christheredhead (User)

  • Trainee
  • 5 bubbles
  • 5 in CRank
  • Score: 47170
""

Console Hardware Is Not Up For Debate

christheredhead | 968d ago
User blog

As we prepare to move into the next generation of consoles, most video game enthusiasts are primed and ready with their list of demands for a far fetched, complex dream machine. If you look at the debate for next generation its not about the games, its about the hardware. That one perfect build that will somehow eternalize gaming bliss for many years to come. The desires of such are unreachable and will ultimately hinder software progression in the long run. Generally speaking, consoles should serve one purpose, to play games. Other benefits should be taken as extra incentive and not a main focus, which is far from the case.

Consoles have vastly overextended their coverage into the mainstream. Now lies a heavy burden to measure up to this goal in the eyes of the general gaming public. No longer a single function piece of hardware, but a multimedia tool for web access, media sharing, movies, and video games a like. This is the draw for great expectation. We want to play games, surf the web, chat with friend across games, view movies, etc which is greatly spreading the focus thin. In turn, you must have the hardware to back up such features. This is not a downside specifically, but a mere waste of time and resources. Sure these features are great, but when the games suffer overwhelming issues there seems to be a problem and lack of direction. The focus should rest on optimizing the hardware to build the games upon. Not offer great hardware to allow a media hub of multiple features when, the primary goal of playing games, is still underwhelming.

My main concern is the outlandish demand for overwhelming power in the console. Gamers want high end video cards, high end processors, four plus gigs of ram, unlimited hard drive space and this list basically turns into a great pc build. Consoles are the polar opposite of a pc. They offer gamers a chance to play wonderful games without forking over insane amounts of cash to build a pc from scratch. Although, the trend seems to be imploding in on itself. A console often costs more than that of a pc in the long run, for a less productive solution.

If development studios can create enriching experiences with low end hardware, then what seems to be the debate at all? Sure, as gamers, we always want more. We want more frames per second, native 1080p, technical prowess and much more. Demands of this nature can still be achieved next generation, even with low end hardware. Granted, there seems to be wishful thinking that the latest and greatest will provide such privileges. Yet, the majority can't tell the difference between 720p or 1080p. Same could be said in the difference between 60 frames per second and 30 frames per second. Gamers tend to fool themselves into thinking they have a firm understanding of all those minor points and merely want the hardware as backup for clarification.

My hope for next generation is set quite low compared to the ultra spec ideas that are already taking root. I wish for my console to play games in 720p and for the technical issues to be ironed out. If this two items could be integrated then it would be care free gaming for me. Obviously, my thoughts are quite underwhelming. If I wanted anything more then I would opt for building a pc. "Expensive console" is sort of an oxymoron I can't quite understand. Pushing for the latest and greatest will only raise the price on a machine that should be a cheap entry point into gaming.

I have never bought or played a console based on hardware and I dont intend to start anytime soon. The games are what count and will always count regardless of the constraining limitations or abundant freedom. My view is that consoles should be a low price piece of hardware to play games. Merely a medium or vessel for interesting ideas in the form of interactive entertainment. The whole idea behind a console has gone out the window. The focus on pushing hardware power has lead to the most stagnant and unoriginal gaming generation I have ever been apart of. So far, by the looks of things, it will be another repeat blunder in the next generation to come. Hopefully the community can return to center and push for better ideas, better content and allow for the hardware to conform around those ideas.

Of course, I would like to thank anyone who takes time to read my posts here on n4g. Its something I always appreciate. Feel free to leave a comment.

Chaostar  +   966d ago
I see your point about people really over aiming with their console spec wishlists. However I think that a minimum jump in technological prowess is needed to differentiate new hardware from old but, like you say, there isn't necessarily a need for that jump to be huge.

The console market has grown so much in the last couple of decades that there is room in the market for a wide selection of hardware devices. Take a look at the Wii for example, it seems to me that this would be your perfect idea of what every console should be offering: cheap, minor update in graphics, innovative control scheme.

I for one would like the variety of choice to continue and even broaden. If I want a cheap 'next gen' console with added 'innovation' then the Wii U looks to fill that need. However if I want an all out technological assault with all the bells, whistles and not a great dependence on affordability then Sony is the most likely to provide with PS4 (note: omitted MS as not so sure of their intended direction).

It seems like cost is a major factor in your reasoning, which it rightly should be. However different people have different budgets and requirements, with some more than happy to pay (relatively) a lot to have a full fledged gaming machine with the ease of use and convenience that comes with consoles.
#1 (Edited 966d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
christheredhead  +   965d ago
Yes, hopefully the cost will go down and not up. Something I'll definitely be keeping an eye on. I think 299 is the sweet spot for consoles, give or take 50 dollars. The main reason behind that is because the ps3 launched at 600 dollars for the 60 gig. Any gamer could have taken that money and put together a pc that would easily out preform the ps3.

Im not discrediting the consoles though. Gamers are very interested in hardware. Yet, a high price tag for old, non upgradable hardware, is out of context to me. We'll eventually be paying pc build prices for tech that lags behind, even if it creates great console advances. That's really my main worry. If that's the cause I probably would switch over to pc.
rob6021  +   966d ago
Cost is a big factor, unfortunately that game is actually 'upfront cost' instead of actual cost. Powerful hardware is very important to selling a new console, and the 'most powerful' console will have an advantage next gen. Although we will certainly hear a mixed message from various media outlets and the console makers themselves. This is where the hardware difference becomes less important - because people are easily mislead by clever marketing. Therefore 'perceived cost' or upfront cost is straightforward to a customer - they understand that, value is very hard to quantify with modern marketing misleading everyone.

I think the advantages of unified hardware and games developed to play on your couch is an advantage over PC gaming. Console gaming should not just be made as a get in cheap platform, there are a lot of advantages to the console model; even if you end up covering the costs in the long run.

I think the market is clearly divided between two or three groups, casuals (buy wii, ds, kinect). 'dudebros'(take advice from the hardcore, play hardcore systems, buy only what's popular or gives them a masculine identity(xbox/PS) and Hardcore (knowledgeable about games, seek the best experience PC/PS/xbox) Each of these groups has a different perception of 'value' for a gaming system, so a console needs to fit right to appeal to where they're going for.
LightofDarkness  +   966d ago
"Yet, the majority can't tell the difference between 720p or 1080p. Same could be said in the difference between 60 frames per second and 30 frames per second"

Actually, most people do notice the difference between 60 and 30 FPS, it is even one of the reasons why COD is so much more popular than other FPS games. Many players will tell you it feels more responsive and plays better, I know quite a few who can describe the difference without actually knowing what it is they're talking about.

And show it to anyone on a big enough screen (or just sitting closely enough to a smaller one) and they'll see the difference between 1080p and 720p. It's not that hard to see.

"Expensive console" is sort of an oxymoron I can't quite understand."

Are you daft? The PS3 was $600 when it was released. And it stayed that way for over a year. It wasn't close to it's current price until nearly 3 years after release. The Xbox 360 was also about €400 on release, and stayed that way for the first year. And again, it took about 2 years for it to come down to a mainstream price level. Consoles are ALWAYS expensive on release (the good ones are, anyway), because they're built out of expensive components that have to last for many years down the line. The manufacturers lose money on them for years, until hardware revisions and cheaper manufacturing processes drive the costs down to a more affordable level. This is true of just about all electronics or goods.

You can say "yeah but I tend to wait until they're cheaper" but that doesn't affect the point: consoles are expensive when they're released, and they stay that way for quite some time. They may be cheap now, but they were not so thrifty a purchase back when they first landed on store shelves.

The next gen of consoles needs to push things a bit: much more people have 1080p TVs that are larger than 32"; they will notice the difference going from 720p to 1080p, especially if you give them textures and assets that reflect and benefit from that resolution bump. 60fps is something that almost all games should strive for, especially action and racing games (or any game that has fast moving scenes and requires deft, responsive input). 1080p@60FPS should be the standard. Anti-aliasing is much less of a necessity at that resolution as well.

We will definitely need more texture memory and shader processing power. I know some people are declaring it unfeasible to say the next-gen machines should run Battlefield 3 on ultra at 1080p/60, but that's not so crazy if you consider these machines are about 1.5 years away AT LEAST. Current gen GPUs will be much cheaper and smaller by then. A quad-core CPU is probably fine; games rely much more on GPU operations than CPU functions. 2GB-4GB of RAM should be the aim, RAM is very cheap these days and 4GB is about the minimum standard for a PC gamer.

I don't imagine developers asking for much more than that, and it isn't so out-of-this-world to expect those kind of specs.
christheredhead  +   965d ago
Yes, I know consoles were quite expensive when they first came out, but that only applies to this gen. What im saying is gamers want to talk hardware like it means everything, yet pay 600 for tech that is far behind that of a pc. I personally waited till I could afford the 299 model. It just doesn't make sense to spend that much when you could build a 600 dollar pc that would be light years ahead of the ps3.

Basically, you would pay that amount to play exclusives and that's about it. I just dont understand the need for such limited hardware at a price higher than 300 dollars.

The need to push hardware on the console side will cause software to be stagnant and unoriginal. I can't play graphics and tech. I can only play games. Focus should be shifted to improving games and building the games upon that tech. I can already see that it has become an issue this gen. Every dev is trying to max the consoles out, that's great and all, but gaming is becoming stale because of it. I feel like I have to turn to 10-15 year old machines to get any sort of originality and enjoyment.

Whats gonna happen is everyone will want the best hardware and we might get it as well. Then we'll get the same mundane games, just shinier. I'm all for forward progression, I just dont feel ultra specs are necessary in a console to find enjoyment.

Add comment

You need to be registered to add comments. Register here or login
Remember