back to article Pong creator turns nose up at Nintendo Wii U

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has doubts over the long-term success of the Nintendo Wii U, after admitting he doesn't get the tablet-controlled console. "I actually am baffled by it," said the Pong creator in an interview with the New York Times. "I don't think it's going to be a big success." Bushnell - often hailed at the …

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  1. Compact101

    Mobile gaming is definitely moving forward, but to say they will replace Consoles, is like saying that consoles were going to replace PC gaming.

    Mobile gaming is in a different area to Console.

    People like the large screen and handheld controls Consoles offer.

    Maybe in the future the mobile will be the hardware that links up to the TV by cable or wireless and a contoller.

    1. toadwarrior
      FAIL

      It's been at least 5 years (since the launch of the 1st iphone) that we've been told that mobile gaming will become the next big thing and it's not. The iphone couldn't manage it and Android can't.

      The Nintendo DS was supposed to die out from mobile gaming and it went on to be Nintendo's biggest portable system ever. I believe it either the top selling games system ever or the second.

      The 3DS still managed to have a respectable launch despite not really having any software for a good 6 months into its life.

      That's because people who want to play games want to have something that plays games well and that means having something more than a touch screen.

      That's largely due to the fact the controls are very poor. You simply can not play games to the same level on a touch screen. That's why mobile games are cheap. No one values them and why should they? The only good games are very simple games that work fine with a touch screen or something like GTA 3 which does indeed look nice but you just can't control it well. It's not the same experience.

      Your average consumer won't want a phone that looks like a games console so I can't see anyone putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone purely in the hopes that gaming will take off so we're not going to get good controls out of mobile gaming and it will continue to be a non-event. It's something for people who can't afford to enter a real gaming market or indies too concerned about PC piracy.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The iPhone hasn't really tried, it sells enough already.

        Android probably can, now that Jelly Bean has drastically reduced the its latency.

        Agreed, it depends on the control scheme. And console gaming is a different activity to personal 5-minutes-to-kill gaming. The past sales of Gameboy and PSPs would suggest their is a big enough market to make a good games controller for phones, though it might benefit from being backed by a big name or consortium in order to gain game developer's confidence.

        1. toadwarrior

          That is the other thing, can a large publisher or developer rely on generating income from something people will probably only play for a few minutes and something they view as a throw-away item? I imagine not. It may be a nice way to earn a bit of easy money porting an existing game that has paid for itself to a mobile device but I wonder how well that even works out. Rockstar hasn't given us anything more than max Payne 1 and GTA 3. Maybe they won't do the others because it isn't worth it.

          Sony did do that android based play station phone. I can't imagine that was a great seller. They don't appear to be continuing on with that and see value in trying to keep going with the PSP. Too many people probably view a gaming phone as being too geeky so I'm not sure it'll work for the foreseeable future so we're stuck with touch screens which aren't good enough.

          1. Chet Mannly

            "Sony did do that android based play station phone. I can't imagine that was a great seller."

            Mainly because of the anemic hardware. The control was great, even if it made the phone a little bulky, but the storage, ram and cpu were definitely last-gen when it was being sold.

            Might not sell many PSP/Vitas if they made the phone too good...

        2. Chet Mannly

          "The past sales of Gameboy and PSPs would suggest their is a big enough market to make a good games controller for phones"

          The PS3 controller I have hooked up to my Android* tablet is a pretty decent games controller :-)

          *not looking to start a holy war here - not sure about ipads/iphones - anyone?

      2. Sir Crispalot

        Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

        ... has already failed spectacularly.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-Gage_(device)

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

          The N-gage's controls were the least of its problems. This was a device which required you to remove the battery to replace a game cartridge. That and other questionable design decisions doomed it.

          Anyway at least one Sony Ericsson phone shipped with a slide out game pad.

          The issue is that most mobile games completely ignore such a controller even it's there on the device because so few devices have a controller. If Google / Sony / Whoever want to see more controller enabled games they need to be handing out SDKs like toffee to make it happen and open developer's eyes to the possibilities.

          The controller doesn't even have to be built into the phone - most phones and tablets have bluetooth. Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller to some random phone / tablet and play a shooter but can I? Only if I root the device and go through a stupid rigmarole which means 99.99% won't even bother. Why Sony doesn't make it easy to pair their controllers with a PC or tablets is beyond me.

          1. David Hicks
            Linux

            Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller...

            Could do that with my N900 and the emulators I ran on it. That and tv-out made for much Sonic related joy in various hotels I found myself stuck in.

            I assume that I probably could do the same with my newer android phone, but it doesn't seem that easy.

            1. toadwarrior

              Re: Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller...

              You can do that but it's less hassle to carry a phone and a 3ds than a phone, ps3 controller and possibly some sort of cradle so the phone and controller are easier to manage together.

        2. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

          Forget the N-Gage. Let's look at a modern example: the Xperia. I don't know how well it's doing, but surely there must be somethnig to the idea of an Android phone with PS controls built in.

  2. Pete Foster

    Atari?

    Remind me, where's Atari now?

    1. Sloppy Crapmonster
      Thumb Down

      Re: Atari?

      Infogrames bought them a number of years ago and took on the name. Nolan Bushnell, on the other hand, has slightly more money than god after starting and selling off both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. He may not be involved in video games anymore, but he's got a bit more clout than whoever this Pete Foster guy is does.

      1. FartingHippo
        Holmes

        Re: Atari?

        Yeah, he sold the Atari business for $26m to Warner in 1976 (and that's when $26m was worth something). He got booted out a few years later after falling out with the new owners.

  3. nimster
    Thumb Down

    I disagree

    it is true that mobile gaming is on the up - however, for those who consider themselves serious gamers, will they want to play on 4-5" screen when they're at home? i don't think so.

    there is A LOT of scope to expand gaming at home, including the Microsoft patent recently which uses AR to turn your living room into a complete gaming environment (bit lilke the Star Trek TNG holodeck).

    the queues for the new consoles will put the Apple fanbois to shame :)

    1. JaimieV
      Unhappy

      Re: I disagree

      Those who consider themselves serious gamers are now in the minority. The mobile and Wii and Facebook and BigFish and Flash gaming crowd - we'll call them "casual" for simplicity - are a much, much larger market than the codbloppers. Even larger than the Haloites.

      It'll take the games makers a little while longer to work this out, but it's coming. MS have already seen it - their own stats show that people use their Xbox360's more for playing Netflix than games.

      Sad, really.

      1. Rob

        Re: I disagree

        Definitely true, I think MS cottoned on to this awhile ago and started evolving their 360 into a Home Entertainment hub and as a bonus it plays games as well. It's all tied up nicely with the their mobile phone and desktop strategy by the looks of it.

        1. Mer Ner

          Re: I disagree

          Couldn't agree more with the point about MS working this out and evolving the 360 into an entertainment hub.

          They're well and truly ahead of the console crowd with regards to this. I think home entertainment devices are the future of gaming, where everything is under 1 roof; TV, films, music, gaming, web browsing and social networking.

          The question that remains about this is what will this hub be? A Smart TV? Set top box (eg. Apple TV or Google TV)? Or games consoles becoming more entertainment focused?

          However, once this is answered, it will raise more questions. If it's not going to be a console, casual games might work locally on the devices, but hardcore games will have to be streamed via services like the more or less defunct OnLive. If it is to be a Smart TV, what platform will become most dominant? With Smart TVs, how will they sort out the appalling input methods? With a set top box, will there be a default control system for gaming?

          It already appears like MS is making inroads into the wider varieties of input methods required for the 360 with regards to the SmartGlass app for smartphones, which you can use as a simple controller to navigate menus or keyboard/mouse where appropriate (eg. Internet Explorer on 360).

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: I disagree

        Those who consider themselves serious gamers are now in the minority. The mobile and Wii and Facebook and BigFish and Flash gaming crowd - we'll call them "casual" for simplicity - are a much, much larger market than the codbloppers. Even larger than the Haloites.

        Perhaps in terms of numbers, but in terms of money? I can't see Angry Birds doing a $1bn midnight release any time soon.

        1. JaimieV

          Re: I disagree

          This would be the Angry Birds made by Rovio, who currently are reckoned to have a market cap somewhere around $6-$9 billion? They just released a new Angry Birds, and:

          "Just two and a half hours after its November 8 release, "Angry Birds Star Wars" rose to the No. 1 paid iPhone app and the top grossing iPhone app in the U.S. Apple App Store, according to Ville Heijari, Rovio's SVP-brand marketing."

          They don't release actual figures unfortunately, but that doesn't include Android sales which were higher (but worth less).

          Big money in them thar handhelds.

          1. Greg J Preece

            Re: I disagree

            Big money in them thar handhelds.

            And as I said, nowhere near as much money as BLOPS2 made in one hour. Besides, did you see the number of projects Rovio released before they made it big? And how many others have made it as far?

            1. JaimieV

              Re: I disagree

              Granted (probably - we don't have actual figures, remember!). But the whole market and development methods are different between a handheld and a big 3D AAA title.

              And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter. Who's winning? No one.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I disagree

                "And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter. Who's winning? No one."

                Triple A games failing to sell and causing their studios to go out of business make the headlines because of the numbers involved. The failure of a mobile game might not lose as much money but it's just as catastrophic for the developer because they generally have much less capital than the larger studios.

                The mobile market is not the land of nectar and ambrosia that it's often made out to be. If you make it, you can make it really big like Rovio have because mobile games have a viral quality to them. This isn't the experience of the majority though. Some are lucky enough to turn a profit but most aren't around 12 months after their games release.

              2. Chet Mannly

                Re: I disagree

                "And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter"

                OR AAA games (and their studios) are failing because 90% of games these days are completely uninspiring and rehashed sequels. Not to mention putting levels together that are cinematically pretty, but so easy you barely have to fire a shot to complete the mission (I'm looking at *you* black ops...).

                So serious gamers are being asked to play extremely similar games year after year, and in some cases the sequels are easier than the originals to broaden their appeal - any wonder the studios are dying?

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      The flaw in your argument....

      Wireless HDMI.

      A powerful smartphone can already generate HD on the fly. If we accept graphics 1.5 gen out of date, a smartphone can double as a console...

      1. JaimieV

        Re: The flaw in your argument....

        > Wireless HDMI

        See also Apple's Airplay. Throw your iThing screen to the TV via an AppleTV blob.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: The flaw in your argument....

          +1 for tv-independent ARM-to-TV hookups from phones and tablets.

          Add some bluetooth controllers and off you go.

          However, let's see what Valve pull out of the bag. Always on ubuntu thingy with a spinny disk > tablet

          I reckon Nintendo is telling porkies. AUD 350 and you can't break even? "Oh we aren't making money on it but we aren't doing badly," sounds like marketing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has-been doesn't 'get' current technology

    Hardly a shock story...

  5. Derezed
    Meh

    Mobile Gaming?!

    Really? When I want to play pong on my phone, I'll whip it out. For any other actual games I'll stick to my PC (and I am sure that console players will stick to their consoles!).

  6. Crisp Silver badge

    This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

    Quite possibly one of the best handheld gaming machines of all time.

    Ok, ok. It wasn't as popular as the Gameboy, or the GameGear, but it was an excellent machine.

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

      The hardware was nice but it's not much use if there are no games for it.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

        I seem to remember TV adverts for the Lynx, aimed at my age group at the time, set in a boys toilet in a school- with Lynx Link cables slung from cubicle to cubicle for multiplayer gaming. Can anyone confirm?

        1. Craig Chambers
          Unhappy

          Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

          Yes, I remember that advert. I believe that it showed them playing the surfing section of California games.

          I loved my Lynx, but it was a bugger for burning the batteries. As a student, I couldn't afford to keep buying Lithium batteries, and my rechargeables only gave me 40 minutes of play time for an 8 hour charge, so you were stuck to playing while plugged into the mains adaptor. This vs a GameBoy that ran for 8 hours on rechargeables, sold for half the price and had a ton more games.

          It was only recently that I met another former owner, prior to that no-one else I knew had also owned one. Hence despite the name of the console my link cable was never used.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

      The Atari Lynx was an outstanding machine by the standards of the time.

      That said, the incarnation of "Atari" that sold the Lynx wasn't Bushnell era Atari Inc., but Atari Corp., the company formed after Atari Inc. was split and Jack Tramiel bought the console/computer division. Though it had some continuity with its predecessor (*), it was quite different in many ways.

      Though the Lynx probably suffered due to its (initial) high price, large-ish size (**) and battery hungriness, its other major problem was that it was sold by Atari Corp., who couldn't market their way out of a paper bag. Not helped by the fact that Tramiel-era Atari Corp. was obviously a low budget operation (***) that couldn't- or wouldn't- spend the money on marketing required to compete with Nintendo and Sega. Hence the lack of big-name licenses and knock-off game titles like "Dirty Larry: Renegade Cop" (regardless of whether the game itself was actually good, that makes it sound cheap).

      (*) Unlike the present-day "Atari" which really just the company formerly known as Infogrames after they bought the rights to the name and IP, and has no other connection to the original company.

      (**) Addressed slightly with the redesigned "Lynx II". Apparently the original was so big because alleged research had "told" them that customers liked that because it made them feel like they were getting better value, or something.

      (***) Some described it as "penny wise, pound foolish", though I suppose you could argue that the market had changed since Atari Inc.'s 1983 fall from grace that prompted the sell-off, and that Atari Corp's "second tier" status was an intentional business decision.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Bushnell - often hailed at the godfather of videogames"

    Are you sure you don't mean the great-grandfather?

  8. M Gale

    Uhm.

    "Mobile" gaming is console gaming with a 3G chipset. Same or similar business model, same locked-down hardware, same Tomy interface.

    If anything, Microsoft seem desperate to turn the PC into a games console.

  9. Chris Harrison
    FAIL

    Load of rubbish

    If I want to squint at a screen while on the train and play tetris then fine - mobile gaming has come a long way the last few years. If I want to blast away play COD for a couple of hours then I think I'll stick with my XBox thanks.

    As I think has been mentioned before - I don't remember portable DVD players wiping out the DVD/TV market, so why should mobiles wipeout big screen gaming?

    1. Bod

      Re: Load of rubbish

      You're in the minority though. Most "gamers" are casual and don't care much about quality. They're the same people who are fine with crap quality music on crap quality earbuds at crap quality bitrates served on their iPhones.

      Next step is to link the mobile gaming to the big TV (almost there, can do similar with videos already). Have the power of "serious" games in the cloud and the TV/mobile just as the display. Console, end of. Even if the result isn't as high quality as it used to be (again, I refer to the situtation with music).

      And as for size, there's the iPad and like.

      And portable DVD players - they were inconvenient. Mobile devices have replaced them by playing downloaded/streaming movies & TV shows and as said can hook up to the big TV.

      Convienience is king, like it or not. That's why so many people are fat ;)

  10. wowfood
    Meh

    If anything

    I'd say it's the PC which would kill the console. Recently more and more games are beings old on console and PC, rather than just console as before. The only thing the PC is missing is a gamepad and it could play the vast majority of console games with ease.

    Lets face it, right now a console is released, and within a year it's slower than the latest PC hardware. Hell some consoles are coming out as outdated.

    It used to be when a console was launched it was ahead of the PC for a few years, but that just isn't the case any more. Give me the games I want on the PC, give me a games controller I can plug into the PC, and I'd honestly be happy to give up on consoles.

    I mean lets face it, to keep people using consoles now they're adding "amazing new features" which have existed since... forever on the PC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If anything

      Two points:

      - you can plug an Xbox controller into a PC

      - even when the Xbox 360 was launched, it was a year behind PC graphics card technology

    2. Steve I

      Re: If anything

      I doubt it - for most people, the cost and complexity of setting up a gaming PC don't outweigh the benfits of better graphics. Add to the the ability of a console to sit in your living room and make use of your high-quality surrpoing sound systems and large display screen.

      Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

      1. GrumpyJoe
        Windows

        Re: If anything

        Well, I'm sort of partially leaving the console systems (PS3) and feel like a move to PC gaming is on the cards. Thanks to an article on the register a while back (Trevor on Alienware) I now have a laptop PC capable of playing most modern games at high quality, with a hdmi connector.

        Connect that easily portable device to my TV - use a wireless mouse/keyboard and I'm away - with much more customisability and freedom.

        Playing Skyrim from the Steam sale (in 'Ultra' mode) and looking at the available modifications? Astounding! I think the PS3 is going to one of the kids eventually, as the laptop also has a Blu-ray drive so I don't even need the ps3 for that!

        Will it be out of date soon? Yes, but I can just ramp down the graphics, still playable. AND I can do actual WORK on it to subsidise it if I so wish - Win/Win.

        Am I a convert/turncoat/member of the PC master race? I don't care really, just seems like the most flexible option.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If anything

        "Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room."

        Forget childish games, but I've used a PC the the living room for over a decade! How else can I use the PC's functionality whilst connected to both the big screen and the monitor?

      3. Greg J Preece

        Re: If anything

        Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

        With things like the Windows 8 interface and the new Steam interface tailored for large screens, won't this be exactly the same as keeping a console in your living room, except it can do a shitload more with less hassle? I've been a PC and console gamer for 20 years, and it's only recently that I've finally considered hooking the PC to the TV.

      4. sisk Silver badge

        Re: If anything

        Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

        And how, pray tell, is that any different from keeping any other piece of equipment in the living room? Seriously, one of my PCs is smaller than my PS3 was and still packs more power.

        1. Steve I

          Re: If anything

          I'm sorry to inform you, but use of the phrase 'pray tell' does not actually make you sound sophisticated, but instead tends to remind people of a Viz character who appeared in the 'Postie' strip once - pretentious student twat, I think his name was.

          PCs inherently tend to be noisier than consoles and have more wires and look messier than games consoles with keyboards, mice and (usually) desks & monitors etc. Now if your wife doesn't mind this, then good for you.

          1. Fibbles

            Re: If anything

            "PCs inherently tend to be noisier than consoles and have more wires and look messier than games consoles with keyboards, mice and (usually) desks & monitors etc. Now if your wife doesn't mind this, then good for you."

            Most of my PC's (with the exception of an old HP laptop that constantly overheats,) are quieter than my friends XBox 360, especially when he has to run things off the DVD. You can easily use wireless keyboards and mice. The monitor is connected with an HDMI cable just like your console and TV. I do prefer to play games on a dedicated PC set up on a desk though rather than via the TV (the rest of the household really wouldn't be impressed if I stopped them from watching tele just to play TF2).

            This myth that you have to upgrade your hardware every year just to play the latest games is complete nonsense. If you buy something at the upper end of mid-range you'll be looking at 3-4 years before you're struggling to run games even on the lowest settings. That's certainly a shorter upgrade cycle than consoles but most people would be upgrading their PC after 4 years anyway, even if that's only because Windows has slowed to a crawl.

            I much prefer PC gaming to console gaming. There are more of the type of games I want to play on the PC platform, the graphics are better, online gameplay is handled better imo, the control system is more accurate and there are more customisation options for games including user made content (paying for DLC is not something I'm keen on).

            With that said, I'm not foolish enough to believe that PC gaming is either suited for the majority of people or that it will ever overtake consoles when it comes to sales.

          2. sisk Silver badge

            Re: If anything

            @Steve I - First off, I don't care if you think I'm a 'pretentious twat'. 'Pray tell' is a part of my regular vocabulary. If you have to attack my phrasing to make your point then perhaps you need to rethink your position.

            My media center PC, back when I had one, had only three cables coming out of it: power, audio (to the surround sound system), and VGA (to the TV). Everything else was handled by wireless USB dongles. There was my gamepad, which was a modded wireless XBox control, the RF keyboard and mouse, and my wifi. The fact that I had a modded XBox control should give you the timeframe for when I had this box. Today, with graphis cards that have HDMI, I'd have only two cables, a 802.11N dongle (which could handle HD video, unlike the old G one), and Bluetooth for everthing else. As for noise, my PS3 (which has sense been sold because it was just collecting dust) was much louder.

            As an added bonus, the media center PC also played video off of my file server (something which my no console at the time could do, though the PS3 can with DLNA, the Wii can if it's modded for homebrew apps, and I assume the 360 can somehow) and, briefly (because I only briefly had a use for one), served as a DVR (something which, so far as I know, consoles still can't do without being modded).

      5. Steve Knox Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: If anything

        I doubt it - for most people, the cost and complexity of setting up a gaming PC don't outweigh the benfits of better graphics. Add to the the ability of a console to sit in your living room and make use of your high-quality surrpoing sound systems and large display screen.

        Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

        Co. was tossing a 2-yr old PC with Vista Business on it.

        Bought a prev-gen ATI card (5250) for $50, a Blu-ray drive for $50, and a wireless KB/mouse for $20.

        Now I have a media center PC with the ability to play games better than the XBOX does for peanuts. The video card has HDMI out with support for digital sound so it' works with my surround system perfectly.

        The PC replaced:

        1 old and slow cable box from a cable company who was charging way to much anyway,

        1 Blu-ray player,

        1 Argosy media player.

        So it takes up less space, is less complex to manage, provides a higher quality experience, and if you count the savings on the cable bill, paid for itself in two months.

        What's the problem with a PC in the living room again?

    3. stygian_pit
      FAIL

      Re: If anything

      Buy a £250 console and you get 4-5 years of life out of it and are still able to play the latest games with the same user experience as everyone else.

      Try that with a PC and most (note, not ALL) modern games and you'll be lucky if it's even going to work in noddy graphics mode 3 years down the line.

      The reasons that many people buy consoles are there's no technical barrier to overcome, smaller initial outlay and no perpetual hardware refresh to play the latest games other than when you decide to go 'next gen'.

      1. bunual

        Re: If anything

        "Buy a £250 console and you get 4-5 years of life out of it and are still able to play the latest games with the same user experience as everyone else." - which is why I made the switch.

        I used to be a PC gamer but every year there would be something I'd have to upgrade - graphics card, CPU, motherboard, memory. All of this of course required getting Windows to once again play ball and when I was on it every evening it was worth it.

        Now I generally only play games every other weekend and around my friends house so we can yell in person at eachother's stupidity. I bought a second-hand Xbox 4 years ago for less than the cost of a graphics card and I'm still able to play the latest games on it. Sure they don't look as good as with a high-spec'd PC but as a casual gamer, I really don't care.

        I use a 24" monitor I also use with my laptop and everything else fits in a rucksack with a few snacks thrown in. For serious gamers the precision and high-res of PC gaming will always win but for casual gamers who want to be able to pick-up and play...consoles are the way to go.

        1. Davidoff
          Holmes

          Every year there would be something I'd have to upgrade

          "I used to be a PC gamer but every year there would be something I'd have to upgrade - graphics card, CPU, motherboard, memory. All of this of course required getting Windows to once again play ball and when I was on it every evening it was worth it."

          Not much a problem today. Due to the technological stagnation in most games due the limitations of consoles a decent 4+ year old computer can run most games just fine. The situations where upgrades are necessary are less common than in the old days.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If anything

        Install a new GPU ... job done.

        Now try that with a console.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: If anything

          True. I'm still using more core2duo for gaming and its fine.

          However, to make things work well you really need hot-swap and an easy interface. Something like PCMCIA for graphics cards - multiplexed thunderbolt maybe? It might be enough if you only have to drive an HDTV. You don't want average joe messing around touching static-sensitive bits.

          You also need... rom/cd based software installation (PXE over http?) for when the disk dies.

          I hope Valve is paying attention... :)

        2. Steve I

          Re: If anything

          But try telling any of your PC-illiterate friends that all they need to do is add some RAM and install a new GPU and just see the look on their faces...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If anything

            The look on their face as I turn the PC off, open the cover, press the release clip on the RAM/graphics card, pull the old RAM/graphics card from the slot, push the new RAM/graphics card into the slot, replace the cover and power the PC back on is usually one of "Oh, I thought that would be difficult. I'll do it myself next time".

      3. Greg J Preece

        Re: If anything

        Try that with a PC and most (note, not ALL) modern games and you'll be lucky if it's even going to work in noddy graphics mode 3 years down the line.

        Sorry, got to disagree with you there. There's this odd myth that old PC games don't work on modern systems. That's true with some games (Deus Ex 2 being a prime example), but they're definitely the exceptions to the rule. You can connect to Steam today, download Half Life 1, and it'll work, despite being 14 years old. I've been playing Wing Commander 1 from 1990 on my quad-core Win7 box, no worries.

      4. Davidoff
        FAIL

        Buy a £250 console and you get 4-5 years of life out of it...

        "and are still able to play the latest games with the same user experience as everyone else. Try that with a PC and most (note, not ALL) modern games and you'll be lucky if it's even going to work in noddy graphics mode 3 years down the line."

        Well, no. While this was true maybe 7+ years ago, today a midrange PC from 2006/2007 can still run latest games at full HD resolution and with high details. Since consoles have become the main development target many multi-platform titles run just fine on an older rig.

        One of my PC is quite old, with a CPU comparable to a Core 2 Quad @ 2.6GHz and a Radeon 4870. Still runs latest games like Skyrim, Max Payne 3 or Borderlands 2 with better graphics than my Xbox 360.

      5. jeffdyer

        Re: If anything

        yes as a console matures the games get better. as a pc matures new games get slower as it is now behind the bleeding edge.

        i have ps1 2 and 3 and have never been tempted to battle graphics drivers for relaxation.

    4. Chris Harrison
      Thumb Down

      Re: If anything

      I disagree. I used to play PC games but it was such a pain making sure I'd got the right drivers, the right soundcard/graphics card I gave up. In the end I bought a PS1 and haven't looked back.

      If you have regular access to a TV then consoles are far more convienient and cheaper.

    5. Davidoff
      Holmes

      It used to be when a console was launched ...

      "... it was ahead of the PC for a few years"

      The last time this has been true was when the PSX (the original Playstation) came out. Subsequent consoles have always trailed what was available on PCs at the day the console came out.

    6. Chandy

      Re: If anything

      I thought consoles were all about a fixed and well understood piece of hardware that games writers could use to the fullest extent vs. having to write a game that will run on a general bundle of (decent-ish) PC hardware?

      Just because the PC is 'higher spec' doesn't mean that the game would look better on it than on a console.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: If anything

        Just because the PC is 'higher spec' doesn't mean that the game would look better on it than on a console.

        Yes and no. You can get more out of dedicated hardware in a console than you could with the same hardware in a PC, yes. The problem is that a modern PC's hardware capabilities often greatly outstrip what is necessary to run the basic OS (and Windows has gotten faster in recent years). If you look at the processor in a 360, it's seriously old hat at this point. Every PC I ever lay hands on is way more powerful. You can stretch that chip as far as you like, but it has a limit.

        The other problem is that games are developed to be cross-platform. Games that have to be released on PS3, 360 and PC are hampered because the 360 can't do anything above DirectX 9. (Windows fecking XP!) Dedicated PC games, on the other hand, can ditch the out-of-date graphics libraries, cross-platform abstractions, etc and just go all-out.

        Trufax: inFamous 2 was supposed to be a cross-platform release, but Sucker Punch tried it and said "sorry guys, the X-box just can't do this well enough."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to happen

    Expecting everyone to play the same kind of games on the same kind of hardware is like expecting everyone to play or follow the same sport. Not going to happen.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've wrote it before and I will write it again, mobile gaming is targeted at a different type of consumers: the casual type. On the other hand, the console and PC gaming is targeted at living room gamers (doesn't matter where, just accept the term). Some gamers might belong to both groups, but many belong to one or the other. Although keep in mind, when do we draw the line about what is a casual gamer or not? after all, FlashPlayer gamers do spent as much time playing theirs gamers as we do!

    Note, the mobile phone as a platform might replace the current platforms, but not if it is still limited to mobile games. Let me elaborate, what if we construct an adapter that would let us plug in the mobile phone and then use our game controller with it and it will let us get the image/sound on our big screen; can it still be called mobile gaming or is it living room gaming using a mobile platform?

    The distinct that I am trying to get at is, there is a difference between mobile gaming and living room gaming, we know this. But should we really care about the platform that would give us either? With that being said, mobile platforms still have a lot of limitation to overcome before it can be used for living room gaming, the main one being, the storage space.

    Reminder, if the mobile platform does starting running AAA games, do expect the price of those games to match the current price, there is no way a developer will be willing to spend as much money on developing game and then sell it at US$ 0.99

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Add:

      Back on topic, I do believe that the GamePad is optional, games might be programmed to use it and/or add extra futures that make use of it. But it is still optional, you can still use the classic controller with Wii U, so what is the problem?

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley
      Coat

      "I've wrote it before and I will write it again..."

      Why? Copying and pasting text is much quicker.

    3. Amonynous

      Look! Up there...

      "when do we draw the line about what is a casual gamer or not?" ... "Reminder, if the mobile platform does starting running AAA games, do expect the price of those games to match the current price, there is no way a developer will be willing to spend as much money on developing game and then sell it at US$ 0.99"

      I think you have answered your own question.

      "Casual Gaming" (vs. Living Room/Hardcore/Full Fat gaming, whatever..) is not defined by platform, it is defined by attention span. Casual games are those that can be picked up and put down at will, e.g for five minutes at a time, without the need to invest dozens of hours of concentrated play to get the full experience out of the game.

      Hence the £/$0.99 price point; these are the kind of games that can be developed by a small team with a relatively small investment due to the emphasis on 'fun' and 'game-play', vs the £/$35+ 'hardcore' game which requires a distinctly cinematic budget to develop (and test) vast quantities of 'shock and awe' content and/or "depth and complexity" which the casual gamer will not benefit from due to not having the necessary time or inclination to invest the required effort.

      The key to success in the casual sphere seems to be getting the 'hook' of the game play mechanics just right, and if you can combine that with some off-kilter visual aesthetics so much the better. Unsurprisingly, the hotbed of innovative low-cost games at the moment seems to be (it was ever thus) the PC! There is a tonne of stuff out there in the £/$5.99 to £/$9.99 bracket that is well worth the money, and I don't just mean last year's failed hits being remaindered/recycled to try and recoup some of their losses (or Farcebook 'social' gaming which is an entirely different type of con).

      By comparison to PC indie games, most of the mobile/casual games I have tried or seen seem boring by comparison. There is no particular reason why that should be the case (unfortunate, because you can't fit a PC in your back pocket for when you have five minutes to kill). It just seems that the open/upgradeable nature and relatively low barriers to entry of the PC attracts the most creative (independent) minds, whereas Android/iPhone mobile gaming seems to be drowning in corporately spawned derivative tat chasing the 'mass market'. Maybe developers are put off because it is very hard to get noticed amongst hundreds of thousands of other apps, whereas a stand-out game in the PC arena is competing with one or two orders of magnitude fewer competing games.

      On the other hand, consoles are a victim of their own 'success'. If you are a newbie who wants to develop for consoles, forget it, because it's a closed shop requiring SDKs and signing your life away on NDAs, royalty agreements, etc. You need to be a fairly serious game studio with financial backing (in turn requiring a track record) before you can even start. Hardly encourages creative thinking, small projects or talented new entrants, which is why all you'll generally get is (big) teamthink and predictable sequels for the highest price they think they can fleece you for, exactly the same no-risk business model as Hollywood movies. No thanks.

  13. FlingoBingo

    Gaming grandad

    I'm not convinced by any of Nintendo's recent products, mostly because 2 minutes on a 3DS in Game left me boss-eyed for an hour but in fairness to them I doubt many 70 year olds 'get' modern technology.

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: Gaming grandad

      Why not turn the 3D effects off? Some games I never play with 3D on (like racing games) but not because it hurts my eyes but because you get better performance and that can make a difference sometimes.

  14. Sudden Genesis

    News Limerick

    As marketing hits a crescendo

    Some guy sees the end of Nintendo

    You may know his name

    Atari's his game

    Now how's that for some innuendo?

  15. BigAndos

    Portable Consoles, maybe..

    I think there is a case to make this argument for portable consoles like the Vita and Nindendo DS. In this case, mobile gaming is a natural evolution - similar (or better) hardware power but only one device to carry around. Locking down of game purchases is at platform level, rather than specific device level. Access to titles from a much wider range of publishers...

    With the poor 3DS sales I have wondered why Nintendo doesn't consider becoming a publisher for iPhone/Android et al? I would love to have Nintendo quality games on my phone, Professor Layton or Pokemon would be ideal commute fodder and I can't be bothered to carry around two devices.

    For home consoles, I don't think this will happen - at least not completely. The casual market will probably go down the mobile/tablet route to an extent but you can't beat good old console multiplayer. Just Dance etc sell by the boat load and I can't see those running on a phone in the near future!

    1. JaimieV

      Re: Portable Consoles, maybe..

      The 3DS hasn't had poor sales. After a not very shaky start, from Q2 after launch it has consistently sold more units than the DS did in the same time-since-launch, which makes it better selling than the best selling handheld console ever...

      Nintendo's Wii was the best selling of the PS3/X360/Wii triumvirate. And every one of them sold made Nintendo money, quite the opposite of MS and Sony. We'll see how the WiiU goes - but it's selling out rapidly so far, and more than the Wii did (because there are more units available!).

      That's why Nintendo aren't getting out of the hardware business, and are in a silent battle against iOS/Android for portable gaming. They can't possibly win, but they are likely to hold their own and keep the niche IMHO.

      1. Amonynous

        Re: Portable Consoles, maybe..

        Don't forget the target market here. You'll hardly find a kid between the ages of 7 and 11 who hasn't got (or wants) a DS/3DS, whereas far fewer of them will have an iOS/Android device. Playground peer pressure is one factor on Nintendo's side, and parental control is another.

        Most parents do not want their younger offspring having uncontrolled access to the internet, app stores, text messaging and phone services. It is a damn sight easier to control what little Johnny plays on his Nintendo handheld than on any mobile/tablet device.

        Okay there was that recent survey that said most under-tens want an iOS device, but then most over 45's want a Ferrari and there's bugger all chance of that happening either. Nintendo have got plenty of breathing space left, and as the saying goes ""Give me the child, and I will mould the man." Maybe this time they can build some lasting brand loyalty; the WiiU definitely seems to be trying to extend to a more grown-up demographic this time round.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genius

    Mobile gaming will kill consoles; just like TV killed movies, and wristwatch TVs killed the large ones that used to sit in your home. Or is this the universe where this happened?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/16/black_ops_2_takes_500m_from_day_one_sales/

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has doubts over the long-term success of the Nintendo Wii U, after admitting he doesn't get the tablet-controlled console."

    And if a tech head doesn't get it, the absolutely thick as pigs sh te consumers won't have a clue, or the brain cells to investigate.

  18. Stig2k
    Happy

    Mobile gaming with hardware controls

    Just for information (cos I only found out about it 2 weeks ago) anyone who has an android phone with bluetooth and wants to play with a real controller, you can connect both Wii and PS3 controllers. Works brilliantly with snes and n64 emulators.

  19. DrXym Silver badge

    The point of the Wii U

    Is to get Nintendo on the same performance / development tier as the PS3 and 360. Developers can take 90% of the code, graphics, audio and other assets from these other platforms and reuse them on the Wii U. It means at last that Nintendo might actually see some decent 3rd party support, albeit just as these two other consoles are enjoying perhaps the last 18 months of their lives. It's basically 5 year old tech dressed up with a gimmick controller and a high price premium.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: The point of the Wii U

      It's basically 5 year old tech dressed up with a gimmick controller and a high price premium.

      I'll grant you that it's old tech plus a gimmick, but isn't that what Nintendo's been doing in the console market for a while? It seems to work remarkably well for them. As for the 'high price premimum', $500 isn't all that much for a launch price on a console anymore. Hell, the PS3 was $700 at launch, and that was 5 years worth of horrindous inflation ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The point of the Wii U

        "5 years worth of horrindous inflation ago."

        Are you German? Inflation in the US has averaged under 3% for quite a while now, and I'm not aware of any other nationalities which would consider that 'horrendous'.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: The point of the Wii U

          3% is horrendous when you couple it with the fact that the average income hasn't kept pace with inflation. A 3% increase in the cost of living is a hell of a lot when your paycheck doesn't swell to match it, which in this area they haven't. That may just be the area I'm living in. I haven't looked at national statistics but I know that in my area most people have only gotten one minimal cost of living raise since the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008.

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Davidoff
      FAIL

      In the same way Linux runs faster than windows on the same h/w

      Yeah, sure. You obviously haven't tried a modern Linux distribution like Ubuntu, other wise you'd have known that such general statements are plain BS.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: In the same way Linux runs faster than windows on the same h/w

        Yeah, sure. You obviously haven't tried a modern Linux distribution like Ubuntu, other wise you'd have known that such general statements are plain BS.

        Actually, I'm thinking the same of you. Every machine I have dual or triple boots, and Linux is always the fastest system by light years. I though Win7 was snappy on my desktop, then I installed Kubuntu, and it's crazy fast.

  21. pig

    Wii U Profit

    "“As soon as we get the consumer to buy one piece of software, then that entire transaction becomes profit positive,” Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo America, told the San Jose Mercury News"

    That's great for Nintendo if it is true, but the quote is conspicuous by it's absense from the interview you linked to.

  22. SpaMster
    FAIL

    I'm still yet to find a single person who prefers games on a touchscreen rather than on a console with a controller

    Phones the gaming platform of the future?

    It's really not

    They might want to start asking people who are actually into gaming instead of angry birds fanboys

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How has this research been performed? Do you stand in the street asking strangers or simply ask your friends?

      Have you ever even uttered the question "do you prefer games on touchscreen to console gaming"? Or are you just telling us that you and your 3 mates like PS3?

  23. Eddie Edwards
    Unhappy

    Since this is my industry, I do feel compelled to point out that the death of consoles is pretty much an accepted fact by now. There's no real debate about whether or not it's happening or is going to happen. The curve for console-based revenue is downwards, and has been for some time. There are zero startups in the console space. Studio closures are endemic. The specialist retail sector is imploding / has imploded. These are not the signs of a healthy industry.

    Sure, we'd all love to believe that it isn't true, because there are significant problems to solve before GTA on iPhone is as fun or as playable as GTA on PS3. But it's likely these issues will be overcome over the years, and every step towards the solution is a nail in the coffin for consoles, I'm afraid.

    1. M Gale

      "There are zero startups in the console space."

      There haven't been any new console companies since the 1980s. Even Xbox and Playstation came from two very well established behemoths deciding to get into a new sector.

      That said, it could be interesting to see where Ouya goes.

      1. Zot

        There are start-ups.

        Kick-starter and the Unity/ UDK engines have helped get many games on different formats at the same time, which helps start-ups get the cash flow moving quicker.

        But there's still other costs like product licensing and delivery. And all the advertising razzmatazz of course.

    2. Richard 120

      Zero?

      Ouya

      http://www.ouya.tv/

      This is probably one of the nails TBH, but it proves there is still a bit of life in consoles.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Sure, we'd all love to believe that it isn't true"

      Are you kidding? I'd love it! At the very least it would mean PC games wouldn't be quarter-assed ports of console stuff, gimped four or five generations by console tech limitations.

      Maybe it would mean that gaming on anything but a phone dies entirely, but I'm not going to shed many tears for an industry that's essentially crippled gaming for a dozen years. And if consoles survive, PC gaming is dead anyway - along with, perhaps, most serious CPU / GPU performance improvements...

  24. JustaBod
    WTF?

    Dead? Really?

    Console gaming dead? Halo 4 made sales worth 220 million dollars on it's first day! I can watch iplayer on my phone, does that mean my TV is dead as well?

    Sure, the console may evolve into something else, but the equivalent of something that will run a full in your face video game is only just getting started. This could be a PC, console, fancy phone, whatever using a headset or big TV, but the types of games that inhabit the current mobile space will only switch more people onto fuller fat video games as they evolve as well.

  25. Dave Gomm

    the future ?

    a bit of bluesky thinking but perhaps it will go this way -

    mobile devices increase in computing power and become connectable to TVs wirelessly, for still/video playback, gaming etc, accessories connect to the mobile device via bluetooth or some related successor, turning the mobile devices into a home computer, console etc, storage is predominantly in the cloud with some local storage held centrally in the home for performance reasons. your preferences are held in the cloud and sync'd to whatever device you happen to be using at the time.

    games, videos and apps are purchased predominantly online and sent to your home NAS as well as entitlement being sent to your cloud store, thats not much different to how the 360 handles content today.

    I'd like to have all my stuff in a resilient environment in the cloud with stuff like pictures also held locally, I'd like my purchased content to follow me around during my life and through the different devices I use.

    What'll be interesting I think will be the conflict between companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesco of this world when it comes to owning the platform - I've included Google due to Android, Amazon have the existing media sales channel and Kindle, Microsoft have experience of putting a multichannel footprint in the home and Tesco have a strong established multichannel model as well as a direct business and the advantage of their stores/food business.

    And personally I don't think it is the mobile devices that is killing consoles, I think its more the cheap apps sold to tens of millions of people which are killing the traditional software pricing model.

  26. Shane 4
    Go

    Virtual Reality

    I am a hardcore pc gamer but have a PS3 in the lounge as well, Personally I couldn't care what platform wins out I just want TOTAL IMMERSION in my games, It is about friggin' time they had another go at Virtual Reality, Wether it be for pc or next gen console. Back in the 90's it was just a novelty and a bit of fun to try out at the arcades. The hardware and graphics cards required to run VR decently were just not there but now almost 20 years later it is time to try again in my opinion. There are a few projects in developement at present but I would like to see it go mainstream on pc/console within the next few years. I and many out there have insanely powerful pc's just itching to be used but instead all we get are some crap console ports and the odd game that uses more than 2 cpu cores. Latest generation cards from both AMD and Nvidia are overkill for the software, What we need is a new type os software/hardware to utilise the power of these cards, Bring back VR!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virtual Reality

      'VR' as it's usually thought of - synonym for 3D classes and maybe a fancy glove controller - requires no particularly nice hardware, certainly not beyond what's required to pump 3D to your 3D TV.

      The problem was really that the 'VR" people invariably used horribly expensive, already-out-of-date hardware and inefficient software to do their thing. Doom done in 3D would have been pretty cool, and quite easy for a little bit of money, but the 'VR' boosters were using $15,000 workstations to do flatshaded crap at 15fps...

      The limiting factor in immersive displays isn't CPU or GPU but optics; getting high resolution and (in particular) wide FOV to your eyeballs is quite difficult. The Oculus Rift thing looks interesting, and certainly they have their priorities right in favoring FOV and latency over resolution. But they seem to be wildly optimistic about the ease of actually accomplishing this, and in particular the cost...

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