Age of Empires Online Dev: “They Should Really Be Asking About The Future of Console Gaming”

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GetOutOfBox

Consoles are hardly "dieing", at least not in favour of the PC market. The PC has been the underdog ever since consoles that were easier to use became common (and hence opened the realm of gaming to non-nerds). The fact of life for PC's is that if you want to seriously game on it, you're going to need to maintain a fairly cutting edge computer (if you're into less graphically-intense games such as AoE/Starcraft, than older PC's work fairly well). Of course, consoles need to be replaced as they become obsolete, but the key problem with the PC market is that most pre-built computers made by HP/Dell/Acer/etc are pieces of shit, unless you spend $2000. The only realy way to go for PC gaming is to learn how to build a PC yourself, a task that most people are intimidated by.

So it basically comes down to this. Consoles such as the PS3/Xbox 360 are idiot proof. Pop a disk in and the game loads. Sure, they're wayyy behind (good) PC games of today in terms of visuals, but there's no problems such as DirectX issues, driver issues, poor hardware, malware, OS issues, etc, etc. All of those problems are easy for us tech geeks to deal with, but for the average person they're extremely boring and complicated sounding. Since most technicians/repairshops charge monstrous prices (the "Geek Squad" at my local Best Buy charges $90 to install iTunes (or any program you provide/they download if it's free). It's part of their "In-store Software Install" package). Because of all these issues, most people opt for the console gaming route.

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prince_david

This is a ridiculous conversation. Neither is going anywhere. PC gaming was saved recently because of steam and their sales. Still if you want to play PS3 quality games you are still going to need to spend at least 500$ on your PC and the PC is just not designed for local multiplayer. Both have their place and are not going to vanish. Consoles will continue to refresh every 5-8 years and bring convenience. 

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poee

What do you mean "the PC is just not designed for local multiplayer"? That's purely a software development choice, not anything inherent to PC or console platforms. If devs wanted to, there would be nothing to stop them from making PC games that had as good or better local multiplayer support as consoles. Game controllers work on PCs, for those that must have them. And my PC has no trouble outputting to my living room HDTV when I want it to. Where is the great advantage of consoles here?

Of course, the real local multiplayer experience is with PCs over a LAN. Granted, multiple PCs are more of an investment than a single console. But that just illustrates the overarching appeal, and detriment, of console gaming: cheapness.

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maleficarus™

I would be surprized if Sony even releases a PS4 (or incert name here). With all there sercurity problems and piss poor game support the PS3 was a complete fail in my opinion! From what I read for every unit sold Sony lost $50. Just not smart buisness sense to do this a 4th time...

PC gaming will never die out, but console gaming will...

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Holly Golightly

Hmm, this is a toughy... I think the future of consoles will just be a dying trend. They prove to be too expensive for Microsoft and Sony to produce. They go years losing money just to make them. Thus explains the long lifespan. Those 10 year plans are there to help generate profit during the last 5 years, to make up for the first 5 of losing profit. They are too expensive, and they really do not serve any other purpose but gaming. Making computers the more sensible solution. A PS3 has a graphic processing power of a nVidia 7950GS... And that card is seriouslly outdated. Five generations too old to be exact! The worst being the latest security breaches. Lucky for PC Gamers, we have a firewall, and a ton of antivirus programs to choose from. This makes the PC platform the most secure option out there in the future.

I think the future will be like this... Nintendo is for tolders, and PC gaming for teenages and adults. When I hold onto a controller, I feel like this is meant for babies who do not know how to operate a keyboard, so the controllers come with these buttons that have fun colors, and come in all shapes and sizes, making it fun to look at. I feel that both Microsoft and Sony will continue their console library in the PC market. It would sort of be like Steam. A closed platform on the PC, which has its own DRM, and its own exclusive games. Making console gaming, and pc gaming into one immersive experience. Sony is already doing this by having their games run on the Android platform, and Microsoft is doing this by having Games for Windows Live. So I really do see them continuing to live, just not at a hardware standpoint.

Afterall, consoles are not very cost efficient. They get outdated too quickly. Then what happens when you get a new console, you put that old console in your closet... Just in case you feel like playing an old game. With PCs, you can play that old game at any time you want, while having enough power to play the latest games. I think gamers have a very bright future ahead of them, and this is great news for everyone to enjoy. With computers being our personal extention to live... The fun part that is.

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xeridian

@Blip2004  FYI, Steam doesn't block you from playing Offline games, GFWL does on some games that don't support offline accounts.

Console DO this also, as some people found out when the PSN network went down. There were games that you couldn't play due to access for DLC of whatever the reason. This is a Developer/DRM based issue, not a system based problem.

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xeridian

When Panasonic introduced the 3D0, they started allowing other manufacturers to create their version of the console, yet it worked on the same software standard. Their marketing and price point forced an early demise, yet shed some light on the future which wasn't ready for such a thing until now.

That's why the PC flourishes and will never die, no matter who makes your PC they can all do the same thing (To some degree). Consoles should take a Mobile Phone view to their business model, instead of trying for world domination. PC developers need to come together and create a future standard that all system manufacturers can adhere to. Each system by any maker could have different levels of entry per cost.

The market would advance, technology wouldn't stifle and consumers could make a purchase based on brand, quality and customer service and only 1 version of the software would need to be made which would benefit the developers in cost versus profit. It's what need's to happen as a whole and consoles need to be based on PC standards of software as well as hardware.

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Ghok

The death of console gaming would be terrible. Almost all the things I love about PC gaming is do to the fact it's not as popular as console gaming. PC gaming is more complicated, and that's a strength for me, but a weakness for a lot of people. Now I'm not speaking for Mr. Taylor, but in the past when I've heard people in the industry talk about the death of console gaming they mean "Make PC gaming like console gaming (taking away its strengths), and as a result, make console gaming redundant."

I understand the hate for console gaming. We've lost so many of our best franchises and put up with so many shitty ports, but that's what we should be complaining about, not console gaming itself.  It serves an important purpose.

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IFLATLINEI

The PS3 will be my last console.

I waited 5 years after relase to finally get a decent racing game.

Im not buying avatars, I prefer to use my own.

I dont agree with features being pulled regardless of how useless simple minded peple think they are.

I dont like anyone dictating what I can and cant do with my equipment.

I dont like not being able to upgrade the hardware.

Im not happy with having my data compromised by Sony. 

 

With that being said Chris Taylor is an idiot and joins the list of thousands of idiots who go public saying something is dead or dying only to be proven wrong over time. Why? Because there are millions of sheep out there who are always ready, willing, and able to buy the next polished turd. Thats what console gaming really is at the core. Just another polished turd.

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bling581

I think people are starting to get bored with consoles and the hardware that's seriously falling behind PC's.  I actually wish they would get an upgrade, then maybe console ports wouldn't look so bad. I could deal with simple controls if the game had excellent graphics and a good storyline.

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ChatterboxChuck

The real question is this: Why can't both systems exist side by side? We can already connect xBoxes and PS3s to computers to share content such as movies and music. Why can't people simply have both and not necessarily fight over which one is better?

Personally i would rather have my kids playing on their Nintendo Wii than on my PC because they have no respect for other peoples properties and my PC is my baby. They can easily movie ions around, delete files and even mess up a game because the PC gives them waaay to much freedom on it.

I love my PC and my games. I prefer PC gaming than consoles but there are some games I like playing on colcoles better like GTA Vice City and San Andreas. The PC version just doesn't quite feel right when it comes to these 2 games.

I don't think there's no reason for both systems to co-exist side by side.

I also agree with iceman and BETAnut, a revolution may be needed here as we continue to be treated as the problem when the excuse of piracy is dropped on everyone who use to be know as a customer.

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poee

I wouldn't mind both coexisting "side-by-side" as you said. As long as the sub-par (and often plain terrible) performance, image quality, features, user interface, etc. of "consolitis" didn't find its way into my PC games. PC gaming has been crippled by consoles in this respect. Not all, of course, but it seems the majority of PC games nowadays are developed for consoles then ported over. Poorly. Publishers are hoping that us gamers will get used to lowering the bar down to the console level. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of PC gamers have indeed resigned themselves to this lower quality experience as the new "standard." It's just sad.

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iceman08

how is it single purpose? single purpose means it only does one thing:
http://gizmodo.com/5437930/how-to-build-the-worlds-most-useless-machine
That only serves one purpose. PCs can do much more, but consoles still have multiple purposes. some are used for gaming, bluray(or HDDVD) movies, netflix, mlb.tv. facebook, youtube, etc. Do I want to upgrade the RAM on my systems? for sure. but as of right now, its easier for me to call up a friend and ask them to play a round of mortal kombat over a PS3 than it is for me to call them and see if they want to play battlefield or any other multiplayer games. I know this is a PC magazine, so there's little love for consoles, but sheesh.

I think BETAnut is right though: a revolution is needed. 

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BETAnut

The problem with consoles is that they are cheap, easy to set up, and easy to run things on; that is their draw.

I was a die hard console gamer untill about 6 months ago when I bought my first gaming computer.

In this six month of gaming, I learned that, steam sucks, internet is almost a requirment to run with steam, steam cripples most games, games for windows live is the antichrist, and the piracy outlet is the only way around steam and microsoft.

When I buy a game, I want it to work by its self, not require it to be teathered to a program that is mandated by the invisible hand.

Nomatter how you look at it, gamers need a revolution.

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Holly Golightly

Well, Steam is the worst company for PC Gamers. Gamers can't win with Steam because Steam records each and every single time you want to play a game so developers can collect stats of their games. Steam is just as bad as OnLive.

I would recommend GOG as their games are legit, and free of any DRM. You can also try Game Comrade if you want a library as big as Steam. If you want sales like Steam, you should try Amazon Games Download. Their games are on sale all year long. The alternatives I have just mentioned are free of that annoying steam requirement. Meaning you can play the game with or without an online connection, and not have a client running in the background.

I feel that steam is on the side of the developers and not the gamers. Gamers are in dire need of a revolution. But for now we atleast have Game Comrade and Gamer's Gate.

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GetOutOfBox

There are a couple of issues with your arguments against Steam.

#1. Why is it wrong for developers to collect stats regarding their games? No personal information, nor anything of any particular interest to you is collected, beyond your hardware specs, play-time, crashes, logs, etc.

 

#2. Steam DRM is actually one of the few cases where DRM works fine. You can install Steam on multiple computers and install games on every computer. You can only be logged into Steam with one computer at a time, but you can install it on your laptop, desktop, work compuer ;), etc. You can run Steam on multiple computers at once if you keep the extra Steam programs in "Offline Mode" (some multiplayer games will not work in Offline mode, but all singleplayer-based games will).

Keep in mind that Steam's DRM is no different than the "serials" used by most disk-games. Few multiplayer games can be run at the same time on two different computers.

Around a year and a half ago when "Offline Mode" was notorious for rairly working and often requiring to be online in order to enter Offline Mode (irony lol), I'd agree with you when it came to Steam's DRM, but now it's perfectly fine.

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Holly Golightly

Though there are ways... You can clearly see how rigid it is.

#1 Can only be logged into one computer at a time. (Although gaming on 2 computers at the same time is silly, still I can only be logged in one at a time."

#2 You need to have a password to log into a steam account to play your game. If you have a Windows password, that means you have to enter 2 passwords to play 1 game.

#3 An average/casual consumer will not know about this, and I highly doubt anybody reads the EULAs. So in theory, this makes it worst than Securom and Starforce, which are keybased.

#4 To run steam, it must eat up bandwidth... Even in 1 player-only games. On some weaker computers, it will eat up other resources like RAM and CPU.

#5 You do not have the luxury to install your games on another drive, natively. You can only install on Drive C... So if your primary hard drive is a small, but rapid SSD... Good luck.

#6 This has to be the absolute worst. You have to run a program (Steam) to run another program (Game) which shows just how rigid Steam truly is.

Look, I like Steam. They are privately owned, they offer some amazing sales, and the program can actually help keep things organized. I just don't like being forced to log online just to play, be forced to run client just to play, and having my data recorded while I am playing... All I want to do is just play a game, and I am seriously limited when I want to play any game that is locked to Steam Apps. If I want to be restricted, I'd rather to play the Nintendo Wii or something. I, like some gamers out there game on Windows because we want a platform that is completely open.

I see Steam as an equivalent to consoles. They are both closed platforms... You have to have a special (other than windows) program to run your games... But I know it is as popular as Xbox and Kindle... No matter how closed it is. I only speak my mind about this, because PC gaming could seriously close up if Steam is supreme world wide. I know CD keys are annoying to register... But at this point, if it is to keep the platform open, then why not?

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bling581

Steam is the bomb! The only game I had problems with was Battlefield 2 but it took about 5-10 minutes to find the fix on their forums and it works like a charm. I seem to lose CD's or keys to old games so it rocks to have games via Steam. Their sales rock as well.

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krash3x

In my room right now I have an xbox 360 and a ps3 gathering dust.  Why? Because my pc is lightyears ahead of them.  Sure there is games that you can only play on a console like gears of war 2, infamous and MLB The Show.  The only thing is the experience on a console seems cheapened.  The load times are terrible, the performance on games like oblivion and fallout3 are terrible and are full of spots where you are lucky to get 5fps.  They lack the needed ram and the ability to upgrade if you want to.  Sure you don't have to worry about viruses and hardware conflicts, but your miss out on being able to choose better components down the road and to learn.  Imagine how much better the ps3 would be if you could add a few gigs of ram to it, or the xbox 360 if you could put a better heatsink in it.  We are to the point now where it's not really that hard to put a computer together.  Its not the 90's where we are worried about IRQ conflicts and we have to call techsupport at every turn.  We now have the internet to find answeres to our problems and detailed reviews on hardware and UPNP OS's.  My wife barely knew anything about computers and after watching me do it, she can put one together.  Its not something to be scared of anymore.  I really think its something that anyone that has the cognitive ability to play a game can do with ease.  I had to send my xbox in 3 times to have the RROD fixed each taking a little than a month turn around.  With a pc I just replace what went bad in it in a day or two.  Don't settle for less becuase you are only screwing yourself out of experience.

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tony2tonez

I dont think console gaming is dying. Alot of people still play them. I am PC enthusiast but i love playing games on console. Its a seperate feeling after staring at computer screen all day work. The console offers a change. Just like people who play games on tablets and smartphones, most of them probably play computer games but they like the simplicity and mobility of tablets and smartphones. 

What about getting friends over to play games? Its easier to setup a PS3, Xbox, or Wii and play with 4 friends and hangout then it is to take PC's to a friends house. I still do this with my friends because its more fun to play with them in the same room then over Ventrilo. Hardcore gamers will do that, but they represent a small % of spending. When a family of 4 can play a game togther on any of the consoles, those are the ones developers and console make their money off of. Not hardcore gamers. 

I how ever dont play PC games, nor have a smartphone or tablet. Console gaming will still be popular and both sides will claim that gaming on 'X' is dying. The only way they die is when people decide to stop playing and go outside. And that is not happening anytime soon. 

 

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blip2004

Will I be able to play without an internet connection? Too many single player games lately have required a connection (either at startup or constantly) in order to play them. Consoles at least let me play games without needing to be online.

The games I'm talking about are either through Steam, or have been coupled with Games for Windows Live, which by the way locked me out of my account with no reason why until I logged into the xbox live website with the gamer tag.

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Holly Golightly

Steam requires you to run a client to play any game on it. You can play in offline mode, but your computer's credentials will run out after 30 days... Meaning you have to atleast have an internet connection once a month on your computer to enjoy any steam game. 

If you plan on PC Gaming, I would recommend you something like Direct 2 Drive, Gamer's Gate, Game Comrade, Amazon Games Download or GOG. As none of these companies require you to run a client to access the games. I am also someone who plays 1 player games, and do not like having to log online just to play them. I wish you the best of luck on your future gaming.

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GetOutOfBox

Your multiple Steam rant posts have been pretty pathetic. In today's world, how often are you going to encounter a situation in which you do not have internet access for an entire month. All you'd need to renew the Offline Mode duration is about a minute connected to the internet.

I actually like Steams tight integration with games, the in-game Steam chat interface is really useful, not to mention a great mini-web browser in the same in-game interface.

Steam provides amazing deals, and has an amazing selection of indie games, unlike it's competitors.

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Holly Golightly

Sometimes people like to travel around the world. Often they can be gone for months at a time, and they are not free to connect their laptops to just any wifi network around the world. So it is possible to not have internet for a month, or even more.

Sometimes universities Firewall Steam (which is totally great!) because it eats up bandwidth... Not every country has 1Gbps broadband.

In case you haven't known... Your games on Steam are region locked. I know most people spend their entire life within 5 miles from where they were born, but some people want a more open, more free platform. Steam is just too restricted... Why would you even like that in the first place? Weird...

Your defense for Steam is absolutely pathetic.

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iceman08

actually, my university DID firewall Steam. The unofficial statement was "Its slowing down the campus Internet." Glad I left that school(not the only reason)

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maleficarus™

Oh give it a rest. Steam has helped PC gaming. Lose a CD? No problem just re-download it from steam. Need a patch? No problem as steam can take care of that for you. Need a good deal? Steam does that for you too buy giving you countless weekened deals on games. Who cares if steam keeps track of your gaming habits. Dosen't effect me in the least!!

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prince_david

Yeah this is the truth. Steam revitalized the PC gaming industry. It also brought on the rise of tons of Indie games. 

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Havok

Steam: Go into off-line mode.

GFWL: Now, there's your problem.

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Recidivist

Die consoles, die! Mwhuahaha.

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