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A One-Console Future: Pray it Never Happens!

50°
336w ago - Competition becomes even more vital in an industry that is technology driven. It's quite amazing that Moore's law, which states that computing power doubles every 18 months, still holds true.

This rapid evolution is primarily driven by competition. People are constantly trying to outdo each other. Consoles typically have a shelf life of about five to six years. What would happen without competition?

Where did the Genesis go? What happened with the PlayStation 2? Having nightmares yet?

In other words, we would potentially skip a whole generation of hardware. So what would make this such a likely scenario? Because when no competition exists, then you have a situation where a company's bottom line is less aligned with consumer needs.

As an example, Nintendo was once clearly dominating the market with the NES. While the Sega Master system was on the market, it had less than 5% marketshare. Nintendo was so comfortable in their position they honestly felt like they could have extended the life of the NES by a good couple more years. From a business perspective it made sense.

If they had a massive install base, then they can easily earn revenue with the fees they charge publishers for every game unit sold, a standard practice for all console makers. If they created a...
 

Blu-ray: The Future Has Been Delayed

50°
338w ago - Hot on the heels of last week's report from ABI Research noting that many consumers may not see the picture quality difference between Blu-ray and standard DVDs comes the latest Blu-ray sales figures from NPD Group. And they're not pretty.

According to NPD, sales of Blu-ray standalone players plummeted 40 percent from January to February, then rose a scant 2 percent from February to March. The general consensus was that once Toshiba dropped its support for the HD DVD format early this year, sales would increase.

In fact, sales of Blu-ray standalone players remain so low that NPD has not yet released actual numbers, for fear that it would be easy to identify individual retailers. The research group will start to give actual figures later this year, said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD.
The end of the format wars clearly did little to boost Blu-ray's prospects. Like others, Mr. Rubin said the much cheaper upconverting standard DVD players are winning consumers' hearts and wallets.

The price of upconverting players is hovering around $70. And this week, Amazon is giving them away for free when consumers purchase certain Samsung TVs. The result: a 5 percent uptick in upconverting DVD player sales in the first quarter of 2008, compared to same quarter a year ago, and...
 

Danger for the X-Box 720 and PS4

50°
340w ago - It's a computer, not a console - Kutaragi on the PS3.

What makes a games machine?

It's a simple enough question, but the answer is something that has long eluded consensus. For some, a "games machine" is something made by Nintendo, or something with "PlayStation" or "Xbox" written on the packaging. For others, it's all about the amount of RAM, and the speed of the CPU, and the number of GPU cores they've managed to shoe-horn into their LED-encrusted black-and-silver beauty.

For years now - decades - these two points of view have divided people. On the one hand, the console faithful tout the stability of their platform, the assurance of a 5-year lifecycle, and the relatively low-cost nature of the hardware. The PC crowd on the other hand flaunt the flexibility of their hardware: their ability to improve performance at a moment's notice and to cater for new and developing trends in gaming for as long as their screaming wallets will allow.

Now, though, for better or worse we are beginning to see a real revolution in console gaming. Where once console specifications were defined and immutable, they have started to become varied and variable. Console manufacturers, it would seem, are starting to take aim against one of the major strengths of the PC platform:...
 

Sony: Microsoft right about downloadable media predictions

50°
340w ago - Well here's one that is sure to cause quite a debate. While speaking at an ELSPA press conference recently, Sony Computer Entertainment UK's Ray Maguire offered his insight on where he sees the direction of gaming media going, saying that within the next 10 years 90% of game sales will be online.

Maguire elaborated on his beliefs, saying: "We have a situation that if you're a retailer you're currently responsible for the goods that come through your chain," he continues "But that's not true with ISPs in the future.

This isn't merely a games industry issue. It's an issue for every industry with companies that have a website, and when we look at user generated content it's a people issue."

Hmm... Well considering Microsoft has said all along they feel they "backed the right horse" and claimed that Sony knows downloadable media is the next big thing, which is why they are implementing it into their plans, do we look at Microsoft trailblazing and say that they are indeed on the right path?

In a recent interview ex Microsoft exec Sandy Duncan told us that "dedicated games devices i.e. consoles (and handhelds) will die [out] in the next 5 to 10 years," he has since gone on to launch his own blog devoted to the discussion.
 

Future PS3 Firmware to Support Managed Copy

400°
341w ago - We know that a future PlayStation 3 firmware update will enable Portable Copy, a feature that will allow users to copy a downsampled version of certain Blu-ray titles over to their PSP for portable viewing.

But in a recent interview with Japanese site Impress Watch, Sony engineers revealed that an upcoming firmware update will also bring support for Managed Copy.

With Managed Copy, PS3 owners will be able to pop-in a Blu-ray disc and legally rip it straight to their PS3's hard drive. Additionally, future updates are expected to bring 1080 deinterlacing and DTS-HD MA support to the console. A release window for the new features was not given.

On the subject of Firmware 2.20, one of the engineers said that the forthcoming update will greatly reduce system memory usage.

Without a doubt, this is great news for developers and likely means that Sony is paving the way for in-game XMB.
 
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