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KichigaiKitsune

You know guys, I think consoles are dying...

Video games, and the entire industry surrounding them, have changed a lot in the last two decades. It's almost as mind-blowing to compare it today with demo disks and FF7 to how the same people I used to dial using a rotor-phone are the people I call by asking my touch-screen device politely to give them a ring for me.

As it is now, video gaming is in a precarious position, and it's consoles that are at the most serious risk.

To be perfectly blunt and show my hand early: consoles aren't necessary anymore. We do not need them. If you're hyped up about buying the next Playstation or X-Box, stop. Don't be.

Consoles used to be the pinnacle of gaming. Their position as such has always vacillated a little, yet has been mostly true over the last few decades: they've held all the advantages. But it's telling that I used to be the smug Playstation gamer bragging about how my little console was the best, and now here I am, all but giving up on them.

I've been playing my PS3 a lot more recently, and I do like it, but it took me a long time to buy the thing to begin with and periods of extended use for me have been rare and far between. I'm only now starting to learn what the PS3 is capable of outside of gaming, and guess what? I absolutely don't care, it changes nothing. But the PS4 is starting to loom on the horizon like an ominous cloud and all I can do is roll my eyes and mutter something about being here before. Even still, I love my PS3 and I lament the fact that I haven't got the use I wish I had out of it.

There are several problems with consoles nowadays. Some of them are very simple, hardware related issues, whereas others are far deeper than that.

The first thing to remember is that consoles used to be very powerful gaming machines. Back in the day, the PS2 actually spearheaded new technologies and was innovative, leading it to be more powerful than the typical PC. Despite the PS2's high cost at the time, it was still cheaper than a gaming-grade PC.

Nowadays, PC gaming has made a significant comeback. With "Games for Windows Live" and EA's dipshittery left aside for the moment, you can buy a game, and it will work, and it will work very well. This never actually used to be the case - about 5 years ago, I bought a $1400 laptop and it couldn't play World of Warcraft. My current laptop cost that much, but it can play any game on the market today, being on par with an Alienware. Worse, you can now compare consoles directly to PCs in terms of hardware; the odd configuration of the PS2 is a thing of the past.

Consoles combat this with uniformity. A PS3 is relatively old but it still holds up its end in terms of sheer power and graphical ability. Running a HDMI cable from a 45" TV to a PS3 gets you pseudo-HD graphics and a consistent play experience (horribly designed games notwithstanding). Running it from a PC capable of maximum setting will get you an absolutely jaw-dropping experience that I doubt many people who read this will have even seen and thus cannot comprehend.

Problem is, the super-dooper gaming PC costs $6000 and the PS3 is $400. Okay. But you don't need a godlike gaming PC to beat the PS3 experience. Back when the PS3 came out, it had an advantage, being $899 or so, with a $2000+ PC being needed to surpass its technical specs and longevity.

But therein lies the problem. Nowadays, PCs are more affordable. I doubt the PS4 (possibly $899 when released) is going to be a smart choice when compared to a $1500 gaming machine. Also, many of us are/were kids when we were exposed to gaming, so we're not used to the simple fact that PC's are expandable. Believe it or not, you CAN buy a hand-held controller for your PC, you CAN increase the RAM from 8GB to 32GB, you CAN switch out the graphics card for a better model - it takes a long time for PC motherboards to become truly redundant. These are things that people actually do, and it's much cheaper than buying a new PC.

The other problem is that you don't need a PS4, you need a PC now. So you're going to need to buy both of them.

"But the PS3 and PS4 can do so much more than play GAMES, you IDIOT!" someone rages, with fanboy stars in their eyes as they ironically read my journal on a PC or laptop monitor. "You won't need a PC if you have a PS4, because it can do everythiiiing! EVERYTHING."

Device redundancy is a thing that's been upsetting me nowadays. You don't need an e-book, your  tablet can do it and more. You don't need an MP3 player, your phone can do it. You don't need the PS3's media streaming capabilities, your PC can do it.
While it seems fair enough to offer a cheap alternative, such as an e-reader because someone cannot afford a decent tablet, the truth is that the expensive option is capable of so much more that you're a bit of an idiot to not opt for saving up to buy it instead. We have so many devices and things that we don't need, and so much cool potential is being wasted - phones, naturally, are the number one offender. Everyone has a phone, and every phone can fucking do everything now. Usually the specialized device has a slight advantage in that area, such as e-readers with better battery life than an iPad, but it's usually not much of an advantage.

The PS3 is capable of functioning as: a photo viewer/storage device, a music player/storage (with an external output), video player/storage, internet browser, media streaming device, chat program (highly limited to the PS Network) and downloading video games.

Problem is, it's god-awful at all of those things. For twice the price, a PC will be able to do every single function of a Playstation 3 better; for twice the PS4 launch price, you'll be able to piece together a true monster, and again, you won't NEED to spend that much anyway.

Finally, quick, you have to do your taxes, or write a school report, or you want to write a novel. Homework, ack! You need to do some graphical manipulation in Photoshop! You have to work on a project at home in MS Visual Studio! Oh noes, your console is useless.

As a standalone media device, the PS3 and the PS4 is/will be a great device. I probably WILL buy one eventually. They truly shine as small form-factor home-theater devices, under a cabinet near your TV, where you snuggle up on the couch and can switch between a movie, a game and some music. It has its place. And console vs PC gaming will always be a matter of personal preference.
Hell, you could always do your gaming on a PS4/Xbox and keep a tiny little mintBox* (10% profits go to Linux Mint!) or something around for computer stuff.
But a better, all-in-one solution is to double up your savings and splurge on a powerful gaming PC, which can do everything, and do it well.

And speaking of device redundancy, as Yahtzee has pointed out, if backward compatibility is not a 100% attainable goal and will definitely be in your system, stop developing the system. There is no excuse for abandoning previous generations' rich and diverse gaming libraries - and it IS just an excuse, stop your filthy lies, Sony! Gee, amusing how I can't play my old games any more, but you can get an additional sale out of me when I download it for this new console. (Gotta love emulators.)

Software for PCs is usually easier to work with when it comes to getting them to work on newer systems - even if a project is total "abandonware" at this point. Freespace 2 is THE best space shooter/sim ever made, and it's now open-source, vastly improved, and available for $10, and it works on most operating systems, and did I mention it was now vastly improved? Meanwhile, if I want 40 Winks on my PS3, I'm pretty much fucked. You can get it to work on a PC; without vendor and developer support, you can forget it on a console unless backwards compatibility is a given.

Severing us from that pre-existing library and using money-grubbing tactics to allow us to use them again, or worse, screwing with things like gamer profiles and the like, is simply not acceptable. But gaming companies now openly say things like "shut up, peon, deal with it!" No, ass-douche, I won't deal with it. You're getting NONE of my money now.

And speaking of that, as invasive as DRM and always-on bullshit is for PC gamers, oh man, it's absurd for consoles. Even though the better companies do their best to make it as unobtrusive as possible, such as Steam or X-Box Live, it has no place with consoles, which are meant to BE offline, cheap entertainment solutions.

A huge swathe of mankind doesn't even HAVE a persistent internet connection, let alone a good one. Many people who use consoles are, I hate to say it, young people who just want a game that works - the idea of having to call up Microsoft (risking that the customer service reps will be dicks and not take them seriously because of their age) to get a game working or undo a gamer profile snag, is absurd. This is placing a barrier between the gamer and their games, which a console is supposed to completely eliminate, and it's worse for younger gamers because they may need a parent's "assistance" is setting things up (X-Box Live requires constant payments). This just does not work.

Same goes for the "service model" of gaming - morons saw WoW get away with it, due to being a constantly updated game with genuine service costs and so on, so forth, and think they can make me pay a subscription fee for a fighting game now? It's desperate cash-milking, and is going to limit accessibility for gamers.

Updates are a great thing, they can fix bugs that games rolled out with, but they're not supposed to be a crutch or replacement for beta testing. So now we have lying developers and piss-poor games that suck for months, and the response is, again, "deal with it" while we can't play our single player games because the multiplayer servers weren't properly tested.

These are all awkward hindrances that are supposed to be limited to PCs. They don't work on consoles. But the sheer greed of the gaming industry knows no bounds now; it's a huge, corporate affair instead of the small, quirky studio projects of yesteryear. Again, as a result, consoles are going to be losing ground with serious gamers due to their shortcomings and will likely persist only with gamers too dumb to know better.

Yes, I just called console gamers "too dumb to know better." But I know that's not true. It's just that we're being betrayed by the industry bigshots, and it's getting worse every year.
The thing is, consoles used to be distinct from PCs, and in some ways superior. Now they're just not. They use very similar hardware, they require installations, they require online connections, they are plagued with subscriptions and fees and DRM, they get BSODs, they attempt to have the same functionality but they just suck at it...

Ah well.
See you later, guys. Former Console Lover Kichi, signing out.




---- * Fit-PC is an Israeli company. I understand this convinces some people to not buy from them. Don't take my endorsement of this product as an endorsement for Israel, or this apology as an endorsement for Islamic terrorists or whatever.  You would think this obvious. Apparently it is not.
Viewed: 51 times
Added: 5 years, 5 months ago
 
Gehenna
5 years, 5 months ago
Alright, I gotta correct some things here...

1: Sony is specifically going for cost affordability... so your 899 estimate is HIGHLY likely to be very, very wrong.

2: You would be surprised how hard backwards capabilities are. The entire reason the original PS3s were 600 dollars was because of this. Also, Sony has said that many (Though an unspecified amount) of its previous games will be available as a digital download.

3: The PS3 is game focused, even with the added on stuff that I do actually get. Now, were we talking about the colossal disappointment that is the "Xbox One" I would be inclined to agree with your stated point.

4: The PS3 does not have an always on connection (As far as we have seen, and Sony has specifically denounced it)

5: This is the big one... you seem to have missed the point of consoles. A console is a more or less one-stop buy for a consistent gaming system that will last for quite a few years. The fact that it will always have the same hardware and software makes it much easier to program for, and in the long run costs less than a PC to use and maintain. You cite game costs, but miss the major cost of pc gaming; which is the cost to continue to upgrade your rig to keep having the best graphics.


The amusing part of this is that I AGREE that console gaming is dying, but the points you make are not the reasons why. A lot of this is because you focused on the PS3 and PS4, both of which are actually gaming focused. Also, the PS3 was a flop because it was hard to program for. Sorry Kichi, but as a friend I have to tell you that you really should have spent more time researching this particular journal... especially when a lot of your audience are gamers.

imer
5 years, 4 months ago
" The fact that it will always have the same hardware and software makes it much easier to program for

It's not really an issue to create games (e.g. for PC) that work with all kinds of combinations of hardware..
The only thing that really matters is performance
Gehenna
5 years, 4 months ago
Have you ever heard the word "Optimization"? Part of programming is making the software work well with various different graphics cards. This is the reason why porting to PC from consoles often ends in many, many issues.
KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 4 months ago
Just to point something out here: there are two main GPU manufacturer's, AMD and NVidia. The fact is, that's all they have to optimize for. It's not as complex as you make it sound. The various different GPUs produced by these people are essentially all the same technology, but vary in terms of processing cores, bus size and memory size. So it's their power than changes, not the nature of the individual GPUs.

It's usually harder the other way around, in other words.  Porting from PC to console is awful for devs, because the consoles' architecture is so weird, whereas PC hardware is really quite simple and uniform. The big differences come from the power a particular machine might have. That's the only uniformity a console can offer. You know a console will play a game because it has been developed with that hardware "power" in mind.

PCs actually have very set standards aside from that, such as Direct X and OpenGL, and these act as front-ends for the hardware anyway. Developers for PC know exactly what to do, the problem is that if a user has a really cruddy machine it might just lack the grunt necessary.
imer
5 years, 4 months ago
what Kichi said.
Also there are alot of frameworks and engines out there for PC (and mobile) developement that do all the boring (optimization and dealing with low level stuff) for you.
KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 4 months ago
>Sony is specifically going for cost affordability... so your 899 estimate is HIGHLY likely to be very, very wrong.
I am using the Australian prices of things as my benchmark, and $899 IS the price the PS4 is expected to debut at. Possibly less, but $899 is the placeholder price set at the moment.

>You would be surprised how hard backwards capabilities are.
No, I wouldn't be. I know exactly how difficult it is to implement. That doesn't change how important it is; it shuts users out of the previous generation's game library unless they're able to get a hold of an older console - possible, but a major pain in the ass.

>previous games will be available as a digital download.
And will these games be FREE for people who owned the original version? Or does it just so happen to result in an extra sale? This is not the same as having use of your old physical media (or save files, for that matter).

>The PS3 is game focused, even with the added on stuff that I do actually get.
I already acknowledged it was a specialized device. But if we're being fair to the PS3 in particular, it is also a low-cost multimedia device. The point is that PCs do all of these things too, often better, and more.

>The PS3 does not have an always on connection
Was referring to consoles in general. The PS3's name appears so often in this journal because I don't own an X-Brick, but it's definitely not as guilty as the latter. What do you expect? Of course the PS is better than X-box. It always has been. =)

>This is the big one... you seem to have missed the point of consoles. A console is a more or less one-stop buy for a consistent gaming system that will last for quite a few years.

How could I have missed the point of consoles? My entire point was that what you said is the intended purpose of consoles, but that they're straying. You missed what I said about how you wouldn't need a high-end PC, too. If you think the PS4 is going to even approach the performance of a high-end gaming PC, you're nuts. It has no hope. Which makes sense because such a machine will be worth thousands of bucks.

My point is that even a mediocre PC system, such as one for only a few hundred bucks more than the console, will likely serve you for just as long, with better gaming and overall more usefulness. What consoles gain in optimization, they lose in terms of raw power. If you're accusing me of not doing the research, are you aware that no console on the market today is capable of actual HD display? They're not a little bit behind PCs, which can be made up via optimization, they're entire hardware generations back and actually HARD to program/port for, as you acknowledge. Hell one of the biggest upgrades the new gen is getting is to make their hardware closer to that of PCs - and thus directly comparable. They don't come CLOSE to a mid-range gaming PC. MID-RANGE. Today. Let alone 5 years.

It isn't that consoles don't have any advantages, or are completely crap and have no use whatsoever, it's that if I DID have to choose between upgrading my PC or buying one of the consoles, I'd opt for the PC every single time. It never used to be that way. A new console would get priority over everything, ten years ago - the PS2 especially since it functioned as a general media device.

My point is that you can opt for the cheap gaming system (the console, say the PS4), but then you'll need a decent computer too. Rather than snagging a cheap console + a cheap PC, it's very attractive to consider pooling those funds and buying a mid range PC, and believe it or not, such a machine will last you a pretty decent period of time without upgrades. THAT'S the problem, that even for people under budgetary concerns, the console is no longer a sure-fire option, AND it's being plagued with terrible design choices such as the XBox One, further reducing the console-over-PC appeal.

I said dying. Not dead. And I only touched on some of the less-discussed reasoning. There's more, as you know.
Gehenna
5 years, 4 months ago
>I am using the Australian prices of things as my benchmark, and $899 IS the price the PS4 is expected to debut at. Possibly less, but $899 is the placeholder price set at the moment.

For historical context, the estimated price of the PS3 was 999 Australian, and the actual price was somewhere between 699 and 895 depending on model. That is a pretty significant drop, and here in the states the actual price was at 600, which was lowered to 400 when the removed the VERY expensive stuff that allowed backwards capabilities. Also, Sony has yet to say ANYTHING about the price of their console, so an guesses are pure speculation.

>No, I wouldn't be. I know exactly how difficult it is to implement. That doesn't change how important it is; it shuts users out of the previous generation's game library unless they're able to get a hold of an older console - possible, but a major pain in the ass.

I give you this point, but I should point out that making the PS3 backwards capable added on 200 dollars USD, and this time around they'd also have to add the PS3 stuff as well.

 >And will these games be FREE for people who owned the original version? Or does it just so happen to result in an extra sale? This is not the same as having use of your old physical media (or save files, for that matter).

Unknown, though admittedly unlikely for any game older than PS1.

>I already acknowledged it was a specialized device. But if we're being fair to the PS3 in particular, it is also a low-cost multimedia device. The point is that PCs do all of these things too, often better, and more.

This is irrelevant. We should compare them on the game front, since they are meant as game machines. That is why the Xbox One is getting so much flak right now.

>Was referring to consoles in general. The PS3's name appears so often in this journal because I don't own an X-Brick, but it's definitely not as guilty as the latter. What do you expect? Of course the PS is better than X-box. It always has been. =)

This one is besides the main point, but I should point out that this current generation had the 360 kick the PS3's ass for a reason. The PS3 is a BITCH to program for, was notoriously corruptible (Hacking, anyone?), and was hella expensive. So no, it has not always been better.

> If you're accusing me of not doing the research, are you aware that no console on the market today is capable of actual HD display?

No. Not, "no I didn't know", but "No, you are wrong". First off, the term "Hi-definition' has no actual meaning, since it is not actually defined. It is generally agreed to mean (in the states) any video with a resolution over 720 scan lines, and/or with a fps of at least 60. Both the Xbox and PS3 can go to 1080p... it is actually the games themselves that are made at a lower FPS value, but the consoles can handle higher.

>They don't come CLOSE to a mid-range gaming PC. MID-RANGE

Here are the PS4 specs. 8-Core AMD Jaguar, Custom AMD Radeon GPU, and the kicker  8GB GDDR5... GDDR5, the HIGHEST currently available to PC gamers is GDDR4... This is actually on par with current HIGH-RANGE PCs. Yes, eventually PCs will go past this, but for now they have not.



KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 4 months ago
I only have time to respond to one thing, but this one should do.

>Here are the PS4 specs. 8-Core AMD Jaguar, Custom AMD Radeon GPU, and the kicker  8GB GDDR5... GDDR5, the HIGHEST currently available to PC gamers is GDDR4... This is actually on par with current HIGH-RANGE PCs. Yes, eventually PCs will go past this, but for now they have not.

The AMD Jaguar processors (~1.6GHz) being used by both the PS4 and Xbox are mediocre at best, functioning well below the grade of a typical desktop i7 (3.2GHz+). The custom AMD GPU based on the Radeon 7790 is likewise unimpressive. And you don't know what GDDR is. That is memory specifically for use in graphics cards. PCs have had GDDR5 VRAM since 2008. My laptop alone has 8GB of DDR3 system RAM, along with a 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM on the graphics card, which boasts higher performance than the PS4's GPU, and the only reason I haven't doubled the SRAM is that I don't see any need to, my system runs every game it's encountered. The PS4 uses a single pool of GDDR5, which is certainly an advantage, but as it is my cheapish laptop stands up to the PS4 easily, with 10GB of memory overall (GDDR5's performance is specialized) and superiority in every other area. At best, they're close, and the laptop can be used for other purposes.

A desktop machine for the same price as this laptop would have significantly better performance. Laptops use less powerful components to preserve power and lessen heat, as well as fit smaller the form factor.

That's the primary advantage for the two different devices, console and PC. One is a highly specialized gaming/rendering device (which is why the PS4's decision to use unified GDDR5 is so cool), the other is a multirole device but it makes up for that in gaming by being overwhelmingly powerful. That's my key point here, as it affects your spending decision, as you will likely need a computer for day-to-day life too. It's not "irrelevant" as you claim. It's a huge deal.

They don't stand up to high end PCs. Not one single aspect of them does!! High range gaming PCs are well beyond the grasp of consoles. A console is never going to match an LGA2011 i7 3.6ghz equipped beast with 32GB of 1666ghz RAM, blazing fast SSD storage drives and twin GTX 690 GPUs capable of outputting to multiple 4096x2160 resolution screens. I wasn't even thinking of comparing them.

www.pcworld.com/article/2029138/playstation-4-vs-pc-graphics-can-sony-even-compete-.html
Also, be sure to check the comment of "tidus1112" as he makes the same point as I.
squirrelfox
5 years, 4 months ago
To be fair, no, you didn't just call console gamers "too dumb to know better."  Just the ones who are going to STICK with consoles.  :p

Me?  I have a Wii and a 360.  Never bothered with the PS3 -- not enough exclusives to make it a worthwhile investment, and the vast majority of the games I wanted were either on 360, PC, or the Wii.  I may eventually get a PS3 after the PS4 comes out, if I can get a PS3 for cheap, but even then, there aren't a heck of a lot of games I'd play on it, so it's probably not a piece of hardware I'll get.  Especially since I'm going to be investing in a mid-range gaming PC later this summer (interested to see what Intel's new processors are going to offer).

Oh, and really, I haven't played a lot on the Wii and 360.  I mostly PC game now.  I dust off the Wii every now and then for some Gamecube games (really hope I can find a memory card!), but the 360?  I don't think we have any games for it that I have any interest in playing.  There certainly aren't many that I'd even look at that I can't get on PC.

At this point, I'm 99% certain that I'll just be skipping this generation of consoles entirely.  Wii U is kinda floundering at the moment, the Xbone is just goddamned stupid, and the PS4... meh.  Totally indifferent.  And in this case, that indifference translates to, "Why should I bother?"  So I won't.

PC gaming woooo!
vulPN
5 years, 4 months ago
'bout fucking time...

Never liked consoles.
Jancit
5 years, 4 months ago
Ugh... I disagree but I don't have the willpower to write out my opinion... oh well xp
aldreyachan
5 years, 4 months ago
With all due respect, it's best not to say anything when that's the case. By disagreeing, you've insinuated there's something wrong with what Kichi said, arousing his (and my) curiosity. You're obligated to elaborate now. >:D
Jancit
5 years, 4 months ago
I've actually forgotten my point. Sorry to disapoint haha ^^;
Jancit
5 years, 4 months ago
I do say that I like consoles, though. ^^
Gehenna
5 years, 4 months ago
Well, as a response now that we know the facts... well, you are waaaaaay off. In Australia, the PS4 is retailing for $550m here in the states it is $400. So, please tell me ANY computer that can hit the specs of the PS4 for that amount.
KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 4 months ago
... What's the "m" for? I assume that was a typo, because my brain read that as "five hundred and fifty million" - and I sure as heck hope that's wrong. XD

Just by asking me "what computer can match it for its exact price" you're showing that you've missed my point entirely. My point is that you're better off saving up and purchasing a PC, because it can play games and perform other functions the PS4 is unlikely to do well if at all. My point was that it's no longer worthwhile to have a console and a separate, weak computer for other tasks when you could have bought a better PC for the price of those two; my point was that consoles are becoming redundant due to device convergence, and I am not the only person to point this out.

If the PS4 is capable of platform-agnostic communication (e.g., email, Skype to phone, IM to people running different IM clients with different providers on different operating systems entirely...), advanced word processing (equal at least to LibreOffice), seamless web-browsing (HTML5, Flash, SSH tools, etc), ability to play virtually any video or audio format, mod and tweak its games, receive digital TV & digital radio, function as an educational tool, burn disk media, provide advanced file manipulation tools, or otherwise do any of the perfectly normal things a computer can do for a family, and do all of this equally as well and easily as a computer of equal cost, then okay, buy it instead of the PC.

But that's simply not going to happen; console manufacturers know that's a lost cause to begin with, so they focus on their niche. Their primary advantage is always going to be price and gaming focus, and I will admit that a price of $549 makes it more appealing, but I'm still going to practice what I preached: I won't buy the PS4, and the $549 will go towards a machine I can build for approximately 2x that price that will batter the PS4 senseless in terms of power.

My point is that unless you need a gaming device, and you can't save up any more (say, for a child's birthday or x-mas), then a console will do. For the informed consumer with any sort of income, it's not worth it unless you already have a PC to fulfil the tasks most households will need a PC for.

For the lulz, I just went to a retail site and pieced together an order for a PC, using excessively expensive choices for the power supply and case, and made a monster for just over 2x $550AUD. Unfortunately, buying a car kinda means I have to wait a few months before I can buy it. :c
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