What’s he selling this week?
And why can’t he just do a press release about that instead of trolling?
The creator of the popular Ultima RPG series has forecast that the games console is heading for extinction. Richard Garriott - aka Lord British - is a respected figurehead in the games industry and he reckons the future is bleak for console manufacturers. "I think we might get one more generation, might, but I think …
Consoles were doomed due to the powerful 16-bit home computers like the Atari ST and Amiga! Except they weren't. The little, underpowered 8-bit Nintendo proved that consoles and computers (smartphones are in the latter category) are two separate markets - one does not encompass the other.
Garriott is a great self publicist but stop giving him airtime for this sort of thing - he cocked up NCsoft US quite dramatically and his last title Tabula Rasa was flawed. Portalariam has so far failed to make any impact - this is just a soundbyte to get in the news.
Mind you I would say the gap between consoles and handhelds is getting closer but as portables are just handheld consoles this is semantics anyway it's a typical Lord British comment of hot air.
Several points to make....
1) Respected? Didn't his last MMO whose name I forget, totally flop and get pulled even though he claimed it would be a WoW killer or whatever? I think only Ultima is his success?
2) Consoles get refreshed every several years? The PSP is 7 years old and it's replacement is the Vita, the iPhone is 4 years old, but do games developed for the "newest" iPhone still work on the original? I can buy a PSP game *now* that works on my 1st generation Japanese PSP, I don't have to buy a new PSP every year to play the latest games.
3) Console games give more value for money than phone games, sure, phone games may only cost 99p but how long do you play that game for? A console game may cost £40 but you'll play that game time and time again, even in a few years time.
4) He's obviously not looked at the PS Vita AR videos, I showed my brother today and he was flabbergasted, it's seriously cool and well worth buying a PS Vita for.
5) It's not just Skyrim, there are games out there that require a heck of a lot more controls than a phone/tablet can provide!
6) Immersion, you can get immersed in a real AAA title, you get to use whatever screen size you want, from small 32 inch LCD's up to bloody great massive projector screens on the side of the moon (maybe not, but maybe!)
7) Game companies reject consoles and PC's at their peril, if a console owner or a PC owner reads a statement that suggests their favoured platform is doomed, they will pretty much slam that company and avoid their games, so when they come back with their tail between their legs they may find that they are about as welcome as Clarkson at a Unison meeting.
I think you are not connecting the dots. Games are becoming cloud based, a game like Skyrim on a mobile would be via a remote desktop connection optimised for gaming. Take that into the home and we are seeing smart TV's with web browsers in built.
As the TV's get smarter and have 3d chips added to them, you'll see less of a need for a console as a lot of the game can run in the cloud and the TV will be an open platform for subscription based gaming.
In essence all these parts are there already, it just takes time for the market to realise it.
Plus given that most consoles are sold either at a loss or at cost I am sure the current players would be happy to move to a platform that doesn't require their investment in hardware engineering.
What you suggest would in reality have many drawbacks that gamers hate.
The number one being the requirement to be online all the time. This has been seen as a problem for Ubisoft just to check that its no a pirated game (causing many people to demand their money back).
Also most networks have data limits, that a game would eat through in no time.
But for anything action based the response/delay times in having remote rendering would make them unplayable until gigabit telecoms become the norm.
Personally I dont see consoles going any quicker than the games PC. The sort of games most console users like are always regarded as a bit lame by PC gamers (direct ports are common now), as PC gamers have gotten used to far better visuals and depth, plus vastly better user interfaces and controls.
As an example look at Skyrim, most PC games hate the slow awkward UI, but it had to be that way to get it onto consoles with a vary limited controler.
The big issues with PC games these days is the fact that nothing recently has pushed the envelope. The last great action game was the original Crisis, since then few have come close to it's scale and depth of play, and there's no guarentee that even the next round of consoles could even cope with that.
Why not? I wish I could play Skyrim on my iPad during my commute. A few generations down the line and I'm sure tablets will be able to handle it.
I would happily dispense with some graphical finesse in exchange for convenience. Just the same as watching movies on my iPad versus my HD TV.
Mind you, just like with my TV, that doesn't mean that the console will vanish.
No one is saying that playing good games on mobile devices isn't sought after - quite the opposite in fact.
The point is that by the time you can have such cool stuff on a hand held, anything that can afford to be a bit bigger and take up more power is almost certainly likely to be even more powerful and games will ALWAYS be at the cutting edge of technology.
It's a point that these "console / pc games are doomed" people always miss.
Why not? Sometimes you need to press two or three keys on your keyboard (or move the stick in a direction whilst pressing the jump button) whilst pressing left and right mouse buttons at the same time before quickly opening your menu up and scrolling through to chug down a mana potion or a HP potion, that is why you can't do that on your iPad unless you manage to grow 2 more hands and 15 more fingers.
No, you're missing the point Semaj.
Onlive already proves that you don't need a bigger/better/faster client machine. All you need is a dumb terminal and fast connectivity.
There is no reason you couldn't play a game like Skyrim (or future generations of games far more complicated than that) on a crappy netbook or an I-Pad with a wireless keyboard and mouse, or even on your phone if someone sold a peripheral which gave you the ability to control it.
All the complicated calculation and rendering etc is carries out by a supercomputer, all you need is a device able to display the resulting video stream, send back a few keystrokes and a fast and reliable internet connection (I will admit this last bit is not there yet in many regions of the country, but it is already there in many regions and will be more and more).
"The race is on to become the ultimate home entertainment hub"
I think that's totally wrong, and anyone entering that race is going to lose by default.
Your entertainment 'hub' will be your smartphone, everything else will just interface with it. We're already carrying our music collections, a bunch of films, and a whole load of games around in our pockets. And there's already plenty of moves to connect that to the TV (apple tv and the likes).
Once the integration works a bit better, we'll have everything we need when we're out, and back at home the device simply becomes the remote control/game controller, with the hub built into the remote.
I was very impressed with OnLive when I play(ed) with it, but until it offers 7.1 surround and 1080p (and 3D), I can't see it replacing Steam. I was also surprised with some of the load times - I thought the idea of the cloud approach was to over-spec the server farms and make the whole experience feel faster.
Aside from "media hubs", I think the next step is for a phone with HDMI out (or wireless equivalent) and wireless controllers.
Go to a friend's house, plug it in, and play.
Until I have some sort of clever virtual screen projection HUD glasses or a fully immersive stereo display, portable games machine will be, above all else, small. I didn't buy a big TV or a big monitor just to cover up a boring patch of wall.
Maybe the average consumer doesn't care, but the current trend towards super high budget, high spec 'triple A' games developed by big teams wants powerful hardware, big screens and decent sound to really show off. Its hard to get that sort of spectacle on a phone.
There are tablets and phones with HDMI ports and in a few years time they will be capable of very good quality graphics at full 1080p. So you could just hook up your device to your TV when at home, maybe even wirelessly if wireless HDMI catches on. But you'll need to add some controllers because touch screens just suck for anything beyond simple games and always will.
Are you really sure that playing a 3D video game in 1080p is the same as a playback of 1080p H.264 movie? Dream on...
The problem is not the interface, the problem is lack of processing power. That will be an issue for all handheld devices. In the foreseeable future, you'll have either small & portable (cellphone), or big & powerful (PC, console). We are talking two orders of magnitude of difference between current Tegra and almost 4 year old PC graphics card...
I think that if consoles are going to be doomed, it will be through computers/laptops* rather than handhelds, but I doubt even that.
*) the major benefit of console is simplicity and custom DRM for customer and vendor respectively, nothing else really.
There used to be huge industry making dedicated music hardware such as sequencers, synths, samplers, recording equipment, etc. Most of it required very high-end components and processors because off-the-shelf stuff didn't hack it.
Then, Pentium PCs started offering adequate performance to start making these things virtual. What CISC lacked in efficiency was more than made up for in raw clock speeds and bandwidth. The upshot of that is that that hardware you can buy today hasn't moved on much in the last 15 years, and is largely centred around user interface requirements rather than sound engines or buses. A virtual synth still needs a hardware keyboard to play it.
I still cringe when I think of people using a mouse to control virtual sliders and knobs on a screen rather than an actual mixing desk.
Anyway, it would appear that games consoles are going the same way. Up 'til now, they've required special hardware beyond the average home PC (yes gamers can make their own ultra PC, but normal people buy one from a Currys with integrated graphics), but even an average modern PC is starting to have a lot of CPU and graphics power, thanks in no small part to the obsession with HDTV formats and pretty translucent GUIs. The future for gaming hardware is (much like music) things like joysticks/controllers, floor mats and other dedicated 'peripherals'.
I wonder what other hardware will die out over the next 20 years thanks to high-powered general purpose computing, be it mobile or indoor?
I've always wondered why one would buy an extra box just to play games - but the advantage of a games console over a PC is that it's standardized and (for the manufacturer of the game) secure.
Things like the iPad are standardized too, and they are increasing in power. So they might squeeze game consoles from the other direction.
But the appetite of games for CPU cycles can grow - for example, full 3-D might be the next frontier that saves the game console.
When everything is headed towards device convergence, how anyone could believe consoles wont eventually be made obsolete reeks of short-sightedness. Consoles are going to suffer the same fate as dedicated MP3 players, rendered redundant by general purpose devices.
Why will people buy a dedicated gaming console a decade or two from now when you can just login to your OnLive account (or an alternative service) with your Internet-connected television? And that just covers one part of the market (18-40 year old male, traditional gamer demographic). Already right now there's a growing sector in more casual and social gaming (not saying I like it, but it's true). Women and older people are gaming more, and they don't own consoles, they use their laptops, tablets and phones. The userbases for games like Angry Birds and Farmville completely eclipse the ones for games like Skyrim or Battlefield 3.
I used to play PC games but stopped when I spent more time installing and configuring games than I did playing them, so unless we standardise PCs completely there is still a place for games consoles.
As to items such as phones and tablets taking over, by Lord British's logic the portible dvd player should have killed off the standard dvd player too.
On console ... methinks not.
I've been playing my PS3 a lot more recently; gunning around in GT5 and the amount of time I spend waiting for shit to load on the PS3 FAR eclipses any installing/configuring time I spend with games on the PC.
Not to mention the fact that consoles now have all the downsides of consoles (limited power, no upgrade route without a new system, potential backwards compatibility issues, long load times) COMBINED with all the downsides of PCs (having to install, patch, update and connect to the Internet)...
However, a modern console is no longer just a games device; the PS3, for instance, is a Blu-Ray player, internet connected 'whatever'Player (iPlayer, 4OD etc), movie/music rental/purchasing system (lovefilm, qriocity) and client for connecting to say a WMP server to play music/movies, good with a home theatre system.
So LB might be right, the "games console" is dead, but then it has been since say, the PS2; modern consoles are so much more than just gaming platforms.
...but most of what you metions as the added features on consoles are becoming standard in new TV's.
With the exception of the BlueRay, many new TVs have internet access and access to iPlayer, 4OD and the rest, plus playing from networked NAS or PC's with you own media content.
As for PC Gaming: Loading games is hardly a big deal, and since DirectX was introduced hardware issues have dissapeared. The only problem is that most cheap PC's purchased in the likes of PC world have utterly crap (99% Intel) graphics, and are just not capable of playing anything.
Compared to an Intel chipset even a ~£30 graphics card is a vast improvement, they even come with dual monitor and HDMI ports these days, and will play most games (at low(er) res/details).
Pay ~£60 and you get a card that can play anything, though again not at maximum resolutions, but probably as good or better than current console can manage.
Gariott!? By whom? He has yet to do anything since Ultima that actually succeeds.
I've never owned a console after my 1st one went largely unused unless I had folks over to play on it. Now when people visit we don't play games... well... online via wireless sometimes... but still!
For gaming a PC just can't be beat.
It can if your budget is £250. A top notch PC gaming experience comes with a top notch price tag, with which you could probably buy all the latest consoles and still have change left over from.
The gaming experience may be bettered elsewhere, but for bang for your buck you can't beat a console.
That's depends on if your looking short or long term.
If short term, then yes, a console is cheaper initially.
But long term the games are way more expensive on a console, typically twice the price of the same game on PC. And a passable gaming PC would only be about £500
You'd only need to buy about 20 games, and a PC becomes cheaper than a console.
hmmm, well my PS3 with 2 games cost over £400 when I bought it - and the games are £40 - £50 a pop (for new releases)... PC games are about £30 - £35 on release, generally £10 - £15 cheaper than the console equivalent and many PC games now don't actually require a top-spec machine to run (basically your PC has to just be about as powerful as the current-gen consoles) ... so you _could_ get away with a £600 - £700 PC for gaming.
If you buy more than 20 - 30 games over the lifetime of your console - it would in theory cost more than owning a PC ... well, apart from the fact that console games have resale value (atm) whereas PC games don't. If the publishers kill the second-hand console game market (DRM that requires online activation for instance) that'll certainly make the PC a cheaper option in the long run... especially since you can keep a PC running games, with say a £100 - £180 upgrade to graphics or RAM after 3 years or so, for about 6 or 7 years before a full system upgrade is required.
With a console you'd need a full upgrade when the next-gen comes out.
Thankfully I've not had to make that choice, I've got both a PC and a PS3, currently I'm chopping and changing between Anno 2070 on the PC and GT5 on the PS3... 2 totally different games, each better suited for the platform it's on *shrugs*
I do not want my phone as a games console. The games console is for everyone in the household to use. It is rigged up to the big lovely display and my lad may want to play while I do work calls.
OK, I unplug my phone and he plugs his in and downloads his save from the 'net...Jeez what a palaver.
Personal devices as the primary way of accessing games at home..bah.
hmmm... my PS3 slows to a crawl when playing Black-ops, 4 player split screen in 3D...
when a mobile phone is capable of doing this task without breaking a sweat, heating up to melting point, or juicing its battery in seconds, then maybe ill succumb to the fact that smartphones rule the world! or else i will fire up my PSXBOX 900000 and indulge in some fully immersive VR, 3D, AG, Tactile, surround experience!
Ive been using smartpbones since the SPV C500 way back in 2005ish... so am a huge fan, and casual gaming is the current big thing, but they serve a totally different use to a console/media station...
The only reason that people think there is any true in a statement like this is due to us having had such a long console generation (longer than usual). If next gen consoles had been with us this year, the usual 6 years after the previous release, with current PC comparable processing power, no-one would be making this comment as they would look stupid.
The truth is that mobile devices have been being refreshed very fast recently, about once a year, where as consoles have stood still. So idiots believe that mobile devices are catching up to consoles at a rate of knots. They fail to understand that new consoles will be released in the next year or two. And unless the console makers are idiots themselves, the new consoles will make a massive jump, which will suddenly make a big divide again between consoles and mobile devices.
This is not to discount the power mobiles will have as a gaming market due to audience. These are people who don't care about having the best fidelity with their gaming and will are just happy to get it mobile. This will be a big community, but arguing the growth is due to the fact that mobile devices will be so close to the performance of consoles is stupid.
Also those saying that big end clients are no longer needed because the processing will be done in the cloud. Well since On-live can only do 720p and consoles are just about to move to 1080p I don't see the cloud as being able to compete either with big end client fidelity for a while. It might be the future at some point, but it is still a long way off.
They've been predicting the games console would kill off PC gaming for about 20 years but it hasn't happened. Now handhelds are supposed to kill off consoles? And presumably PC gaming as well, for that matter...
They will coexist, filling their own niche. Only idiots and Lord British assume that One Big Thing will kill off everything else to which it is slightly similar.
To be honest, I think he's still bitter about Ultima Online being superseded...
You haven't wondered why there is absolutely no sign of PS4?
You can't play Skyrim on a phone, but you can play it on a *current* console. This is talking about *next-gen* consoles, and beyond. Phones and pads have eaten away significantly at the traditional console gaming market, and the cost of developing a console is enormous. The business model behind consoles isn't going to work for much longer - perhaps, as British says, one more generation. But then it's going to become a platform for hardcore gamers only. Platforms for hardcore gamers only do not survive.
Add to that, what is the PS4 supposed to contain? The PS2 was a custom processor with a custom graphics chip. The PS3 was a custom processor with a stock graphics chip. PS4 is going to be a stock processor with a stock graphics chip - maybe they can get an exclusive on one or more items, but only for a few months, and probably only on one particular configuration. There's no longer any logic behind having specialized hardware in consoles - the stock hardware rocks, and it's far too expensive to create radical new designs just for a console these days, not to mention difficult and risky (PS3's custom graphics chip was a design failure; Larrabee was a design failure; while x64 and nVidia GPUs continue their incremental spiral upwards).
Combine these two and the death of the console as we know it is inevitable. There's no USP any more.
Connected to my NAS I have music, photos and movies on it, it plays Blurays, it surfs the internet, it streams the iPlayer and it also plays games.
Yes, the hardware may be 'getting old' but when I see some kids complaining about the lack of 16xAA on MW3 I stop and remind myself of where I came from (Spectrum 48k) and, you know what? The current PS3 is good enough for me for now - remember when that kind of output was arcade only?
I'm happy for that trend to continue. My mobile will probably not do all that for some time (in comfort at least).
is there a missed point here? regardless of whether or not consoles can keep ahead of mobiles in terms of power so that games like skyrim are possible, if enough people don't buy a console because they are getting all their gaming needs from mobiles, then will games like skyrim be economically viable to make?
Curious about the history of home computing both west and east of the iron curtain? Berlin's ComputerSpieleMuseum in Germany's capital has you covered.
Museum director Matthias Oborski was The Register's guide around the ground floor site of the museum, which is located among the Soviet buildings of Berlin's Karl-Marx-Allee (a five-minute metro ride from Alexanderplatz, or 25-minute walk if you want to take in the brutalist architecture).
After the reception, with its impressive Soviet-era mosaic still in-situ behind the cheerful staff, there is a temporary exhibition celebrating the role of food in computer games. Oborski winced a little at the word "temporary" – it had been set up in 2019 and was still in place due, mainly, to the events of the last few years.
Microsoft and Samsung have teamed to stream Xbox games on the Korean giant's smart televisions and monitors.
Samsung has offered streaming games since early 2022, taking advantage of its smart displays running the Linux-based Tizen OS. The "gaming hub" installed on those devices can already deliver games from Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now.
Xbox is a rather larger brand, making this deal considerably more significant.
After a nine month pause, Beijing has finally granted new video game licenses to 45 titles.
The approvals arrived on Monday through China's National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA). The newly approved titles hail from video game makers Lilith Games, Baidu, XD, and Seasun Entertainment – but curiously not Chinese gaming giants NetEase nor Tencent.
China uniquely requires video game publishers to secure regulatory approval ahead of release, and NPPA suddenly ceased granting approvals back in July 2021. Prior to the halt, between 80 and 100 video games were approved monthly. The last batch, released in July, contained 87 titles.
Viral online puzzle game Wordle has been acquired by The New York Times Company (NYTCo), publisher of The New York Times.
The game requires players to guess a five-letter word within six turns – a task made easier by Wordle offering clues that players have chosen letters used in the word, and whether or not they are in the right position. Gameplay is similar to codebreaking pegboard game Mastermind, but with 26 different "pegs" – and of course the answer has to be an English word. A single puzzle is offered daily.
Wordle was created by a sole developer, Josh Wardle, as a lockdown distraction for his partner. It took off when Wardle added a feature allowing players to share their results, and is now thought to have millions of daily users – up from mere thousands in October 2021.
The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Although the outside world keeps going to shit, at least the closing months of 2021 saw the biggest shooter properties duke it out in time for the festive period. Battlefield 2042 was void of Battlefield feeling while Call of Duty: Vanguard was similarly said to be "meh" – though I wouldn't really know, I stopped playing the franchise over a decade ago. However, in terms of quality at the point of release, Halo Infinite has stepped out as the clear winner.
First off, a disclaimer. I haven't played a Halo game with any sincerity since the third entry from 2007 so I've missed a lot. On the business side of things, the original trilogy, as well as spinoffs ODST and Reach, were developed by the formerly Microsoft-owned Bungie. Following Halo 3, Bungie split from Redmond to become an independent company while Microsoft retained the rights to Halo. Bungie now develops and publishes the Destiny looter-shooter series.
Since Halo 4, development has been handled by 343 Industries, a part of Xbox Game Studios formed specifically for this purpose. Fans weren't best pleased at being ditched by Bungie and the gradual modernisation of Halo under 343, but it hasn't harmed the series' stature as a gaming powerhouse, selling 81 million copies (and a fair amount of Xboxes) as of early 2021 and spawning countless novels, comics, animations, short films, and feature-lengths.
The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.
I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.
The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.
A software upgrade will disable a "feature" that allows the touchscreen on Tesla cars to play video games - even while the vehicles are in motion- after the USA's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated a complaint about the tech.
The feature, called "Passenger Play", has been available since 2020 in the Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y. As the name implies, it was aimed at passengers. Prior to 2020, occupants of the car could only play games while the vehicle was in park.
“Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play,’ Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature. In a new software update, “Passenger Play” will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion,” said a statement from NHTSA.
The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our (sometimes) monthly gaming column. At long last, New World is out and we've been diligently grinding our faces off to answer the question: Can Jeff "mountains of cash" Bezos make a decent MMO?
On 28 September, Amazon Games released its first serious, big-boy-pants-on video game: New World. Why does this matter? First of all, it's Amazon. Not content with anything short of global domination, Jeff Bezos' e-commerce and cloud computing juggernaut has had a sticky start with gaming – two titles prior to New World, Breakaway and Crucible, were scrapped – and people would love to see the venture fail. I would love to see the venture fail.
Secondly, New World is an MMORPG. That's "massively multiplayer online roleplaying game" to the untainted. As far as game development goes, it's hard to think of a more complicated and ambitious genre, especially as this has transpired to be Amazon's "debut" outside of the mobile platform.
Since early September, Josh Muir and five other maintainers of the
noblox.js package, have been trying to prevent cybercriminals from distributing ransomware through similarly named code libraries.
Noblox.js is a wrapper for the Roblox API, which many gamers use to automate interactions with the hugely popular Roblox game platform. And for the past few months the software has been targeted by "a user who is hell-bent on attacking our user-base with malware, and continues to make packages to this end," explained Muir in an email to The Register.
This miscreant, with the assistance of at least one other, has been "typosquatting" the
At first glance, Microsoft appears to have torn up the infamous Windows 11 hardware compatibility list by inflicting the code on its latest games console.
Though the original Xbox (now approaching its 20th anniversary) was little more than a jumped-up PC in a hefty black box, sticking vanilla Windows on the thing was probably a step too far for Redmond.
But a Register reader updating the rather excellent (if a tad hardware-hungry and occasionally buggy) Microsoft Flight Simulator on his Xbox Series X was greeted with the strange message: "Windows 11 has been successfully downloaded."
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