Global Game Industry News Blog

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Irony of New Consoles

Why is it that the best titles showing up are showing up on the older consoles? God of War, Resident Evil 4, ... Certainly there are interesting and innovative titles showing up on the Xbox 360, and soon the PS3 and Wii. But the coolest games are on the older systems. In large part because these are the systems developers have been working with for years. They're good at making games for them. They know the hardware, they have established pipelines, they know what they're doing.

Then you have new consoles, and especially in the case of the 360 and PS3, they are expensive. Again, smaller markets. It will take time and price cuts before they're widely available. The one system that gets around this problem in several ways is the Wii. It's going to be much cheaper than its "competitors." It's going to be different. And perhaps most importantly, developers actually know a lot more about that hardware than they do other systems. Many existing pipelines will work with some changes.

Its tough to constantly have this double movement, forward/backward. Now of course there are some great reasons for pushing into new hardware territory. But I think there is something to be said for console manufacturers doing it more out of a desire to drive the market, than at the behest of developers.

GC: Tough times ahead as next-gen consoles arrive - Daglow //
"Generally it's jostling between the hardware manufacturers that drives the move into next-gen. Nobody's in a hurry for that to happen inside the business, because instead of having millions and millions we can sell to, suddenly we're down to a few million real dedicated gamers."

According to Daglow, total sales in the industry are set to drop as the new consoles arrive, and business models will become stretched due to reduced royalty potential.
The irony, Daglow believes, is that although new hardware gives developers much more scope to produce innovative IP, their ability to do so is simultaneously constrained by financial pressures.

"When you stretch the industry, what we think of as creativity is pushed back, ironically by the introduction of the potential for future creativity," he concluded.


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