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  1. #1
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    The future of consoles

    Remember when the PS4 was in development 10 or so years ago. Sony stated that they thought it might be the last console in the traditional sense. Many were already pinning the future on removing the need for physical hardware and for gaming to move completely to steaming. Which has now adopted the name cloud gaming.

    So what happened?

    Stadia was the first completely cloud based gaming service. They released set top boxes to access the service for those without other hardware that could access the service, and they released dedicated consoles. But it failed after 3 years and has now just closed its doors. Why? It was the wrong business model.

    To understand why look at Xbox Gamepass. It's very similar to Netflix or Disney+. You pay your monthly subscription and you gain access to everything in its library to stream whilst you continue subscribing. There are no paywalls to the content. You get everything. Stadia instead only offered a small library of older games included which the subscription. You had to buy any other games you wished to play. This raised the question what were you actually buying? You had to have an active aubscription to play any games on Stadia. So even if you owned a game on the service you couldn't access it unless you were subscribed. No other service works like that and that's why it failed. If you buy a product you need to either have a physical copy or a easy to access it without continuously payments.

    Now Microsoft have gone the other way. The Xbox isn't enjoying very strong sales compared to the PS5. Most Xbox gamers buy the system for Gamepass. The problem is that when you offer first day releases and most of the AAA titles in a single subscription library it's great for the end user, but there is limited incentive to buy any more games. And as console makers sell consoles at a loss they hope to make the costs back in software sales as they take a cut off the sales.

    Sony in this regard have a much better business model. PS5 is still very much a traditional console with gamers buying games and nettting Sony 30% of all sales revenue. So they are easily getting their money back on the console sales. But with PS Plus Extra they are also offering a Gamepass style library so gamers are getting thy best of both worlds. But Sony are being smart about this by not including day one releases, so the developers and Sony make maximum returns on new releases. Then they add them to either the PS Plus monthly game giveaways or add them to the Extra library after say a year, and this generates continued income from the games as many still have DLC that needs to be purchased.

    So what is the future? Sony have this generation sown up. PS5 sales are about twice that of Xbox S/X and I'm fairly certain the majority of Xbox sales are for the less powerful S as it's a great price point for parents to afford, and with Gamepass offers great value for money as an all tou can eat gaming platform wet no extra costs involved.

    But if Xbox hardware sales don't perform this generation what does that mean for the future? Could we see a time where Xbox is no longer a hardware platform, but instead a multiplatform subscription service?

    Could we eventually see Xbox Gamepass on the Playstation? Not too sure that would ever happen, but you never know.

    Or with the size of wealth of the parent company will Microsoft justvkeep turning out Xbox generations at a loss to keep their foot in the gaming market?

    I really hope Xbox continued into the future. We need competition to innovate and push. But the PS4 and Xbox One hinted at it, and PS5 and Xbox X confirmed that hardware is converging. Both platforms share veey similar architecture, and every closer to PC, making it very easy to port games between all 3. If they continue to converge will there come a time when we do just have a generic hardware that can run whichever gaming service you subscribe to? Just as we anyway do for streaming services on our smart TVs? Or will gaming platforms continue to be seperate devices?

    Gaming is great and we have never had it better. We have access to more at our fingertips than ever before.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #2
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    Sony have always been good at talking up their new gear. Remember the Emotion Engine, and how it was supposed to respond to how you play. Then there was the Cell apparently (according to Sony) the talk was a few of them together would be like a supercomputer, and they could be used for missile guidance or something.

    As good as they were, they didn't live up to that kind of hype. Probably nothing could.

    I agree though, the big power consoles do seem to be very similar, not all that much between them now. I have to wonder how much more is to be gained just by pure power increases, at some point are we really just going to be seeing marginal gains?
    Last edited by J T; 17th November 2022 at 21:26.

  3. #3
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    A big increase in hardware capability was needed for this generation because of 4K. And the PS5 and Xbox X can both handle native 4K gaming really well. And games do look amazing.

    But technologies within the GPUs are of less interest to most gamers. Raytracing is thy current most talked about graphics feature, but in all honesty it looks nice but isn't a game breaker and doesn't look that different to prerendered reflection mapping if done well. I'm sure it will be a standard feature moving forward with the next generation, but it's not something most are bothered about. Just look at the popularity of the Switch and that's using really dated hardware.

    And this gen of consoles have monopolised the gaming market for anyone wishing to play at 4K, because to build a 4K capable PC it's easily over 3000 these days, compared to 449 for a console. I went this route and am not bothered about trying to get a 4K capable PC any time soon. Happy with the PS5 for 4K, and running PC games at 1440p.

    The next need for far more powerful hardware will be 8K. But TVs are still too expensive for most and the hardware to push graphics at 8K isn't affordable yet. This will most likely be the focus of the next generation in a few years when 8K TVs are affordable. Just as this generation was launched just as 4K TVs became affordable. That is no coincidence.

    That also however still raises the question of streaming cloud gaming. Streaming at 4K is unrealistic, with AFAIK cloud gaming still running at 1080p or even 720p. So at the moment if you want the best visuals you still need to be running locally. Which is why most library based services still offer most games for download. I'm sure 4K cloud gaming is realistically possible on full fibre. I need to investigate this and see if any services to offer it and test it out.

    But going back to 8K, is there really a need for it? I already find the 4K resolution more then enough for gaming. You do notice a difference compared to HD, but it's not as noticeable or a game changer compared to moving from SD to HD. The screen real estate is already large at even HD, and it's huge at 4K resolution. To the extent that I was recently running Planet Rollercoaster on the PS5 on my 65" TV and I had to get up and move closer to the screen because the menu text was too small to read from the sofa. We don't really need 8K for gaming. The only argument for it is for really large screens. And if I'm struggling to read text at 4K resolution on a 65" screen from 2-3 metres away, that would mean an 8K TV would need to be at least 130" which is silky. Not many have a wall that big. Would be amazing in a home cinema though.

    But you also have to look at gamers and the platforms they are using. The best selling console currentlyb is the Switch, although PS5 did overtake it in monthly sales from the summer. The Switch proves gamers don't need 4K graphics if the gameplay and game design is good.

    But I would guess the more gamers these days are gaming on smartphones and tablets. And that's where a lot of the revenue is found.

    I'm guessing that moving forward we will see more cloud gaming, but offering back catalogues to meet the retro nostalgia market that's finally gained a lot more interest. But the AAA titles will still need dedicated hardware. But I do rib this will eventually change. Maybe 1 or 2 more generations.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  4. #4
    Burn! Hot Blooded Rhythm Soul! Staff Moderator
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    But going back to 8K, is there really a need for it? I already find the 4K resolution more then enough for gaming. You do notice a difference compared to HD, but it's not as noticeable or a game changer compared to moving from SD to HD. The screen real estate is already large at even HD
    I really agree with this - previous developments started off making a huge imopact but gradually that impact from one 'leap' to the next has diminished. At some point we reach the stage where just having MOAR PIXULZ doesn't make much of a difference to the end user. PS5 looks really good, how much benefit truly will be had from just more and more power? To me 8K seems like an unnecessary step for the home user but hey, business gotta make and sell more tellies, right?

  5. #5
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    8K does look impressive when you stand in a store watching the demos playing. Combined with the contrast, colour accuracy and black levels they look amazing. But I finding it hard to realky notice a huge difference to 4K.

    In South Korea they actually have 20k displays working for some time. Now that is mad. They consider 20k to be roughly equivalent to what the human eye can see, so would there be any point in pushing further. And the screensize needed for optimum viewing at 20k would be ridiculously big.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  6. #6
    Burn! Hot Blooded Rhythm Soul! Staff Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    8K does look impressive when you stand in a store watching the demos playing. Combined with the contrast, colour accuracy and black levels they look amazing. But I finding it hard to realky notice a huge difference to 4K.
    Exactly, how much difference does the resolution alone make when it's already really high to begin with.

    I imagine the current 8K displays have the cutting edge tech (processors, chips, expensive good components, none of the cheap shit) so of course they'll look nice. Compared to an equivalent specced (processors, chips, expensive good components, none of the cheap shit) 4K set and the difference probably won't be that much - because a cutting edge 4K looks really bloody good already.

  7. #7
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    Plus digital cinema screens are running 4K too, and no one has noticed the resolution limitations on such large screens, although being projected may blur the image a bit to reduce any such issues.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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