Nextbox rumors..

Gravey wrote:
ranalin wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

The DS is only marginally more capable than the N64, but it's been home to some of the best games of the last few years.

??

Only for someone who likes those type of games maybe.

Wow.

"Those types of games." Have you considered liking better games, Clockwork?

He's tried. But his hatred of fun overruled them

BigKid66 wrote:

I've been ready for a new Xbox for awhile now. It's not so much that the graphics are well behind a modern PC's, it's the frame rate issues. I recently played Enslaved and there were some VERY choppy sections. Even Gears of War 2 had some chop. A couple Max Payne 3 reviews also mentioned frame rate issues. I would think that 1080P at 60fps would be very doable even with GPU's from a couple years ago.

I also hope the new Xbox supports a wider range of file formats when streaming from a home server. Seems like my PS3 can play more files than my Xbox.

That's not a hardware issue really, and would happen on anything not infinitely powerful. The issue there is the developer making the tradeoff for looks at the expense of framerate. Pretty much every game can run smooth as silk, but there's a cost to that and it usually means looking uglier (or pulling a rabbit out of a hat by optimisation).

Biggest reason I'm angry about this "bleeding edge" stuff is simply because, well, studios keep closing. People keep complaining about studios closing, but it wasn't this bad on the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. I can only imagine how bad that will be if people keep focusing on horse power rather than making do with what we have.

I don't expect that to change anything, though. New Xbox will be announced, new PS3, Wii-U is a comin', so on and so forth. I just enjoy not giving a damn about what's next. I like where we are now. Actually, that's not completely true. I like where the 3DS is, which is roughly where the last generation was. Limitations breed creativity, it seems, and bad ass hardware just breeds big budgets which breeds fewer risks which leads to modern shooters and generic protagonists and a handful of studios capable of affording solid games fitting the latest hardware.

It's like the industry hasn't even caught up to a place where it can afford to make games on modern consoles on a regular basis, and we're already clambering for everything to cost more.

It's true. I've tried liking better games, but I just hated them. The sad fact is that us people like DS types of games, and the DS has had the best DS types of games the last few years. I'd like another system if they had those types of games, though.

ccesarano wrote:

Biggest reason I'm angry about this "bleeding edge" stuff is simply because, well, studios keep closing. People keep complaining about studios closing, but it wasn't this bad on the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. I can only imagine how bad that will be if people keep focusing on horse power rather than making do with what we have.

...

It's like the industry hasn't even caught up to a place where it can afford to make games on modern consoles on a regular basis, and we're already clambering for everything to cost more.

And if those studios dash themselves against those rocks, I'm not sure anything could have prevented it. They've had plenty of warnings, so at this point I can't feel sorry for anyone who knowingly over-extends themselves.

ccesarano wrote:

Biggest reason I'm angry about this "bleeding edge" stuff is simply because, well, studios keep closing. People keep complaining about studios closing, but it wasn't this bad on the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. I can only imagine how bad that will be if people keep focusing on horse power rather than making do with what we have.

I don't expect that to change anything, though. New Xbox will be announced, new PS3, Wii-U is a comin', so on and so forth. I just enjoy not giving a damn about what's next. I like where we are now. Actually, that's not completely true. I like where the 3DS is, which is roughly where the last generation was. Limitations breed creativity, it seems, and bad ass hardware just breeds big budgets which breeds fewer risks which leads to modern shooters and generic protagonists and a handful of studios capable of affording solid games fitting the latest hardware.

It's like the industry hasn't even caught up to a place where it can afford to make games on modern consoles on a regular basis, and we're already clambering for everything to cost more.

I think it's just a stratification change. You have few middle ground games of quality that sell. You have the big AAA games then the stuff like XBLA. That middle ground is eating people alive because there are so many games released. I think it's not the resources required as much as it's the competition for that middle ground making the ratio of resources to sales in that particular part of the market unprofitable.

I think next gen (and maybe even the tail end of this gen) will see consoles mimic the PC with a move toward a level of F2P games for that middle market. There's proof that there's a lot of potential there if you look at PC and smart phone markets.

MannishBoy wrote:

I think next gen (and maybe even the tail end of this gen) will see consoles mimic the PC with a move toward a level of F2P games for that middle market. There's proof that there's a lot of potential there if you look at PC and smart phone markets.

The thing is, there's nothing really special about PC that means PC can do that and consoles can't, it seems to me to be a business thing that MS/Sony don't support that kind of game as well as they could. Even for normal XBLA stuff MS have earned themselves a reputation as being awkward to work with.

Scratched wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I think next gen (and maybe even the tail end of this gen) will see consoles mimic the PC with a move toward a level of F2P games for that middle market. There's proof that there's a lot of potential there if you look at PC and smart phone markets.

The thing is, there's nothing really special about PC that means PC can do that and consoles can't, it seems to me to be a business thing that MS/Sony don't support that kind of game as well as they could. Even for normal XBLA stuff MS have earned themselves a reputation as being awkward to work with.

That's what I was saying, I expect E3 to finally have MS announce some F2P type stuff as has been rumored for a long time, and PS3 already has stuff in that area coming. But I expect the next gen to have the market designed with that in mind from the start.

Supposedly Notch worked out a deal with Minecraft for free software updates. If it continues to sell well, I think MS might turn lose a bit of the stranglehold on title updates that they currently hold.

MannishBoy wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:

Until we hit a point where the 360 is pushing its' limits similar to PS2 last gen, I don't know that there's any real incentive for MS to really pour money into R&D for a new system.

Have you seen games like BF3 on PC vs 360? Not to mention the fact that due to memory constraints they just can't put the same number of players into a 360 game they can into a PC game.

Playing on both 360 and PC is a bit of an eye opener.

I can't say that I have, but the cost delta between what I spent on my PC versus what I spent on my 360 is rather extreme. Expecting to pay a third or less for a console and wanting PC level graphics isn't realistic in any way, shape or form.

breander wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:

Until we hit a point where the 360 is pushing its' limits similar to PS2 last gen, I don't know that there's any real incentive for MS to really pour money into R&D for a new system.

I'm pretty sure Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo started pouring money into R&D into new systems the second their current systems were out the door.

But to what end? Personally, out of all three manufacturers, the only company I'd buy that off is Nintendo, given the amount of information we've seen on WiiU. But even then, I don't know that there was a whole lot of actual work put into it beyond hardware swaps and designing the tablet, which is still ongoing.

With Sony and MS, the majority if not all of their efforts look to be chasing motion control to various levels of success, and in the case of MS, a hardware redesign. In both cases, there was more software work than hardware work going on.

Scratched wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

It's why Apple keeps making new iPhones. Someone will take Microsoft's share of the market if they don't improve on the the 360. And it's not like they are dominating the market.

To me, the big difference between Apple's i-devices and the 360 is that Apple's in a place where they really need to churn hardware sales; I don't know that MS necessarily has to do that in order to continue building revenue.

iTunes/App store - The way I see it it's their equivalent to the XBL store (or to a lesser extent the XBL subscription). I'm sure they would 'survive' with a few years of 'flop' hardware.

I think they could get by, but I don't know that they'd be thriving the way they do with legions of hardware fans lining streets in front of stores the night before a hardware launch multiple times a year they way they currently are.

As for the next system, here's where I currently see things:

Nintendo: In the pipe. We'll see it when it's done.

Sony: I don't know that they can financially take the risk at this time with the situation being the way it is(profitable insurance division with *everything* else tanking)

Microsoft: They're continuing to invest in non-gaming applications for XBL. Amazon Instant, Netflix, etc. If there isn't already a Skype app for XBL/Kinect, there will be soon I'd wager. There's essentially been nothing but focus on 360 and XBL functionality for the last what, year or two? They could certainly surprise us(I don't believe that WiiU was, it's by far the most needed upgrade out of current gen consoles), but as other folks have pointed out, the majority of the current console market simply doesn't need it. I bold that point because that's my unspoken(before now, anyway) reasoning behind my line of thought. Everyone on this site, and the gamers like us are absolutely, unequivocably ready for a new 360(720? 1080?). We want BF3 to look better, we want better AI, we have this great, understated yen for bigger, better, faster, more. But out of the 56 billion dollars in revenue from the 360, we are not by any stretch a majority. The majority is folks I know at work who are not crazy nerds like us, but love CoD and BF3 now and again. They simply don't know that it looks far, far better on a PC, because to them, the bleeding edge simply doesn't exist.

So, counter to other folks here, I don't think there will be a new console outside of the WiiU in the next year, probably even two. When there is, it'll be a new 360, and it'll be a fairly big upgrade over what's currently out there. It'll be off the shelf hardware, and I think Jayhawker has the right of it when he says that it will be a HTConsole; an almost purpose built media center that can play console games really damn well.

AnimeJ wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:

Until we hit a point where the 360 is pushing its' limits similar to PS2 last gen, I don't know that there's any real incentive for MS to really pour money into R&D for a new system.

Have you seen games like BF3 on PC vs 360? Not to mention the fact that due to memory constraints they just can't put the same number of players into a 360 game they can into a PC game.

Playing on both 360 and PC is a bit of an eye opener.

I can't say that I have, but the cost delta between what I spent on my PC versus what I spent on my 360 is rather extreme. Expecting to pay a third or less for a console and wanting PC level graphics isn't realistic in any way, shape or form.

It's a different cost structure, but the current gen hardware is now outperformed by AMD APUs in cheap PCs that cost less than the Xbox cost at launch. Smart phones and ipads are just about the 360s performance now.

ccesarano wrote:

It's like the industry hasn't even caught up to a place where it can afford to make games on modern consoles on a regular basis, and we're already clambering for everything to cost more.

That's how I feel, but I only got a PS3 at Xmas. Aside from a PC I built 2.5 years ago that's my taste of the current generation so far. I'm not itching to buy a new console aside from the Wii U, but I am itching for a new console generation because that's the only way to kick the gaming industry into gear on actually making use of the PC hardware that's out there. So there's this weird tension.

I completely get the anger over "bigger and shinier". The way I see it, PC games ramp up the tech specs gradually over a long period of time. Nice sloping curve. Consoles are like a piece-wise graph. Flat lines with a big spike every so often. Console developers literally wake up one day and find their budgets have swollen like 150% because there's a new platform they need to support and it has all these high def whatsits and whoosits you need to figure out what to do with them. That's got to be incredibly draining from a business perspective. Unless you're banking up a ton of cash reserves you're going to burn through a lot of cash as part of the ramp up for each generation. At least with the PC you're actively watching the technology progress and can try to tread water.

The budgets are getting bigger, but the audience isn't growing at the same rate. Budgets are getting bigger but only one console has come anywhere near the size of the Playstation 2's install base. How much smaller would budgets be if we went back to a two console industry? Would exclusive titles be less risky if developers had 100 million potential customers instead of 60-70 million?

We can bang the drum about graphics being the cause of all our ills, but there's plenty of other factors at play which are causing the big developers to fail. Much like dinosaurs, their time is limited and from what I've seen the smaller guys are doing perfectly all right.

MannishBoy wrote:

It's a different cost structure, but the current gen hardware is now outperformed by AMD APUs in cheap PCs that cost less than the Xbox cost at launch. Smart phones and ipads are just about the 360s performance now.

Welcome to Hyperbole Theater!

I assumed he was accurate, actually.

Jayhawker wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

It's a different cost structure, but the current gen hardware is now outperformed by AMD APUs in cheap PCs that cost less than the Xbox cost at launch. Smart phones and ipads are just about the 360s performance now.

Welcome to Hyperbole Theater!

How so? It's true.

The 360 has a 500Ghz GPU with 10 MB of DRAM and 512 MB of GDDR3. About 300 million transistors.

AMD's cheap Fusion APUs (CPU/GPU combos on one processor) have 1.3 billion transistors per GPU.

Jayhawker wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

It's a different cost structure, but the current gen hardware is now outperformed by AMD APUs in cheap PCs that cost less than the Xbox cost at launch. Smart phones and ipads are just about the 360s performance now.

Welcome to Hyperbole Theater!

Yeah, as they've stated, there's zero hyperbole in that. It's just truth. The 360 was behind from a hardware capability standpoint at or shortly after launch. At this point it's just ancient.

The only thing that makes games look good on it is lots of shader tricks and actually playing games in sub 720p resolutions.

Well, that and a low 30fps framerate standard.

Then why doesn't Modern Combat 3 look like Battlefield 3?

Gravey wrote:

Then why doesn't Modern Combat 3 look like Battlefield 3?

How big is the install, and what's the power budget of Modern Combat 3 so that it won't kill your battery immediately?

BF3 on PC is 15GBs full of assets and code for reference. Since it came on two discs for 360, I assume it's probably 10+GB on 360.

Also, notice I said "almost" on the mobile devices as well.

Gravey wrote:

Then why doesn't Modern Combat 3 look like Battlefield 3?

Are you being serious or just playing devil's advocate out of curiosity?

*Tannhauser'd. Mannish said it all.

Thin_J wrote:

The 360 was behind from a hardware capability standpoint at or shortly after launch. At this point it's just ancient.

For what it's worth, the ATi Xenos GPU was comparable to the ATi X1800 series that launched the previous month. I also think most consumers weren't on multi-core CPUs at the time the 360 launched either.

EDIT: If I'm reading Wikipedia correctly, consumer level dual-core chips were just starting to show up on the market in May 2005. Intel had the Pentium D and AMD had the Athlon 64 x2. The 360 launched 6 months later.

shoptroll wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

The 360 was behind from a hardware capability standpoint at or shortly after launch. At this point it's just ancient.

For what it's worth, the ATi Xenos GPU was comparable to the ATi X1800 series that launched the previous month. I also think most consumers weren't on multi-core CPUs at the time the 360 launched either.

It's probably also worth pointing out that the hardware in the 360 is 7 years old. That's a hell of a lot of years. Anyone still using their 7 year old PC? Even I, the notorious last gen bang for buck PC guy am 2 upgrades in since the 360 launched.

AnimeJ wrote:

Anyone still using their 7 year old PC?

I was until I.... replaced it a couple years ago. Athlon 64 3500+ and a GeForce 6600. Could barely handle Unreal Engine 2.5/3 games

MannishBoy wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

It's a different cost structure, but the current gen hardware is now outperformed by AMD APUs in cheap PCs that cost less than the Xbox cost at launch. Smart phones and ipads are just about the 360s performance now.

Welcome to Hyperbole Theater!

How so? It's true.

The 360 has a 500Ghz GPU with 10 MB of DRAM and 512 MB of GDDR3. About 300 million transistors.

AMD's cheap Fusion APUs (CPU/GPU combos on one processor) have 1.3 billion transistors per GPU.

Sorry, don't know or care about how 360's relate to PC's. That will just start a ridiculous discussion that will emphasize how glad I am that I don't have to think about that.

I meant the comment about smartphones and iPads. I don't buy that at all.

Not that it matters.

A: The Xbox 360 does a great job of doing what I want it to do.
B: With more power, I think it will be able to do more, and be an even better device.

I think the time is right for the next gen of consoles. There is lots of room to upgrade, and I think it will allow them to do things that make gaming and media consumption substantially more enjoyable.

Of course, comparing a PC running with all the Windows resources and abstraction layers between the hardware and the game is different than running with the more direct programming they're capable of doing on a console, so it's not exactly apples to apples, but still, the gap these days is so large there's no question that even cheap GPUs on PC can out perform a 360 or PS3.

I think it's great their getting what they do out of current consoles, but they need to do something to bump up consumer excitement again, as the overall console spend is declining. It's time.

Also, no matter how much we argue about it, it's happening next year for Sony and MS.

Jayhawker wrote:

Sorry, don't know or care about how 360's relate to PC's. That will just start a ridiculous discussion that will emphasize how glad I am that I don't have to think about that.

I meant the comment about smartphones and iPads. I don't buy that at all.

You don't have to buy it. It's true. And it's far from hyperbole. No reason to drop to that kind of stuff, I thought we were having a reasonable discussion.

Yeah, the discussion should be about how much of a good idea it will be, not if they will.

MannishBoy wrote:

Also, no matter how much we argue about it, it's happening next year for Sony and MS.

With the number of games that suddenly bumped to the first half of 2013, I wonder if either of them are planning on bucking a Nov. 2013 release in favor of a Feb/March 2013 release like Nintendo did with the 3DS.

shoptroll wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

Also, no matter how much we argue about it, it's happening next year for Sony and MS.

With the number of games that suddenly bumped to the first half of 2013, I wonder if either of them are planning on bucking a Nov. 2013 release in favor of a Feb/March 2013 release like Nintendo did with the 3DS.

I'm wondering if next fall some of the 2013 titles will launch on current and next gen consoles simultaneously. I suspect there will be at least a few that do that. Maybe even COD and BFBC3. DICE is even on record last week saying they'll require a 64bit OS on PC for some Frostbite 3 games they're working on, which would line up with cross platform titles maybe using more addressable memory in at least some version as well.

That's just it; I don't think a new console is going to do it for the average joe. What the average joe wants is Netflix and Amazon instant streaming and things like that. They're not gamers, they don't care about pixel counts and as you say, not all the argument in the world is going to change it.

As for Sony, they seriously can't afford this fight. They're racking up loss on loss right now, across nearly every division in the company. The corporation's net loss last year was 520 Billion Yen. That's 6.4 Billion dollars. Right now they're saying gain next year, something like 180 Million Yen, but last I checked, they're not doing so hot.

Oh, and one other thing to consider: 7 years into the PS2's lifecycle, Sony had sold over 100M units. MS is just now pushing 70M, and with a clearly superior console. Given that PS2 has recently cleared 150M units, selling 4M units last year, MS has to be looking at the tail on the PS2 and seeing nothing but opportunity, doubly so given that the PS3 isn't doing so hot by comparison to its' little brother.

MannishBoy wrote:

I'm wondering if next fall some of the 2013 titles will launch on current and next gen consoles simultaneously. I suspect there will be at least a few that do that. Maybe even COD and BFBC3. DICE is even on record last week saying they'll require a 64bit OS on PC for some Frostbite 3 games they're working on, which would line up with cross platform titles maybe using more addressable memory in at least some version as well.

I think that's a given since we already see that behavior at console transitions with licensed drivel. It's not like most multi-platform titles won't already have the higher definition art assets made for the PC version already.

Even if the new consoles are 4 GB 32-bit boxes, a 64-bit OS requirement for a PC game makes sense. We're hitting the point where OEMs are shipping out systems with 4-8 GB of RAM standard now. Plus, according to the Steam hardware survey over 50% of users are running 4+ GB of RAM now. It's time.

EDIT:

AnimeJ wrote:

As for Sony, they seriously can't afford this fight. They're racking up loss on loss right now, across nearly every division in the company. The corporation's net loss last year was 520 Billion Yen. That's 6.4 Billion dollars. Right now they're saying gain next year, something like 180 Million Yen, but last I checked, they're not doing so hot.

I think we're going to see Sony split up the company in the next year or two. I think the gaming division will be one of the last parts to go though. That said, TGS is going to be very interesting to watch this year. Without a strong Sony in the picture, the Japanese industry has two options for consoles: flock back to Nintendo en masse or embrace MS and the West. Now they could start shifting more toward PC and mobile as another option, but a lack of Sony would hurt a lot I think.

AnimeJ wrote:

That's just it; I don't think a new console is going to do it for the average joe. What the average joe wants is Netflix and Amazon instant streaming and things like that. They're not gamers, they don't care about pixel counts and as you say, not all the argument in the world is going to change it.

Even the 360 dashboard is limited, though. It's been slow for years with all the stuff they've been trying to do with it.

So no, I don't think the average Joe necessarily buys as an early adopter, ever. But you get the hardcore to upgrade next year and maybe after a price drop and the catalog builds, they come along.

And when you compare the PS2 sales numbers to current gen, consider the competition through it's life. It had no close competitors at all (Dreamcast, Gamecube, Xbox 1). When you combine the 360, the PS3, and the Wii, you've got more current gen consoles, just spread more evenly across three companies. So it's a bit different competitive environment. *shrug*

shoptroll wrote:

I think we're going to see Sony split up the company in the next year or two. I think the gaming division will be one of the last parts to go though. That said, TGS is going to be very interesting to watch this year. Without a strong Sony in the picture, the Japanese industry has two options for consoles: flock back to Nintendo en masse or embrace MS and the West. Now they could start shifting more toward PC and mobile as another option, but a lack of Sony would hurt a lot I think.

I don't think we want a world of only an MS serious console future. Hopefully Sony figures something out. I really don't have much faith in the Wii U repeating anything like the Wii's success. Maybe I'm wrong.

MannishBoy wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:

That's just it; I don't think a new console is going to do it for the average joe. What the average joe wants is Netflix and Amazon instant streaming and things like that. They're not gamers, they don't care about pixel counts and as you say, not all the argument in the world is going to change it.

Even the 360 dashboard is limited, though. It's been slow for years with all the stuff they've been trying to do with it.

So no, I don't think the average Joe necessarily buys as an early adopter, ever. But you get the hardcore to upgrade next year and maybe after a price drop and the catalog builds, they come along.

I think Mannish has this right (as he has the entire thread) - MS just wants to keep the momentum they have. If they establish a big lead with the core users from the beginning, it makes it much more likely that everyone else will follow.

If Joe Average is happy with his 360 and Netflix, MS wins. If the hardcore crowd is ready to upgrade and they buy Xbox III, MS wins. They just want an Xbox in every living room; it doesn't necessarily matter which in the short run. Get people into the ecosystem and keep them happy. I'm in the iOS ecosystem, which is the most-supported ecosystem, and I don't ever see myself leaving. That's what MS wants to be for the living room.

The only way they lose (and I think it's generally agreed that they have the momentum right now) is if they fall behind. Xbox III needs to prevent that. I hope they don't go as low-power as the rumors have indicated.