Thursday, January 10, 2008

ALL FOR ONE!....?

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Journalist Zaitsev posted this to the comment section and I wanted to share!



Isn't that fantastic? If you missed it, it's suggesting I'm a pinko commie! What would Colonel Flag think (M*A*S*H reference)?

It's amazing that one of the things that used to make America great- the fact that ideas of all kinds, no matter how different or unpopular, could be debated and brought up for discussion- is now the very thing that gets you labeled a commie. Not that this is a new trend, but I think it's been brought to the level of art form by our buddies Bush/Rove/Cheney.

Anyway, great pic Zaitsev! Thank you! And send a link when you get your story up.

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Thanks for all the great comments, ya'll. Appreciate the input. A few quick things:

a- as many have pointed out, I am arguing for a single standard not a single console. Thanks for clarifying and helping me express it better. And just because the 'big 3' would never stand for it, as some of you say, I wonder what the big 3 would do if EA, Capcom, Valve, Ubi, Blizzard, Activision,etc. formed a consortium and made a console/standard of their own and agreed to only publish on that standard. It would at least put Sony and Xbox out to pasture unless they did something drastic, pretty damn quick.

b- For the record- to all the semi-sensationalist headlines around the net: Jaffe is not 'arguing for' or 'proposing' anything. I think my blog post made it pretty clear I was simply floating the idea, that I did not think I was 100% right, and that I was open to being educated on the subject. Nice reading skillz, ya'll!

c- Chris Kohler reads good! Thanks for taking me up on it. Read your post at Wired.com and loved it. And you are spot on: to me, 80% of the game innovation I care about comes via design, not tech. Yes, you need your upgrades but I could live with an upgrade every 8 years or so (like 2d to 3d) and then do the rest via software upgrades and perpipheral add ons. But that's just me. Thanks for your article tho. Lots of good info on the subject there....see ya at Dice/GDC!

Ok, I'm done with it. Back to more posts about me and the wife watching fecal paste slither out of young women's brown eyes. I mean, come on, THAT'S the reason you come here isn't it? Well hell, that's the the reason I post here! :)

David

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Can anyone explain to me how having ONE console would be bad for gamers? Or game developers for that matter?

The argument that keeps coming up is, ‘oh, it would stifle competition and competition is good for gamers!’

But I don’t understand this in regards to console hardware.

One game publisher would be bad. One giant game developer would be bad. I get how those things would hurt gamers. But why would one unified hardware platform?

We have it with DVD, we had it with VHS. We have it with televisions (in the sense that- for the most part- every tv is capable of broadcasting the same signal). So what do we lose by having it for game consoles?

Sure you miss out on some features that may otherwise be available if another console was there to compete. But this is always the way when one format wins over another and becomes the standard. And for those few features you lose, don’t you make up for it in so many other ways? Massive content choice, being the main one. And what about better quality products because the makers of the software/television shows/dvds don’t have to spend one instant struggling to make the same content for 2-3 different systems and instead can focus on making grate content right out of the gate? And you get MORE competition on the software side- which is, to me, where it counts- because there is MORE competition to be the best on a single system instead of content creators splintering and never ever worrying about competing with 2 out of the 3 groups.

For me, those are much bigger reasons to want a single console. Sure, you miss out on a cool feature here, a neat feature there. But we’ve gotten used to this in so many other hardware products and- in doing so- reaped the many more benefits of a single system.

Sure, our industry would have to battle it out to determine who gets to make the system. Is it one company or a group of companies? Or is it like television sets where you have multiple consoles that run the same software but with their own unique features?. And before you toss 3DO at me as an example as to why this won’t work, don’t. 3DO failed because- for the most part- it had crap games and was way too expensive and could not compete with the new game hardware coming out that was selling at much cheaper prices. But if the 3DO had been an XBOX 360 or a PLAYSTATION 2….or even a Wii? Well then I think things would have gone differently.

A lot of people will say: well, the game companies would never agree to this or that or the other. And to me, that is part of the problem our business has overall. Competition is great. But I think the leaders of the biggest groups should come together from time to time- like the big Mafia families do in the movies- and make some decisions together for the overall health of the business. Heck, maybe they already do this and I am just not aware. But if they do, they have not made the right decision on the one thing I think that could benefit gamers and game makers in a massive way: a single console.

As always. I’m up for being proven wrong. I don’t think I have the ultimate answer and I know there are some strong feelings on this topic from some folks. But I’ve yet to have a good argument from anyone-including these vocal anti single system folks- as to why a single console is wrong. Please to educate me? Even if the reason is competition, please explain why it works in other industries but would not work in ours? Thanks!

David

154 comments:

Jeremy said...

I agree with you very much on this. I was thinking about a similar thing recently with regards to the wii. There is nothing about the wii console itself that justifies it's existence. The controls are great for some games and nintendo is an amazing developer, but there is nothing about the actual console that makes it neccessary. Nintendo could have accomplished the same thing by developing peripherals and software for the 360 or the ps3. In the current environment that would be difficult, but in a world with one console it would be great and it would allow nintendo to focus on making great games.

The main fear I think people have with a single console would be that there would be no competition on price, but if instead of a single box there was a standard that m$ and sony and nintendo could develop to, then they could still compete on price and features. They could all play the same games coming out, but sony's might play blu-ray movies, m$'s might play hd-dvds, and nintendo's would be cheapest.

I say, get started on it!

milkman said...

Well I look at it this way, if you had one system...all the developers out there would know they are going have have a huge ass install base...so even if they release shit games, they are going to sell because so many people own it...It's like that way with the Playstation 2 now...shit games selling semi-decent because everyone owns one...I personally like console wars...you get to make a choice on what system you want to play and what type of games you want to play. If there was just a Wii out there and nothing else, I would honestly stop playing games...but the reason I bought and own a Playstation 3 was for...God of War III, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet...stuff that is only on the Playstation 3...I want a choice...I hated being told you have to buy this one system and you'll have to play whatever comes out on it...

Me. said...

Well, for one thing, having competition in console hardware (or in ANYTHING for that matter) puts pressure on companies to up their tricks to the next level, and you may argue that the company who developed THE Single system would eventually be advancing to the next level anyway, but at what cost?

Time.

I can imagine that, if say for example, Sony was the only console around, I would have to wait twice, maybe even thrice as long for the next-gen Sony console to come out. But clearly, with Microsoft as its main contender, Sony has had to keep on it's toes.

Another thing. It was the 360's price that drove consumers to demand a lower priced PS3. If there were no competition out there, I doubt many of your average-joes would be able to get their hands on one; at least not 8 months after initial release anyway.

So long story short:
I don't wanna grow old to only see technology progress from the stone, to the steel, I wanna see it go as far as it can, as fast as it can. :)

Me. said...
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Eric said...

I really like this idea as a consumer, and I agree that sacrificing a few features is OK given the benefit that a unified architecture would provide.

However, as long as there is an opportunity for a competitor to be successful in the market, they'll jump in and try. The reason we see Wiis, 360's, and PS3's in this generation is that they (N, MS, Sony) all make money, or at least believe they can all make money. What's the incentive for them to unify and standardize anything if they feel like they stand to make a larger share by just going it alone and competing?

The compelling approach, which you suggest somewhat) would be for one of these big three to lay down an architecture and license other companies (e.g. the Toshibas and Samsungs of the world) to build platforms based on it. If one of the big three did this, it could really squash the competition's platform. But is the victory here, from a company's perspective? Let's pretend we're Sony as an example. OK, we execute this strategy and ultimately drive MS out. I'll argue that Nintendo would remain based on targeting an entirely different market. Great, our platform competition is gone, but now the third parties are eating our lunch on hardware and we're reduced to a software company. And again, with a standardized platform, other companies will start eating our lunch on software too!

So as cool as the one-console-to-rule-them-all idea is to consumers, I don't see how any of the big three could get motivated to do it. Perhaps there's room for a fourth player, a consortium of outside companies that could set an architecture standard...

Les said...

In my opinion? Because most folks don't want a single platform. Sure it makes the lives of the developers a lot easier, but that doesn't mean much to the average consumer.

I think the reason it works for TV sets and DVD/VHS players is because the media for those devices is largely unaffected by the features (or lack thereof) of the hardware. The DVD you watch on a $50 WalMart DVD player is just as enjoyable as on the $300 Panasonic.

With a console if one company decides to try and offer more or less features than the base standard then there's the potential for it to directly impact the media. The current consoles already provide a perfect example of this.

Consider the hyper-successful PS2: They released a hard drive for it, but how many games ultimately made use of that hard drive? I know of one and it came with the hard drive.

Or the Xbox 360 for that matter. Microsoft swore prior to it's release when it was learned that the Core system wouldn't have a HD that no 360 games would require a hard drive to play. Of course that didn't turn out to be quite true, but it put a limitation on a feature that loyal Xbox fans had grown accustomed to having and it's arguable that the only reason the 360's hard drive has seen any support at all is because most games skipped the Core system in favor of the one that had the hard drive.

I think the 3DO (of which I am an owner of one myself) showed that there's not a lot of point in having multiple people building exactly the same hardware. I know you don't think it's a good example, but let's consider your suggestion of "what if it had been like the PS3?" OK, what features can you add or take away to differentiate one PS3 console produce by one company from another that wouldn't impact the media played on them? How can they compete on price when they're all putting out the same hardware?

Now that I think about it, Sony's already doing that with their multiple SKUs and how well has that turned out so far? How many people had a shit fit when it was announced that the new 40GB model wouldn't have PS2 backwards compatibility? For that matter, how many Xbox fans had a shit fit over the lack of a hard drive on the Core system? Now imagine the headaches folks would have with multiple SKUs from multiple vendors. At that point how is developing for a console any different than the mine field of developing for the PC where you have to decide what level of hardware commonality you want your game to be run on? Do you write for the lowest common denominator like Blizzard did with World of Warcraft so you have the largest possible audience? Or do you make your requirements so high end that at release very few people can even run your game like Crysis and hope like hell people are willing to upgrade to play your game.

Ultimately I think consumers like the fact that there are three platforms to choose from. I don't own a Wii specifically because, as revolutionary as its control scheme happens to be, it holds no appeal for me. If it were the only option I had I'd stick to PC gaming and not own a console at all. I do own a PS3 (along with a PS2 and PS1) and I'm less than enamored with the motion controls built into that console, but fortunately it's not the primary method of control so I can live with it. I can't bring myself to buy an Xbox 360 because I already own a souped up home brew PC and just about every game I might want to play on the 360 is available for (or will be available for) the PC and controls better there anyway. The three consoles are different enough to appeal to specific preferences, but buying one ensures that the software should largely be drop-in-and-go as opposed to gaming on the PC.

I'm not a developer though, just a gamer, so these are just my two cents on the the topic.

ArshrAAm said...

It would definitely make life a lot easier for gamers and the developers if there was just one console to buy. It's silly to have console gamers divided as they are. I have friends that are into console gaming, but they have xbox and I have ps3. It's unlikely that either of us would buy the other console, but we would pick up the same game if we could.

If they all united, they would all win, as they get the combined sales and more. With one system, no one would hesitate to purchase that system for any reason other than waiting for a price drop.

Adam said...

I like the console wars personally because there is such a wide variety of games that are produced because of it. Nintendo has their casual/mario thing going on, PS3 has it's franchises, as does XBox. If you had just one flavor some games wouldn't get produced over others, or some innovations wouldn't make it to the market. I think having the choice is great, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. What I'm saying is there's a certain kind of experience I come to expect from a Nintendo game versus a PS3 game. If I didn't have those options I'd probably get bored with games and read books or something.

If you think about it multiple consoles are good for the industry overall. I have a Wii and a PS3. Instead of just buying one console at an average price of $375 I injected $750 into the industry.

The Writing Stops Here said...

My only questions for you, David, would be:

* Would lack of competing consoles halt the process of innovation in consoles?

* Would there have to be some kind of timeline for releasing a new, better console? My thought being that there would be barriers to upgrading by software developers to stay with a particular console to take advantage of current gen code and avoid learning new technology.

* Aren't the big 3 just too greedy to get to this point?

Eudaimo said...

(Sorry for length)
David,
You're right that consumers sometimes reap benefits from standard formats that outweigh the benefits of competition I'm not sure that would be true in the game world, because what we expect from games can be so disparate.
I’ll illustrate, my point with two examples. On one hand we have 2 HD movie formats. On the other we have 3 consoles. I believe we should have 1 movie format, but I am happy that we have 3 consoles.
What do consumers want from HD Movie formats? Basically, the same thing: To watch movies in HD. It should be easy to come up with a compromise that gives everyone what they want.
What do consumers want in a console? There’s no one answer. The difference between a consumer willing to pay $250 for a Wii sports and $660 to play God of War 3 can often be measured in miles.
The most popular console (to date) is the Wii. So it would make sense that the Wii would have a significant impact on the design of our Utopian console. The Utopia would probably have a low emphasis on online access and HD razors's edge graphics. More emphasis would be placed on low price, accessibility and cuteness.
I don’t know about you, but that would be devastating to me. I love my 360 and PS3 because they are technical powerhouses. That doesn’t mean wii-fans are “wrong.” Just different.
Also, competition leads to faster evolution. In nature, evolution happens when one trait proves itself against other traits. In consoles, a single company can take a risk and see how it does in the marketplace. Sony took a risk with the Blu-Ray Drive included in the PS3, particularly because of what it did to the consoles initial price. I’m glad they took the risk, and I’m eager to see how it affects the market. The Utopia could not have a blu-ray drive because it would force the entire industry would be putting all their eggs in the blu-ray basket, and hope that consumers would pay for the privilege.

Jeff said...

This situation would be good for game developers...

Owen said...

It might be good for developers, but as when Nintendo held the monopoly on the market, things don't turn out well for the consumer. Prices can be whatever the company decides they are. As another poster said, certain games would just die out entirely. Where would I go for my Mario games if the PS3 became the only console? Where would I go for the touch based games on the DS if the PSP were the only handheld? It's good to have variety. Less variety, less of a market. As much as I enjoyed my time with my PS2, the kind of games for the PS3 and 360 hardly interest me. Most of the things offered up by devs nowadays don't really wet my pallet. The DS has been a nice niche for a gamer living in the past, such as myself.

I'd even consider buying a Sony console if I saw more of the things I liked in the past (a new Twisted Metal, games like the old Star Wars ones I used to love, Medievil, etc). I loved platformers, and Ratchet and Clank doesn't do it for me.

A standard would totally ruin gaming for me.

ortholomeux said...

good post dave. i think i agree with you, but i'm certain this will never happen.

maybe you should start holding secret meetings with the illuminati and get the ball rolling.

Martin Richard said...

I think your comparison has a major flaw, or at least would need some other suggestions backing it up..

VHS and DVD are _formats_, and pretty much anyone can produce compatible products (just look at all the cheapo models from unknown brands at your local walmart). This isn't so with game consoles.

But the biggest thing against your post I think is the present licensing model.. Overnight slay two major console makers (your choice) -- what will prevent the remaining one to jack up prices for its licensees? If Nintendo was left alone would it stay away from the temptation of going back to the 80s style iron rule? I think it's very good that MS is kept in check by competition, look at the other markets they're in.... Sony would be the same as they have tried many times in many techs to get a monopoly going.. meh.

So while I'm not really sure if I'm for or against the concept of a single console, I think in practice right it just can't happen.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to see a single console. With that said, it's shouldn't be backed by a single company.

There has to be an equivalent of a Blu-ray Disc Association/DVD Forum/_inset_other_standards_body_here to keep everyone in check.

You don't want ANY of the current three to have a monopoly.

zeppelin said...

what your arguing is format. DVD won but there wasn't a single dvd player in the market. different dvd players of different quality battled it out to get the biggest install base. what you are arguing (as far as i can tell) is format war. blu-ray versus HD DVD is exactly what your arguing. if there was a single dvd player brand with a single model nothing would ever get done and the market would stagnate (very similar to the sports market at the moment, atleast in quality). there would be no wii right now if it was a unified console system. what you would get is something like a gamecube every new iteration. something that excels at nothing but isn't the worst at anything. the ps2 had its share of amazing games and was incredibly varied in its selection. the xbox was the most powerful system on the market. the gamecube was a nintendo player that everyone got for super smash bros. nothing good comes from a monopoly... ever.

PM said...

It would have to be set up, as you said, so that multiple companies would make games systems that all play the same games,like DVD players. there would also need to be an association set up between these companies to decide on the standards every time they come out with a new system.

But i still foresee 2 problems.

1. Video game technology moves much faster than TV, and home video tech. and it would take a association much longer to debate on specs and features than a single company acting alone (look how long it took blu-ray to get their act together).

2. If one company got to powerful or really displeased with the association, they would say "hey why don't break off and make our own game system to compete with the standard, get a bunch of exclusive games and features and withhold all the rights and keep all the moneys???" and we would end up right back where we are.

Its a nice thought, and it could work for awhile, but probably not forever

Chris said...

It would be a great thing, and people talk about consoles wouldnt drop in price as quick as they do now...they would go so much quicker..look at blueray players, dvd players, lcd tvs the cost cuts 1/3 to 1/2 every year making them quite affordable.

And since the potential market/install base is larger and companies wont have to publish the game on numerous consoles in theory the cost would drop a tad but profits/potential profits would skyrocket making it possible for the average game to drop below the 49.99 price point. Sure the uber expensive final fantasies or halos would still cost more, but all the crap that floods the market could be sold cheaper making it even easier to discover hidden gems

And really? why not? 95% of all console exclusives went multi-platform this gen anyways

Chris said...

OH!

but let everyone make their own variation if they want...much like theres a dvd player but everyone in the world makes a variation...its not mandatory but if nintendo sony microsoft wants too let em or whoever else for that matter

this would also help in stopping the "games is for kids" argument, its believable to think that with one format across all companies the industry would be taken more seriousley.. and possibly even to get the ESRB to come up with a solid ratings tool

as far as the wii controls etc go...peripherals...theres a billion out anyways, may as well make some cool...kinda like how the bongos came out with jungle beat/ konga...they didnt make a whole new system for that...i mean, imagine halo used the wii controls?? (and im so not m$ fanboy) but with an open format that would technically be possible

Alex said...

I agree for the most part. But I think eventually this topic inevitably leads directly to the PC platform.

Is it right though, for game makers to say "you have to go spend X amount of money before you can play this"? That's pretty much been the case. I remember getting an Alienware for my birthday a long time ago. Bleeding edge with a GeForce3 card in it. Half a year later there were game demos coming out that my system wasn't fast enough to run at full settings.

"But alex, full settings aren't required..." technically no, but is that not the way the game was meant to be played? I have to settle for a bunch of colorful triangles wiggling across my screen, and assume those are characters, because I don't have $1000 for a PC upgrade? This will always be the fundamental problem of PC gaming... it's insane expensive.

Standardized platforms that the GAME MAKERS conform to is a much better model, because just like a DVD player- you just go out, buy a title, pop it in, and GO. No system requirements, no upgrades needed. The only upgrading you do is 6 years later when the NEXT version of the platform is released.

But yeah, I agree. One platform would make things easier for a lot of people. Publishers could save cost on multiplatform development, it would make the numbers clearer to them and shareholders etc., no getting the wrong version xmas morning, and no articles every other day on the front page of digg.com about developers whining about CELL.

I think that the opportunity for a unified platform has passed though. Back in the early 90's Nintendo was just the overwhelming favorite, and could have just been 'it'. Now so many people have become fans of the platforms just like you see people painting their faces for football games, that it would really shake things up.

Plus think about it, each platform has their own strengths and target markets. I think it keeps things balanced. To be completely honest, this generation I think all 3 consoles will do extremely well, and the 'winner' will be by a small bit, and will be on technicality- seeing as the markets Nintendo have opened make the game completely different now, and with all the new technical breakthroughs happening.

Remember when it was just "oh, this console is 16bit as opposed to 8bit!" Now it's "oh this one has waggle, but this one has a camera, and this one has this whole online thing, ooo but these two have full games I can just buy and download over the net, but wait, this one does this...."

Anyway, not going to eat up your comment space. Kudos for talking about the kind of topics I often bring up inappropriately in forums!

LionGv said...

There already is a common/open platform. It is the Web and you can play games on it using a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC, consoles, and mobile devices. This platform has many more games released for it than any console does.

Chris said...

SWEET! Oh waid MGS4 isnt available on PC? Neither is FFXIII? or Zelda? Mario? Metroid? DMC?

Shit! all these are on home consoles only? The general public worldwide prefers console to pc gaming? Shit really?

So that open forum would alienate the majority of the people its trying to bring together

Justin said...

Wasn't it called the PlayStation 2?

monty said...
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monty said...

When consoles started getting really big around 10 years ago I argued passionately they would be bad for games overall because of this and other issues.

Just another reason PC will always be my platform of choice. It has become a political statement as well as a creative one. I simply object to the control exerted on the medium when someone else owns the hardware.

Don't get me started on how bad the console control systems are for many game types...

NO FEAR said...

So your talking about one form factor. A software centric approach governed by an industry standard who any hardware manufacturer can build a device for as long as it meets some basic minimum standards. It has one standard coded software like a DVD...or a PC.

Here is my best example. The Computer industry has a model driven by software accpeted all over the world. Why not make that the standard. Are you so willing to give up your MAC?

Since M$ has dominated the market do you theink the PC industry has been better off with one system to program for?

What IF we all agreed this is the best thing for the PC industry and decided to no longer accept the MAC in the the industry?

Would we all be better off with one company setting the standard. Would we all be better off with just Vista?

da criminal said...

no fear-

I get your point and alot of the points here about giving up macs and so forth but the thing is: it works for LOTS of other industries and consumers benefit in a huge way. I think a big part of the problem is people are used to the choice they have and can't imagine letting it go because of what they would lose (and there is no frame of reference really in games to show what would be gained since the PC is a shitty games platform experience for most folks who don't have the patience for installing drivers, upgrading,etc)...

I imagine in an alternate universe there are 3-5 different television types that are different enough from each other to force players to choose between what kinds of tv programs they could watch. And I am sure those folks in that universe would not want to give up the choice they have gotten used to . But for us, we don't even think about it. I think game consoles could go the same way and if the game cos got together and forced the issues, in 5-10 years, no one would even remember what all the fuss was about. We'd all just be digging great games.

David

ps. for the technocrats in the audience, I can understand their fear that progress and graphics gets stifled and are not at the bleeding edge. For me- and if you look at Wiis success, most consumers- the bleeding edge doesn't mean all that much so that is a pill I'm more than willing to swallow :)

Caleb said...

I think you make a great point Dave....case and point with the systems of today.

MS, Sony, and Nintendo all have fairly good consoles while each tends to have their own claim to fame.

If you were to cram that all together it would generate an excellent system. It sucks having to spend 500 dollars each for system {accessory/games} just to play some of the exclusive games. It would be awesome to have the guts of the system the same, but the exterior/interface/accessories could be developed by individual companies.

In defense competition is good for gaming in general, it increases innovation and features within the systems. The industry could get stagnant since one console would allow system developers to make new tech upgrades less often. While competition forces the system developers to keep up with on another. The final reason it wouldn't work there would be a massive suicide epidemic from fanboys who slit their wrists.

Ratsor said...

I think it's hard to keep the cost of a single console down to the level that casual gamers would still buy it but have the hardware that the hardcore gamers want. Plus if 1 thing is dominant then it tends to start slacking off and the next iterations don't improve anything. To prove my point: Madden. Nothing new but every year there's a new one. A little graphics tweak and a few new things that no one really wants ("QB vision")

Ken said...

jaffe...

just wanted to drop by and say I'm lovin' the video blogs...

keep doin' 'em and I'll keep watching

andrew said...

Hey David,

That 1UP Yours logo is like a bat signal to me...glad you like the show. :)

Drop me a line (andrew_pfister at ziffdavis dot com), I have a proposition for ya...

-Andrew, 1UP.com

JCMasterpiece said...

Would the standard be a loose standard or a tight one?

1) A Loose Standard - Basic standard that allows companies to customize and make a variety of options for.
Strengths -
Can be customized to appeal to whatever population is interested in it.
More options.
More appeal.

Weaknesses -
More difficult to program for in order to match the hardware of each company or categories.
It exists! It's called the PC, and look how well that works. There's a reason that consoles exist in a PC world.

2) A Tight Standard - If the standard is tight, every company would make almost the same machine. Same specs, same stats, etc.
Strengths -
It would be easy to produce for
It would have a wide & well established user base
Weaknesses -
It would run into the problems that the industry has had for a long time... It fits those in it, but has no appeal to most others. Nintendo saw the problems of this and created the Wii in response, thereby revolutionizing the industry and bringing in new blood, many of whom may abandon ship.
Limited appeal. It would have to be designed to appeal the broadest audience possible. The more casual gamers will want something with value or that is inexpensive while or they may just not get it at all. The hardcore gamers will be turned off by it not being top of the line multimedia powerhouse that can fulfill their gaming desires. Thus both sides lose.

Ultimately, neither will work.

MCM said...

In a sense we do have a model of a unified console, Its called the PC.

Going by Jaffe comparisons of VCR and DVD player, just look at how VCR and DVD makers do. These makers come out with new players every year adding some new features that are backward compatible (s-vhs, progressive video output, upconversion to 1080). I personally dont want to upgrade my console every year for new features. This is one reason I am out of PC gaming, as the need for a new $500 graphic card every year is stupid. I would rather buy the 3 different consoles than do that.

Atean Boy!!! said...

Hmm... I dont agree that it has anything at all to do with 'competition' per say. It's more like, 'people like options'. People like knowing that options are there even if they don't need it. Personally, the only console I have is a PS3. Infact, I have two of them. One in my room, and one in the garage for when all the boys come over.

I have more than enough money to buy all 3 of the 'next-gen' consoles if I so desired. But I don't... Because I've had a go at the Xbox 360 and Live and I didn't like it. But does that mean that I would like to see the Xbox 360 out of the race? No. Maybe the Wii, yes, because I feel it's not helping the industry grow at all in any form or way, but that is just personal opinion. And even though personally I don't like the Xbox 360 platform, I DO have respect for it. I respect what it has been able to accomplish up to this point. But I don't really think there is any 'competition'.

I love my PS3s and I think that every household should have one. Just because it's so damn awesome and has such good technology built-in. But, a world without Nintendo? A world where the only gaming platform that exists besides the PC is the PS3? It would just be really strange... It would go against our human nature. Everywhere that I go that I want to buy something, no matter what it is, I always expect to have choices. Burger King or McDonalds. Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts. If I go to Best Buy looking for a TV. Sony Bravia, Panasonic, etc. etc. If want a gaming machine.....

TILTMFC said...

well i think you suck and youre games too...
so you can have youre one world with one console and play youre shitty games on it...



Why dont you bitch about Pixel shit racers some more....

NO FEAR said...

IRT Dave,

You make a well enough case. I was a huge PC gmaer for years and when it all works it can be a great evepriance.

I do CAD so I need a top end PC to work on anyway.. BTW vista fails in this respect.

But it is the ease of use that comes with a console that drew me back when they went online. That and more adult based content that you could only get on a PC before.

HDTV has also changed some of that. My PC does well enough on my Bravia but the PS3 plays COD4 a whole lot better :)

Honestly though I would be worried that the industry would take advantage of us...it's the nature of things. Look how long it's taking HD programming to break the current mold.

I think developers (like yourself) would love to live in a one console industry, but it's the corperate EA's, Ubisoft's, and Activision's of the world that would put a box around us gamers...here is your vanilla flavored game of the month.

Note to corprate: Buy ESP so they stop tying to make rocky road, then we can keep selling vanilla at a better margin.

Maybe I don't know enough about the industry but the way I have seen things is the new consoles drive the need for exclusives, which drives the publishers to produce the games better to generate the install base to sell more games, which drives the hardware sales so the hardware manufacturer can make money off producing a high end machine at an initial loss.

Now take that whole hardware factor out of the equation.

Anyone who wants to make the hardware can, but because there are no exclusives driving sales anymore they must sell the console at an initial profit. In order to make an affordable machine, it can only make small advances when a new tech has already established itself in the market.

The way I see it as compared to the DVD and TV we would still be playing PS1 and PS2 would be the newer game machine since the DVD became affordable and the PS3 would still be years away after the HDTV has made it in most peoples homes.

I just don't trust the large corperations to inspire the need for change when they can just keep going with businees as usual. If it wasn't for the PS2 helping to drive the DVD format we would still all be watching VHS.

TILTMFC said...

OMG dumbass PS2 came out 3 years into the DVD era..it didnt push it.. it helped out..but it was not a driving force ...

Mess said...

Brought a tear to my eye.

We need more people like you in this industry Jaffe.

Console war bullshit is getting old, and fast.

Anonymous said...

So you get one console that everyone can make their variations on. Then the big 3 (or however many) create their own versions of the console with their own special features. Which will lead to games that can only be played on certain systems, which leads to the same place we're at now.

P.S. We already have a 1 console area where everyone can make games for it, PC.

nrXic said...

We need competition on the hardware side to have cheaper consoles.
More powerful consoles.
Consoles that provide more multimedia features.
Consoles that provide better online experiences.

If there was no hardware competition, we'd probably still be playing on our PS2s, rather than on our PS3s.

This generation we saw 3 very good consoles as a result of competition. Nintendo came up with something new, Sony came up with a true multi-media center, and MS came up with a console that really builds on a social online community (most of my multiplatform games will be bought for the 360 for this reason).

Because of hardware competition, we've seen more advanced hardware for graphics and sound, better controllers, more convenient features, and cheaper prices (especially when considering inflation, we are getting cutting edge tech at cheap prices).

Rudeboy007 said...

Disagree! A console can limit what a developer is able to make available to the gamers. They have different options with different consoles. If you wanted to make a realy large game with lots of cutscenes and audio, the PS3 is less limiting than 360. But if you want to make a fun online game that would get a large online fan base, you might want to go with the 360. TurboGrafx brought us the CD-ROM error when Nintendo and Sega didn't think it was useful. Saturn showed online was a desirable feature on a console. PS2 offered the DVD that allowed movie playing on a console. Xbox brought Broadband only gaming, with full voice and single identity to gamers. Xbox also brought it hardrive, nic card, custom sound tracts and downloadable content (demos, arcade games, trailers, ...)PS3 brought the Cell, and BluRay. The 360 was the first to to concentrated on High Def,and online as the next level of gaming. Wii proven that the easier it is for people to get into the gameplay, the more attractive it becomes to non gamers. My point is, consoles are never the same and usually have their own innovations which you will see others copy and help to evolve gaming. M$ is the main reason PS3 has is strong feature set (500MB RAM, HDive, Built in NIC, PSN, .... M$ Stole the making more cash from add on's from PS2.

Anonymous said...

1] Most companies hate change. No one, not Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft is going to stop making their own videogame system because you think it sounds good.
2 Money makes the world go around. What do you think their running... A non- profit public service?

I mean, please... Most videogame sequels are made by outsider that had nothing to with the original title. They only make more games because there's money to be made.

Kingdom said...

This is the dumbest post I've ever read. You don't "get it" because you have no concept of what "standards" actually mean.

Standards are slow. DVDs have been around since like 1995. That's ok because playing movies is not a technology that is constantly updating itself. Only now are we getting into high definition...and what do we have? Oh right, COMPETITION! between Blu Ray and HD-DVD.

Standards also take FOREVER to be agreed upon and implemented. Unless you're willing to spend 10 years on your outdated gamecube technology, this is a horrible idea.

Things that would not have happened without competition:

- Rumble
- Xbox Live
- Playstation Home
- Backwards compatibility
- DVD/Blu Ray playability
- Nintendo Wii

Also, PC gaming will absolutely crush console gaming as after 3-5 years it will be so technologically superior to the stagnant console that it'll be like Crysis versus Super Mario Galaxy.

Rezuth said...

I would say there is a major difference here. TV and movie industry has already maxed out. They have what they need and unlike the video game industry we have not hit our roof. We have no idea how the best way to make player immerse into the games is. That is why we need competition to make new groundbreaking steps. If not we might not have joypad, d-pad, waggle, wireless, HD, 3D, Online etc. We need to reach the top before we can settle on one console.

I would urge you to think before you write crap like this again Jaffe :)

Adam said...

Competition is good. Lack of competition would lead to worse hardware and worse software. There just isn't any other rational conclusion.

Yes development would be easier and all stakeholders could potentially make more money, or at least easier money, but in the long run the industry would suffer for it.

Dustin (Elessar) said...

1 console would be great for the industry. Developers would only have one console to figure out and optimize which would mean huge gains after the first year. With that, development costs shouldn't be a major concern considering you are combining 3 separate audiences into one.

Currently the Wii has roughly 17 million units out there. the PS3 7 million, and the 360 about 14 million. That's 38 million...imagine that! Instead of developers having to make 1 game for 3 systems and then sell at least X million copies to break even, they make 1 game for 1 console and everything after say 1 million copies sold is profit. But with an audience of 38 million, it's HIGHLY likely that they could sell 5 million+ if not more.

So with that in mind, developers will be bringing in more money likely and with less risk. That means more chances will be taken on new IPs which is something this industry needs desperately if it wants to stay alive.

So yeah, i like the idea of 1 console. If we had to, take the PS3 hardware simply because it offers the most performance (add 256 MB more to handle the graphic intensive games), with Xbox Live as the online service, and the Wii's Wiimote and Nun-chuck and you have your console. The 360 or PS3 controller would come standard along with the Wii's controllers and the developers can decide what they want to use when they make their game(s).

Fallen One [Jeff] said...

why choose pie over cake when you can have both? This reason it "works" for television is very simple, the manufacturers do not own a significant portion of the market.

Software sales are more important then hardware sales, indeed they often make up for hardware sales. Having an exclusive platform guarantees you a set audience because buyers of that platform do so to gain access to first party software. Big name exclusives will lock people with a specific platform and open them up to purchases other exclusives they might not have previously considered.

for example:
platform x sells exclusives Q,W,e.
platform y sells exclusives S,d,t,

where caps'd exclusives are considered "important" to the buyer.

in an open market of universal software, a person with a budget for 3 games would naturally buy "Q", "W" and "S". Platform x gets too titles, not bad.

In a closed market of exclusive software, the person will choose platform x for having more highly desirable games, he will buy "Q", "W" and have enough money left over to buy another game such as "t". Which is three sales for platform X. Thus making a closed market potentially more profitable for the platform creator AND has the added bonus of driving first party developers to push the limits and sell their platform before "platform y" can.

Thirst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thirst said...

Give us an open plattform to be honest.

I want the accessability for development of a PC and the unified hardware plattform designed for gaming of a console and I'll be very happy.

MikeH said...

As long as the one "system" can get dashboard updates and has some sort of system of hearing from the users like the Playstation blog I'm in!

Chris said...

David,

I accept your challenge!

http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/01/why-david-jaffe.html

Chris Kohler

Neil said...

This kind of 'one console' thing was attempted once. Remember the 3DO? The chipset and specs were set by the 3DO company (to maintain compatibility) but they let several companies make their own versions of the console and pay a royalty.
Sadly, it failed due to the high price of the console itself, especially when the Playstation came out shortly after. It was a nice machine though but suffered from a lack of software titles.

Jass said...

Hey Jaffe, I think it's very cool how you showed us the design document of Dark Guns and gave us your thoughts on the making of process of that project, even if it was cancelled.

I just wanted to say how I generally find your blog an interesting read, but also how I especially hope you do more posts like this one in the future.

Tapion440 said...

One system is a monopoly Jaffe. If all 3 of these big companies joined together to create one system, they could charge anything that they want for the system, games and accessories. It's like that gas station in the desert with those "Last gas for next 50 miles" sign, that charge you triple the normal price of gas. You can bitch all you want to but the alternative is being stuck with nothing to do. Now I'm not saying that that is what they would do but the fact that they have that kind-of power, the power that doesn't allow me to take my money and say, "No! I don't want your f'ing expensive console, I'm taking my money elsewhere!" is enough for me to absolutely hate this idea.

And as for the other idea, where the format is the same but the hardware can be made by anyone...would never, ever, ever happen because the Big 3 would never agree to it and here is why...and correct me if I'm off base here but I'm pretty sure I'm right...for this to happen, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would have to turn completely into hardware companies. Now you might be thinking that they already are...well no, not really, at least, not entirely. Cause I'm pretty sure that a lot of these company's profit comes from software sales of all the games on their system. And for Microsoft and Sony, who for a while doesn't even make any money on their console, why would they even consider doing something like this?

But it's beyond 5am and I'm afraid to read over what I just posted...so be warned...maybe I should have posted this at the top.

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, just one car, one set of clothes, one rockband, one programming language and, of course, one nation across the world.

This doesn't work because without a choice, people aren't interested; the product thus dies if its lack is not life-threatening.

You think this would be good for game developers? Think again - the amount of games to be developed would shrink significantly because the yet-another-FPS-but-this-time-for-the-Wii-success-formula wouldn't work anymore.

So there would only be a fraction of the development landscape of today left if there was only, say, the PS3.

This is pretty obvious and I'm baffled it didn't occur to you.

Drama Mama said...

I see your point and almost completely agree. BUT...

Don't you think that by splitting the mass into different systems (typically with different tastes) little developers have the chance of selling more games?

As an example, lets take Gamecube and PS2 in America. If a little development studio was to create a survival horror game. PS2 would look like the easy option, because of the installment (#PS2>>>GC). But in PS2 the competivity was (is?) much higher. This way the company is forced to put special effort in aspects such as graphics quality and less in originality, plot, etc. Wouldn't this be worse with a single platform market?

I would say this is a problem of focus. If the buyer owns a single platform, he almost ignores any feedback coming from other platforms. Of course if the game is multiplatform or the owner has the three platforms the focus blurs.

In Spain we say "no comas con los ojos", don't eat with the eyes. This means that you want something because of how it does look like and don't rationalize. The videogames industry (until now at least) was pretty driven by this rule. By making a 'console to rule them all' wouldn't the graphics competitivity eclipse all this little projects based in anything but good looking graphics? Or maybe this is not a problem anymore, maybe nextgen public won't be interested in grapics...

I am not a member of the industry (yet!) so I might be wrong, correct me if so, this can be really instructive!

Fede.

PS: Sorry for my English...

Jdragon said...

I think a one console future is inevitable. I guess the reason why it hasn't happened yet is because the whole game industry is relatively young. TVs had been around for decades when NTSC and PAL came.

For the people who think the unified console would be too expensive for anyone to buy, let's look at it this way: The specs are universal, but it wouldn't be just one company actually producing the console. MS could still make consoles and name them Xbox -insert number here-, Sony could still make consoles and call them PlayStation -insert number here-, and so could every other electronics manufacturer. The competition comes when somebody makes a box that costs less than the others. Then somebody comes and makes a console that costs even less, bringing the prices down. Perhaps some company would make some high-end bundle that would come with four controllers, every video and audio output imaginable and a huge HD. It's pretty much the same as with TVs.

Also, I think somebody said that a single console would lead to the bad games selling well too. You forget that the best-selling games are always the ones that score just below 10 in pretty much every review. Let's look at game sales. The best-selling games on the PS2 were the GTA games and Gran Turismo 3 and 4. After those games were Final Fantasy games, MGS2 and 3 and Kingdom Hearts. It's the same with all Nintendo consoles, Mario and Zelda games rule the charts. For the original Xbox there's Halo and Halo 2. In fact, I can't really find any game on the charts that hadn't been good. Also, just think how many more copies Halo 1 and 2 would've sold if they had been on the PS2 and GameCube as well. I imagine they could've easily had similar sales numbers as the GTA games.

It's a bit of a shame about hardware, though. I doubt the Wii Remote would ever have become more than a gimmick if it had been just another controller option. Although as innovative as the remote is, I still sorta do prefer the 360 controller (and probably Dual Shock 3 when it comes out) to it in most games.

Sebbe said...

Ok, well if you mean one standard then that's one thing. There isn't just one VHS player or one DVD player after all, even though they all use the same standard, so there is still competition. But that would require that either Microsoft, or Sony, or both, let other companies use their "standards", and battle it out until one reigns supreme, just like the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD war. I have no idea what the likelihood of that is.

If you're saying there should only be one console then that's something else, because that would mean zero competition which would mean less pressure to improve quality and to lower prices.

graham said...

Some of you are saying the PC is the unified device.

But if you want an instant-on experience, prefer to play in any room, want the freedom of nothing to download / install, then you need... a PC; someone else's.

Imagine the future whereby your local cable TV / telco piped games to you like TV channels. They could host servers running standard PC games but with the images fed as compressed MPEG video streams to your existing set-top-box (STB).

These servers could even feed mobile devices. The quality of experience would of course vary according to the screen and other aspects of the device, but such a centralised system would allow you to start playing on your TV at home, continue on a mobile device and finish on a PC at your destination.

Some people say that the presence of multiple console manufacturers increases innovation. Really? The real innovation has been with the controller and the software. Most modern STBs have USBs. Plug in any controller you want.

Stay tuned; this new paradigm is already on its way.

Teko said...

Seriously Jaffe? I thought you where over this hypocritical anti-capitalism nonsense. Free markets are better, competition is better. Stop your bitching because your are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

What are you a fucking communist or a money hungry fuck. Either way your a fuck. What, so you could have charge me $20 for that piece of shit Calling all Cars? No one played after two weeks and you delayed fucking 3 times. I remember all so well. Motor Storm came out and that piece of shit went off my system.

xrayzwei said...
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xrayzwei said...
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Daniel said...

I'm going to go a different direction on why I think it would not work.

Staying with your comparison to Televisions, VHS/dvd players, and the like; I'll say that it would not work the same because those mediums don't change with the same ferosity that video game consoles do. How long did black and white televisions stay on the market? Then, how long did basic color SD televisions stay because they were the STANDARD. If video game consoles had the same standard (and therefore had the same life-cycle as televisions, etc) then we would see a 20+ year life-cycle for Console technology. This would mean that (like SD tvs) 80% of the country would still be rocking out their ATARI and (like HDTV) 20% would finally be making that leap to the NES because it's "So much better".

If one console became the standard, and that meant we would only see new console technologies every other decade, I'll keep my multiple console competition...

AmFreak said...

Seems Mr. Jaffe wasnt there in the old NES days ...

x360 said...

David,

Get back to work..

Chris said...

The problem with your analogy is that standards only hold in passive endeavors, such as watching movies, listening to the radio, or even in reading a book, where paper is the standard. In those experiences, it is simply the information that is being thrown at you that matters and your experience with the material will likely be the same whether you are watching it on DVD, VHS, or as a digital file on your computer. Either way you get the same story, similar visuals, and end up with the same information in your brain.

Consoles, however, are and ACTIVE endeavor, much like driving a car (why not just have 1 car design we all buy?). Different manufacturers leads to innovation, which can then be adopted by future manufacturers going forward, much like things like power windows, power steering, and the like are standard in cars, but were luxuries in the past in cars that tried to separate themselves from the pack.

If you want to develop to a standard, then just develop a PC game and use specs from an average computer from 1-2 years ago - you will have a huge install base and most everybody will be able to run your game.

Sergio said...

I have been saying this for years! It works in the PC market, it would just need to be tighter for consoles. On PC, there is an operating system (Windows), there is a cpu architecture (x86), there is a video standard (DirectX). With tighter constraints, this would thrive as a console.

They would design a single CPU and GPU architecture and performance output, RAM quantity, and OS. Then let everyone make it. There would be a company that designs theirs based on budget gamers, having only the published specs and nothing else, making it inexpensive. Then a mid range with some extras and a high range with even more extras. Sony could make one with built in Blu-Ray support (if Blu-Ray isn't part of the standard). Maybe MS would continue making hardware, making one that lived on your home network or added much more to the OS to make it a full blown PC and could be upgraded (as long as it did not affect the unified gaming standard) but that is if they want to continue making hardware. MS loses so much on their hardware, but their software is top-notch (at least 3/4 of it is), so they could get rid of hardware all together knowing that Anyone will be able to play Halo 4 no matter what system they have. Think of how many more copies of Halo 3 would have been sold if it worked in PS3s and Wiis

Zaitsev said...

Hi Jeff! I'm a editor at gaming site and I was writing a news about your idea. Because my first thought when I read your post was "omg, thats communism", I made this little lame picture (I suck balls at photoshoping). Hope you will like it: http://www.gram.pl/upl/news/20080111171935.jpg

At least a little... :)

Sergio said...

One big problem with having only one unified platform is that it spawns other new platforms. PC is an obvious example. Accounting for over 90% of the market, Windows is a platform with a combination of open source and owned applications.

That said, there are also a number of other operating systems out there that you can choose from; most notably, Mac and the various versions of Unix.

Another challenge for unifying console platforms would be the cost of the platform itself. Both Xbox and Playstation launched selling their consoles at a loss. Sure, you could buy a Wii (which is sold at a profit) but that would leave you with graphical capabilities similar to Xbox or even its own predecessor, the GameCube.

Another thing to look at is the theory behind how the platform works. In the case of online gaming, Microsoft has chosen to go with a method that discourages cheating and restricts the service to its own controlled servers. This and its unified gamertag give the consumer a predictable and favorable online experience but does so at a cost to the consumer.

With Playstation, Sony allows its developers to come up with their own online service. This benefits the consumers in a different way. There is no longer a default fee in order to play online. The only drawback would be that some developers do a better job than others getting their games online.

Neither Sony nor Microsoft is wrong to go with their choice. Some prefer control over quality. Others prefer control over price. In either case, there will be a consumer that will prefer it one way vs. the other.

Anonymous said...

fame whore.

wiggin said...

i can appreciate anyones oppinion as long as it's mine.

Geoffrey said...

I haven't read all the comments so maybe this was said before.

The way I see this industry and why there are multiple consoles on the market at the moment has to do with an increased potential of customer preference with a gaming console as compared to television or movies.

In essence, as there is more involved with playing consoles (ie it's not a passive sit and watch experience) there is more room for personal preference. As such, this allows companies to kinder to different kind of customers who will prefer different attributes. You can't really say the same thing about VHS vs BETA or BLUE-RAY vs HD-DVD as the experience of watching a movie is the experience of watching a movie. Sure, the quality might be different, but that is truly the only variable that will have an impact on the consumption. Where as consoles on the other hand have more attributes going for them. For example, just the controller itself will have different features that will affect game play. If you just think about the controller it will have features that will be more appealing to a particular user base as it will appeal to certain tastes. Apply this to all other features included in a console and you have room for different companies to offer various features that will give them a competitive edge over the competition with a select user base.

Anyway, this is why I think consoles are managing to have a more diverse approach with their products then video players or television sets.

A gamer, not a PC user said...

This scenario already exists. PC's are game consoles from multiple manufacturers. If you want to play the better games, you buy a better PC. I bought a console because I wanted the ease of use with a single system capable of playing a large number of games (with relatively minimal legwork).

I don't want to have to constantly be upgrading my game console to stay current with the best games, and take any additional features tied in with the console. I'll upgrade once every 4-5 years, not 5-10 times over the same time for a new graphics card, bigger hard drive, more ram, etc.

The "console" is already there, but there are other reasons why people will stick to the status quo for the market.

On a sidenote, is this one of the reasons why Apple has been successful in market share?

Petersjov said...

Hi,

Just a thought here....the other way around ? - Does it matter that we have more than one console ? - Most larger companies make a LOT of money, makeing games, and when they complain its not because they did not profit, but that they did not make a HUGE profit.

Soo, they have the money for it, and if its worth something i belive we are all ready going there, we have "only" 3 larger consoles...thats not much for the whole world....! and the television comparison ...they have more than one signal...., and so do DVD players. - and other players ..Hey i remember the betamax vs vhs thing going on

Kamil said...

You mean, like "New Console Order"? One Console? And I thought you wrote "I hate Republicans for voting for Bush". Damn, another conspiracy theory.

Zaitsev said...

OK Jeff, here it is: http://www.gram.pl/news_9A7hGe3_Daivid_Jaffe_Konsole_wszystkich_firm_laczcie_sie.html

Unfortunatelly it's all in polish :/

I truly love God of War II and Twisted Metal - thank you for these games!

Best regards and keep up good work!

Zaitsev said...

Sorry - http://www.gram.pl/news_9A7hGe3_David_Jaffe_Konsole_wszystkich_firm_laczcie_sie.html

this link is OK.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. With one console, there's no completion. And games would likely lose creativity. With competition comes the need for creativity.When it comes to games without ingenuity, they're not sold. No one wants a half done game, and without completion, there's no incentive to make an appealing game. Gaming might cease to exist. Sure the company would have to make great games to keep sales up, but there are so many differences to consoles, that make those games unique. And you can't combine all those elements into one, without a mega-huge price tag. This is all beside the fact, that the companies would never let that happen. If you gave them this proposition, they'd try to incorporate more of their ideas, than anyone else's. Sorry but it won't happen.

Anonymous said...

I am right with you David. I have been wishing for 1 console for years. Like you said let anyone make it but have them all play the same basic format and all play the same games. As prices keep rising every generation, it gets harder and harder to buy all the systems. It becomes even more when maybe one or two of them has just one or two games that you want to play.

Anyway keep speaking up and just know you aren't alone.

dVenom said...

Hey David! I don't think I could agree with you on this post. I think if there was one platform over all, there would be no excitement anymore. Sure there would be games to get excited about, but not the great features. If there was one platform, how could there be innovation. Sega incorporated the cd into Saturn, playstation added rumble in their controllers. The Nintendo Wii is so innovative and fantastic. Do you think if there was one platform that all these innovations would have been made. I think these innovations came about because of competition and the need to dominate the market. Also if there was one platform, the game experience would be the same all the time. When I play the Wii its different from the 360 and ps3. And when I play each system it feels different and has a better or worse feel. All I'm saying is, if there was one platform all the fun would be taken out of games and the number of gamers would decrease. That's just what I think.

Volvox said...

You wrote: "but why would one unified hardware platform?". Why? Theres absolutly no reason not to do this! In fact it has been done! There is console that can be bought from diffrent companies. Its standarized so you can run every game made for this console, no matter what hardware you have. Of course some hardware is better than another (just like DVD or TV), but basicly it can run anything. So when this console will be on market? Well.. it is since 1982 and its called PC ;)

Jdragon said...

The PC is pretty much as far as it can get from being a unified platform. o.o;

The only thing that's even sort of unified is the operating system (and that's only because most devs only make games for Windows, leaving the people with OS X or Linux/Unix behind).

It's really hard to find 2 PCs that have the exact same hardware these days. A lot of the software that run on today's most advanced PCs also runs on your grandmother's 10-year-old machine that only has Windows 98. But don't think you'll be able to run any new games on it. Also, the best PCs that came out back in 2003 or 2004 can still beat today's cheapest desktop computers. There's just so much diversity in PC hardware it's not even funny. Also, unless you spend like $1000 (or €1000 for us Europeans) every year or two to upgrade your PC, you'll have to start turning all the cool stuff off.

What I think (and hope that Jaffe means) when I think about a unified gaming console is unified hardware specifications (say, have an unmodified dual-core PPC processor that runs at 3.5GHz, 1 gig of RAM and a graphics chip that has the same amount of power as, say, an nVidia GeForce 8800GT, a minimum of 100GB of HD space, support for at least 720p and a network adapter of some sort), but the console could be manufactured by not just Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, but anybody who wishes to do so. Hell, maybe even Apple could do a box of their own (although I DO doubt it). Any game would work on any manufacturer's box. Devs wouldn't have to dedicate a separate team to port the game over to the other console, leading to better and more refined games and/or costs coming down quite dramatically. I don't really see how that could be a bad thing.

ophalan said...

I've read the whole post and most of the comments and to me it's just glaring how awful it would be to really have a single unified platform for console games. It's basic micro-economics. Competition is good for everyone involved as it pushes prices towards equilibrium between customer demand and publisher offer. It drives progress. A lot of people argue that the PC IS a unified platform and they are right and that hasn't helped developpers one bit, it just made it impossible for them to hit that ever moving target.

But, in all, I was most amazed by the addendums you added to the article. I am amazed to see that you are proposing a basically communist ideal but that you actually take offense with the term. You asked what happened to an America of free speech whereas it's the only place in the world where commie is an insult. Please do come out of your castle and see what the real world is like.

da criminal said...

Oph-

In AMERICA I should be able to propose ANY idea- including aspects of an idea that are communistic (is that a word) and not be shouted down because of it.

What amazes ME is:

My post - and all my follow ups- have been respectful, inquisitive, and respectful. The press will tell you I am 'calling' for a one world system. If you read my post, I simply posed it and said: hey what is wrong with this, explain it to me? So I am amazed by the venom, hate, and disrespect tossed my way over this issue. But then, that's the net, right?

David

Frontliner said...

David,
One console standard would be bad for gamers. I think the DS is a great example as to why. That is, it's sort of the only choice for handheld gaming and the hardware is what... 10 years old and therefore limited from a design feature perspective as it relates to hardware horsepower, memory, etc. What’s the motivation for Nintendo to innovate? There’s none really, no competitive pressure so the gamer loses while cell phones now ‘lap-it’ from a technical perspective, e.g. iPhone.
If Microsoft had not gotten into the console business we’d all be still playing with PS2 and the price would not have come down. There’s a limited number of gaming consumers and comparrisions to the movie business don’t really fit either. Also, I think that comparisons to DVD are flawed in terms of economic. That is, the numbers are much bigger given the component cost, i.e. cell-based higher-tech CPUS and memory vs. a DVD player which has fewer components and microcontrollers and zillions more global customers. The cost of a DVD player is low but without an infrastructure to deliver a better product such as HD (still slow) there’s no consumer need (market) to innovate and deliver the HD product till now… as slowly HD content, infrastructure and TV costs are coming down for the middle class. Point is the economics are in component cost and lower consumer price plus the content is sort of controlled by the big 3-5 studios that are driving a standard to keep their production costs low.
Also, when you talk about standards, who gets to decide what the standard will be? I’m reminded of Bluetooth – a standard that took years to adopt (Motorola the inventor throwing millions into it) and now its ancient tech and doesn’t work nearly as well as dozens of other similar techs out there today.
Finally, the razor/blade model works real well for consumers. Like h/p and printing, the ink subsidizes the hardware and keeps the barrier of entry low for the consumer, it’s all good. Otherwise what would the PS3 really cost consumers… a grand or so? That spiff per sku is a great model.
So, let’s drop this entire discussion and root for Microsoft to get into the handheld gaming business – Sony & PSP – they just don’t quite get it…

Zodiak said...

about the vblog: omg great pics in the phonebook, that's wayyy too much to pitch an idea imo. Pretty cool concepts in blowing up mascots at the amusement parks.

Puzzle Quest is amazing!!!!!! got it on xbl yeah it screwed up but it works some of the time now ;( a very neat game to play online with friends. I've got a nice Druid I'm working on right now :)

I mean it would be great to have only 1 console on the market but it would result in an monopoly in the industry, much like how EA is growing right now. It would be as crazy as the writer's strike.

Sadly the internet people feel they are tough guys that can threaten you through lame comments by typing on a keyboard..fuckkk them. Having a different opinion from society is great, it sets you apart from being 'normal' and 'lame'.

viva la jaffalution!

Silent Hero said...

Consoles are just pc's if you havent notice....
I been Buying console sense SNES days and I wasted so much cash in this never ending upgrade.
People say is cheaper then a pc witch it is till you look back on how many consoles you had and add games and other crap you had to buy for that console.
1 system for all to me it means set standar that will bring more competition amoung the companys.
Hopefully I wont have to buy 10 different controllers for 3 systems and old games will still play on the new hardware.
what I done now is just really stop buying consoles and now focus on other stuff like emulators.
I just think of the possibilitys of having something that plays different games and doesnt clutter my room what so ever would be great.
take this for example,I got NFL Blitz for my pc at a cheap prize od 8 bucks I play it whit my 360/ps2 controller have fun for a few and change to viruta tennis on my emulator.friend come over its time too pull mario kart out and well you get the picture.
I would love for companys to come togheter and finally get rid of this pointless war that really hasnt done anything but give crap to the developers.

Jack_Vykios said...

Urgh...I hate the surges of posts. I can never get a word in. I mean, solid replies are rare enough, but...when there's a n-dozen folks calling you gay or n00b or fanboy or something, it's kind of difficult for the people who actually listen to what you say to get more than a breath of air in, much less on opinion.

On that note...I don't have many on this subject. Two consoles are a better idea, I'd think. I mean, say if the X360 and the PS3 merged, and the Wii was left to do its own thing. It would just make things so much easier. I have a 360, and I like it, especially the controller, which is a stroke of genius (as opposed to the PoS dualshock), but I get what you meant when you first got a PS3 and you said you felt like you were playing with your money's worth (more of a paraphrase than a quote, but you may or may not remember anyway/get the point). The 360, on the other hand, feels really cheap, and I cannot emphasise this enough. The dashboard is so lame and plain ugly, without much in the way of artistic design, the console isn't much to look at, and is something of an eyesore at times.
But yeah. The Wii is a completely different breed of Games Console to the PS3 and 360, which are essentially the same but with different parts going to the same purpose. For which they might as well merge, because the only thing different, really, is the games, and the quality of multi-platform titles.
But the Wii is entirely different, and I think that's good. Kind of like where, in evolution, a species will split (The murlocks and the eloi! Or whatever those things were called). I mean, I don't want a Wii at all - my sister has one, and it doesn't interest me at all - but it's something new, and in an age of dilapidated concepts and the same ole' crap...well...

As for your most recent (at the moment) update...I am adamant in the belief that, no, webculture does not deserve and "excuse" for being so hardassed a lot of the time. Never in a debate do the people start hurling unfound abuse at each other as if they were monkeys throwing shit (Jerry Springer is not a debate show; it is shite), and so it shouldn't on the Internet.
But I can't think of anything to do about it that doesn't inhibit the freedom of the patrons, and freedom of speech is what I think is one of our most important rights.

Anyway, Orange Box is awesome...but get it for PC, man. Worth an upgrade if you need one, because Half-Life 2 needs to be played on max settings with a mouse and keyboard to be fully appreciated. It is, pure and simple, video game art.

Peter Park said...

Part of the reason we're at where we are is that console makers do not make money off of just the machines, but off of sales of software on their own platforms. Because of this model, companies will not, and cannot, agree to a standardized platform.

For the day when we can just buy any game and play it on any console system to come, the console makers should be able to make money off of just the system alone. 3DO was certainly on the right path; it just wasn't the right time.

Nor is it that time now, because even now, parents think game systems are just a toy, and will never invest more than few hundred bucks for a system.

Anyways, I think console makers' profitting from selling systems is the key to realization of your dream.

(In my view, MS should've remained Software company, and created a gaming OS that turns a PC into a gaming machine...instead of just calling Vista gaming-ready. That...could have led to the creation of standard gaming platform.)

Frontliner said...

...BTW, the Wii is a perfect example of why more consoles are better fro consumers. It's "Marketing Warefare" in action... they're fighting to knock the other guy(s) off the top if the hill and therefore forced to inovate. Choice is good...

"Suddenly" MS and Sony have to consider user interface like never before!!

Brady said...

Jaffe,
This is my first time to your blog site. I have played most of your games. I am currently an art director for a manufacturing company in Colorado and have always wanted to design games. I see a lot of good info and ideas here and I agree with a lot of it. I don’t think that answer lies in the hardware but, one common programming language would help developers a hell of a lot and cut the mega cost to port games to 3 or more consoles. We see a lot of this with the next gen consoles. PS3 is very hard to port games to and in most cases the titles release date gets pushed back. This is why there is more game for the 360 than the PS3. If there were a common language for game from one console to the next maybe even one that is compatible with PCs it would keep development time where it belongs “MAKING A GOOD TITLE”. Each company can have some kind unique easy to place key code for software so that a disk plays on one console and not others. This will allow games to have unique game content from one port to another and retain exclusivity rites for some games. The Hardware companies would still have their individual peripherals and if that could write an inner program for developers to utilize those peripherals could help to. Making online play available cross multiple platforms would be possible. Would it not be nice to play your Xbox 360 version of Soul Caliber 4 with your friend online when he has the PS3 version? (Yoda vs. Vader) or maybe (Master Chief vs. Link) and all of these characters are unique to different consoles. It would also give designers of MMORPG a new tool in the box. Exclusive races, areas and items that is only available for your console. The possibilities are vast and this would allow more hardware companies get in the game.

Peter Park said...

Actually, Gerhard Florin of EA said very similar thing:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7052420.stm

Anonymous said...

MS has a different set of guidlines determining what games are allowed on the system. Different from Nintendo and Sony. With 1 console who has that power. The ESRB, Govt(state or federal). Who says how much more power XZ has over XZ 2, how many years later. Who makes inventive controls like the Wii. How much better is this seasons dvd player is over next and last seasons player. Do you perfer a PC or Mac, molorola or samsung. Same standard tech, cell phone, plays mp3, with bluetooth, touch screen, and voice dailing.

Anonymous said...

David,

Google Reader doesn't like your video blogs. It never tells me about them through my RSS subscription and your embedding of videos in your post don't show up (just blank space).

Any idea if there is anything you can do to fix this or get Blogger to fix this?

NO FEAR said...

Your right Dave, it's about respect. But more importaintly it's about self respect. Sure it's the internet, that is no excuse.

We are all still part of a community. Some people chose to offer something to make it a good place to be, while others choose to trash it for whatever petty reason.

It's like painting graffiti on the Museum of fine art.

Sure we all slip up and say things with anger. Writing about our issues are a healthy way to release the pent up agression. Being angry or having personal issues is no excuse to trash on others in an online community.

It just makes us look bad as a society.

It may be easy to crap on others and hide behind a username, but it is far more rewarding to take the high road...it isn't always the easy road, but it offers the better view along the way.

gg

NO FEAR said...

ps

I did like the article wire wrote, I think they touched on the debate with some good information. I do agree this will all wash out in the end. As with any larger part of our ever intergrating society it should always come down to the lowest common denominator. It isn't always what's better for me but what is best for us all.

Thanks

bhoyt47 said...

David,
This really is an interesting, and complicated, debate. I recently spent some time thinking about it and arguing the subject with Denis Dayack, who seems to feel much more strongly than you do about both the likelihood and the benefit of a single-console future. You can see the text of that discussion on biz.gamedaily.com (just search for "one-console future").

I think that you are asking some very valid questions, and that the answers aren't black and white. The question really boils down to whether a hardware standard or a software standard would be better for the industry. I feel pretty strongly that standardized hardware is not the best solution, for several reasons.

First of all, a hardware standard forces everyone to conform to it, whereas developers are free to NOT conform to a software standard, if they decide that it's not quite right for their game.

Second, a hardware standard would likely result in a "one-size fits all" hardware configuration for consumers, which goes in the wrong direction, I believe, given the current trend toward many differentiated hardware configurations that consumers can choose based upon their individual tastes.

Third, a hardware standard would inevitably be controlled by a small coalition of powerful players. This oligopoly would inevitably resist changes to the standard, resulting in longer hardware cycles and consumers being stuck with outdated hardware for longer periods of time. (NTSC was around for decades longer than it should have been. Same for VHS.). If there is an "ideal" hardware cycle, the current climate of competition is best-suited to determine it.

Finally, I believe that a hardware standard would definitely stifle innovation. I would argue that much of the innovation that we are seeing today stems from hardware (whether it's the touch-screen of the DS, the motion controls of the Wii, the unique peripherals of Rock Band, the inclusion of wireless connectivity, etc.). There's not much point in arguing whether software or hardware are "more" responsible for innovation. It seems clear to me that they are both at least contributing to it. Standardizing hardware would, at least to a degree, stifle some of this innovation. I can certainly envision some interesting new hardware-based technology that might make sense for a new game or genre of game, that this mega-coalition might not deem worthy of changing the whole standard, and thereby result in it never seeing the light of day. (If Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft had all agreed to a hardware standard last generation, what are the chances that we would ever have seen the Wii?)

If, instead, we could settle on a single, well-architected, flexible, software platform that abstracted the differences of the consoles away, thereby allowing cross-platform developers to easily create games for all major hardware platforms, then I think we could get the best of both worlds. Developers who found the standard too constricting would still be free to use custom code and/or modify the "standard" code, while those who didn't need to do so, could benefit from the ease of a single development API.

Anyway, as I said, this is not a clear-cut issue. I'd love to discuss further, if you're interested.

Sincerely,
Ben Hoyt
Producer
Emergent Game Technologies

Robert said...

"One game publisher would be bad. One giant game developer would be bad. I get how those things would hurt gamers. But why would one unified hardware platform?"

I think it works the same way. If there is 1 unified/giant platform, then the prices can be jacked up or lowered to destroy innovative console designs. That's the Microsoft model. Because Microsoft has monopolized OS systems, they can put a hefty $100+ on 1 disk: Windows. When a smaller company comes out with something innovative, Microsoft either buys it out, or make their product value to be much lower than the competition to choke it to death.

It works for TVs because not all TVs are the same. Although they are similar in standardized platform, they have different contrast ratios, brightness, quality, etc. In this way, however, the gaming industry will not work because there are currently only 3 platforms (unless you count the Vii). With such small amount of platforms and differing qualities like the TVs, the prices would be different. And if they are minimal (prices/quality), then it would be the same as the Microsoft monopoly model because they are essentially the same products.

But this brings up the PC model. How does the PC use single standard format and work? PC is different in that there is a single OPERATING SYSTEM FORMAT. Which means that essentially, all PCs are the same; however, it is not a monopoly because of its upgradability and its necessity to upgrade. PCs are moving at a doubling rate per year, therefore, there is a HUGE demand for new PC parts/machines. Now, unless the consoles require gamers to upgrade their console every year, it cannot use the PC model.

This is my interpretation. Just like Jeff, please educate me in any way possible. Thanks in advance.

Jonny Alt said...

9/11 was a myth!!!!




....




...Sorry. There were so many damn replies, I had to do SOMETHING to make this the one to read.

Ironically, I couldn't stand to read all of them before posting this, so sorry if I'm just a douche repeating something someone else said.

I think what Dave is losing sight of, is that as long as we are on the wrong side of the uncanny valley, from both the visual and interface aspects of gaming, multiple consoles are important.

Now, I don't think that we will spend much more time playing games that don't look like Beowulf (the movie) did and beyond. And playing those games with even a simple brain interface that's linked to the actions and emotional state of our avatars. But as for now, the games are not the only things competing and it's silly to act like it is.

First, we're all graphics whores on some level, and those systems are still pushing forward on those fronts due to the competition. You can't compare the market to DVD players, because no filmmaker is forced to shoot something that doesn't look like real life.

Gamemaker's do. And a lot of their ingenuity has stemmed from situations where they have to balance their desire for pretty graphics with what they want to do with the interface.
so interface is yet another thing that has to be balanced with graphics. Could Sony have made the Wii with all the horsepower of the PS3? Yup. And it would be a 1000 dollars or more (3DO).

Back to the comparison, if you've seen one DVD player remote, you've seen them all.

And if you think we're going to be holding complex controllers for too much longer, you need to pay more attention to current scientific advancements. The Iraq war and the development of thought-controlled artificial limbs is pushing that technology forward at an incredible rate. To the point where a catatonic man is now getting a thought-controlled voice (take THAT Hawkings!).

Once we really truly can control games with our minds, and have complete control over what the realities look like (from true to life to the surreal), then, and in my opinion only then, will a unified machine be both practical and necessary. The technology will cost a lot to develop and manufacture, and the big 3 will have to cooperate somehow.

But in that, you are ignoring the slow fall of television. With these things possible in games, young writers and actors will gravitate towards them. Who will want to watch Lost when you can really truly be there with your friends? The OTHER Big 3 will have to adapt.

It's obviously a huge issue with a whole lot of factors, and you probably stopped reading 4 paragraphs ago.

I just think that Dave is thinking three or four years into the future instead of ten or twelve.

But that's just my guess.

SuperMax said...

Gimme a high-five! First off, your passionate speech just got yourself a hot spot on my blog! Doesn't sound so exciting, but whatever. Second, I agree completely. I am sick of fanboys that say theat other consoles suck and try to preach people to believe the same thing! They have to shut their potholes and stop this confusing competition.

ace04jhen said...

Dude, you took the words right out of my mind.

Last time i went for a jogg, and while trying to keep my mind off of the pain in my legs, i started thinking of random things, and betwwen those i f ound myself thinking of microsoft's xbox 360 problem with the cooling system, and the ps3's...not so good as the 360 problems, and the crappy playstation network.
So i don't know how, i don't know why, but it just hit me, just like you. Why don't they just merge, and create the ultimate console?

Microsoft puts its awesomeness to work, and Sony puts its...good looks. PLUS the blue-ray capability.

CVreate the ultimate gaming experience. Call it...the Play station X, or... the X-station, or X-PLAY!! LOL.

Either way, something AWESOME, totally over the top.
Something that's WORTH its price.

They do it, and i don't care if the console is $600, $900, or 2000 bucks, i'll buy it with the knowledge that the BIG 2 made it together. Excluding fucking Nintendo. Not saying nintendo is bad. Is just too...old. Sure it has a few good games, but still.

Microsoft and Sony need to unify, or at least work together.

Hope, just hope.

Brice said...

wow. I watched the video and was surprised to find that people were giving you a hard time. I mean I really don't see why people would care if there was a standard? This isn't EA merging with Sony. Your devs and publishers are still there... Eh forget even explaining. David explained as well as he anyone the Pros to this option. I honestly just don't see how this is a debate on par with any other gaming related issues out their. Seems very cut and dry that this would be a cool thing to see.

PM said...

some people seem to get so caught up in blogs, msg boards and in game chat sometimes they forget that they are talking to real people.
Or maybe they just want the attention of getting a direct response from you, like that video you just posted.

Eric said...

Care more about game design then tech? God of War is sum of all action/adventure games design. The tech, the animations, is what made that series what it is. The level design as well...but the core mechanics are as old as River City Ransom. Hell of a lot of fun, but not innovative.

Eric said...

Ms. Grammar sez....

"c- Chris Kohler reads good!" should be "c- Chris Kohler reads well!"

Word.

Ha!

da criminal said...

eric...I was making a joke about poor reading skills. As in, some people are not so bright. It was intentional...but thanks anyway :)

David

RealityDirt said...

One standard is not a good idea, and here are a few reasons why:

#1 How much would a PS3 be if Sony didn't take a hit on the hardware? How much would a 360 be? If you destroy the ecosystem that allows for subsidized hardware (which you would do if any company could make the One Standard Console) then the gamers that will "benefit" will either pay more for their system or get a weaker one standard console.

#2 There are currently 3 DVD standards (DVD, HD-DVD, & BluRay), let's not even get into all of the video standards (Flash, MP4, Divx, etc...). There are many audio standards not just CD. As for TV, ever hear of NTSC and PAL??

#3 Why does every game have to be on every system? This world is big enough for diversity. How about only one religion? How about only one country? How about only one race of people? Why isn't there a standard that says if you operate a restaurant, you have to sell all types of food because it's easier to make your consumption a one stop encounter.

No hate here Jaffe, but I strongly disagree with you. The only people who would benefit from a one standard console would be publishers and developers because they wouldn't have to do so much work. Gamers would get the shaft.

Damian Sarcuni said...

Hello David,

I actually did an article about this last monday on 411mania.com. I hope you guys will check it out.

http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/66441/Angry-Gaming-01.07.08:-E-Pluribus-Unum.htm

Relative said...

Hey David first time commenter here :)

First of let me just say that i agree with you on most parts. And it think that an industry standard is crucial to expand the market and blur the line between hardcore and casual gamers.

About the personal attacks and stuff, i think you're right on the money that it is the anonymity i mean look at the number of intolerant people in the world whether its religious fundamentalists or racists and homophobes. And add to that the anonymity of the Internet and the idea that you can actually get away with it and this is what you get.

I don't think it's especially gamers and geeks that feel the need to act like assholes, there's just simply more of us and we're probably the most active users of community sites. So naturally you'll notice it more.

Anyway to boil it all down i guess you could say that it's mankind in general that are basically a bunch of ignorant, arrogant and intolerant assholes.

my two cents :)

Thirst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vidstudent said...

Uh, Mr. Jaffe, sir? NO.

Let's have a quick talk about something called "antitrust issues". It's where a company - we'll use Microsoft here, because they've been found in court to be a perfect example - takes over an entire industry as its standard. From this point, it gets to do what it wants with this standard and leverage its power as standard-holder to maximize its profits, whether or not it benefits anyone. See: Internet Explorer, Windows Media format, Microsoft Office. Moreover, it doesn't have to bother with quality as much once it is the standard. See: viruses, BackOrifice, Windows ME (dear god, Windows ME).

This is why we had U.S. v. Microsoft. This is why the part of that ruling that still stands is that Microsoft was an illegal monopoly.

Note that we did not start with one format everywhere. We had VHS versus Betamax. We currently have Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD. These are from companies trying to gain a competitive edge and a royalty windfall. In the same vein, we have competing companies creating consoles upon which their video games are played. To say they would do well to work together on a console format screams collusion. Collusion is a crime.

Hell no, sir. Get back to work - I know figuring out the Wii controller is hard, XBox Live standards are troublesome, and the purported UNIX encoding for the PS3 is annoyingly old. But it is your job, and the way you're proposing to make things easier screws the consumer. We won't have that.

Thirst said...

THIRD EDIT: Well I think in general people who do read blogs like these are the kind of people who take a lot of crap themselves growing up and it's fairly expected they're gonna hurl that shit back at whoever's closest. People have issues and far from all of them get over it.

I think it's impressive that you still put yourself out there in the line of fire but personally I don't think I could deal with the level of ordure vending that these comments regularly generate.

Shelema said...

Mr Jaffe,

Don't take it too seriously. I had checked your blog earlier and before I knew it I saw an article about it in a website that shall remain nameless :P. Of course they make it out like you're calling for something or you're making some sort of immense declaration. It can't just be one guy having an opinion.

Its pretty clear they need a story so they pick through the blogs looking for anything that will stir up controversy. I don't like their approach to journalism either but all you can do is cut them off. I won't be visiting that site anymore because, as I said, I had read your blog and their interpretation was off.

As far as the people who send you angry comments, again, you just have to let it roll off your back. These people who have nothing better to do than send venom your way everytime they disagree with you are losers. They have nothing better to do so they try to bring you down. You're a successful guy and they're not. If they were, they wouldn't waste their time and energy writing you angry comments.

Keep up the blog, ignore the detractors and continue the great work you do.

Anonymous said...

Jaffe the "one & only" console is already made, it is called the PC!

Now stop whining and move along.

Chris said...

Why one console would be bad:

The console would not be as advanced for the money, and the tech would evolve more slowly.

MS and Sony sold their boxes for huge initial loses per unit sold, which means consumers got a lot more for their $. With one console the hardware manufacturers would have to make a profit on each unit sold.

Also, the incentive to create/launch next-gen of hardware would be greatly reduced.

You mention "massive software choice" as benefit, but there is very little or no consumer advantage to this. There are already *way more* quality Xbox360 titles than I possibly have time to play, and quadrupling the number of titles is meaningless to me and 99% of consumers.

Pretty cool that you're open-minded and open to counter-arguments : )

Caleb said...

Hey david just wanted to post my opinion on your new blog post....

I totally agree with you. Its the anonymity of the internet community. As an avid gamer, I go to many gaming sites and you see the same shit with fan boys of sony and M$. It is sad that people think since they are typing behind the screen of the internet they can post hateful and malicious attacks.

The honest fact is most of these people wouldn't say some of that shit if it was face to face. Why? Cause they would get a mud hole stomped in their ass.

Please Jaffe don't stop being you cause your persona entertains and intrigues me. I salute you!

Caleb

Sir Ireland said...

I agree with les 100 percent choice is a good thing a monopoly like that would only hurt the gaming industry.

Saist said...

There already is a unified platform. It's called Linux + OpenGL + OpenAL. It already runs on PowerPC, x86, x86-64, MIPS, and several other architectures. Why not promote the universal standard that's already in place, instead of talking about creating a NEW universal standard? I've already been over this several times, most recently here : http://zerias.blogspot.com/2007/10/why-directx-is-multi-million-dollar.html

Ed Borden said...

Never happen. I posted about this recently here : http://edborden.blogspot.com/2007/12/pc-vs-console-gaming-pewpewpew.html
But, as you clarified, if you're talking about a single "standard", you're still going into the realm of say Apple vs Microsoft. I think these companies need each other. Unless there is a "perfect" standard, and who decides what's perfect?

JerkfacedFed said...

I dont think people understand what he means by a unified platform. This doesnt mean one hardware manufacturer, one console. It means to STANDARDIZE things to promote compatibility across hardware from different manufacturers. I agree and it would work just like PC gaming does.

For example, since programming tools for Windows and Xbox are the same thing and they both use .NET and DirectX libraries, porting from one to the other basically requires recompiling and optimizing for PowerPC rather than x86/x64 and balancing for the unified memory system.

Going forward, Microsoft could LICENSE the Xbox platform as a software platform and its own Microsoft manufactured Xbox ? would be the base minimum spec configuration that all other systems would model after. So say Toshiba licenses the Xbox platform for a computer entertainment system. The dashboard runs MS's software, but they can choose to use say a quad core powerpc system with 1gb ram, a 1TB desktop hard drive, and a bluray/hd dvd combo drive built in. It would still be able to play xbox games, but then they could have more apps on the dashboard written by Toshiba that would enable additional features or run the games at even higher resolutions or quality factors.

This would promote competition between vendors and allow the software makers to unify and make one great game with no half assing.

This is an example of what he means, and I think this should definitely be done in the future for the next next gen.

Carlos Carrillo said...

Fuck yeah! I think thats a great idea. If there were only one console then people would only have to pay x amount of money instead of paying $250(wii) $400-500(ps3) and $280-450(360). And you'll be able to get all of the classic first party games without having to buy a new console.

Only bad thing is that companies would never agree to do something like this.

Otaku 38 said...

I'm kinda new to your blog right now, but saw the two v-blogs that you posted about a one videogame console. I agree to it you know, it is something that SONY, NINTENDO and MICROSOFT need to be playing around with. Just imagine a combination of thoughts between great minds like Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima or Tetsuya Nomura from Kingdom Hearts or Gabe Logan from Half-Life franchise and for sure you with your experience in telling great stories too you know. It could be able to integrate more creative process in making bigger games that could be more attaching to people with great story and gameplay. I myself am working to become a videogame designer and well I still have a lot to learn. But even though this is bigger than where I am right now, I would like to see something coming out from this three companies. I could make a big difference to people financially and to developers and everybody that are into the videogame business. I'll stay in touch with your blog because I admire the way that you express. I see that you are one of those people that go with their heart and want to show what you want to show to people. I'll see ya later.

Anonymous said...

"gabe logan from the half-life franchise"...

Jari said...

I get your point.

Even though I don't believe in just ONE console but I believe in bunch of different consoles running the same gaming platform allowing to run the exact same game on every console out there.

Some consoles would offer video marketplaces and some wouldn't. Some would come with HDMI-outputs and some just with interal beeping-speakers. Since the graphics on most consoles out there today are at the same level (well not Wii...), it could be possible.

The most important reason I bought Xbox 360 was the games but the second very important reason was the controller. I just hate the PS1/2/3 controllers, they don't fit into my hand. So when there's many different type of consoles, you could pick whatever console suits for you.

And still PC would be PC if you want to get better graphics every other month.

But the biggest problem today in the gaming industry is that most of the games lack innovation, heart and feel. Most of the games just suck. Most of the games are 1st/3rd person shooters and if you don't like them, what do you play? Racing? If you don't like racing either?

I think this could be solved with one gaming platform: more time could be used on game development and less in the game's console versions.

I'm glad I love racing games, otherwise I would be still playing with my Commodore 64 and loving the unique game ideas they had back then.

gary Z said...

first of all the biggies r too self centered to get a synergy of any sort ... forget about them building any so called unified console...n secondly how far the one console gonna be successful in the terms of performance n hardware will it gonna be the best thing yet ?? a lot of thinking has to be done over tat has to exist.. n the next thing s the price factor ...its pretty hard to decide how costly this thing s gonna be havin said the hardware n architecture factor... n will all the gaming studious out thr can push it to its limit... for eg gow pushed ps 2 to its peak , will it hav done the same with a xbox ?.... so a an another console has to exist to get more out of the game ...!

Zodiak said...

Dave, totally out of the conversation of the blog but check out the God of War kid which will rival the Star Wars kid!

http://www.break.com/index/star-wars-kid-goes-to-college.html

its definitely a good laugh!

-Z

Morpheus9394 said...

David,
Thanks for posting your video and for you blogg.
I agree with you 100% about how crazy some people get when replying or reacting to posts made by other people. It seems there are alot of "fanboys" out there who react almost violently against anyone who seemly attacks their favorite game/comic/console/movie etc.
In my experience I find this "anger" is something alot of young americans have (I am from the UK) and it is something is seems to affect alot of americansin general. I don't why. Alot of people seem to have real angry management issues.
People need to just chill out. Remember it is only a video game console. It is meant to be something that is fun and enjoyable not something to get mad about.
Thank you David for to talk the time out of your busy life to share you thoughts and opinions with the community.
Personally I think having one "system" will slow the pace of technology advancement and being a "techie" new technology always excites me.
But I can certainly understand from a developers viewpoint that to support and develop software for several different consoles, each having very different designs must be very hard, especially as budgets are going through the roof.
Unfortunately because there is so much money to be made from videogames it is very unlikely we have a single console/PC/MAC market anytime soon.
Anyway, take cool guys and thanks again David.

Gunraidan said...

In terms of people acting like psychotic assholes, I think it has to do more so with not knowing how internet works or seeing message boards with a different eye. I use to be a horrid fanboy that was so bad I even once quoted a admin and told him to fuck off for giving me tips on how detailed a topic should be. Eventually we all grow up as we go to other forums and what not, so those who leave the comments shouldn't be adults, though I have seen some adults that act this way.

As for a unified console the only problem I have has been already said. What will be the standard in raw power? As of right now the 360/PS3 only cater to massive big-budgeted developers or indie developers, the Wii caters to medium and small developers, and the PSP caters to small developers.

If you made the system more powerful then the 360/PS3 the smaller developers will complain that it would completely shut them out. If you make the system standard as powerful or possibly even less then developers will start to complain how they are being limited from their visions.

A unified format is inevitable, personally I could very well see this as the last console war, but it will take time to sort it out.

Tony Capri said...

David,

Not sure that you'll even catch this post, considering there are so many responses, but I certainly understand your frustration on both counts. I'm glad I found your blog (via a plug on your recent pop-in on On The Spot), because I was one of those folks who -- through the media -- was under the impression that you were, in fact, calling for a "one-console" gaming infrastructure.

I'm like you, though, man. I need to be educated about this. I just don't see how it would improve things for anyone but the company with the rights to the "one console." I would imagine it would push many developers out of the scene, since a one-console generation would leave little room for everyone. I also can't imagine how it would be conducive to increasing creativity, competition or driving down the price of games. Of course, I'm basing all of my rationalizations on the little bit of economics knowledge I have.

As for the negative comments you referred to in your vlog, I wouldn't let that stuff get to you. My guess would be that most of the folks who talk games on the Internet are a generation (or two) younger than you & I (I'm 37, by the way). But I actually am relieved to know that you are still a very sensitive individual, having spent what seems to be quite a long time in such a competitve industry. I like you, bro, and you're an inspiration to me, even though I have only a gamer's interest in video games. I, too, am one of those types of folks who has trouble NOT being passionate, and it's nice to hear from someone with a fair amount of success tell about their similar experiences regarding working in a creative capacity.

I guess I could tell you my life story. That would surely cheer you up. :p

Lama Himself said...

Hi David,

I'm a bit late on the subject but would like to give you my 2 cents of the subject.

"Can anyone explain to me how having ONE console would be bad for gamers? Or game developers for that matter?"


My answer: Compatibility.

Let’s imagine a video game consortium that create a console standard. They will provide a bunch of specs, a list of requirement, some guidelines, etc… After that each manufacturer will create their hardware according to these requirements but with a simple goal: reducing the manufacturing cost. Each manufacturer will find their own solution, create their own motherboard, choose different memory provider… Each and every decision, even if done in the respect of the standard, will result in a different console per manufacturer. These differences will creates small bugs and unexpected behavior.

DVD Player for example have a standard virtual machine that allow DVDs to have interactivities. But today interactive DVDs maker have to test their project on a large selection of DVD Player to make sure their is no major incompatibility problem despite the virtual machine.

Like Mobile games despite the Java.
Like PC software despite driver, DirectX or OpenGL.

If we have a console standard, developer will not have 2 or 3 different console to check, but dozens of models with weird issues and strange bug report and consumers will have sometimes compatibility problem because a developer didn’t check the game on their model.

A console standard is a nice idea, but an utopian idea.

(Sorry, it's just a copy/paste from my blog ^^)

Anonymous said...

Firstly I'd just like to plug the latest podcast of the 1up yours show where they discuss this issue in great detail and actually have me completely converted to this idea.

Many people seem to be saying that the big three would never do this, and they're completely right. Sony would be absolutely stupid to just stop making consoles because they hold far too much power in doing so. I believe the factor that will eventually drive change is when the economy can no longer support producing these expensive games on multiple systems. Eventually there will come about a point when companies can no longer make games for multiple systems. It is at this point "the biz" needs to come together to work out how it will proceed.

My only problem with this idea is core system software. Who will produce it? It doesn't matter how many manufacturers are producing the hardware, on order to run the same games, the software needs to be the same. What if this software is fundamentally broken? What could possibly drive it to change?

Thanks for sharing your views with the community David!

PoliSciBeauty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

DAVID YOU SHOULD'NT ADD SUCH TOPICS ON YOUR BLOG
YOU'LL GO MAD READING IT.
CAN U DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT??????
NO!!
WILL THIS MAKE A DIFF IN YOUR LIFE?
NO!!
SO TOP FUCKING AROUND WITH SUCH A TOPIC

BY THE WAY WHATS THE TWISTED METAL UPDATE???
ANYTHING DIFFERENT??














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































BY ROGER

Anonymous said...

DAVID YOU SHOULD'NT ADD SUCH TOPICS ON YOUR BLOG
YOU'LL GO MAD READING THE COMMENTS.
CAN U DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT??????
NO!!
WILL THIS MAKE A DIFF IN YOUR LIFE?
NO!!
SO STOP FUCKING AROUND WITH SUCH A TOPIC

BY THE WAY WHATS THE TWISTED METAL UPDATE???
ANYTHING DIFFERENT??
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































--BY ROGER

ConceptCreature said...

Pros:
--Indy developers would have a better advantage to the big dogs
--The consumer would spend a SHITLOAD less $ on one console (out of several that would be available with whatever bells and whistles the consumer wanted) that played any game versus 3 consoles that practically play the same number of games, with a few exceptions to the rule.
--That would give the consumer more $$ to spend on games instead of space-consuming hardware
--Standards would cut down on Development staff and hours SIGNIFICANTLY since they don't have to tweak for three consoles.
--It **should** bring the price of games down significantly
CONS
--It'd be weeding through all the crap to find the good stuff (which could be argued that this happens already, anyways...)
--Making more than one person agree on ANY standard is practically impossible (although I suppose it's been done with the Internet--W3 standards)
--The new consoles perpetually keeps these companies raising their standards faster (except for Nintendo--they seem to have leveled off on their graphics needs)

WHY IT WON'T HAPPEN
--Exclusivity keeps money away from your competitors. Nobody else gets Bioshock except for Microsoft's console or OS. (just an example)
--If someone has a significant market share based off proprietary hardware, they're not going to give that up.
--Change takes money, although I suppose each new console brings self-motivated change anyways, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hey David,
Thanks for putting these ideas out there.
It's great food for thought. The industry is deeply disfunctional, and more people need to point that out more often.
Screw the haters.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I misspelled dysfunctional.

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