Silly "Wishing and Hoping" Opinions on the Console War
no. not my opinions — james brightman’s. there are only two rational reasons i can think of for him to write such a bizarre piece.
- he’s an attention whore.
- he’s been paid by sony.
i’m voting number one, tho, i wouldn’t be surprised about the other.
now, on to why his opinions are stupid.
we’ll start with the most sensical one:
Microsoft (somewhat) Squandered its Lead
this, i can actually somewhat agree with. especially with the “somewhat” qualifier. i understand the circumstances of why they purposfully squandered it, but that doesn’t negate the fact. here’s the scenario with their squandered lead.
you do what you can with your launch titles. how early you can get the dev kit in people’s hands directly affects the launch title number and quality. microsoft did merely okay with that. not terrible. not fantastic. enough to get by.
so, you’ve got a year before the competition’s systems come out. what do you do with that year?
- get your console manufacturing in order. check.
- get your marketing team out and hit the streets. check.
- get quality titles out for the system. somewhat check.
they typical cycle for a console launch is, necessarily, blow your wad for launch, struggle with the next 12 months of titles, then, in comes the love. it’s happened with every single console in the history of the world.
it takes a year before any killer titles for a system come out. the original halo was the exception, but, microsoft bought a quality title that had been in development for years and lucked out. they tried to rekindle the same success with rare — not to much success. don’t get me wrong. kameo is a great game, but, it’s not an evangelist game.
they needed to break that “great game dearth.” they kinda-sorta have supplimented it with oblivion (non-exclusive) and dead rising (great, but not “must have”). so, because they couldn’t truly, successfully get done what they needed to get done, i’d call it “somewhat squandered.” but, only because they didn’t do anything wrong, they just couldn’t get done what they needed to — and, what they needed to do was something noone else had really done before.
they did “alright” but not necessarily bad enough to call it “squandered.”
Japan is Ripe for the Taking
a few things here. the first one is my opinion on who cares about winning japan? spend your time in china and south korea instead.
second? japan is more about the games. and, when james is talking about games like “Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy XIII, Virtua Fighter 5, Devil May Cry 4, Gran Turismo, etc.” let’s see what he’s really saying.
- metal gear solid 4. kojima said it would run on a 360. tho, he’s also said it will be a ps3 exclusive. that being said, the studio has several new ips coming out for the 360. the developer supports the 360 with their other games, just not mgs4. verdict? likely only ps3 exclusive — but not certainly. it’s not like kojima is david jaffe or anything. (whether or not david jaffe is the modern day john romero is a whole ‘nuther question tho.)
- virtua fighter 5. originally announced as coming to next-gen platforms, now exclusive to the ps3. that sounds like a purchased limited exclusivity to me. especially considering this line: “The game will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 when it is released in North America in Spring 2007.” not exclusive forever, just when it’s released.
- final fantasy xiii. heh. as if there are no other final fantasy games on the xbox 360. again, originally announced cross-platform. now exclusive. verdict? limited-time exclusivity.
- devil may cry 4. already finding reports telling of it coming to xbox 360. and why not? capcom is already finding success with resident evil and a multiplatform strategy. it’s about money folks — not brand loyalty.
- gran turismo. first party. certainly exclusive.
how do all his “critical” games pan out? a whole lotta “maybe” punctuated by a single absolute. not exactly the sort of thing i’d pin my “exclusivity” hopes on. relying on third party developers to be exclusive these days is like successfully pissing in the wind — more based on luck than hope or skill.
oh, and the 360 doesn’t need to really fear xenophobia in japan. the ipod has seen to that. and, the 360 certainly won’t beat out the wii. the ps3, tho? that will be a lot closer.
Blu-ray Will Matter
this one right here is funny — blu-ray matters for size. everyone already knows my opinion on that. consoles have finally caught up to pc based development abilities. pc games have stagnated in “size” for the last few years. pc games are high def. pc games are still delivered on a single dvd.
because it costs money to generate that extra fidelity. everything in a game can be automated — meaning an increase in quality with a decrease in cost — physics engines, game engines, ai, authoring software, mapping techniques.
what’s the one thing that can’t be automated? art.
what’s the most expensive part of developing a game? art.
what’s the most file-size heavy part of a game? art.
what can you do to help alleviate this art dependence? abstract it out to it’s furthest layer with something like procedural synthesis. that can basically gets you the details for free and simplifies the artists process.
what’s a side benefit of procedural synthesis? dramatic — and i mean dramatic — decreases in file size.
why do we need blu-ray again? oh yeah, so sony can push their movie format. judging by their recent earnings statement, i’d push some new revenue streams as hard as i could too.
Sony’s movie business also fared poorly, seeing its operating loss grow to 15.3 billion yen ($129 million) partly on flops such as “Zoom” and “All the King’s Men,” it said. Faring better were “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Monster House” and “Click.
an even bigger operating loss for the movie business? so. gaming business is down. their movie business is down. their hardware business is down.
wow. that sucks.
yeah. the only people pushing blu-ray are the people who are invested in blu-ray.
huh? where the blu-ray argument was funny, this one is just dumb. all i really need to say is: because it did so well last time.
no. they need a unified service. unified service means paying for one. while i’m sure they hope to float their marketplace with downloadable content sales, what are they doing about the game servers? are they going to let outside companies access their “secure” operating system? and everyone is hoping that this always on infrastructure is going to stay sane? they are crazy.
the more money you put into a system, the more features and security you can get out of it. it’s stupid to not acknowledge this from any angle.
a subscription-based unified service:
- pays for itself.
- is inherently more secure.
- is capable of more features.
dumb. dumb. dumb.
they’ve never had an always on network before. they are about to learn in a big, big way what that means.
there is no way in hell that sony is going to “win” this next-gen console war.
UPDATE: i should actually qualify that last statement. there’s no way in hell — not because james’s laundry list of hogwash is grossly inaccurate — but for the simple reason their console costs $600.
end of story.