Consoles Are Niche?

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alphadog 101 Jun 07, 2012 at 13:22

https://www.develop-online.net/news/41038/E3-2012-John-Carmack-Consoles-could-become-a-specialist-niche

“The technical director of Id Software John Carmack has suggested that traditional consoles may soon become a niche product for highly dedicated, purist consumers.”

Not so sure about that. I think what is certain to happen is that everything will be able to game. And consoles, traditionally dedicated gaming-only boxes, will wholly disappear. Shoot, you can play Angry Birds on everything but stone tablets now.

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fireside 141 Jun 07, 2012 at 19:33

I think he’s right. Tablets, etc, are advancing to where they can play 3d games. Digital distribution is becoming the norm. In order to set themselves apart, consoles are going to have to really work on input and display systems to give a more realistic experience. I think they’ve pretty much lost the casual market. NIntendo is getting in serious trouble. Calling it a niche is a bit of a stretch, though. There is a very large group of dedicated gamers out there.

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Stainless 151 Jun 08, 2012 at 10:04

I agree.

Look at how many gaming PC’s are sold these days, tiny amount compared to other devices.

Then you have to think about the way the technology is going.

I create a single which runs on mobile phones, tablets, set top boxes, pc’s and TV’s. Even runs as a web plugin. Same binary.

Ok the power of some of the devices is not great, and I can’t do a hell of a lot of things we take for granted in top end games, but it’s just a matter of time before your TV has as good a graphics capability as the current games consoles.

Then, really, what is the point of a games console?

Unless they release a new console that has an order of magnitude more graphics power than anything else, and I don’t see anything on the horizon.

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TheNut 179 Jun 08, 2012 at 12:09

With quad core phones and tablets powered by nVidia Tegra, it really won’t be much longer before consoles and PCs become dinosaurs. With more research dollars being put towards microchips and mobile development, consoles and PCs are eventually going to lose the race. The iPhone has long since surpassed the number of XBox and PS3 units sold. Android has pretty much eclipsed XBox, PS3, and Wii units combined all within a 4 year window. The “niche” part I think is true. Mobile technology today isn’t bleeding edge yet, so for the time being you need to rely on some horsepower to get your fix. In time, I think that balance will shift. And with people eager to try new and different things, technology like the kind Carmack was advertising at E3 will likely shift focus on what people are going to want. $300 for a device fixed to the side of my TV or $300 for a pair of kick-butt VR glasses.

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alphadog 101 Jun 11, 2012 at 20:16

@Stainless

Look at how many gaming PC’s are sold these days, tiny amount compared to other devices.

I have a problem with people making that statement. I think it’s unfair to compare the growth rate of a more established market (i.e. desktops) with that of a new market (i.e. tablets). Lots of people still don’t have a tablet and have a desktop. Talk to me when everyone who now has a couple of PCs also owns a couple of tablets.
@Stainless

it’s just a matter of time before your TV has as good a graphics capability as the current games consoles.

Yeah, but by then, consoles are still prettier than your mobile device or your TV. Ask yourself why do all console game demoes at places like E3 take place on a PC!

I think mobile will eat away at the larger, casual gaming market with 100% certainty. But, anything that pushes the envelope will come out on PCs first, say like 4K resolution games.

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Stainless 151 Jun 12, 2012 at 08:37

@alphadog

I think mobile will eat away at the larger, casual gaming market with 100% certainty. But, anything that pushes the envelope will come out on PCs first, say like 4K resolution games.

I actually think you are completely wrong about that. From all the discussions I am having with the Chinese manufacturers, their focus is getting the cutting edge stuff onto their kit before anyone else does.

I can’t give details, NDA’s and that, but we are talking about stuff that is not, and will not, be available on PC and consoles.

Certainly for the manufacturers, PC and consoles are minor markets they don’t worry about. They are more worried about what other manufacturers are working on and how to monetise the games content.

Your comment about established markets is valid, but a little short sighted. A gaming PC bought a year ago is still out of date. Ten years ago this would have meant an automatic purchase of a new PC. Now I think most people get their hands dirty and install a new graphics card, or a new motherboard, or whatever else they need instead of buying a brand new PC. This does dilute the new purchase figures, but the very fact that it requires a level of technical knowledge beyond the simple plug and play limits it’s effect.

Certainly of the people I know that have been in the games industry a long time, 95% of them are not working on PC and console games anymore.

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tyree 102 Jun 14, 2012 at 06:45

seems that the majority are content to make games that dont require a joystick. If touch is all you have for control. I cant call that a game.

I know your all just going where the market dicatates. but as someone that prefers action and sports games. touch is out of the question.

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Stainless 151 Jun 14, 2012 at 07:13

Touch isn’t the only input system.

I am working with one of the big manufacturers in China and we are having long and detailed discussions about remote controls et al

Don’t think that the gamepad / joystick is the reserve of PC’s and consoles

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geon 101 Jun 14, 2012 at 11:36

@tyree

seems that the majority are content to make games that dont require a joystick. If touch is all you have for control. I cant call that a game. I know your all just going where the market dicatates. but as someone that prefers action and sports games. touch is out of the question.

Driving/racing games can work reasonably well on touch devices. Binary onscreen “buttons” are horrible, but continuos “sliders” are OK, especially, if the input is centered around where you put your finger down. Then you don’t need to see/feel where it is, just move it more of less to the sides.

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alphadog 101 Jun 14, 2012 at 14:05

@Stainless

I actually think you are completely wrong about that.

That’s cool. I welcome a different viewpoint.
@Stainless

From all the discussions I am having with the Chinese manufacturers, their focus is getting the cutting edge stuff onto their kit before anyone else does. I can’t give details, NDA’s and that, but we are talking about stuff that is not, and will not, be available on PC and consoles. Certainly for the manufacturers, PC and consoles are minor markets they don’t worry about. They are more worried about what other manufacturers are working on and how to monetise the games content.

First, let’s get one thing clear: I think “PC vs Mobile” is a pointless distiction that muddies many business minds. It’s just different levels of miniturization. A tablet is no more than a smaller-but-pricier all-in-one PC.

Also, I’m not sure that market-unproven Chinese vaporware is the basis for saying PCs will disappear. Lots of ideas have come and flopped.

And, I don’t blame them for being more interested in the mobile market. It’s a gold rush on new land. But, like anything, the pioneers strip the land, eventually it stabilizes, and becomes the new target for analysts to shout “niche!”. :)
@Stainless

A gaming PC bought a year ago is still out of date.

So’s my first-gen Asus Transformer bought less than a year ago. Already, there’s newer models with beefier Tegras in them. At least with a PC I can swap parts…but manufacturers don’t like that. They want me to spend $600 again… Anyways, not sure how your statement implies “nichyness” in PCs, but not in mobile devices.
@Stainless

Certainly of the people I know that have been in the games industry a long time, 95% of them are not working on PC and console games anymore.

Well, talent will go where the money goes. The best market growth rates are on so-called mobile platforms, in large part because of the fact that it’s a new market that hasn’t been penetrated yet. IOW, it’s an easier sell than in the PC market. However, the PC market still dwarfs the mobile market by an order of magnitude or two.

To sum up: I think people are excited about the new push of pesonal computing finally happening in devices small enough to carry easily, but that excitment is naturally leading to lots of biased and erroneous analyses, akin to the birth of the Internet leading to doomsaying about brick-and-mortar shops followed by the dotcom bust.

Tread carefully! ;)

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tyree 102 Jun 14, 2012 at 21:59

to stainless if you can come up with something that works as well as a joystick. Id welcome it, as Im sure many others would. but having a seperate device for input, opens up more options

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Stainless 151 Jun 15, 2012 at 09:34

@tyree

to stainless if you can come up with something that works as well as a joystick. Id welcome it, as Im sure many others would. but having a seperate device for input, opens up more options

I think we have got a little muddled here, I am saying that the devices WILL have separate input devices, just they won’t be PC’s and consoles.

Some devices will have new input systems, and I can actually give an example here, look at the new Samsung smart TV with a simple camera based gesture recognition system.

Alphadog, don’t get caught up in the mobile device <> pc’s angle, think bigger.

I’m not focusing on the mobile phone/ tablet market, all my stuff runs on these devices, but they are not my focus.

Think TV’s, think digital set top boxes, and think of the way that technology is merging.

When mobile phones came out they were underpowered text based lcd screens with less than a meg of very slow flash.

Now they are powerful mini computers with good quality displays, displays far higher in resolution than all of the games consoles I started out working on.

Televisions are no longer analogue CRT based devices, most TV’s run Opengl in one form or another and have decent quality mips processors in them.

I suppose it comes down to where we draw the line. When does a TV stop being a simple television and become a PC with a built in display?

(God please don’t suggest the switch comes when it can run Windoze :) )

Mobile phones are a seperate market at the moment, because of the limitation of them having to be in your pocket, they will stay a problem for cross platform coders. However they don’t have to stay as a separate market. Already you can beam my games from your mobile to play on your TV when you are at home, the mobile then just becomes your gamepad.

I think that the dedicated gaming PC will continue to exist, there will always be a bunch of people with the time money and skill to afford and desire the BEST gaming experience they can get, I just think it will become the minor market and other devices will take over.

Just like in music digital download has taken over from vinyl, there are still people who are willing to pay huge amounts of money for top of the range turntables with gold cables high quality speakers etc etc, but for the manufacturers…. it’s a minor market.

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alphadog 101 Jun 15, 2012 at 12:48

@Stainless

Alphadog, don’t get caught up in the mobile device <> pc’s angle, think bigger. I’m not focusing on the mobile phone/ tablet market, all my stuff runs on these devices, but they are not my focus. Think TV’s, think digital set top boxes, and think of the way that technology is merging…

I’m not sure on what’s implied by the inequality, but I do believe that what is happpening is that “compute power density” has reached a tipping point over the last few years, such that the mobile-vs-PC distinction is a stupid one to make. There’s enough computer power in small enough a space that most of what people want to do can be done without being tied to furniture. Corollary is that it also means you can stuff enough compute power into almost anything now. I think that actually agrees with you, but I’m not sure.

Storage is going to hit another compute point soon. I think it is estimated that we are now under ten years in which a device the size of a phone can hold all the knowledge in the National Library Of Congress. Everyone becomes Wikipedia!
@Stainless

When does a TV stop being a simple television and become a PC with a built in display?

Easy. When someone uses it to Personally Compute, insetad of just capturing whatever AV signal they can get. :) IOW, it’s already generally happened, although it’s not in the majority of people’s hands yet.

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Stainless 151 Jun 15, 2012 at 22:07

:D

Yes you are probably right, though I don’t think anyone’s close to releasing a free development kit for TV based games

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tyree 102 Jun 17, 2012 at 08:48

Im not a fan of gesture based eye toy. no doubt, many will buy tvs running this tech. simply because its new in their eyes. but for games. I dont see the benefit over joysticks.

Im surprised how many people dont realize tv’s are tv’s in name only. Ive replaced tv parts with computer parts. they have been computers for some time