September 26, 2014

The argument in favor of the New Gen Consoles

Some of you may remember a harsh rant on the new consoles not long ago with a somewhat substantial list of complaints. Now I sat down as a developer and thought about it from a budget point as well as R&D and many other facets and considered what I would've really done myself if I'd had the power to jump in the console war.

My big complaints were about all the new tech coming out. This is also the biggest counter, is simply that it's new which means low adoption and more overhead cost for development for what would ultimately be an inferior product given first gen tech. In comparison all the hardware being used now is veteran with high reliability and manufacturing process which also allows for top efficiency and low cost development from both hardware and software perspectives. With added overhead from the hardware to do more we can focus on better products. To break it down I'll enumerate with some detail what I really mean.

4k UHD for example is one of my biggest current fetishes for hardware and as eager as I am for hardware to support it not everyone is ready for that jump and what is available is a little bit pricey for the average consumer. With few displays being able to handle this much less handle it cleanly (for example man displays use two chips to process data for different sides of the screen effectively making it two different displays in a kind of extended mode) this means that even if the other hardware was there viewing would be an issue which could also come with any number of future headaches. The hardware itself would add such an exorbitant cost that it would make the 800$ ps3 launch look cheap if they'd went that route.

When I complained of DDR4 I also hadn't thought about production cost and first gen inefficiencies for an otherwise minimal gain in performance and capacity. If combined with the hardware necessary for 4k content the cooling alone would mandate a substantially larger console size. All these elements adding to development and production cost and more which eventually lands on the consumer to pay for which just wasn't going to happen twice in sony's case and xbox certainly wasn't going to take that chance after seeing what it did for sales between ps3 and x360.

In regard to the inclusion of SSD's I hold firm that they should've included at least some small amount of high speed storage solution even in a minimal capacity to accentuate the ram. Imagine even a small 8gb volatile unit designed for temporary storage to offload from the main drive for use of a given game while it runs. The load time on the next COD map would save us so much time wasted on a loading screen. The price has come down enough at this point that they could've included something minimal without much added cost and almost no development cost. Though I am happy that they do officially support ssd's with an easy swap process, it still would've been nice to be included from the beginning. Hell even a hybrid drive would be sufficient.

The same holds true for display port which wouldn't be hard to include next to an hdmi. Of course sony wants to be stubborn though given that hdmi is proprietary for them but even the 360 started including them towards the last revisions of the slim and it's not like display port has the royalty cost hdmi does, so it really wouldn't hurt to add it. I hope they include display ports on the next revisions.

Then again after all this I've written enough in favor of the new gen already this is really just a proper explanation of the hardware decisions they made. My previous posts handle everything else. So it's time for a small follow up now that the consoles are out.

I'm proud to say even though we're only barely into the new gen sony is making good on its promises and many psn titles are backwards/forwards compatible though xbox finally decided to turn off the cameras which for those unaware were still on even when the system was off taking pictures when they weren't supposed to. In the case of one of my friends he got banned for having sex on his couch with his GF when the console was supposedly off it was taking pics and uploading them to M$ and when he found this out he almost sued them until they somehow convinced him for a free lifetime of xbl gold and like 300$ in ms points.

I finally got my hands on a vita. Sadly sony is treating it like a bastard child even though I find it surprisingly awesome and basically take it everywhere I go. the Near app has actually helped me make a few new friends as well and there are a lot more games than I thought available. I actually have almost all the vita games available because they came free with ps+ which I've had for a bit now and I gotta say there's a lot of good games in there. I'm also pleasantly surprised to find trophies for the same games don't stack on the vita which means I get two platinums for mgs3 on psn.

Of course after all this I'd still take a pc over the consoles any day. Though that's for another post.

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