Next Gen Gaming...What The Hell Happened

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by Joe Moore, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    I have maintained for quite some time that not a single one of the next gen (now current gen) systems has gotten it right. Each system, while each possessing something for someone, has at least a few glaring problems. And by problems, I'm not talking about things like over-heating and such, I'm talking about omissions and additions that have severely hindered the overall product. So here's my breakdown of what each system got right and what they got wrong.

    PS3:
    The current internet whipping boy, and in most cases, deservedly so. The PS3 got a lot right. They shipped every system with a decent sized hard drive, top of the line HD output, with the best set of choices to hook the system to your TV. Not to mention an online service that has the potential to be something special by offering free online play and some great downloads through the PS store. Top that of with the ability to play your downloaded games on upto 5 other PS3's. But for all that, Sony severely messed some things up. First off, the addition of the motion sensing to the controller to replace the loss of rumble was, in my opinion, a bad idea. I just don't see the need for it, and I believe it hinders some of the current games for the system. It's a hindrance to people who are relatively still while playing games, as well as those who shake their hands about. There's nothing like moving your hands and causing an undesired juke in Madden. Also, the poor video performance of the PS1 and PS2 emulation is undeniable, though should be fixable with a firmware update. They are also banking on the Blu-Ray format to be a success. While I think that Blu-Ray will offer some serious pluses for games because of the expanded storage, the delay and shortages it caused in the launch have cost Sony some serious ground. Directly related to the addition of Blu-Ray is the overall cost of the system. At $500 and $600 the system is a hard sell for post holiday shoppers. Many people are just too cash strapped from the holidays (or just cash strapped in general) to be able to afford a PS3 right now. To top it off, though you can pay upto $600 for a PS3, you still have to shell out for HD capable cables. That's a pretty low blow by Sony.

    PS3 Pros:
    - Graphical capabilities
    - High quality HD output
    - Free online play
    - PS store downloads
    - Best set of connection options
    - Hard Drive in every model
    - Ability to play HD movies via Blu-Ray
    - Ability to play downloaded content on upto 5 other systems.

    PS3 Cons:
    - Cost
    - Loss of rumble
    - Poor video performance on PS1 and PS2 games
    - Delayed launch due to Blu-Ray reliance
    - Does not upconvert DVD's
    - PS1 downloads don't play on PS3 yet
    - Tacked on motion sensing controls
    - No component or HDMI cable included

    Xbox360:
    The 360 did a ton right, but they also committed some serious mistakes that may really come back to bite them. First off, the good. They were first to the market by over a year. They built up a really good userbase. They have the most stable online system at the moment, with some great offering through Xbox Live Arcade, Demos, and Video downloads. Their slightly redesigned Xbox controller makes a great controller. And they have secured a great selection of games for the system. the 360, though, is beginning to show some chinks in the armor. First off, let's start with Live. As the userbase for the competition gets larger, many customers are going to start questioning why they are paying to play games online. And as good as the XBLA has been, the offering have been pretty slim. With over a year lead on the competition, the number of games available should be double what it is now, especially with them allowing retro games on there. Also, the video download service is hit and miss. I like that you can keep the TV shows you download, but movies being deleted after a day or so is unacceptable. also, why are 11 minute episodes of Robot Chicken the same price as hour long episodes of any other show? And with a max 20 Gig HD, that drive can get filled up pretty quickly. MS also decided to put out 2 bundles with entirely different configurations. The worst being that the cheaper bundle doesn't come with a Hard Drive, there by splitting the market and crippling people who bought the cheaper bundle. This forces them to spend another $100 to get a hard drive ( a terrible price for the size of the drive), but still be left without the features of the other set. Microsoft released an add-on HD-DVD drive to praise and worship. However, what many people fail to realize is that the the drive was crippled right from the start. The 360 does not offer HDMI or DVI output. Without an HDMI or DVI connection, the audio output will be limited. Also, when new HDDVD and Blu-Ray discs begin to use HDCP, it will require a digital connection (HDMI or DVI) to output anything above 576P.

    Xbox 360 Pros:
    - Easy, enjoyable online service
    - Ability to redownload games and TV shows if you delete them
    - Great games out and coming
    - Excellent controller w/rumble
    - Good selection of games via XBLA
    - Video Downloads in both SD and HD
    - Full HD support
    - Component cables included in $400 bundle

    Xbox 360 Cons:
    - Have to pay to play online
    - Sparse new releases of games on XBLA, including some very poor game choices for the cost
    - Not all systems come with Hard Drive and Component cables
    - Small hard drive can fill up fast
    - No Digital Output
    - Movie downloads auto delete after awhile
    - Poor cost for value on some tv shows
    - No way to backup tv shows you purchase
    - HD-DVD add-on could be crippled with future releases because of no digital output

    Nintendo Wii:
    For as many people praising the Wii, it sure screwed up more than anyone else. The Wii got very few things right...It's controller, the inclusion of virtual console games, the inclusion of Wii Sports in every purchase and the system price. In my opinion, that's close to it. Let's start with it's video output. Nintendo decided to snub HD output limiting the output to 480P. But not only did the limit it to 480P, they don't even require their games to support that. Nintendo didn't make it a requirement to support progressive scan or 16x9. This means the estimated 33 million new HDTV owners are in for a rude awakening if they buy a Wii. And the controller is great for games built specifically for it, but doesn't add anything to games originally intended for more conventional controllers. The next thing they got wrong was the decision to not include a hard drive. A really bad move considering the ability to download games though the virtual console and reports that some of the Wii channels really eat up the flash memory. To make up for the lack of hard drive, Nintendo went with support for compact flash discs. But they severely screwed that up by not allowing you to run your downloaded content off the drive. Meaning if you fill up your flash memory, and want to play games off the compact drive, you have to delete games off your Wii, then load games from the disk onto the Wii to play them. Cumbersome doesn't begin to describe that process. The next bad decision comes in the form of splitting the controller into 2 separate purchases. Meaning the Wii has the most expensive controller setup if you want to enjoy all the games (not to mention you have to buy a Gamecube or classic controller to play some VC titles). Let's move onto the Virtual Console and its pricing. Bad, bad, bad. Who wants to pay $5 for Balloon Fight, Urban Champion and NES Baseball? How about $8 for Altered Beast or sonic the Hedgehog? That's especially insulting considering you can buy the Sega Genesis Collection for your PS2 for as little as $15. Also, the titles that Nintendo has decided to release have been underwhelming save for a few exceptions like Bonk, Super Mario Bros and most of the TG16 games. And why can't you play the VC titles online, and no support for better video display of the games. PAL owners get hosed with inferior PAL releases of some games.

    Wii Pros:
    - Price is quite affordable
    - Controller is truly revolutionary perfect for games built for it
    - Ability to download and play games from NES, SNES, TG16, Genesis and N64
    - Backwards compatible with Gamecube
    - Inclusion of Wii Sports
    - Free online play
    - Cool Wii channels

    Wii Cons:
    - No Hard Drive
    - Terrible memory management system
    - No HD support
    - Not all games will have progressive scan
    - Bad price scheme for Virtual Console releases
    - Unable to run VC games off compact flash cards
    - No ability to play VC titles online
    - Poor choices in early VC releases
    - PAL owners get inferior PAL version of some games
    - No original content being released through VC
    - No high Quality sound output
    - Must buy 2 separate pieces to have a full controller
    - Must buy additional controller to play some VC releases


    So there you have it. My way too long winded take on all the consoles released so far. And for the record, the only consle I will refuse to buy is the Wii because of the cons I have listed.
     
  2. TJOmega

    TJOmega The Plastic Addict Content Contributor

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    Personally, Wii is my favorite of the new systems because of how many new possibilities it has. I dont care about graphics, I'm not spending $600 for pretty games... I want to be able to play a new way, not stuck with basically the same controller that Sony's been using for 11 or 12 years now.

    That being said... The whole next gen and console wars thing... it's over. Done. Game consoles are too diversified now, Wii appeals to wide demographics, PS3 appeals to hardcore gamers, 360 appeals to online gamers. For whatever reason you buy game systems, there is now a system specifically for that. Console wars were relevant when it was as easy as "This console has Street Fighter, this console has blood". When they had mascots that people favored, Mario or Sonic, that only appeared on one system. These days, Nintendo features just about all of the mascots. Even on Xbox, Master Chief will make any Xbox fan show themselves. Sony has some big franchises, but they're hardly exclusive anymore, even Square-Enix isn't backing Sony as much these days with the advent of Dragon Quest 9 going to DS and Final Fantasy games appearing for Nintendo systems.

    Just as a personal preference, I enjoy having new ways to play games, not the same old trick, that automatically pegs me as the market Nintendo targets. That doesn't make me a Nintendo fanboy, that's just my preference and it only happens to be one place, I bought a Dreamcast for the same reason many years ago. As for the question in the topic... Video gaming has gone from being it's own industry to being a side company for big electronics corporations. With that being their root, most of what they offer is the same as any other electronic, more power, less innovation, and targeted marketing. When it was Nintendo or Genesis, it was personal preference alone that decided which side of the console war you stood on. Today... you get the system that targets you. There's no war there. That's what happened to next gen gaming... it became marketed.
     
  3. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    But my points weren't solely about HD or about who is catering to whom. It was about the missteps that each company made in their release of the systems. I agree that each systems cater to different parts of the gamer spectrum, it doesn't justify the erros in judgement that each company made. For example, while I agree that on pure gaming merit that the Wii is quite awesome, its lack of things like a hard drive, its inflated VC prices and such are what turned me off to it. I could easily forgive its lack of HD if even a few of the missteps I mentioned were avoided.
     
  4. TJOmega

    TJOmega The Plastic Addict Content Contributor

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    Well we know why the VC was created, to keep games trademarked and make some easy bucks off gamers who dont know what emulation is, which is a market that shrinks I would imagine. Same reasons we see the compilation games and 40-in-1 systems at a mall kiosk. If the lack of a hard drive is what kept the Wii from being an expensive system, I dont mind the lack of it, so long as they make one later when it's more necessary for the system. I do admit one reason I like the Wii is because it's affordable, and it's affordable because they made it bare-bones game machine. If they make a hard drive later on instead of including it, it'll cost just about the same then as it would added into the system. In the end it wouldn't matter.

    As for the controllers, yeah it's annoying that you need to buy it in two parts, but just look at the controllers getting damaged from broken straps and if I have to replace a broken controller, I'd prefer just buying the damaged unit and not have a useless half of a controller laying around, especially if it was the more expensive Wiimote unit. And again, the classic remote, I prefer that separate so the system is less expensive to buy cause I dont want the controller, no need for the VC so I dont want to spend more on the system just because it has something I dont need.
     
  5. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Just want to butt in quickly and tell Joe thanks for the reviews. My fiance got a Wii for Christmas and, apparently, she's already having memory issues with it. I'll have to point her towards this.
     
  6. Tigran

    Tigran Well-Known Member

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    Okay... I'm sorry.. -have- to ask. How the hell does she have memory issues? Has she downloaded -every- VC game they've released already?
     
  7. Rokkit 2.0

    Rokkit 2.0 Nay, we are but men.

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    I'm not quite sure I get how you 'refuse' to buy the Wii because of memory issues and content pricing, but not the 360. That doesn't make any sense.

    I personally think the 360 is the best overall experience available right now, and I play it more often than anything else at the moment, but content pricing (with microtransactions and XBLA) and HD space (you touched on the core pack problem but I'm also thinking of the download service, demos and trailers and movies, and also XBLA) are a MUCH bigger concern on the 360 than anything on the Wii at this point and time.
     
  8. polymorphic

    polymorphic Bumblebee tuna!

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    Nice article. And I, too, think the console wars are over... for me, at least. I consider myself a hardcore PC gamer who happens to own a PS2. I would never even consider buying a 360 or PS3, even if they were at the same price point as the Wii. They have absolutely nothing new to offer, much less to justify their price tags. My PC does more than those consoles will ever do, including HD output to my TV and pr0n.

    I am going to buy a Wii. The fact that it has little in the way of Flash memory/hard drive/etc and that there is no HD is of no concern to me, even though I own a 42 LCD 1080i set. I simply want a fun gaming experience and the Wii offers that. If I have to buy an extra $15 controller, so be it. That's still only $275 for a console WITH a game.

    My point is that I don't think Nintendo's decisions are 'problems' or 'mistakes'. They are excellent, common sense decisions made to keep the console fun and affordable, and most of all profitable for Nintendo. Remember: a business is in business to make money. The other consoles are the opposite of profitable for their respective creators.
     
  9. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    I may not have touched on the content pricing as much on the 360, because I find the $4 price for most of their gamers fair enough. $4 for an HD version of the arcade version of Pac-Man vs. $5 for the NES version is a better bargain (though still not a good price).

    And you're right, I skipped microstransactions. Well not skipped, but kinda forgot while writing. I will add that later.
     
  10. Rokkit 2.0

    Rokkit 2.0 Nay, we are but men.

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    I think most people consider that a wash. It's still Pac-Man. In any case, look at something like Billiards or Texas Hold 'Em. Could be fun, sure, but very, very simple and still costly. And then (while I didn't have as big a problem with it) you have stuff like microstransactions *crossing over* into XBLA, like with Lumines.

    I don't know, after spending time with the 360, when I heard about VC pricing (and I remember a lot of people shared this opinion) I wasn't really outraged in any way.
     
  11. Smasher

    Smasher HUNKY BEATS

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    Some of the microtransactions are kind of cool -but some of them are awful.

    I don't mind paying for things that actually download some new content to games, but expecting us to pay 120 points for a picture pack that lets us use the ghosts from Pac-man as our avatars is absurd. I just paid $4 for Pac-man. I should have gotten the picture pack as a bonus.

    And you are right about the prices on the Video Marketplace.
    The price for some shows is just too high.

    Overall, I think the Video Marketplace concept is brilliant.
    Download Superman Returns in HD? Hell yeah!
     
  12. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    I thought this would be obvious, but I guess not: If the consumers don't care that a product lacks a certain feature, then it is not a misstep.
     
  13. Scourge_151

    Scourge_151 Dangerous when naked! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Nice even-handed opinions Joe, I'm hopeful the PS3 will see the slump in demand here in europe as it did in the states (all the kiddies got Wiis for christams maybe!) so I'll get a chance to get one in the launch month.
     
  14. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    There's also no denying something like not being able to load your VC titles off the SD card is a huge misstep. Or that putting out games like Tennis on the VC (especially considering you get a much better alternative free) instead of legitamite hits is a misstep. Now don't get me wrong, I love Nintendo's decision to release a few games a week, but with a library reaching into the 10's of thousands, there's no denying the choices they have picked have been relatively subpar save the few gems.

    But I didn't write this to come off as a Wii basher. I have a lot of respect for what they attempted to do with the system, but the execution of some of those things left much to be desired for me. But that's the same for all 3 systems.
     
  15. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    I agree with alot you said here. But I will delve a bit into my hatred for microtransactions. With having to pay $60 for a new game, a lot of the stuff they offer should be free. Especially when it coems to EA. One of the reasons I tolerate the XBLA prices moreso than the VC prices is because with the XBLA releases, soem extra work has gone into bringing the game your way. Be it upgrading the graphics, or simply converting the graphics to display on an HD system, work went into them. That's not to say I am happy with alll of their price schemes. Soemone brought up Lumines, which is a great example of the wong way to release an XBLA game. Same with Street Fighter, where I bought a collection with the game for $15.

    While I like the basic idea of the video marketplace, I loathe that I can't back them up. And share a special hatred for not even being able to keep the movies I downloaded. I can tolerate it a bit more for some of the TV shows, but will never download a movie from it.
     
  16. Deefuzz

    Deefuzz Beard On! Beardmaster! Veteran

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    I agree with much of that.

    My only problem is with the video marketplace...Not that it bothers me that it is there, but it isn't something I would ever use if there is no way to keep that stuff. Your movie auto deletes and you can't backup any shows or clips? No thanks...I pay for cable, I don't need to pay to see those shows on my 360, ESPECIALLY if I can't keep them.

    Paying for picture packs and icons is absurd as well. They almost had me with the Star Trek pack until I realized that I was about to spend money on some friggin avatars. And not to mention the million microtransactions you would have to go through to get a full version of Lumines, I think I read somewhere that in the end you would end up spending more on it through XBL than just buying the game for the PSP
     
  17. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    I'm not calling you a Wii basher, I just think you've got a funny idea of what constitutes a significant mistake. Would the Wii be better with those things? Yeah, probably. But are they selling any fewer systems? Is the VC pricing and selection something they can't improve later if they want to? Is the VC even one of the Wii's key selling points? You can always find ways that a product could be better, but to me, for a company to make a misstep, it has to be something that could actually hurt them. That goes for anyone, not just Nintendo.
     
  18. polymorphic

    polymorphic Bumblebee tuna!

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    Again, Nintendo didn't misstep, sidestep, mess up or otherwise err. People, like me, who will buy the Wii just want to stick in a game disc and start playing. Period. If one likes VC and all the other goodies, one can sit at his PC or buy a PS3/360. I think it was a good, educated decision on Nintendo's part, not a misstep.

    Just my opinion, though. And, Nintendo's been in tha biz much longer than Sony and Microsoft and they are still going strong.

    I will be purchasing some TurboGrafx games, tho, when I get mine! I had the console back in the day. A little nostalgia goes a long way, even with little memory. :tongue: 
     
  19. artiepants

    artiepants Just over here punching Unicron.

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    Nice Article Joe ~ I Love the Wii my wife go me for Christmas, but the problems are certainly there and glaring, especially the memory management issue ~ they really should have added SOME way to expand the internal memory, even if it was just a bay for a future flash drive or something... and a controller pack with both pieces for a $5/$10 discount...
     
  20. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    I pretty much agree with what joe says. that's why I used my money to buy a used xbox for $100 two weeks ago. I also spent about $100 on 8 games, and just bought radiant silvergun for my saturn the other day. I use a 27" trinitron with svideo cables. "next generation" and "high-def" are just not words in my video dictionary. like so many others, I like new ideas in my video games, and once I started buying games for my ps2, I realized it was mostly just sequels in my favorite franchises, so I've decided to call it a day when it comes to new systems.
     

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