From all accounts, the new Madden game sucks.

But it is just possible that one or two people might buy a new TV for some other reason, like... oh, I don't know... watching television, perhaps? Those people will probably want a console that looks good on their new set.

DOA4 is almost enough to make me want a 360 for my HD system... almost. A couple more good games, and I'll seriously consider it. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to see what Sony comes up with.

Duh (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785244)

I could have told you that and I've never played sports video games.

Re:Madden on the 360 (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785402)

Did they already own a copy of Madden 06? I imagine there's not much difference between Madden 06 on the 360 and Madden 06 on the GC, PS2 or XBox. It's not like Madden 64 where they actually built a new engine for the new system. They just ported their current engine over to the 360. I had to opporunity to play Madden 2005 on the PS1 (yes, they did make a PS1 version of that game) and have to admit that it was almost as good as the PS2 version, just not as pretty.

Re:Madden on the 360 (1)

Sysgen (583488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785555)

"They just ported their current engine over to the 360." Nope. The engine is new hence why the game is lacking features. They didn't have the time given thegame had to be out for launch. This tears version will be much better.

Re:Madden on the 360 (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786442)

You can port something and still not be able to implement certain features due to the differences in hardware platform, especially if your engine is chock full of platform-specific optimizations for each target. It might be a brand new engine but it seemed to feel the same as the other 06 engines so I assumed it was just a port. I have no doubt the 07 version for the 360 will be better (and maybe even completed before it's rushed out the door).

Summing it up (5, Informative)

utawoutau (668151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784980)

I think that a quote from the end of the article sums it up nicely.

Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, deemed the industry's troubles to be "cyclical and entirely predictable." What's important is that gaming is growing in popularity, and consumers will continue spending as the industry works out its kinks, he said.

"The early adopters all know what's going on," he said. "They all expect the PlayStation 3 this year. That always tends to slow down purchases for the current platform, no matter how good the current games are. They're sitting on their dollars more than they will be a year or two from now."

HD tvs (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785020)

1) they dont really have to have a HD tv to play the new generation of consoles - ya it makes it look extra nice n purty (more than it would be otherwise), but no, its not necessary - hell, I'd be just as happy on my pos 19 inch crt standard definition (OH no!, something thats not high def!?! the console manufacturers will hate me for it!)

2) I hate sports games, the major improvements stopped years ago, now its just the graphics, but aside from that, even if I did like sports games, I sure as hell wouldnt buy a HD tv or next/new generation console just to play fucking madden, I'd buy it so that Warhawk, Killzone 2, and all the other shitloads of sweet ass graphics games look even better... (but for now, I'll stick to my PC)

bad article (2, Interesting)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785023)

"And the cost of the new gaming systems continues to rise."

PS3's price continues to rise. A $300 Xbox360 is less (adjusted for inflation) than PS1 PS2 Xbox1 NES SNES and the N64.

Also hard to say the Industry is in trouble when they set records in sales and profit last year (console, not PC).

Re:bad article (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785082)

Nobody in their right mind would buy a $300 XBox 360. At a bare minimum, you have to fork over another $40 for the memory card, but you're still far from the functionality provided by the $400 version of the console. In the end, the $400 version of the 360 turns out to be cheaper for like 90% of users.

Re:bad article (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785642)

Nobody in their right mind would buy a $300 XBox 360.

At least, not until Linux runs on it...

Re:bad article (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785819)

... and if you run Linux, you'd be insane to get the one without a hard drive, so you'll want the higher priced version.

Re:bad article (4, Informative)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785091)

PS3's price continues to rise.

That's funny, because no price has ever been announced by Sony. I love how industry, market, and armchair analysts continue to go on about how expensive it will be, when it might not necessarily be so.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785411)

That's because Sony has over-promised on what the PS3 will offer. The PS3 is going to contain a brand new optical drive that's expected to cost around $350 a piece to build, a brand new chip that's expected to cost around $100/unit, a brand new Internet adapter that combines Ethernet and 802.11b, wireless controllers, a hard drive ($50/unit minimum), and more. Just adding up the costs listed in this post brings the PS3 to over $500/unit, and that's ignoring shipping, packaging, and marketting!

Even if Sony sells it at half-cost, you're still looking at a console that's going to be more expensive than the XBox360. Sony simply cannot offer affordable PS3s, because the technology they're using in them is simply too expensive. I expect that the initial PS3 will cost around $1000 when released. In about a year, they might get that price down to $400. (And, in about a year, they might have a model that will last longer than two months before breaking. With that much untested technology in the console, it's almost guarenteed that the initial model will have several flaws.)

It's simply not possible for them to sell them for anything that would be competive with the XBox360 or Revolution, simply due to all the new and untested hardware they're using. The PS3 is going to be one of the most expensive consoles ever released, and it's because Sony is using too much bleeding edge hardware.

Re:bad article (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785542)

That's because Sony has over-promised on what the PS3 will offer.

You mean, like everyone does with consoles? The 360 is being sold at a loss as well, and a fairly large loss. And I'm not going to even get into the current offerings of games and services. This is nothing new to the console hardware scene, and is not a unique issue to Sony.

Again, it's all about pulling numbers out of hats at this point until the MSRP gets announced. Until then, I take everyone's opinion on the pricing with a large grain of salt.

Re:bad article (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785595)

The 360 is being sold at a loss as well, and a fairly large loss.

Microsoft announced the BOM costs for the 360? When did they do that?

You're merely speculating. I'd be willing to bet (if I ever thought I could get real numbers) that they're losing way less on each unit than everybody thinks. I'd even bet they break even on the high end model.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785708)

"You're merely speculating. I'd be willing to bet (if I ever thought I could get real numbers) that they're losing way less on each unit than everybody thinks. I'd even bet they break even on the high end model."

Not even close.

We already know from statements from Ballmer last year that Microsoft was looking at best case scenarios where the 360 would move out of the red in late 2007.

Now that was an absolute everything goes right, everyone buys large numbers of games, huge numbers of people pay for the online service and so on. And it was of course not factoring in the fiasco the launch of the console has turned out to be.

Some of the estimates for cost to manufacture are probably high but all evidence points to Microsoft is losing somewhere in the 100-150 dollar range right now on 360s.

Re:bad article (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786327)

We already know from statements from Ballmer last year that Microsoft was looking at best case scenarios where the 360 would move out of the red in late 2007.

I bet they are counting marketing costs in that.

Think about what is in these things and compare it to what's in a $200 PC. Then keep in mind that they don't have to put all sorts of expensive things in there like a CPU socket, card mounted crap, etc... Plus they used GDDR3 which is cheaper than normal PC memory (and they didn't have to DIMM mount it, pay for the slot connectors, etc), and that they're making way more of these than the average budget PC maker does. The graphics hardware costs a little more in the 360, but everything else in the box is cheaper than a low cost PC with a mid-range CPU.

When you say "evidence" I think you mean "speculation", and I think it's wrong.

(For example, off pricewatch: AMD Athlon XP 2400; 256MB DDR; CD-RW DRIVE; 20GB HARD DRIVE; 64MB SVGA Adapter; 3D SOUND; 10-100 LAN; ATX MID TOWER 400Watt; $213.98 including shipping)

Re:bad article (1)

Babillon (928171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785546)

I guess you haven't noticed the trend on releasing consoles at a loss, huh? Also, I distinctly remember a certain console coming out for over $600 a while back, that was the PSX. Heck, I think a couple of the flops sold for even more than that. PS3 will probably be somewhere in the pricerange of the XBox, if not a bit lower, for the sole reason of getting more units out. Sony doesn't care if they run at a loss for the first quarter/year. They'll make it back in spades afterwards.

Re:bad article (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785592)

I guess you haven't noticed the trend on releasing consoles at a loss, huh? Also, I distinctly remember a certain console coming out for over $600 a while back, that was the PSX. Heck, I think a couple of the flops sold for even more than that.

The only console I can think of that cost more than that was the Neo Geo, and that might only have been the multi-cart and/or CD versions.

Re:bad article (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786500)

the panasonic version of the 3DO retailed for around $600 at launch, also.

Re:bad article (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785667)

That's funny, because no price has ever been announced by Sony. I love how industry, market, and armchair analysts continue to go on about how expensive it will be, when it might not necessarily be so.

Industry analysts have gone on about how expensive the components will be. Sony might pass those costs on to customers, but will likely eat most of them instead. If that happens, Sony will need the PS3 to be a massive success - both in terms of console sales and game sales - in order for it to be profitable.

Re:bad article (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786100)

Industry analysts have gone on about how expensive the components will be

I agree, but by extension they've made assumptions about how much the end cost will be of the completed product. They can cover their asses by saying they're only making assumptions, but the PR damage is done. Tell the teeming masses that the components add up to 800 bucks and they start to freak out about having to shell out that much, potentially.

I'm not saying it's better not knowing, but Sony executives would probably disagree with me on that given how these assumptions hurt the perceptions of their final product.

In the end, since the reading public in general won't stop reacting to speculative writing, and analysts won't stick a sock in it because their names get published on every gaming blog along with their wild speculations, where are we then? I suppose the only thing we can do as consumers is wait until real information and product is released and judge them on their own actual merits.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786270)

"but the PR damage is done"

Huh?

MR and the tiny xbox fanbase are doing what no marketing money can buy...

The PS3 is going to be announced at 349 fairly soon - maybe they might bump it up to 399. Depends on what Sony thinks Nintendo and the Rev are coming out at.

Re:bad article (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785129)

Didn't the $150 NES get you the console, two controllers, two games (SMB/Duckhunt, I can't remember the other cart? Or was that it?) and a light gun?

Re:bad article (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785766)

That was the most popular configuration. The dual cartridge SMB/Duck Hunt, two controllers, light gun, automatic video switch, and the console itself. It was a pretty good deal really.

Re:bad article (2, Informative)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786454)

The NES was not $150 at launch. It took a couple years to drop down to this price. The SMB/Duck Hunt package didn't even appear for a year and a half or so after the console's debut, and it did so at $199. All console launches ever have been around the $3-400 mark, going as far back as the Atari 2600.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785158)

I'm sick of everyone guessing and over-estimating the price of the PS3. Here's why:

The PS3 offers almost the same features as the XBox 360, such as online capabilites and improved graphics over the previous generation consoles. Each system will be stronger or weaker in certain areas, but at the end of the day, they will both be pretty impressive pieces of technology that serve the same purpose and essentially have the same features.

This is why it's ridiculous to suspect that Sony will price their system at at $900 when the Xbox 360 sells for $400. It makes as much sense as Honda pricing the Accord at $60,000 when a Toyota Camry sells for $30,000 (Canadian). They are both destined for the same market, have very similar features and the only thing setting them apart is some minor technical specs and the way the features are implemented. The same goes for the XBox 360 and the PS3.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785376)

Hm... not sure how you're adjusting for inflation, but let the record reflect:
Nintendo has never put out a system costing over $200.

Re:bad article (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786544)

The launch version of the NES with R.O.B. retailed for $249. Adjusted for inflation, thats at least as much as an Xbox360 premium.

Re:bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785422)

Mods check post history.

Known paid for Microsoft astroturfer continuing to spread FUD.

Ass Backwards (4, Insightful)

G_Biloba (519320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785024)

This statement has it all wrong: "The new-generation consoles look best when plugged into high-definition TV sets -- and it is not clear how many people will buy a new television just for the latest version of the Madden football game." HD TV owners (like myself) will only buy HD capable content. So, it is about reaching the current market with the most disposible income and least amount of impulse control (like myself).

Re:Ass Backwards (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785755)

Yeah, people that just go buy HDTV's, new consoles and lots of games with their extra cash falling from their pockets are defintily the norm...that is the "mainstream" market they are going for...

Re:Ass Backwards (1)

G_Biloba (519320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786215)

It's not about targeting this market. It's about not excluding this market.

Re:Ass Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786244)

>>HD TV owners (like myself) will only buy HD capable content.

Dont speak for all of us. I buy DVDs, which are not HD content.

I imagine many HDTV owners do the same. I also dont own an xbox or an xbox360, mostly due to total lack of interest in the games. (I had one, played a handful of xbox exclusive games, sold it)

I have zero interest in the xbox360 as it provides no actually new games. Just the same thing, but shinier.

Don't forget Infinium.... (2, Funny)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785034)

All game developers released a sigh of releif when the new Phantom console was officially postponed. They were all shaking in their boots wondering how to cope with this new console that will destroy all other consoles. It's not fair to have this over their heads for all this time ond now only to postpone and have them all worrying for years to come. :)

Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785035)

Viva La Revolution!

One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (5, Funny)

Neeex (768224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785046)

... they're all playing World of Warcraft.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785492)

I posted that earlier in another thread how WoW is really hurting the games industry and people freaked out. But think about it - think about all the gamers you know who play WoW - these are people who used to buy a new game every month, and now they're playing only one game all the time. Great for Blizzard, kinda sucks for everyone else. Of course, you can't blame Blizzard for making a freakin' awsome game.

Either way, WoW has conquered half of hardcore PC gaming, and is probably singlehandedly responsible for a lot of PC gaming woes.

Personally, I'm patient. I'm waiting for UT2007 and the Revolution. Gaming has gotten too baroque, and the Rev will save it.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

jvalenzu (96614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785808)

Gaming has gotten too baroque, and the Rev will save it.

It certainly looks like it will have austerity going for.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785799)

The biggest problem with WoW and some other modern MMORPGs like CoH/CoV is that they:
1. Don't have the plethora of horrible boring time sinks (gotta fish for 20 more hours to bump my skill level from 5 to 6!) that cause people to say "screw this" and cancel the account.
2. You can't "win" the game. Normally people play games for awhile and they either get stuck or win the game and put it away and buy a new one. With MMORPGs that doesn't happen and they play forever.
3. Have a community of people who would actually miss you (a little bit) if you left. Nobody has to feel bad about abandoning people they've been associated with for months or years when they shelve your average console game.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785926)

Don't have the plethora of horrible boring time sinks (gotta fish for 20 more hours to bump my skill level from 5 to 6!) that cause people to say "screw this" and cancel the account.

You never played WoW right? You wanna tell me that reaching High Warlord is not one of the most brutal time sinks ever in any game? Not to mention the plethora of other timesinks for raising various factions. Did you ever raise Argent Dawn faction to exalted? How do you like killing the same goddamn undead in Western/Eastern Plaguelands for some faction tokens?

To give credit for WoW, the designers pretty much hid the retarded time sinks (except PvP ranks), and casual players don't really see it because they have still items to get from high end dungeons. Once a player caps out on "stuff to do", meaning he has pretty much all items he needs from level 60 dungeons, he can turn to raids or pvp. Both of those elements are bad timesinks, PvP ranks is a massive grind so is getting items like Sulfuras.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785965)

It's not like you _have_ to do that to advance though. I mean compared to most other games the time sinks in WoW are very optional. Plus, you level so fast in WoW that hitting the cap is an attainable goal for your average person.

Re:One simple reason why nobody's buying games... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786517)

Just compare WoW to Ultima Online. Wow caps out at lvl 60. There's still a few things to do at that point. Like try to find a "Legendary" weapon (the orange ones are legendary IIRC). I've seen one of these.

I used to play UO with a few friends. I didn't play it because I enjoyed it. I played it because some of my friends lived too far away to visit for gaming sessions. I hated UO. I'd rather grind ten levels (from 40-50, not 1-11) on Wow than play UO. There was a "power hour" on UO where your skills grew 2x faster. It was the first hour logged on after 24 hours or more of being logged off. Even then I couldn't stand mining for ten minutes for a tenth of a percent of skill.

WoW is a breath of fresh air. You feel like you're getting somewhere. You decelerate in skills and exp as you go higher in level, but that's fine. I still feel like I'm getting somewhere when I play WoW.

Mods on crack? (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785840)

This shouldn't be funny. It's pretty accurate. People playing MMOGs are far less likely to buy other games because: (1) MMOGs are addictive, (2) They need a lot of time investment to achieve "success" (or to "win" the game) and (3) MMOG game experience for many far surpasses boring single player experiences. This has been known for years now.

Just look at the massive amount of people playing these games [mmogchart.com] .

World of Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785071)

The reason the games industry is in the toilet is because a huge market share (around 4.5 million people) have quit playing console games and have started playing WoW, making it a regular part of their daily activity.

If you take the million people that have abandoned their previous MMO (uo, daoc, swg and mxo (lol), eq, eq2, ao, planetside, tso, etc.) for WoW, plus the 4.5 million folks that have moved from single-player/console games, it adds up to the 5.5 million players that WoW currently has.

This is getting to be a routine. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785081)

Is anyone else growing the slightest bit tired of all these redundant "games industry is teh s uck" articles which keep floating around, only to be intterupted every so often with a "omg games industry is teh b etter!" article?

Ten Years?!? (4, Insightful)

kbonapart (645754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785095)

From the article:

"Sony President Ken Kutaragi has said that he expects the device to be "expensive." While game consoles have typically enjoyed a five-year lifespan, Sony has said it is shooting for 10 years this time out."

Are they kidding? They expect it to last ten years, fine, but are they trying to say that they will keep making new games for this platform? I remember the Super Nintendo, and that system rocked, yo. Pilot Wings, F-Zero, Final Fantasy VI were all gems, and had replay value. But after a while, new games stopped appearing, and I was seeing everyone purchase N64s, and playing Goldeneye with all thier friends. And all I had to offer was Mario Kart for thier multiplayer cravings.

Then the Playstation hit the scene, and my SNES got placed on the closet shelf of Eternity. When Microsoft comes out with the Xbox 720, will Sony stick with thier three year old platform? When Nintendo offers thier newest platform that jacks directly into your cyber-brain, with Sony continue to hock Silent Hill 12?

Game Platforms are supposed to have a longer life span then computers by definition. All they are are game systems. They don't do spreadsheets, they don't balance your taxes, they don't have hard drives...

Oh, wait, they do now. Well, strike that...start over...

With Game Platforms becoming more like home computers, thier Start-To-Trash date will grow shorter and shorter. Ten years is a pipe dream. It's 2006. Let's see, ten years ago...

Yeah, I think I'm going to go boot up my old 486 and log into World of Warcraft. I'll let you know how it goes in a week when the program finally loads.

To sum up, a ten year old gaming platform would be like still playing Final Fatasy Mystic Quest, and saying how graphicly stunning it is. Not Gonna Happen.

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785141)

damn I just ran out of mod points too...parent makes an excellent point, please mod up!

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785264)

But isn't the ps3 being built on the new cell processor ? I doubt they haven't thought about an upgrade cell processor that plugs into the expansion port(?) to provide more processing power for the new games.

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785737)

Expansion cards for consoles never work though. Nobody wants to build a game for it because the install base will be small, and nobody wants to buy the card because there's no good reason to buy a card that no game supports. History has reaffirmed many times that if you want people to use a feature on a console you build it in from the start or you don't get it.

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

2008 (900939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785533)

Playstation 1 was launched over 10 years ago. You can still buy new PSone systems. Playstation 1 games are still getting released, and you can play them on PS1 or PS2. The system isn't dead, at least to people who care about gameplay rather than graphics. If the PS3 is as popular as the PS1 then it will also likely last that long.

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785699)

What I wonder is the exact opposite? When will the time come that cycle time has become so compressed that a manufacturer is developing two consoles simultaneously? One to come out in, say, 2009 and another to come out three or four years later, because delayed-but-incrementally-better-console is sufficiently out-of-sync with what we'd consider to be a console "generation" that you can't get all three or four players on the market and then have an open throwdown... consumers will abandon the wait-and-see attitude and commit early on. And rivals will have to be there with some nominally better system than the one you had for each seemingly out-of-step release, if they want to stay relevant.

I mean, to date, off-generation releases have killed console manufacturers. But I wonder if now the field's so small that they would try an arms-race to get to the last-man standing.

And if not... Hooray! Mature oligopoly!

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

kbonapart (645754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786213)

Wizards of the Coast already did that with the 3.0 version of D&D. They knew they were releasing a flawed product, and planned to come out with it three years after the release of 3.0.

However, corprate types took over, and popped it out one and a half years earlier then planned.

And how well did it work out for them? I still play 3.0 rules, and 3.5 be damned.

Re:Ten Years?!? (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786681)

Consoles tend to have life cycles- the first 5 years or so its marketed towards the hardcore console fans, after that as the system's lifespan winds down it's increasingly targeted towards the younger and casual set, or maybe marketed in places like latin america that might be viable until the console is a little more affordable. IIRC, the Sega Master system did extremely well there long after it's traditional lifespan would have been up.

Rising Cost of gaming systems? (1)

Kevin Stevens (227724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785143)

"And the cost of the new gaming systems continues to rise."

Huh? Since when? The new systems cost $399 at launch, which is far less than the old school Atari systems that cost somewhere around $800. The Nintendo and Super Nintendo were priced cheaper, though in that era many games cost $60+ and the industry was far less competitive (slower development cycles, less demand). We have been paying $50 for games for well over a decade. Not even factoring in inflation or the fact that today's systems are also media players, the costs have remained the same. I don't have any solid figures on development or production costs, but I am presuming they too have remained relatively flat. The cost of game development has indeed continued to rise, but that was not what was stated and a journalist writing about games should know the difference.

Anyone who really believes that the PS3 is not going to be priced the same as the 360 when it is released probably has an agenda. Sony is a big smart company, they are not going to just throw in the towel by overpricing their system. This article gets no digg.

Re:Rising Cost of gaming systems? (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785466)

This article gets no digg.

Sorry, I have to say it:
"I award you no digg, and may god have mercy on your soul."

About resolution... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785288)

The new-generation consoles look best when plugged into high-definition TV sets

Can't they just add a friggin' VGA connector to them? Sheesh.

Re:About resolution... (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785351)

Can't they just add a friggin' VGA connector to them? Sheesh.

I could be misremembering, but I could swear I saw at some point that the Revolution will have one built-in.

Re:About resolution... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785603)

No, Microsoft would much rather make an extra $20 selling you a special 360-to-VGA lead than letting you use one off the shelf.

Still, if your point is that you'd rather just hook these machines up to a monitor than fork out for a HDTV, then yes you can do that. It's not even anything new - my Dreamcast looks stunning through VGA.

Re:About resolution... (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786345)

Actually, I picked up my $20 Microsoft 360-to-VGA connector "off the shelf", and makes the system look fantastic on my flat-panel Viewsonic. Did you mean "out of the box"?

Re:About resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786444)

Funny thing about that - the only console that's ever been able to generate a clean VGA signal was the Dreamcast. Besides, everything's DVI nowadays...

Newer games require hardware upgrades? (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785307)

This is hardly news.

On the other hand, I think more and more we're reaching the goals of what gamers want their games to look like, and falling short on games playing how gamers want them to play. Instant action, game balance, getting enough game for your dollar, ease of use, originality - a lot of these concepts are simple but get lost in the wayside of "but it draw 4.2 trillion pixels per second! Look how detailed his nose is!"

The games industry in general isn't in trouble, but designers that want to stay competitive would do well to sit down and play pong for a week, then go back and look at what's really important in making a game. There are so many disappointments to be found on the 50 dollar rack these days it's not at all funny.

Console vs PC games (1)

deppe (27130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785311)

What's happening is that everyone's going crazy about the next-gen consoles and instead of porting games from the PC to the console, they're doing the reverse and it shows.

Even Red Storm has been bit by this, as is evident from RS:Lockdown. It's a straight port from the console to the PC and so watered down that they're losing their entire IP on the PC side.

If only the decline were offset (1)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785368)

I'd be happy to hear that the decline in the sales of videogames and consoles were offset by a rise in the sales of books and exercise equipment, but somehow I doubt it.

Call it the WoW effect. (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785379)

I bought WoW in last November and have not bought a game since. WoW is like crack ( and it does bother me )so I have not gone out and purchased a game every couple of months like I have historically done. Ironically, I don't believe I am spending less on gaming, it just that all the money goes to Blizzard in the form of subscription fees. Now multiply me by the 5.5 million subscribers out there and I can undertsand why the gaming industry as a whole is slumping.

Didn't They Just Say? (1)

UberMench (906076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785382)

Interesting that this news comes following an announcement that the video games industry is expected to double by 2011. I think analysts look at a sales slump that is most likely due to the fact that consumers are waiting to see where things lie in the next-gen battle, and extrapolate that slump forever. Just because sales are down now, doesn't mean they will be next year, next month, or even tomorrow.

Who needs HDTV! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785437)

Nintendo said they where going to leaving out HDTV as well a lot of the market doesn't own one and to add HDTV support would cost something like $50usd extra a unit. Nintendo is getting away from the high end art (Like they have had it in a long time) and going for play. The problem is games started selling for looks, so everyone jumped on board and until they start taking an even harder it to find out gamers want a game they don't beat in a day, Sales will keep dropping. This is just like mmorpgs EQ went for the kiddie factor and every game since then pvp has sucked long live UO 1997 Style R.I.P

Two Main Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785560)

1) PC gaming continues to shrink as a market - with the exception of MMORPGs. The five years of decline shows no sign of ever recovering.

2) The Xbox 360 has pretty much self destructed - inventory is showing up in retail stores going unsold. It appears only the absolutely most hardcore of Xbox fans are showing any interest in the console.

The games market as a whole will survive on PS2 sales for a few more months and then it will skyrocket when the next gen consoles arrive after E3. The only thing of note for this brief downturn is there are probably a lot of 360 games/ports getting shelved. The 360 just isn't looking like it will be a viable platform.

Re:Two Main Reasons (2, Insightful)

SlayerDave (555409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785745)

The five years of decline shows no sign of ever recovering.

Maybe not to previous levels, but see:

Painkiller
Far Cry
Doom 3
Half-Life 2
Rome: Total War
Age of Empires 3
F.E.A.R.

And those are just the games I've purchased in the last 18 months. I'm not really worried about the PC games industry. It was due for a little downsizing, and it happened. There are essentially 3 game types that just play better on the PC: FPS, RTS, and MMORPG. (There used to also be flight sims, but that genre seems to have atrophied). I just can't see any of those genres working as well on consoles as on PC.

Let's also not forget that the installed base of PCs is in the 500 million range worldwide and growing. That's quite a potential market.

Re:Two Main Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786063)

So to recap, you've bough an FPS, FPS, FPS, FPS, RTS, RTS & an FPS.

And people wonder why PC gaming isn't at the level it was in the 90's,

Re:Two Main Reasons (1)

LainTouko (926420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786325)

There are essentially 3 game types that just play better on the PC: FPS, RTS, and MMORPG.

AND stuff like The Sims or Civilization, pretty much anything not made by big companies, Solitaire...

Re:Two Main Reasons (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786776)

I hear solitaire plays best using, you know...cards. ;)

Re:Two Main Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14786129)

nice troll.

Enough (1)

Linux-Fiend (309073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786010)

I'm not paying more than $150 Dollars for a Console and I'm certainly no longer interested paying for packaging when electronic media can now be delivered via availible high speed networks. My buck stops here.

Console costs (1)

killermookie (708026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786630)

And the cost of the new gaming systems continues to rise.

That's because consoles are slowly becoming more what the PC game machine is. You can't argue that PCs have a big advantage in getting the latest hardware specs before consoles do.

As consoles try to compete for the greatest hardware, their prices rise up.

Tired of the same old crap (1)

astemus (947517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14786725)

I can't speak for everyone, but one thing that I've come to realize is that all these game companies are slowly turning us into selling points. Example: when is the last time you saw a multiplayer game that didn't advertise its awesome PVP play? Or when was the last time a single player game was released? I'm not one of the many many people who enjoy such things as PVP and forced social networking. I went in search of a MMO that didn't advertise PVP as it's main attraction, and came up severely disappointed.

So after that search turned up nothing, I ventured into the other types of Multiplayer games, 4-16 people type games. Unless I want to duke it out with pistols and bazookas with other people, I'd be disappointed here as well. RPG type games have all but dried up, the only ones remaining are old classics like warcraft and diablo. The rest don't do anything to set a up a new rung on the ladder.

If your search takes you further than this, you'll find yourself at the end of the road. Unless you want to build a rollercoaster park or your neighborhood reputation, then of course you've got a bit more to wade through.

Anyone else tired of trying to play games where you're forced to compete with people who have too much free time and not enough education? The l33t are dominating any non social aspect of every game. Where do the rest of us go?
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