View Full Version : Let's talk about consoles...

Sherack Nhar
06-14-2001, 01:33 AM
Even though the PC saw some really impressive titles (SoFII, Galaxies, you name it)at this year's E3, on the console side it was equally, if not even more interesting. With the launch of two big consoles (Gamecube and XBox) only three days apart from each other, the year is truly a great time to be a gamer. But, many people like me can barely afford one console out of the three. Therefore, we must make the right choice, by literally predict which console will be on top down the road. (Note: By saying "on top" I mean the one which will have the biggest installed userbase and support from the 3rd party developpers).

Let's find out the pros and cons of each one:

Nintendo Gamecube

Pros: Obviously enough, the gamecube has arguably the best all-around first party developper that the business has ever known, Nintendo themselves. Every game that Mr. Miyamoto produces is guaranteed to be a true gem. And I'm not even counting the top 2nd party developpers like Rareware, Left Field and Retro Studios. Yes, clearly Nintendo has some dedicated talent behind their newest console.
Besides, judging from the early screenshots provided by E3, Gamecube's hardware pushes graphics to a new level. Games like Rogue Leader and Zelda really set the new standard in next-generation graphics.
Lastly, the Gamecube's 200$ US launch price is just plain awesome. It really puts the Xbox's price to shame, with a hundred dollards difference and three days in advance.

Cons: While Nintendo will undoubtedly provide high quality titles, some people already questions the 3rd party support. While Lucasarts, Sega and a few others hastily jumped on the bandwagon, many talented developpers are still unheard of. Seeing that the Nintendo 64's 3rd party support was sub-par, one can only worry that the Gamecube will have the same fate.
Also, while Nintendo is desperatly trying to get rid of his kiddie image (Conker's Bad Fur Day is a prime example of this) , many people still think that the Gamecube is for children. Through the eyes of the casual gamer, Nintendo is still "for kiddies". And the look and color of the console doesn't help at all...

Sony Playstation2

Pros: Well, the PS2 has one big advantage that the other consoles shall never obtain: a full year to prepare itself against the competition. That means that when the Gamecube and Xbox will come out, the Ps2's library of games will be very big, with 2nd generations titles already on the shelves and 3rd generation titles well under developpement.
Let's not forget about Sony biggest weapon: its massive, hell, gigantic 3rd party support. With the unparalleled success of the original Playstation, developpers and gamers alike from all around the world see the PS2 as "the next big thing". The console's sleek design helps a lot here.

Cons: First, while the Ps2's one year advance is very good software-wise, it is a weakness hardware-wise. The PS2's relatively small total of 32 mb of RAM, the textures look blurry. The hardware is a real problem concerning the PS2. Many developpers already complain about the programming difficulties associated with the console. While many say that the problems are only temporary until the devs can find a way around these problems, it will still hinder its success. While we're still talking hardware, let me add that the Ps2's hardware is very unbalanced. With three processors on-board but only 32 MB of RAM, and a petty "4 MB Graphic Synthetizer", the PS2 is all CPU and nothing else. That means the lighting associated in 3D graphics must be calculated by the CPUs, rather than the graphic processor like the other consoles, which means less power for CPU-only operations like artificial intelligence.
Another problem with the PS2 is that, while this is only temporary, there isn't really a 'killer app' for the console yet. The launch lineup was mediocre at best, and the best sellers like MGS2 and FFX are still months away.

Microsoft Xbox
Pros: Last but certainly not the least is the Xbox. The most obvious quality associated with this console is that the hardware is really advanced, with a 733 mhz processor and a modified, slightly faster Geforce 3 core integrated into the motherboard. The only thing lacking is a small 64 MB of RAM, but that's only compared to the other components. Hell, it even has a hard drive!
Another advantage that Microsoft has is that it seems to be racking up every developpers discouraged by the PS2's difficult programming language (let's not forget that the Xbox runs on a modified Win2000 kernel and uses DirectX8 as its API. That, coupled with a PC-like architecture, makes the Xbox a heaven for PC developpers). Developpers like Oddworld has already shifted developpement in favor of the box. Their title, Munch's Odyssey, is even referred as the console's flagship title. Even Sony's mascot, Crash Bandicoot, is coming to Xbox, fleeing the PS2's programming hell!
Yet another advantage is that Sega, a major developper in the business, is heavily supporting the Xbox with some of its most prized franchises, like Jet Grind Radio. Sega has already announced eleven games for the console, and that's only the beginning!

Cons: The biggest problem that Microsoft will have to face is that, well, it's Microsoft! Many people dislike the company, and won't buy their products just to show off. Personally, I consider Microsoft a very capable company, very dedicated, but unfortunately that's not everyone's opinion. Add to this that since Microsoft is an American company, many japanese devs, including Squaresoft, refuses to give the console a chance. We can't blame them, it's their culture, and we must respect that.
Other that that, the Xbox has another problem. It natively supports broadband connection, but not telephone connections. Since the broadband market is still far away from reaching even 50% of the homes, Microsoft believes that the multiplayer over the net is still not a viable option on the 'box.
Lastly, Microsoft stated repeatedly that the Xbox is NOT a toned down PC. While I agree with them, many people don't and because of that Microsoft is pushing it a bit too far, by refusing the production of a mouse and a keyboard for their console. This is a bad move, since many gamers were already accustomed to the DC's mouse/keyboard combo for Quake 3 and UT. As we PC gamers know, the mouse/keyboard is the best combination for 1st person shooters (yes Vag, and you know it!! :D )...

Whew, that's all. A few things might have been left out, so don't hesitate to add or correct me.

So, what I want to know is, what's your opinion on consoles? Will you buy one? Which one will be on top in a few years? Make your predictions!

Oh, and... FORCE LONG POST!!! :D

[ June 13, 2001: Message edited by: Sherack Nhar ]

06-14-2001, 02:44 AM
Force long post indeed. But good job, I agree with most of your points.

I'm not huge on consoles anymore. I was when I was a kiddie, but now PC games hold my interest much longer. Plus, net support... but this thread isn't about PC's.

So far, I like the GameCube. The most important thing in my decision is bang for my buck, and, as far as I'm concerned, Nintendo delivers that. Only $200 (a full $100 less than the others). Plus, its launch games look really nice.

PS2 has had a very mediocre year. Only a few great titles like starfighter, SSX, and Madden have come along. MGS2 and co. are still a ways off. Why would I spend $300, when I could get faster hardware and better games for $200? I already have 3 DVD devices in my home, I don't need another one from PS2.

As for X-Box, I simply don't know. It's Microsoft, so it has that going against it. I really hate buying anything from them. I'm only going to buy 1 console (and I'm not even sure about that, it's like 50/50 for me at this point), and it looks like GameCube.

06-14-2001, 02:56 PM
I'm having a tought time deciding between the Xbox and Gamecube as well (the PS2 is not an option for me). Nintendo will win the round of consoles wars if they get the 3rd party support they need. Also, if Microsoft gets the 3rd party support they need, they can win. Right now it looks like Xbox has the upper hand, but it's way to early to tell what will formulate. I mean, look at what happened to the Dreamcast...it had everything: advanced graphics, easy to develop for, great first and third party support, and a good marketing campaign and it still failed. The only "safe" bet you can make is on the Gamecube because Nintendo will be around until the day I die...but going with them may not get you the best system. What I plan on doing is buy a Gameboy Advance, play that and PC games, and wait until after Christmas to decide on which console to get. By that time the dust will have settled and you'll be able to see which console is better suited for you.


Darth Simpson
06-14-2001, 03:16 PM
Yay, Force Long Post!

Personally, I'm buying a Gamecube. There's a few factors that lead me to this decision. Firstly, it's Nintendo, which I've always respected as a game company. Granted, the N64 wasn't all that I was hoping for, but the console was still pretty successful.

Second, the dedication. I know Nintendo will not give up in this console war. They will stick with the Cube, and continue to support it, just like they are still supporting the N64.

Third, and most importantly, the games. So far, the Cube has the most interesting games, at least in my opinon. Rogue Squadron 2, Perfect Dark 2, Metroid, and last, but not least, The Legend of Zelda.

PS2 doesn't really interest me. Sure, it has some good games coming out, but I don't want to spend $300 just to play those few titles I'm interested in. I don't really like Sony either. ;)

I'm not sure about Xbox though. It has the hardware going for it, and I hope the hard-drive is used to full extent. Support is what could cripple the Xbox, and the fact that a lot of people seems to just brush it off an a nuisance that doesn't stand a chance. But, if MS can pull it off, it's going to be a great console.

Sherack Nhar
06-14-2001, 04:29 PM
Well, it looks like many people are agreeing with me that the PS2 isn't a good option...

I like what Darth Simpson said... whatever will happen to the Cube, Nintendo will continue supporting it.

It's really sad to see the Dreamcast fade away like this... As Swoop said, it had everything a console could have hoped for, even a built-in 56k modem! Unfortunatly, the reputation that SEGA has since the days of the Saturn is pretty bad, and I suspect that is why they failed... :(

[ June 14, 2001: Message edited by: Sherack Nhar ]

06-14-2001, 04:32 PM
hey sherack, you forgot the gameboy!

Like canoli, I dont really have any time for consoles, it pisses me off royally when in the UK they just about become affordable another one comes out, or in the case of the N64 you need the damn expansion pack to play the games.

These companies take huge liberties because they know they can get away with it as little kids HAVE to have the latest version..



Obi Kwan
06-15-2001, 03:44 PM
Reading this thread, i think we all have pretty much the same thoughts; PS2 is out of the picture, Nintendo is the safe bet and who knows about the X Box? I would love to say that I am trying to look to see which system will be on top in another 3 years, but the main factor in trying to make my decision is the games that I can see in the near future, primarily a new Zelda game and Rouge Squadron 2. Out of all the games scheduled for the next year or so, those are the ones I am anticipating the most, so my money is with the GameCube, for the time being! :)

En Taro Taldarin
06-15-2001, 03:51 PM
P.C is still the best out there in my opinion. Otherwise, I've got my sights on PS2 and Gamecube. I don't think XBox will grab the good developers.

Boba Rhett
06-15-2001, 05:22 PM
Well, there not grabbing them. More like buying them. *sniff* poor poor Halo.....

06-15-2001, 05:34 PM
The PS2 is a big NO. Im just gonna concentrate on upgrading my PC. Most of the best games go on there anyway, and always look better.

Sherack Nhar
06-15-2001, 10:24 PM
Me too, I'm a little short on cash, and I REALLY need to get one of those Geforce 3!

It's too bad, because console gaming really is fun. A game of Super Smash Brothers with 3 other friends just can't be beat. Add to this Mario Party and Crash Team Racing and you've got a whole night of pure gaming goodness...

That's what bothers me the most about PS2. Only two controller ports? Where's the fun in buying an adapter for 50$ when you can get 4 ports for free with any other consoles, including two that were released WAY before PS2! :confused:

Darth Simpson
06-16-2001, 12:02 AM
Console multiplayer gaming is fun. The feeling of actually trash-talking to your opponents, face-to-face, after you beat them into a bloody pulp after a vicious round of Soul Calibur, is just incredible. It really adds a real social feeling, in contrast to PC gaming, where you generally play alone. In this aspect, consoles rule the PC.

06-16-2001, 03:48 PM
Some good stuff here....X-box compared to Game Cube Gamespot (http://extra.gamespot.co.uk/videogames/features/xvsgc/)

Not the best, but theres some good info!

06-16-2001, 07:43 PM
Originally posted by Boba Rhett:
<STRONG>Well, there not grabbing them. More like buying them. *sniff* poor poor Halo.....</STRONG>

Never a truer word was said. The X-Box will probably win the console war, because what Microsoft can't beat, they will buy. They have always attempted to dominate their respective markets, and have largely succeeded. Their outright purchase or buying into certain game developers will no doubt continue if they see a game they think would do well on X-Box.

And Microsoft are past masters of bundling their stuff with other things. Practically every PC from retail stores comes preinstalled with Windows, whether you want it or not - and many never offer the option of other operating systems. If sales of the X-Box don't go as expected, it wouldn't surprise me if they start bundling them with new TVs or something.

I guess that makes me a real cynic ;)

Sherack Nhar
06-16-2001, 08:33 PM
You frightens me, Stormhammer :(

Japanese developpers are very important to a console's success. If Microsoft can't have companies like Tecmo and Squaresoft on their side, I HIGHLY doubt that they will buy them.

06-16-2001, 10:50 PM
i dunno, PC gaming is great, but it sounds like more and more titles are goin to concoles theses days, man, was i pissed that OBI-WAN isnt on computer, but it prob will be later, knowing lucasarts, still, it seems like there are more and more games on concoles, to me anyway. i would figure developers would like PC's better because they have a lot more power than concoles, or at least you can get more power out of them. well, i dont even know where im at now, so, i'll quit...

Sherack Nhar
06-17-2001, 08:55 PM
Obi Wan coming back to PC? We can only hope... after all who saw the Starfighter for PC announcement coming?

The reason that developpers seem to tend more and more towards consoles is that it is standardized. What I mean by this is that you don't have to deal with different hardware configurations and work out the bugs with a specific piece like PC devs most do. Every Xboxes are identical to each others, and it will always be so.

But like somebody mentionned in another thread, PC gaming is on the rise. Titles like Doom 3, Unreal 2, Unreal Warfare, Duke Nukem Forever, Jedi Knight 2, Medal of Honor: AA, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein will bring to PC Gamers a new level of enjoyment (man, I should work for a marketing departement :D ). My only complain is that these AAA titles are ALL First Person Shooters! Where are the RTS? The RPG? The Space Simulations???

Boba Rhett
06-17-2001, 10:52 PM
Even if Obi Wan comes to the pc, do you really expect a great game? It'll still be a mediocre game even if it comes to pc.

Darth Simpson
06-17-2001, 11:54 PM
Sherack, you want RTS games?

-Empire Earth
-Age of Mythology
-Civilization 3
-MechCommander 2
-Masters of Orion III
-Warcraft 3


-Neverwinter Nights
-Knights of The Old Republic
-Dungeon Siege
-Pool of Radiance

A Space Sim?

-Bridge Commander
-BattleIsle : Darkspace

RTS fans are in for a real treat soon, but fans of Space Sims and RPG can't complain either...

Sherack Nhar
06-18-2001, 12:44 AM
Well, for RPGs you got me there, but pay attention to the other two:
Space Sim: Only three... and one is a sequel to Starlancer, which I considered pretty mediocre...

Now take a good look at the RTS...
Out of seven (you forgot Galactic Battleground), more than the half are sequels! I'm beginning to hate sequels. And Civilisation is turn based by the way.

Darth Simpson
06-18-2001, 03:11 AM
So you hate sequels, yet half the FPS titles you mentioned earlier are sequels. Hmmmm... :p

I sort of agree with you though. Some new game ideas would be great. I'm not saying that sequels are bad, I look forward to most of those games on my list, and I believe they have great potential.

I wouldn't really consider Freelancer a sequel to Starlancer. I see Freelancer more of an Elite type game, in a go anywhere, do anything game universe, which certainly doesn't resemble Starlancer.
Some more space sims would be nice though. Freespace 3 maybe, or a new X-Wing game. Or simply a new game altogether. ;)

06-18-2001, 05:04 PM
Darth Simpson brought up an excellent point about consoles being a type of social activity. I bought a Dreamcast nearly 2 years ago just for that reason. I wanted to play games with my friends, talk trash, and not have to deal with unhooking, moving, and configuring my computer for a LAN party. Those are fun, but take a lot more work than drving to my friend's house and just sitting down to play some Soul Caliber or a sports game. I feel like I isolate myself when I play games on the computer...that's not the case with consoles. This is why I enjoy consoles...the games aren't neccesarily better, it's just a much more social thing to do.


Sherack Nhar
06-18-2001, 08:51 PM
and not have to deal with unhooking, moving, and configuring my computer for a LAN party.
Tell me about it!! :D

That's exactly what I like about consoles. Multiplayer with friends without hassle. Although I absolutely HATE those split screens! I understand that they are essentials to games like Mario Kart and Perfect Dark, but GOD it's so tiny!!

I prefer games with a screen for everyone, like Pong for Playstation (I HIGHLY recommend that one), Super Smash Bros., Gauntlet Legends and Power Stone 2.

06-18-2001, 09:31 PM
You mean a shared screen?

06-18-2001, 10:19 PM
Sherack Nhar...aw shucks, I didn't mean to scare anybody with my cynicism. :D

You're no doubt right - there will always be those who can resist the Dark Side (ie, the Microsoft Empire).


i dunno, PC gaming is great, but it sounds like more and more titles are goin to concoles theses days, man, was i pissed that OBI-WAN isnt on computer, but it prob will be later, knowing lucasarts, still, it seems like there are more and more games on concoles, to me anyway.

There is one very simple reason why more developers are considering consoles over PCs as their primary/joint platform - they are more likely to achieve higher sales of any individual product on a console than they will on a PC. The console user base is usually higher than the equivalent PC user base.

This is not to say that PC sales as a whole are not on the increase (they are), but that with so many PC titles on offer, the market share diminishes for each individual title. Many well-known PC titles never sell more than 20,000 units worldwide - pretty small considering the installed PC user base.

Undying is a recent prime example of a game that was given good reviews, but has not sold well at all, for one reason or another.

Of course, there are many PC games that do sell well - but they may not be in a particular genre you are interested in. Just look at The Sims - it's not to my personal taste, but it's been in the top 10 for an age. There are exceptions in the FPS genre too, of course. Just look at the current top 10, or games like Half-Life, Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament, etc. But keep in mind these are the exceptions - the most popular. There are a great many more PC titles released worldwide every year that never do half as well, or that we never even get to hear about, because they are either not covered in PC game magazines, or they are not advertised enough.

As others have said, a console is easier to develop for, because the hardware is standard. For example, if your game works on one X-Box, it will work on them all (unless you have a faulty X-Box ;) ). They do not have to spend as much time tweaking the game to run on computers with vastly different specifications, and most likely will not need to release as many patches after the game ships.

In short, I would say that once the developer has ironed out all the quirks with the particular platform they have chosen, and fully understand it's limitations, they should also be able to develop titles more quickly and efficiently than in the ever-changing PC market.

Regarding sequels, well, you can't really blame the developers. For one thing, if a previous title has sold well, and builds a decent user base, then you have a prime market for delivering something very similar. From the publishers perspective, they are more willing to consider a game that has an existing target market - ie, safe sales. And from the gamer's perspective - let's face it, we wanted a Jedi Knight II. We asked for it. We're getting it. ;) The same is true of some other titles. Personally, I'd like to see a Heretic III.

And I agree that consoles have the greatest advantage of portability, and for sharing a (small) MP experience - although I've not really tried it myself.

Of course, I think this debate would become academic if they could produce a proper wraparound display device like a pair of glasses, with a totally portable game device, and a controller that could handle as many commands as a keyboard/mouse combo.

With the current rate of technology advancement, I don't doubt that we'll see something like this in the next five years. Processors are getting faster, cheaper, and running on lower voltage; storage capacities are increasing and also becoming cheaper; and display technology is making radical advancements, with things like flexible colour displays in the pipeline. And I've recently heard about solar-powered portable PCs being developed in Africa. If all this tech gets smaller and comes in a neat little package the size of a portable CD player, it could totally revolutionise the way we play games.

Given the choice, I'd rather play games that way than in front of a PC, or via a console tied to a TV. :)

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: StormHammer ]

06-18-2001, 10:24 PM
dreamcast forever....

06-19-2001, 12:02 AM
dreamcast is dead. so are the line of death stars.

Darth Simpson
06-19-2001, 01:41 AM
Actually, my Dreamcast is still alive. ;)

I really wish the console was more successful though. It had some really great games, and the ability to go online.