Developers say new generation of consoles not yet needed

Isn't it about time Sony and Microsoft announced the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox next-thing-they're-going-to-name-it? Industry Gamers polled a few developers, and the general consensus seems to be "no."

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Isn't it about time Sony and Microsoft announced the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox next-thing-they're-going-to-name-it? Some have been pleading, especially with the arrival of games like Battlefield 3, which look significantly better on PC than on console. Industry Gamers polled a few developers, and the general consensus seems to be "no."

"There is way more to be done on this generation," Square Enix Group's Worldwide Technology Director Julien Merceron said. The longer a generation goes, the more "creative people and artists" can "really understand how content should/could be designed, helping designing way more polished experiences."

Obviously, Square Enix is very committed to the current generation of consoles, with a new Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, and Hitman game coming next year. That hasn't stopped the company from dabbling in a theoretical next-generation, though. It has been demoing the possibilities of its new Luminous Engine.

Sledgehammer Games' Michael Condrey believes that the current generation of systems has been pushed to its limit. "For good teams, the raw horsepower has been pushed towards its peak performance, and great teams are looking for hundredths, and more often thousandths of a second of CPU and GPU optimizations to push the consoles harder."

Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi agrees. "I think by looking at the current lineup in games, most developers have figured out how to maximize those processors somewhere around last year," referring to the multiple cores that the current slate of consoles have. While there can be more squeezed out of the current generation of consoles, "any further dramatic evolution in current consoles that could be plainly understood by the general gamer would be fairly difficult to achieve."

In spite of seemingly reaching a tech ceiling on this generation, Hayashi isn't too excited about jumping to the next generation. "I don’t think there is a great need anytime soon for the next generation of consoles to advance the industry," he succinctly said.

So long as the current generation continues--and evidenced by the 2013 announcement of the new Rainbow Six game, it's likely to--the PS3 will seemingly benefit the most. "Personally, I’d say that – on PS3 – I believe there are some major improvements that can still be done, taking advantage of parallelisation and using more of the CPU for graphics tasks," Merceron said.

Hayashi also agrees. "PS3 came out a year later than the X360. Because of its later arrival, I would say that the PS3 has a slight advantage in performance," but as Merceron notes, "it is very possible consumers might get the feeling PS3 is slightly ahead of Xbox 360 in terms of graphics, but it will only happen if developers dedicate time to really push things on PS3!"

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 4, 2011 8:45 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Developers say new generation of consoles not yet needed.

    Isn't it about time Sony and Microsoft announced the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox next-thing-they're-going-to-name-it? Industry Gamers polled a few developers, and the general consensus seems to be "no."

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      November 4, 2011 8:53 AM

      nextgen means you install games to hard drive, multiple discs, day one patches, consoles cost $600-$800. Just like PC!!!

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        November 4, 2011 9:02 AM

        Blu-ray drives are cheaper to manufacture now, so that will probably be the baseline standard for next-gen. What consoles really need for next-gen is more RAM and newer video chipsets. PC gamers are getting really sick of multiplatform titles being bottlenecked to 512 MB total RAM and 2006-era video chipsets.

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          November 4, 2011 9:06 AM

          Physical media needs to diaf. There is no reason for it. Steam is what consoles should have

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            November 4, 2011 9:29 AM

            We're nowhere near ready for that. I love digital distribution but internet service is very spotty in some areas and downloading a 10+GB game is not going to be even possible in a lot of places, never mind BW caps, filtering, etc.

            I think a Valve-like approach where every game can be bought digitally and you can also buy a disc that saves you from having to download would be great. Although even then, Valve wants you online to validate your account, do initial DRM checks and download updates. I think consoles will need to continue to operate in a completely disconnected mode in some cases, which Steam can't do.

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              November 4, 2011 10:22 AM

              They need to learn from blizzard. Only a gig download of Diablo 3 is needed to start playing. It streams in the other 13 gigs as you play.

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                November 4, 2011 8:36 PM

                Wouldn't it be even better to follow the GW system? I think the main client is like 8MB? And it downloads each area as you enter it, and never downloads it again once you have it once (it'd be neat if in the background it started to predownload the next areas).

                And it came out in 2005!

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            November 4, 2011 10:02 AM

            There is a reason for it -- limited bandwidth and bandwidth caps

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            November 4, 2011 11:03 AM

            Considering the fact that ISPs are pushing bandwidth caps, I'm gonna go with "yeah, no".

            I wish it were so, I just don't think it actually likely--not in the short-term, anyways.

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            November 4, 2011 1:52 PM

            Bandwith caps need to diaf first.

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            November 4, 2011 2:19 PM

            This might be cool for you americans, but in many places of Europe we get around 4 Mb. of solid bandwidth average.

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      November 4, 2011 9:05 AM

      why would you want to learn new shit when you can keep making stuff on old shit and people still buy it

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        November 4, 2011 9:15 AM

        Exactly what I was going to say. Of course they devs are going to say that. Less work on the current hardware than new one and the most popular games sell millions..

        I'm sure the majority of people would be excited to see a new generation.

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          November 4, 2011 10:06 AM

          I wouldn't say these developer opinions are a majority :/

      • rms
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        November 4, 2011 9:22 AM

        That's the takeaway

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        November 4, 2011 9:23 AM

        Seriously, spend tens of millions developing "MW4 engine" or make bank off releasing MW4 with same engine as MW3....

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        November 4, 2011 10:12 AM

        Well yeah .Its going to cost a lot more money to make next-gen games as well. The size of games are already huge and its going to climb. Obviously as a gamer I want to see next-gen games but the costs are going to skyrocket.

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        November 4, 2011 11:14 AM

        That would apply to the 16-bit era too.

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      November 4, 2011 9:13 AM

      Those developers are correct. A console's lifespan used to hover around 5 years, but given exorbitant developer costs and developers' ability to push their tech further, I see no need to release new hardware for at least another few years.

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        November 4, 2011 9:13 AM

        *exorbitant DEVELOPMENT costs

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        November 4, 2011 10:06 AM

        I'm all for next gen. Bring on more ram and better video cards please. 60fps standard, none of this sub 30fps nonsense.

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        November 4, 2011 10:11 AM

        I'm ok with that. Call of Duty on a new console is going to be just as generic as it is now. Maybe developers will be forced to do different stuff if they're still stuck on the same console.

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        November 4, 2011 10:17 AM

        The tech is tapped out and software sales are going to drop off. People are bored of the same shit for the third time, but publishers aren't going to risk launching new IPs at the tail end of a hardware cycle. Kinect is the only reason there isn't a new Xbox right around the corner.

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      November 4, 2011 9:16 AM

      The only issue I see with waiting even longer is that we are now so far entrenched with the current gen that when the next gen finally comes around nobody will want to buy it for the HUGE lack of games. To the point where even backwards compatibility can't overcome. Sales will probably suck for quite awhile, like longer than expected. It's definitely going to be a rough time whenever it happens.

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        November 4, 2011 9:22 AM

        I think backwards compatibility will encourage migrating to new hardware eventually, if not right away. Gamers have invested so much time and money in the current generation--most notably achievements/trophies and online marketplace purchases--that assuring gamers they can pick up with last-gen gaming right where they left off will somewhat soothe any lack of compelling launch titles.

        However, there will obviously need to be SOME must-buy titles at launch. Otherwise, why would anyone buy new hardware if the only appeal is the option to continue playing all their current games?

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          November 4, 2011 9:28 AM

          I would upgrade for sure if they offered BC proper and none of this "emulating" bs. As you said, I am too invested in the current gen to upgrade quickly if there is not a significant reason.

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        November 4, 2011 9:24 AM

        By that logic, the same thing should happen every console generation.

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          November 4, 2011 9:49 AM

          It does happen to some extent, I am just saying it will be worse than any other generation jump.

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          November 4, 2011 10:11 AM

          I don't know, I think the current generation has pushed technology in games to the point where the next generation isn't really going to have anything completely new. We've got online gaming, graphics, controller-free gaming (if that's your thing), 3D gaming and so on and so forth. What's the next big step aside from updated hardware to let the graphics catch up to PCs again?

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        November 4, 2011 12:40 PM

        It feels like people keep forgetting next-gen isn't all about graphics. Imagine GoW with fully destructible cover and sound design on par with BF3 and then put photo-realism on top of it while also including a theater mode and the ability to upload directly to youtube. Those will probably be among the first wave of new titles and then the truly next-gen titles will come out.

        Or better yet, an Elder Scrolls title 10x the size of Oblivion with no loading screens, destructible environments and enemies, etc etc. People will line-up in droves to get their hands on titles like that.

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          November 4, 2011 1:08 PM

          I share your stance. Graphics were the most obvious reason to invest in new hardware in the late 90s and early 2000s, but going forward, I don't think we'll see huge graphical leaps. Developers have finally hit a graphics wall and are starting to focus more on gameplay and less on photorealism. I love the wave of more stylistic games in terms of visuals.

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      November 4, 2011 9:22 AM

      "great teams are looking for hundredths, and more often thousandths of a second of CPU and GPU optimizations"

      A hundredth of a second is actually a third of most games' time per frame. It's two thirds of a call of duty frame. "hundredths" of seconds of optimizations would be remarkable.

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        November 4, 2011 9:42 AM

        Yeah, my first thought on reading this was "hundredths of a second? That's, like, FOREVER".

        But then, I've also spent time optimizing away a millisecond here, a few hundred microseconds there to get a game to a consistent 30 or 60 fps.

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      November 4, 2011 9:30 AM

      How hard would it be for someone else to enter the market at this point? Someone big like Samsung or Sega or Valve or whatever. If they could woo some devs and release something more powerful than the current gen with better options for downloading game, I'd be happy to buy a new console at this point.

      I guess this is kind of what Nintendo are doing but it's a shame they are only aiming to be a little bit more powerful than current gen.

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        November 4, 2011 9:41 AM

        I would LOVE to see Samsung take a shot at a next gen console.

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        November 4, 2011 9:52 AM

        Brand loyalty - it wouldn't work. People know nintendo, xbox and playstation....anyone else would have way too much to prove, even with good games.

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          November 4, 2011 10:04 AM

          People said the same exact thing about Sony in the mid 90s. People knew Nintendo and Sega, and they already saw the 3DO and Jaguar fail hard. Then a little game called Final Fantasy VII had people rushing out to buy the PS1 in droves. Then again with Microsoft, and a game called Halo.

          Create a good system that's better than what's out there, then get a good brand exclusive, and people will switch. It's proven history. The only reason it hasn't happened again in the past decade is because nobody has given a legitimate try.

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            November 4, 2011 10:08 AM

            Yes but in Sony's case Nintendo and Sega both had no fucking idea where they were going. Sony swooped in and stole the day. In Microsoft's case they were the only real competitor to Sony, as Nintendo started to become that sideshow after the N64. The gamecube, sorry to say, was shit. Not hardware wise mind you, just software other than first party.

            Both the PS3 and 360 are established. The PS4 and x-whatever will sell in droves unless the price is too high like last time. The wii2 has the casual crowd locked up.

            Where does that leave a 4th party? You need to do something better than all 3.

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              November 4, 2011 11:53 AM

              agreed, you'd need to make quite the splash in the pool to get noticed nowadays.

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        November 4, 2011 9:52 AM

        I think another vendor could produce a good piece of hardware, but getting developers on board, building those relationships, working around exclusivity, gaining exclusivity...

        From a developer and publisher standpoint it sounds like a huge risk for little gain when you can pump out another round of 360 or PS3 games and make buckets of cash.

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          November 4, 2011 10:16 AM

          How about a partnership? EA/Samsung or Nvidia/Valve

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          November 4, 2011 10:20 AM

          Yeah, it's all about the software support. Witness the last two generations, where the technically inferior console captured the most market share for reasons completely separate from raw computing power.

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        November 4, 2011 10:00 AM

        if apple bought out nintendo... oh snap

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          November 4, 2011 8:10 PM

          Apple doesn't give a fuck about games...at least under Jobs they really didn't. They didn't mind people making games on their devices...but they didn't give two shits about having anything to do with it themselves.

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      November 4, 2011 9:34 AM

      Stretching out the life of consoles is one of the greatest things to happen to PC gaming

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        November 4, 2011 10:14 AM

        agreed. PC ability has grown by leaps and bounds, while the consoles are stagnant (obviously)

        the only problem is multiplatform games. Often dumbed-down even on pc, in order to accommodate the console crowd.

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          November 4, 2011 2:23 PM

          Yet you do not feel there are ASTOUNDING games much ahead of the console versions, so maybe they are right.

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        November 4, 2011 10:25 AM

        You could also argue it's letting the non core pc hardware catch up giving more accessibility to pc titles.

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      November 4, 2011 9:40 AM

      In other news, people like money!

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      November 4, 2011 9:58 AM

      Ah yes, let's bring out the next gen of console so that console players can once again thumb their noses at pc gamers and proudly proclaim, "PC gaming is dead!"

      Frankly, next gen is probably waiting for ultra high speed internet (50 Mbps and above) to get cheap in the US. Then they can deliver all of their content via downloads, since high capacity HDs are already cheap enough.

      You hear that, US isps? Console developers are waiting for you to deliver proper internet!

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        November 4, 2011 10:01 AM

        since high capacity HDs are already cheap enough. Look at this guy, living in the past :(

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          November 4, 2011 10:09 AM

          I'm sorry, but was there something inherently wrong with what I said? Onlive has an interesting concept with streaming your games, but the quality is nowhere near ready due to the lack of good internet in many areas. Not to mention that people inherently like having a copy of their game locally so that in case something happens to their internet, they're not completely cut off from gaming.

          Or were you just teasing me about HD also being an acronym for hi-def? Ah, ho ho ho, very entertaining.

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            November 4, 2011 10:43 AM

            I was commenting on the fact that hard drives are expensive as fuck right now because of flooding in Thailand.

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            November 4, 2011 10:45 AM

            He might be referring to the recent sharp spike in HD prices.

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        November 4, 2011 10:10 AM

        It's going to be another few years before true online-only purchasing takes off. I don't know about you but it takes me ages just to update my damn console....to the point where I don't even feel like playing once it is done

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        November 4, 2011 10:20 AM

        That is most certainly not what they're waiting for.

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        November 4, 2011 1:54 PM

        Sure, except nearly all cable providers (ha ha who am I kidding there are like 5) in the US claim they've oversubscribed and as a result have put in place bandwidth caps on their formerly unlimited plans.

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      November 4, 2011 10:15 AM

      It's because they don't want to develop another console. They always lose money for the first 1-3 years because of hardware costs, and I'm sure R&D is a huge issue.

      In terms of graphics PC games will always have an advantage.

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      November 4, 2011 10:39 AM

      Thank fuck for that, bravo to common sense.

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      November 4, 2011 10:54 AM

      this thread has a lot of high value opinions and aren't retarded in any way! :D

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      November 4, 2011 11:10 AM

      I'm thinking eventually an actual physical console will become obsolete, and everything will be played off a cloud somewhere.

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        November 4, 2011 12:02 PM

        Onlive is doing it right now. But I think it will still be a few more years before broadband is fast enough for the general public for something like that to replace standard consoles. What is possible though is for the next generation to be heavily focused on downloadable titles instead of disks. I think downloadable titles will be a huge part of the next generation. I bet they would love to sell a console without a disk drive... but I'm not sure if they could get away with that just yet.

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      November 4, 2011 12:00 PM

      I'm kind of split on this one. On one hand I think that developers can do amazing things late in a console's life because they are technically comfortable with what the device can do. The team goes into the project knowing what the system can do so it's easier to scope the project; the technical team knows how to work with the hardware and can focus on making the game smooth and as pretty as possible; and the creative team can focus all their energy on putting in tons of great content. You tend to see some of the deepest and most polished titles coming out at the end of a console's life.

      On the other hand... for years I've been looking at 360 games (especially the AAA titles like Gears of War) and saying that the graphics are still impressive and for the most part 'good enough' so it doesn't matter. I think this generation is the first time where the graphics have reached a level where they can pump out graphics good enough so you don't really think about... you can focus on the game itself. In all the previous generations I remember thinking much earlier in the systems life that I wanted more performance and better graphics (with the N64 I felt that way about two weeks after buying one). But in the last year, maybe partially because I just got a bigger TV and upgraded my computer... I'm really starting to look at even the high-end big budget titles and think they are starting to look a bit washed out and dated. Rage, Crysis 2 and a couple others kind of stretch the boundaries a bit because they still manage to look very impressive.. but for the most part just in the last few months I feel the consoles are finally starting to show their age a bit more.

      So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm totally fine not seeing a next generation of consoles come out this year or even next because I bet we are going to see some really nice polished titles in the next year or so... but I will definitely be interested in a new console by 2013. I think by that time the 360 and PS3 will start to look a bit dated and I'll be ready for something new.

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      November 4, 2011 1:43 PM

      What a joke. Consoles tech are so old and outdated they made me go build a PC. I never thought I would turn to PC gaming, but now I see how many options there are I don't see how I can ever go back to consoles. Graphics maxed out at 1600p resolution is just gorgeous and proves I already have the next-gen consoles already today. But a system that powerful isn't cheap.

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      November 4, 2011 2:35 PM

      Of course they say that. If they can continue making money on the current generation, why would they want to go to something with more power and be forced into the arms race for having the best looking game again?

      Consoles are back to looking like shit compared to even mid range PCs now. They run at ridiculously low resolutions at 30FPS. They'll milk that for as long as they possibly can.