Part of my inspiration for all of this was mostly the fact that a new Wolfenstein is coming out, and I had a spare night to code something random. I chose to crack open some of the file formats to 2009′s release of Wolfenstein to hold me over while I wait for the next id Software game to make it’s debut.
Archive for games
I am honestly embarrassed for the game industry when I see people say and do things that reflect poorly on everyone who’s job is less than 3 degrees of separation from video games. I’m not talking exclusively about the kid who can’t help but spew out an endless stream of foul things he wants to do to my mother. I’m talking about developers, journalists, and even professionals in sales and marketing. Everyone lately seems to be in a piss-y mood and the industry is supposed to be growing up not down.
Nintendo recently had another one of their online press releases through Nintendo Direct, something that I feel was not ground shaking but a nice treat in the morning. I am happy to see a (Japanese) company that is very traditional and often tight-lipped to open their arms and invite everyone from the elite to the common consumer into the fold. The thanks they get is an endless stream of twitter comments from “professionals” who have nothing but damnation for Nintendo. Not good will, or even hopeful thoughts, but purely venomous language. I would love someday to read posts and articles about Nintendo that wasn’t about what Nintendo didn’t show at any given press release. I’m glad to see them skipping out on E3 because I think I’ve had my fill of the angry open letters to Nintendo and whining that WiiU needs more TFlops and Mpixels in order to make a good game…
Early this month we were treated to a press release of a new Wolfenstein game. With only 1 id Software property hitting the store shelves every 10 years, it was a nice surprise to see a new Wolfenstein before 2029. Video game figurehead Warren Spector thought it would be a good idea to piss on that parade because it was about yet more Nazi-robots. I didn’t realize the Nazi-robot market was so crowded, but I’m still happy to see another game make it out period. Risks are getting higher and less quality titles are being made as a result of that and rising expectations from increasingly entitled consumers. We should be thankful the industry is still standing, not bitching about some nuance in the subject matter. Though Mr. Spector later apologized, he is not alone in his high profile outbursts; he is a gamer after all.
Journalists comb the internet, searching for these kinds of “scoops” and post articles about them. They find and report this immature behavior like it was news when it really only serves to incite more negativity against the person and the company they work for. People say angry things all the time and in a digital world the first place they turn to is often a platform like Twitter. Spreading this kind of “news” will only serve in keeping the cycle of hate. I personally feel that too many journalists are too close to the material. They are gamers themselves and, like most gamers, are full of opinions that are creatively retitled as “editorials” or simply short articles in hopes to build a discussion around a topic that is obviously tainted. Like many people I probably would have never known about the Nintendo bashing, the Microsoft employee who was fired for voicing his opinion, or Spector throwing a tantrum if these things weren’t considered news-worthy. But I don’t feel more informed, I just feel embarrassed when a non-gamer asks me about one of these gamer rages and I have to downplay it and explain that it’s just part of the culture to scream and yell at each other and talk about how the world is black and white.
Hate. AAA Hate, Indie Hate, Hate on The Man, Hate on Nintendo, Hate on Sony, Hate on Microsoft, Hate on EA, Hate on Activision, Hate on everything. Hate on the game you just put 100 hours into because it’s in your blood as a gamer to spread some kind of hate, even if that hate is morbidly out of love. The industry is in an abusive relationship and no one seems to care. This industry is swimming in foul intent, so much so that it’s a wonder anyone is still standing. Who is left to defend video games when everyone seems to have a chip on their shoulder about something related to video games?
When it cost $50M to make a game, we need to at least respect the risk that is being taken here. We need to work harder at building up the industry, not tearing it down. There is an infinite density between 0 and 1, and games don’t have to be bad or good alone. Games can have some good in them and we should celebrate those good things instead of finding reasons to hate it. Trust me, there are plenty of forums out there all primed and ready to hate on your products that haven’t even been created yet and they don’t need your help to start that fire.
High cost or not, games are just too freaking hard to make these days. It takes teams of varied discipline and an unreasonable level of enthusiasm to power through to the end of a project. These projects often need to span 3-8 different platforms just to turn a profit; each platform requiring special attention. There is so little room for failure that it is paralyzing, it is suffocating when you put the last 18-24 months of your life out there and people do nothing but defecate on it because it’s what we do online. Expectations are so high, risks are so high, and emotions are so high with video games that we forget how bad it can really be without them.
So let’s put down the pitch forks and try to think positive for a change. When Microsoft releases the name of their new console let’s all try not to snicker and post articles about how hard it is to say or how consumers won’t identify with it. When Sony finally shows us their form factor lets try not to complain that it looks too similar to PS3 or it’s too large or too square or too round. When Nintendo offers new first party titles like Donkey Kong and Luigi games lets celebrate that instead of complaining that we haven’t seen a WiiU version of Kid Icarus or new Metroid. Let’s celebrate Pikman 3 instead of complaining that it’s not enough. In the end, you don’t need all the hate. All you need is love.
Who Does #2 Work For?
Whenever I read an article about an unreleased game I am strangely reminded of the extremely juvenile, but somehow still funny, scene in Austin Powers. A man in the toilet next to Austin can’t see the action that is taking place, but given the context of his surroundings he can only assume what is happening on the other side of the wall that separates them. In many ways a video game preview is very much the same for both the journalist and the reader who is experiencing these impressions through someone else. Sometimes the fan-boy in us reads more into what is actually on the paper and other times we can’t help but be excited for a product when the writer is doing nothing to offering words of praise. Given the context of a game that is still far from completion, and a lot can change in the 11th hour, it is rare if at all that we see a negative preview.
When The Demo Is Better Than The Game
I couldn’t possibly write this entry without mention of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Sega and Gearbox can’t seem to shake the nerd rage that is surrounding this game. With labels like, “Worst Game of this Generation”, terrible review scores, and abysmal sales, it looked like Sega and Gearbox took a pretty hard beat down in the back alleys of the internet; and there is still more to come.
As someone who did not personally experience the original demonstrations I can’t say that I feel perhaps has betrayed as some journalists out there. But what about the fans? Do they have a right to be angry, having never experienced the behind-the-scenes demos for themselves? A strong part of me thinks that this would have been a distant blip on the motion tracker if this game was titled, “Xeno Rising Revengance” or “Marines in Space” or some generic property that had nothing to do with the Aliens franchise. I think that in this case, everyone involved from media to the fans reading the articles wanted to believe that it would be great. We wanted to believe that the game on the other side of this demo would be as good or better with the sum of its parts. But bad games happen, and short form demonstrations don’t always reflect the greater vision. You only have to see trailers like, Must Love Jaws to know that short form slices of the full content can be molded to just about any vision.
Was what Gearbox did wrong? It’s hard to know what the conditions were since things have been pretty quite. The recent trial might bring new things to light but in the end this was likely a case of showing early work-in-progress designs that eventually did not fit on the current generation of consoles. Things get moved around, story scripts rewritten, environments redesigned to better fit the new direction, and features get cut because of time or system resources. Things change all the time. id Software had a similar snafu with Rage; first thought to be a racing game, then a Borderlands, then a Fallout, then back to a racing game with guns. Sometimes early and incomplete visions can lead to an unhealthy relationship with your buyers.
Meet the Press
There is a strange relationship between journalists and developers. Games are shown early because it has become a box that needs to be checked. If the buyers are made aware of the game sooner then they can start to build the kind of anticipation that will ignore all logic. They can build in their minds the perfect game, and feed that vision with short excerpts from journalists and teaser trailers straight from the developer. Once the chum is in the water (shark reference #2) there is little that can be done to slow down the frenzy.
Previews exist because they work to sell games, but technically previews are only a demonstration of what a creator hopes to do. In no way is that build of the game step X of an assembly line. I feel like (most) members of the press understand the distinction but I don’t know if many readers outside of the games industry know this. A game is not done until it is shrink wrapped and on its way to store shelves (digital or physical), and a preview is nothing more than a tool to build excitement. Everyone puts their best foot forward in demos because they are hoping to trend on Twitter and be promoted to the front page of every website.
The only thing I can ask is that developers do their best to show what they hope for the game, that journalist push aside their own little fan boy and keep their previews professional, and readers understand that previews are nothing more than a “What if” that may or may not reflect the product that ships.
As you might have read recently, I am finally biting the bullet and going all in for a new PC. I am pretty excited about it but there is one question left to answer, a question that I did not think would take me this long to decide. Which operating system should I install?
As a Consumer
Having used Windows 7 Ultimate for many years now I briefly thought about Windows 8 Pro. I typed in a number of search terms with the words “Windows 8″ into Google and out came a flurry of expletives and outcries about the end of the PC platform and Microsoft being at the front line of the whole death march. I read countless articles that all debated over Microsoft’s silence, their refusal to release sales numbers or the fact that they’ve been using the same “60 million units sold” number since the first month of Windows 8′s launch.
Some journalists out there seem to be evangelizing Windows 8, claiming that it is the operating system that we’ve been asking for. To be honest, I’m not sure who they were polling when they came up with that answer. I just wanted Windows XP with better Plug-n-Play support and Windows 7 gave that to me. Admittedly there are a few features under the hood that seem to have improved overall performance, like better multi-core task scheduling, but the overall message I am getting is that it runs like Windows 7 but optimized for touch screen displays… …on a system that is overwhelmingly mouse and keyboard driven. Metro UI has almost unanimously been the target of every negative word said about Windows 8.
As a consumer I know that I could disable most of Metro UI, and I am aware that there are 3rd-party overrides that will give me the Windows 7 look and feel back but it feels wrong. Why would I support Microsoft by purchasing a product only to revert the one thing that defines the product? It would feel like buying Aliens: Colonial Marines then hacking it to run Doom III because that’s the experience I was expecting. Not only that, but changing the interface would also mean that I am not preparing myself for what appears to be Microsoft’s new visual language for the next decade. Other consumers will slowly migrate to Windows 8 no matter what. When Mom goes out and buys little Billy his first PC from any major retailer it will have Windows 8. Adoption is inevitable and the developer in me feels like I need to be ready for that.
As a Developer
Like many developers, I have the unique problem that I need my PC to function as more than a shiny browser of social apps, web pages, and Word for my book reports. I need my PC to be a place to play games as much as I need it to create them. I need to be productive, use power tools, and multitask on demand. To be honest Windows 8; or more specifically what Windows 8 stands for, kind of scares me. I’m not sure what Microsoft is thinking right now because it seems increasingly likely that an OS like Ubuntu might become the new place for developers to hang out, creating a strange disconnect from the place we go to be productive and place we go to be entertained.
I want to be ahead of what the audience of PC users are putting on their machines. As a developer it’s important that I try to keep my finger on the pulse of where games might reside in the future but I am having trouble supporting Microsoft in this new direction towards ubiquity amongst platforms that have little to do with each other in the types of experiences they offer.
I may continue to use Windows 7 out of stubbornness but I’ve already seen some adoption numbers that make me a little sad for the future game development on the Windows platform. At the time of this writing, it seems that nearly 10% of Steam users have already made the switch to Windows 8 which is massive compared to an anemic 2% of Mac OS or 0.5% of Ubuntu users. The numbers are still strong for Window 7 but there is a clear pattern showing an even shift in the decline of Windows 7 users and the rise of Windows 8 users.
I am torn. From what I have read, and my displeasing experience with Windows Phone and Xbox Metro, I don’t like Windows 8 or what it means for Windows 9+ but if this is where gamers will be looking for their content do I really have a choice?! I’m actually feeling more betrayed than I thought I would. I have used Windows since 3.0 and I was a DOS user before that. For as long as I have known about the keyboard and mouse I was using Microsoft products to game on the PC platform. For the first time I have been giving some serious thought about venturing into other platforms. It is entirely possible that the grass is not any greener there, but I wonder how many PC enthusiasts are feeling the same burn I am.
Have you ever seen someone you admired, an athlete, a mastermind CEO, a brilliant actor, a talented singer, and see them obviously phoning in a song and dance that was clearly just for the money? They didn’t need the money, but their agent set it up and told them it would be good because it’s what all the kids are doing these days… Yeah I kind of get that weird and sad feeling when I think of the Metro UI. I stand next to Windows 8 and it has the same kind of potent corporate stench that I am sensing from my XBox every time I boot it up to a home screen full of advertisements. Something just doesn’t sit right with me about the direction everything is heading. There isn’t much I can do though. People will continue to adopt the new interface, and use 3rd-party software to negate Metro UI. Meanwhile Microsoft will think that Metro is a success because Windows continues to sell. I find it all very ironic.
As I sat there – doing what I often did on my aging laptop – feverishly typing away at blogs, coding, and even doing a little video editing, I came to a breaking point. Browsing the web was fine, emails were fine, and certainly blogging was fine. The issues really started for me when I felt my productivity drifting while I coded and my video editing sessions would sometimes take hours to encode only a few minutes of video. My specs were not terrible, but it was clear that my little laptop that could simply couldn’t anymore.
I look back at when I bought my laptop, a splurge for me at roughly $1,800 for what turned out to be a system with only moderate specs:
- 17″ Display
- Intel Core 2 – Quad Core 2GHz (no native HT)
- Geforce GT 130M (~256MB?)
- 4GB System RAM
- Windows 7 64bit
- 500GB Hard drive
Every item on that list was an upgrade, a chain of dependencies that all started with the simple need for more than 2GB of RAM. This lead me to a more resource intensive operating system which lead to more storage space requirements and higher core counts. Even with that it seems that time has not been kind to it. My once massive 500GB hard drive seems to constantly be in the red and I rarely know where the memory goes anymore. Shamefully I find myself having to uninstall old Steam games and cycle my library of games I want to play on any given month. This laptop has done well for me, living beyond it’s years but I knew it was time to upgrade.
This time around, my plan is to keep the laptop around for travel but build a better equipped gaming/development PC. After some price shopping I realized that I would have to bite the bullet and build my own if I wanted to keep the price down. Though my new rig came in at a painful $1,500 it was still a bargain compared to the price I paid for my old laptop and it’s easily magnitudes more powerful in every way. Shopping for pre-built custom PC’s with these specs was coming in at well over $2,000 so I feel like I did okay.
- two 22″ 1080p monitors
- Intel i7 3770k with liquid cooling
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
- 2TB SATA-3 HDD
- 16GB DDR3 1600 RAM (hopefully enough for video editing)
- Radeon HD 7870 with 2GB GDDR5
- 1000w PSU (for future sake of multiple HDD and Crossfire)
Knowing that the next generation of consoles, and by extension the next leap in PC power, is coming I was hoping to build something comparable but at a reasonable price (for PC, no $3k rigs here). Sacrifices had to be made, but hopefully I did purchase parts that could be overclocked, doubled (Crossfire/SLI), or optimized (solid state boot drive) if I ever felt so brave to try. There are plenty of little things not listed here that added to the cost like a PC case, media reader, KVM switch, and other doodads but I felt like I did okay for someone who hasn’t shopped for his own PC parts since the late 90′s’. The parts are still en-route but it will be an interesting experience to sit in front of this stack of loose boxes and hopefully end up with something that can (maybe) play Crysis games in the double digits.
The jury is still out on whether I should suffer through Windows 8 or hold the fort with Windows 7. I’m leaning to Windows 7 until I have a solid reason to upgrade…
This post is a round-about response to a recent article I read here on Gamasutra. And TMI about my young obsession for tuna.
Developers! Come, have a seat around the fireplace. I have a story to tell…
When I was very young I loved tuna sandwiches, I couldn’t get enough of them. I ate tuna sandwiches probably 3-5 times a week, sometimes for lunch and sometimes for dinner. I might even have sneaked in a midnight snack. That strange and almost non-Newtonian substance made from a concoction of mayonnaise and canned meats was something of a treat just about any day of the week… Until one fateful day when I got really sick.
The reality of the fact is that tuna had nothing to do with my illness. I happen to catch a terrible stomach virus that many people in my circle seemed to have caught around the same time. The only difference was that they were not enjoying the sweat meat, the chicken of the sea. Tuna is not something many people want to see going down let-alone coming back up.
To this day, I stare at a tuna sandwich, and I smell that subtly sharp scent that can only come from something packaged and sealed in a metal can and I am instant teleported to a time that I have yet to forget in my life. Still, I don’t blame the tuna for my illness that day. I don’t blame those who make a living on crafting those fine meals. I don’t blame others for still wanting to chew that slushy substance out of shear enjoyment. I don’t blame anyone. I simply accept that tuna sandwiches and I may never have a life together again. Or will we?
In small doses have I been able to enjoy tuna in the form of sushi, but never with spicy mayonnaise, and always fresh fish. Though it is not smother in creamy mayonnaise and squeezed between two fluffy slices of fresh bread, I have found other ways to still enjoy my once favorite meat. I know that I’ve only changed the dressings and the meat is still the same but it’s hard to stay away from the things that just seem to fit in your life, whether you want it that way or not. The tuna is not likely to change and it is there waiting to be eaten by millions of tuna lovers, just pick your dressings carefully.
It seems like there are quite a few people who feel like Nintendo has sent the Wii U out to die. Many popular TV and internet personalities have pointed to Microsoft and Sony to bring on the blood bath, and many journalists have quite literally stopped talking about the Wii U as if it is to be treated like like a “last gen” console simply because of its processing power. I stopped counting how many times I’ve heard terms like “dead in the water” and “never count Nintendo out” in the same sentence. It’s a strange opinion that journalist seem to have where they don’t want to bash it because they know that all the Wii U needs is a proper Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, or Metroid title and the units will start to sell out again.
I can’t completely defend Nintendo, but dead in the water seems like strong words when everyone knows that Nintendo games are what sell Nintendo hardware. They held onto the Wii’s success for far too long. They did not scale their internal development teams to handle the load of developing a new OS for the Wii U and keep the game’s coming. They let the Wii fade into obscurity for a full 2 years of bad hand-me-down titles before announcing the Wii U. And in those 2 years they failed to even start development on something that would stir up the fanboys. Everything about the Wii U and its launch felt rushed and misguided, despite the fact that a compatible Wii HD should have been released 4 years ago to hold over the eager fans who just wanted to watch their Netflix in HD or play an HD version of some of their favorite Wii games. Twilight Princess with less jaggies is probably what most of the Wii fans would have needed to excite them again. It would have also bought Nintendo some time, allowing them build a breakout library of games for the launch of Wii U. Third-party ports are fair but they don’t compare to a core franchise title.
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but what about the future? Is “dead in the water” still an accurate prediction for Nintendo? Not likely. Games like Wind Waker HD might be much more than higher resolution textures. This might be an opportunity for Nintendo to further solidify their official timeline and help glue together the events of other Zelda games in the series. This wouldn’t be the first time that Zelda’s lineage was tweaked to make sense and it would do a lot to please the timeline theorists who follow Zelda closely. Using an existing game is allowing Nintendo to develop the core technologies that will likely be used in future games. The story is written, the cut-scenes are scrubbed in, the gameplay is defined, and the world is realized. Creating a more polished re-imagining is a good start, but I hope it doesn’t become their mantra to go back to the well every year.
So where can Nintendo go from here? I personally see the Wii U as this generations GameCube, not this generations Dreamcast. Nintendo may not win Gen4 like they did in this last race; and they’ll likely be last in this race, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a moderate success. In order to do this however, it is going to take more than Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and Metroid. This generation is going to require a bit of that quirk that we saw with the N64. The Wii U might live or die by their core franchises, but I think a solid collection of non-Nintendo critical darlings is going to help the Wii U be remembered as more than a late mistake. I don’t know if indie developers are the solution or just a few crazy mainstream developers who want to make weird nontraditional games that make sense for the platform. I see great potential in the Wii U controller and I hope that Nintendo finds a way to work out the bugs, and developers find a way to do something that makes Microsoft and Sony wish they had shipped with a dedicated second screen.
Nintendo made some mistakes this generation but the real race hasn’t even started. This holiday season will say a lot about which sides win the bet. If Nintendo is ready they will have more than Pikman to show for at the end of 2013, and it doesn’t have to be a Mario or Metroid title. Nintendo has a wealth of franchises to pick from, and strong relationships with publishers like Square and Atlus, but frankly even a Pokemon Snap would probably be met with joyful tears. The Wind Waker HD engine looks like a good starting point Nintendo; make it happen.
Time travel is dumb.
The most important thing to remember about time is that it is constant and always moving forward. Realistically, there is a future where you can slow time for yourself through various preservation techniques (cryostasis) but you are only postponing your own inevitable death. The moment you allow a character in your story to manipulate the time of people around them you start to wander into the myth that there are infinite parallel dimensions, threads in time that splinter. This would imply that every change in state of our world, every decision that each living creature makes, every grain of sand that moves from a gentle gust of wind has just splintered another reality. It’s easy enough to put your mind into an infinite loop, trying to find the point at which an instant in time stops splintering so that it can move forward.
If the hero of your story is able to move backward in time, you are now entering the dangers of not simply side-stepping into another dimension but actually meeting a version of yourself from one of those infinite splinters. All of that of course leading to the butterfly effect, an idea that is made mostly irrelevant by the fact that you can never return to your own splintered reality without traveling to the exact moment in time you left. And if you happened to get to that point, it would be as if nothing had changed. The butterfly effect assumes that you and only you have a profound effect on the world, meaning that only 2 realities exist; the one you came from and the one you are in. This is only the tip of the discussion about time travel and why it makes for a good topic of debate but often leads to a confusing and meaningless ending to any story that employs it.
Time travel is dumb. Don’t get me wrong; it makes for great discussions amongst the hardcore science fiction fans who like to cite various incarnations of the time traveling guidelines, but that is also exactly why it is dumb. Time travel is the Deus ex machina of many science fiction stories. The moment that an event can’t be explained it will be through a seemingly impossible connection of jumps through space and time and a dash of suspension of disbelief. If you allow yourself to believe that the one constant in life, time, is now a variable then anything is possible. This is one time when infinite possibility is not a good thing.
Thanks H.G. Wells for popularizing a fantastic topic of debate that is ironically one of the worst plot devices imaginable.
It’s kind of a strange time right now. The games industry isn’t anything like it used to be when I first discovered it, or the fact that I could make money doing it. Things certainly felt a little more homogenous at the time. The audience was smaller, less demanding, but equally as excited to play new things. Today it feels like nothing can be trusted, like you don’t know who to believe anymore.
I read many reviews about how amazing a game like Journey is for example, followed by an article explaining that it bankrupt the company and frankly didn’t sell very well. To be more precise, the sales did not meet the praise of the game. This was in the wake of winning numerous and prestigious awards from critics. I then see a game like Cart Life, which practically swept the IGF this year and is sitting with only a 79 Metacritic score. This sits on the average of what any passerby might consider a mediocre game or even below average for those who only browse the 90+ catalog. A game like Fez, which seemed to exist in the games media for years as a beloved indie title, was featured in a film, and garnered scrolls of awards has only sold 200,000 units in it’s lifetime. Meanwhile, franchised iterations receive scornful reviews and heed warnings of desperation in the avenue of innovation by critics. These games go on to sell tens of millions of units.
It is exciting to see the game space become a much more heterogeneous environment, encompassing digital experiences that some would even question to call a game. It makes for an interesting time but also a time where investors will continue to migrate away from innovation, a time where AAA will take a more “wait and see” approach to poaching ideas from indie developers. It may become a future where indie developers are forced to gamble on their ideas with expensive and somewhat questionable software patents just to remain relevant in the future.
As we look into the remaining months of 2013 and the inevitable launch of a new generation for 2014, the question remains; what does the industry really want? The obvious answer might be, “everything”, but I don’t know if that is fiscally responsible. There are indies who create for free because they have a message they want to tell the world. There are also indies who create because it is how they would hope to make a living in the world. I’m not yet convinced that both of them can co-exist in a space that is becoming increasingly aggressive for market share.
The future of games may ultimately have to become the place of games that sell well, regardless of critical reception. The only possible outcome of that future is to continue with iterative franchises. For the remaining developers, the indies, it is likely that those willing to do it purely for the love, and not the need to eat, will be the only ones left standing on the other side.
I wish there were simple answers to why sometimes good games fail, great games survive, and poor games thrive. Reviews only seem to matter for a small collective, and many times these same reviews are only used by gamers as a validation for a purchase that they’ve already convinced themselves is going to happen. Much like the inexplicable reasons behind a kick to the groin going viral on YouTube, it seems like absolute randomness why some games connect with gamers. I suppose the only thing we can do is continue to write stories, design mechanics, and craft worlds that appeal to us and hope that enough people agree; and are willing to pay, that we can do it all over again.
The rumor mill has been churning and burning as people are scraping for any bit of news about the next generation. Sony has showed their hand, part of it, and the Nintendo has placed their bets with the Wii U. Microsoft is lagging behind but they are no doubt planning a huge spectacle with rotating drums and lasers lights. It will be a big splash when all three consoles have put their cards on the table (okay enough with the poker references…). But with the rumblings of what Microsoft plans to do it makes me kind of happy to see Sony still has a hand in this fight.
From everything I’ve gathered it really feels like Nintendo will hold their ground, supporting the teen and under crowd, Sony is aiming for the adult gaming audience, and Microsoft is looking to bring Windows 8 into the living room. It made me wonder where we would be if Sony wasn’t here to fill that gap between the toy company and the Operating System company. I am not convinced that dedicated consoles would survive another generation without that gap filler.
Sadly Nintendo has not made good on their promise of software. To their credit, they kind of got screwed with some exclusives being pulled and other games getting delayed or canceled but either way, I don’t envy them right now. Microsoft will most certainly want to become a DVR device with IPTV services, tiers of subscription fees, and ad-space on their front page. It could possibly play games as well, if you can find the Games metro panel under the Apps panel behind of the Gold Membership pay gate; provided you are connected to the web. They are destined to be as beloved as our existing cable companies and internet providers.
So far, Sony seems to be taking a much more open approach than previous iterations of their console. They are actively promoting to indie developers and their reveal seemed to be very focused on the games. E3 will most likely be focused on the more family friendly media features of the PS4 but the message is out that Sony wants games on their platform. My only hope is that they don’t follow in the set-top-box experience that Microsoft is pushing for.
If this is the last generation for dedicated consoles, as some might predict, then I’m confident that Sony could enter the market of Mobile-to-TV devices in the future. If mobile phones in 5-10 years are as powerful as a PS4 and the momentum completely shifts to a world where we are docking our phones into our TV’s and playing with Bluetooth controllers, I am hopeful that Sony or a company like Sony is still there to support games for a mature audience.
Every console this generation is starting to feel a little different. This splintering of philosophies is going to be an interesting one to see as it plays out. I am hopeful that in the end there will still be a console for gamers to go to. If that isn’t the case then I need to buy a REALLY long HDMI cord for my PC to reach my TV…