Do Fancy Extras add to the Love of the Game?

DAVID GEORGE-COSH, a technology writer from one of Canada's national newspapers, The Globe and Mail, questions whether the 'extras' found on today's gaming consoles actually add anything to the console experience, or amount to little more than a bullet-point on a list of features which attempt to differentiate one console from the next.

"Although 80 per cent of households own a console capable of DVD playback or online download, only 13 per cent have used their game machine to download or watch movies, according to research from Dallas-based media research firm The Diffusion Group."

"Danielle Parr, executive director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, says the future of the console world may not be found in media playback, but rather online."

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BenzMoney3875d ago

(Is that even possible anymore on this site?)

Anyways, my thoughts on this are split. Most of the people who would visit a site like N4G are both hardcore gamers and more than likely 'technophiles' to some degree, so I don't doubt that the added features are put to use by many, if not the majority, of us. But looking at the big picture, I can see the point the writer of the article is making.

Is it a "good thing" that Sony & MS, in particular, are adding hundreds of dollars in costs to their consoles which are primarly (and almost exclusively) going to be used for gaming? Are those resources better spent elsewhere? Are the extras really worthwhile selling points? And, as a consumer (not a fanboy) do you feel that the inclusion of, say, bluray makes one console better than the next?

...or is it really just all about the games?

Have we as gamers been led astray by the manufacturers? Have they blinded us to what's really important?


ArduousAndy3875d ago

It truly depends on the person that is picking up an item. Lets look at the Ps3. At the time of release Ps3 was the most inexpensive player out there. So instead of picking up a $1000 blu-ray player people had the option of paying either $500-$600 for the ps3 which as we all know play blu-ray. With the ps3 you have the added privilage of playing games vice versa for the gamers.

The 360 in the end with the hd-dvd drive ends up being the same price as the ps3 and same bonus for those that want Hd-dvd instead.

With the WII you are paying $250 dollars for the system. That does nothing else but play games. So if you want to get into High definition you have to go out and buy a player. Which adds to the final cost you have to personally spend.

However when it comes to the games. Gamers70% of the time want to get a system that plays games. The bells and whistles mean nothing to them. If they want Halo 3 they well get a 360 if they want Metal Gear Solid 4 they will get a PS3.

The extra bells and whistles are there to attract people that want the extra bells and whistles.

MyNutsYourChin3875d ago (Edited 3875d ago )

The personal argument I will be presenting is not very robust but it is how I feel toward this subject. My feelings on this matter side with the notion of specialization. I believe a game console should be just that, a game console.

Personally, I would rather have a video playback device that is separate from my gaming console, TV, surround system, and whatever. I like having the separate systems because it adds variety and flavor to my entertainment environment. Granted, I would love to have each piece of equipment work in unison and efficiently like most of these multimedia devices but without the physical reminder or the personal aesthetic appeal of multiple devices, I feel that the environment is not complete. So for me there is an aesthetic to the physical organization and structure of my entertainment environment. This is what I desire and thus I find it unnecessary to include such multimedia functionality into a gaming device.

My second argument is that the multimedia devices are unnecessary and ahead of their time. Microsoft and Sony have included a variety of multimedia capabilites in their consoles which expand the functionality of these systems to great heights. Unfortunately, the majority of consumers aren't looking to scale that mountain just yet. This is why I believe that the demand for such multimedia systems is low.

I'm not saying it isn't a good idea to include multi-functionality into a console, it's a fantastic idea. The problem is creating something like this at a price that the average consumer can afford. The market just isn't ready for these high-end, high-functionality devices. In a few years, maybe. But as of now, demand and interest is low. In my opinion, Sony made a serious mistake thinking that the average consumer wanted and was willing to pay for a device like this. The truth is that the average consumer is typically in debt or just getting by, already has a DVD player, computer, or DVR and cannot afford or does not want to pay such a high price for what history shows is better left as a gaming console.

BenzMoney3875d ago

You're right that the extra bells and whistles are there to attract the people that want them, but what about the people who don't, yet still want to enjoy the games that are offered?

This is where I'm torn.

I like the idea of digital distribution because if I want it, I can get it. If I don't want it, I don't have to spend money on it. So I think MS (and soon, Sony, from what we've heard) have the right idea offering content that way. But as far as the bluray player goes, I'm not sold.

I would probably go out and buy a PS3 tomorrow if it didn't have bluray and was $200-$250 cheaper just so I could enjoy what look like good upcoming games (KZ2, MGS4, and FFXIII) - despite the fact that I've never been a huge fan of those games (I haven't even played a FF game since FFIII for super nintendo) however they look good and I'd definitely like to play them. HOWEVER, I'm not willing to shell out $600CAD to do so.

So it's kind of a win/lose situation. Some people will buy the system because of bluray, some will buy it regardless because they're huge fans of Sony, and others, like myself, can't bring themselves to 'waste' additional money on something they have no interest in.

I'm not interested in subsidizing Sony's attempt to win the media format 'war'. I'm interested in some of their games though. It's a catch 22.

And like the article points out, most users don't even utilize the extra features that are being crammed into these consoles. Be it bluray, or media center extender, or whatever.

I don't know what the answer is... Because I don't necessarily want a stripped-down, games-only console (ala Wii) either. I enjoy the media functionality now and then. But not "$250 justifiable now-and-then."

I just think that maybe too much focus is being taken away from the games and put on the extras despite the fact that 80% of people, according to this article, don't even use them. People like me will miss out on good games because of it. This isn't beneficial to anyone; developer, gamer and console manufacturer alike.

kewlkat0073874d ago (Edited 3874d ago )

I'v e been noticing you around, reminds me the old n days on N4G, where people had put a lot of thoughts in a comment, without resulting personal attacks.

Like you stated, Everybody is trying to come out with the "one that has many functions" type product and what it is doing, it's raising the damn cost of things. While the cost comes down but consumers paychecks do not get that same effect. I, too rather seperate components, as the parts will not be dumbed down to cut corners and save money. I always will. You will get the BEST player of whatever, that way.

Yes it is not totally bad to added new devices and such to make you product look more promising, but a lot of people won' take advantage of it. I guess having it there is still good but useless if you pay for it and don't use it.

I myself is a perfect Example, I hardly watch DVD's. I don't even have a DVD collection like some people I know. So you can see why, well part of the reason, I yet to own a PS3 or an HD-DVD drive. Everything for me is streamed and downloaded. easier for me to manage, just like my 50,000 MP3 collection. So it depends on a lot of factors, when it comes to Extras. I just hope Manufactures don't shut out their most influential fans, while going over the top.

ArduousAndy3874d ago

there will be those that are torn. Which is why what Microsoft did was the best. Brought out a console pure and simple. Then said hey do you want Hd-dvd well for this much money you can add it.

The PS3 however sees what the the future is and is just saying to the consumer. Look this is the future its time to adapt. Is it the proper thing to do? Know which is why they have had such problems with sales. However with the price cut (and rumor of another coming during the holidays) we shall see what happens.

In the end we can debate which is right which is wrong. But since its the corporation that makes these consoles they have final say.

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the greatest3874d ago

but good for adding map 2 Multiplayer games