In what ways are console gaming holding PC gaming back?

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Bill Loguidice's picture

I recently tweeted - to some degree in frustration after reading the same tired complaint yet again - "For all those who insist console gaming is holding PC gaming back, I'd like to know what that might be other than slightly nicer graphics." In other words, we continue to hear talk that this almost six year old console generation is responsible for holding back what the state-of-the-art in PC gaming can be. But really, keeping in mind that both the Xbox 360 and PS3 are capable of 1080p and full surround sound, and have default controllers with lots of buttons, how exactly are consoles holding PC game designs back? Sure, PC's have more memory, storage and polygon-potential, as well as more buttons thanks to its default keyboard, but really, what game designs would be getting exactly if consoles didn't exist? Flashier versions of current games don't count.

What games would PC developers be giving us if they weren't "held back" by consoles? How much more power is really needed given the designs currently being unleashed? I can't think of one game released where I thought, "boy, more processing power/memory/storage would really make this game so much better". If a dev said, "I have this really radical idea, but I can't do it because consoles are holding me back," THEN I'd listen and maybe even agree. Wanting more polygons is not a design issue.

On Facebook - where my tweets also automatically go - we're having an interesting discussion about some of the possibilities, but I don't buy what's being said. For instance, even though Civilization V was designed expressly for the PC, a commenter thought that its interface design was held back because of the influence of consoles in the thought process of the designers. In other words, Civilization IV, which was apparently designed at a time when console ports (or console originals) were a less pervasive presence, was not influenced by the thought that interfaces should be simplified and/or get out of the way as much as possible, and as a result featured a more sophisticated and better interface than Civilization V. To me, any perception that Civilization V's interface was somehow dumbed down is incorrect. Instead, if there's any issue with the interface, it's just bad design, period, and has nothing to do with whether consoles exist in the world or not. I also don't think any of the Civilization games are a good example for anything, simply because Civilization 1 was perfected right out of the box. Sure, the rules became more refined and sophisticated, as did the artificial intelligence and options, but all the essentials were in place way back in 1991 (and that engine could arguably accommodate most of the new rules and additions), so technological limitations have little to do with anything in the case of the Civilization series.

So, what are your thoughts on this multi-layered, hot button issue?

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)
First off minecraft sucks and

First off minecraft sucks and the brainless idiots who play that crap need to be shot along with the lazy developers.

Ok now all that asside what's you excuse now for someone like me who plays PC games on my 60" HDTV and I can still tell the difference sitting at a distance?

I think you are running out of pointless arguments here and you just need to realize consoles ARE holding PC gaming back. Face it. Console just can not do what a PC can do and the PC gamer has to suffer because of it.

Bill Loguidice
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Stop arguing with yourself
Anonymous wrote:

First off minecraft sucks and the brainless idiots who play that crap need to be shot along with the lazy developers.

Ok now all that asside what's you excuse now for someone like me who plays PC games on my 60" HDTV and I can still tell the difference sitting at a distance?

I think you are running out of pointless arguments here and you just need to realize consoles ARE holding PC gaming back. Face it. Console just can not do what a PC can do and the PC gamer has to suffer because of it.

Funny, the 360 and PS3 look pretty great on my 60" HDTV, though I must admit, I don't make a point of running the same game on my PC to compare pixels. Seems a bit anal retentive. In any case, it seems like you're defeating your own argument by saying that you can get the same games with far superior visuals on your PC, so how exactly is the PC being held back again?

And your Minecraft comment is also rather telling. You're a PC elitist AND a game elitist, knowing best what is the best of the best. Makes sense...

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Anonymous (not verified)
"it seems like you're

"it seems like you're defeating your own argument by saying that you can get the same games with far superior visuals on your PC, so how exactly is the PC being held back again?"

Um, let's see oh yea! If consoles didn't suck so bad my games would be twice or even 3 times more impressive looking and more enjoyable than they already are and some of the popular games that look like crap on the consoles don't have advanced setting on my PC to look better. "Why?" do you ask! Because if the game companies are making muti-platform games they aren't going to upload better textures for the far superior PC. The train of though is, "If the consoles can't do it why should we make it better on PC?" Yep deffinatly not defeating my own arguement here.

I think it's about time I tell you that I do work for a game developing company. I have to post an ANON for obvious reasons. I was involved in 2 large projects last year and some new ones this year. There is a lot we have to do and it's unfortunate that there is some great game ideas we have from our writing teams that we have to turn down as if the environment doesn't match the game play they just can't be made.....yet.

As a programmer and artist I get very irritated at how much I can't include in my designs because the consoles just simply can't handle it, while my computer has no problem rendering my directx 11 characters in their directx 11 environment. Then I'm told this is going to be on the xbox and PS3 reduce the quality and bring it down to directx 9.

Now the few projects we have planned for the new consoles is 2013.....those are a sight to behold. And most modern computers that people own now, they can run the games we have planned for release in 2013. 4th quater.
PC's capabilities are 1 full generation ahead of current consoles.

Companies like Nvidia and ATI (AMD) have better videocards protoypes that have been in house for over 2 years. The "ALL new GTX 680" is old. Roughly 27 months old and the companies can't be putting these things out because there is no use for them. If no one's is going to make games that would use them why put them out right? Consoles are in every way holding the PC gaming market back. It started in the begining of 2000 when consoles asked game developers to reduce quality and keep games at the same level as their consoles that were about to be released. And it has been that way ever since.

Bill Loguidice
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A bit more specific, please...
Anonymous wrote:

Um, let's see oh yea! If consoles didn't suck so bad my games would be twice or even 3 times more impressive looking and more enjoyable than they already are and some of the popular games that look like crap on the consoles don't have advanced setting on my PC to look better. "Why?" do you ask! Because if the game companies are making muti-platform games they aren't going to upload better textures for the far superior PC. The train of though is, "If the consoles can't do it why should we make it better on PC?" Yep deffinatly not defeating my own arguement here.

I think it's about time I tell you that I do work for a game developing company. I have to post an ANON for obvious reasons. I was involved in 2 large projects last year and some new ones this year. There is a lot we have to do and it's unfortunate that there is some great game ideas we have from our writing teams that we have to turn down as if the environment doesn't match the game play they just can't be made.....yet.

OK, I appreciate your position, but again, you're coming at with a vested interest and from a purely visual standpoint. You say above, "...or even 3 times more impressive looking and more enjoyable than they already are...". OK, I get the "impressive looking" part (though again, one may argue diminishing returns at a standard HDTV resolution), but explain to me the "more enjoyable" part. You're saying I'll enjoy it more because it looks better? That's certainly possible, but that's a fairly shallow argument.

In the second paragraph quoted above, you state a more specific example of "...if the environment doesn't match the game play they just can't be made....yet." However, that still seems to speak to the strictly visual. What I really want to know is are you saying anything related to the gameplay is being held back, or is it really ALL visuals here? If that's the case, then I'll say the argument stands that consoles are not holding PC gaming back in any meaningful way...

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clok1966
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i think this is two sides of

i think this is two sides of a coin.. it still spends, but it differnt on each side (wow was that a vauge almost worthtless comparison) I would play any game on my PC before the console, and when i see a game desgined for the 360 and ported to the PC i do cringe a little. But if we really get down to nuts and bolts.. MONEY is holding PC's back.. people vbvote with their wallets and consoles are winning (or where).. right now if anything is going to kill PC gaming (well not kill, thin it out) its tablet phone gaming.. this argument/discussion may soon be are tablet phone games holding back console development. us old school gamers ( and Im talking gamer s of the last 5-10 years and beyond) ..

think about it, we still talk PS3/360 graphics /speed and games.. yet the Wii owned um this generation.. Should that say something? The Wii has no uber hardware, grpahics, etc.. it was about a game input and how fun the games where.. the gimic controler worked.. but the crap games didnt.. only the better ones did.. and strangely enough the standbuys (fps) even flopped on the Wii.. I think that has something to say where gaming is going.. Farmville.. Angry birds.. We can talk all we want about pure tech.. but almost nowhere in the world does that decide who wins.. what is best.. if a game is only as good as how fast it runs, how many pixels it is.. we might be able to work this out.. but a game is so many parts.. and people are very fickel. There has to be a line on price too.. I wont argue PC are the best at putting out pure speed, pixels .. but that really doesnt define gaming. Again if oyu want to go purely on horsepower, yes PC have more no argument from me..

We have mentioned Crysis.. so it was dumbed down to work on consoles.. that wasnt for any other reason then the public have chose them.. Nobody made Cyteck do that but accountants.. I wont argue nice graphics add to a game, but they dont make the game.. And i think thats where this all falls down, Bigger, faster= better never has, never will.. it can.. but not always.

As a pc gamer im far more scared of tablets and Phones then consoles.. both MS and Sony posted Astronomical losses in the last few quarters, there huge shove into Wii territory with motion controls has been ho hum to say the least.. and Nintendo has been on this same boat even longer.. the Wii rulled convincingly for 3-4 years.. and pretty much saile off the end of the earth after that.. while after that the market (even the big guys) is all turning to quick and easy phone games.. again.. not prettier, not faster.. but addictive gameplay.. and a whole bunch of new players who dont play WoW, BF3, TF3, CS, etc.. most dont use a pc (or console) for more then a few hours or less a month.. gameing has moved from the computer desk, to the couch to EVERYWHERE..

saying console are holding PC gaming back is like saying commuter cars are holding racing back.. far more people use regular cars, racing is secondary now, in the past racing sold cars.. it doesnt really anymore..
I for one will miss my PC.. im very greatfull STEAM has extended and I think enhanced its life expectancy.. but while PC are grandpa.. console are in the just about to retire age.. i think our argument will soon be are phone games holding console games back..

Bill Loguidice
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In related news, the History

In related news, the History of Mobile Devices and how it's leading to the mythical post-PC world: http://blog.etoncorp.com/index.php/2012/05/history-of-mobile-devices/

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Anonymous (not verified)
Yep
Bill Loguidice wrote:

In related news, the History of Mobile Devices and how it's leading to the mythical post-PC world: http://blog.etoncorp.com/index.php/2012/05/history-of-mobile-devices/

It's hard to say this is on or off topic becuase it's more business related, but it does show the demand for mobile devices which there is no argument there. Thank for sharing.

^ Same Anonymous as above.

My argument is deff 95% graphics 5% game play. Those head shots would be ever more easier with some nicer crisper graphics :)

Skyrim would allow for a more in life feel to your journey. Blood would look better and those heads of lettus your shooting in the market place would explode rather than just have a metal bullet texture imprinted onto them.

That sniper shot you take that clears the landing in your scope but still hits the landing will be a clear shot with more precise level modeling. Explosions could cause more damage more accurately if you could have 4-6 cores running the program rather than the 3 cores in the xbox360. Prebreakage (that object you break that always breaks at the exact same point) could now be molded to break or be destroyed in a more life like manor (that not graphics that's CPU power).

More of your environment could be interacted with and explored to expanding the ram (both visual and main system). More storyline, bigger areas, less loading between acts, level, or what have you. More games would have more options for different outcomes and endings with larger hard drives and disks. More usable equipment, in game challenges, and better online experience.(if you play online)

That's just a few limitations we currently have that a PC could do, our consoles can't handle. Just imagine any game where if you want to do so you could grab, shoot, interact with anything just the way you want to instead of laid out objectives like we currently have.

Asfar as the Wii it's a great idea for full family enjoyment, but no serious gamer spends loads of hours on one. I never bought one as the capabilitys are stuck in 2004.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Physics or graphics?
Anonymous][quote=Bill Loguidice wrote:

My argument is deff 95% graphics 5% game play. Those head shots would be ever more easier with some nicer crisper graphics :)

Skyrim would allow for a more in life feel to your journey. Blood would look better and those heads of lettus your shooting in the market place would explode rather than just have a metal bullet texture imprinted onto them.

That sniper shot you take that clears the landing in your scope but still hits the landing will be a clear shot with more precise level modeling. Explosions could cause more damage more accurately if you could have 4-6 cores running the program rather than the 3 cores in the xbox360. Prebreakage (that object you break that always breaks at the exact same point) could now be molded to break or be destroyed in a more life like manor (that not graphics that's CPU power).

More of your environment could be interacted with and explored to expanding the ram (both visual and main system). More storyline, bigger areas, less loading between acts, level, or what have you. More games would have more options for different outcomes and endings with larger hard drives and disks. More usable equipment, in game challenges, and better online experience.(if you play online)

That's just a few limitations we currently have that a PC could do, our consoles can't handle. Just imagine any game where if you want to do so you could grab, shoot, interact with anything just the way you want to instead of laid out objectives like we currently have.

Asfar as the Wii it's a great idea for full family enjoyment, but no serious gamer spends loads of hours on one. I never bought one as the capabilitys are stuck in 2004.

Some of these sound (to me) more like physics than graphics. At least, that's how I'd classify them. Once you start talking about more realistic physics, such as the breakage example, that's getting into real gameplay differences and not just how pretty something looks. Obviously the two are closely related in modern games, but I'd take better physics than graphics any day.

Also, a lot of limitations about game scale/scope/interaction aren't just technological. Even if you have the tech in place, you still need to design all that content. It's like those choose-your-own-adventure books. There's a reason why almost every choice but one leads you to an ending. Otherwise, you'd end up with something that was a million pages long.

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Anonymous (not verified)
Physx
Matt Barton][quote=Anonymous wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

My argument is deff 95% graphics 5% game play. Those head shots would be ever more easier with some nicer crisper graphics :)

Skyrim would allow for a more in life feel to your journey. Blood would look better and those heads of lettus your shooting in the market place would explode rather than just have a metal bullet texture imprinted onto them.

That sniper shot you take that clears the landing in your scope but still hits the landing will be a clear shot with more precise level modeling. Explosions could cause more damage more accurately if you could have 4-6 cores running the program rather than the 3 cores in the xbox360. Prebreakage (that object you break that always breaks at the exact same point) could now be molded to break or be destroyed in a more life like manor (that not graphics that's CPU power).

More of your environment could be interacted with and explored to expanding the ram (both visual and main system). More storyline, bigger areas, less loading between acts, level, or what have you. More games would have more options for different outcomes and endings with larger hard drives and disks. More usable equipment, in game challenges, and better online experience.(if you play online)

That's just a few limitations we currently have that a PC could do, our consoles can't handle. Just imagine any game where if you want to do so you could grab, shoot, interact with anything just the way you want to instead of laid out objectives like we currently have.

Asfar as the Wii it's a great idea for full family enjoyment, but no serious gamer spends loads of hours on one. I never bought one as the capabilitys are stuck in 2004.

Some of these sound (to me) more like physics than graphics. At least, that's how I'd classify them. Once you start talking about more realistic physics, such as the breakage example, that's getting into real gameplay differences and not just how pretty something looks. Obviously the two are closely related in modern games, but I'd take better physics than graphics any day.

Yes an no about physx. Nvidia runs a lot of physx but more and more games are utilizing the CPU to do this work now as mutiple CPU cores gives us developers a lot more room to modify everything. ATI kind of lacks on physx capabilities but only a little (I'm being nice) so that's why it's more CPU than GPU bound. Oh an ram plays a huge role.

I can agree with more physx than graphics definatly. More interaction would be a game changer (literally).

Anonymous (not verified)
I'll take something a million pages long.

I'll take something a million pages long. More hours of gameplay and replay ablity.

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