Next Next Gen

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Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:07 pm

The Wii U may already be out, but we've received quite a lot of news about up and coming systems over the last few days. Exciting stuff.


Razor Edge - PC Gaming Tablet
It features all the functionality of an ultrabook, tablet, handheld, console, and more. The price is a little high for most and I expect it to have plenty of problems, but it's a great idea and I can't wait to see how it affects the 'traditional' tablet market. Did I mention it runs a full version of Windows 8?

Official - http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-edge-pro

Content Patch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibLgZj4jCmQ

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/08/ces-hands-on-with-the-razer-edge



Steam Box - PC Console
Valve's hardware project is everything but a secret. They seem to be aimed at making as open a console as possible. It will initially sport a copy of Linux and standard hardware, but Valve has confirmed users will be free to install other operating systems and change up the hardware as they please. Recently, the 'Piston' prototype has been announced, but we expect more to come.

Official - It's Valve. What do you expect?

Content Patch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKDz-qcoU04

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121396-Xi3-Unveils-Valve-Backed-Piston-Gaming-PC

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/09/what-is-valves-steam-box



NVidia's Project Sheild - Android Handheld
Handhelds may steal the spotlight back from tablets. With their new tablet GPU, NVidea is launching what is essentially an XBox controller with a screen. It will run Android and supposedly be capable of local cloud computing.

Official - http://shield.nvidia.com/

Content Patch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT9-aWD3C14

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121364-Nvidia-Announces-Project-SHIELD-Portable-Gaming-Device

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/08/ces-project-shield-hands-on-impressions



GamePad - Another Android Handheld
There has been surprisingly little news on this so I can't say much. Looks a bit like the PSP or Vita for Android.

Official - http://www.archos.com/products/gamepad/index.html?country=us&lang=en

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/11/ces-archos-gamepad-gaming-handheld-hands-on



Ouya - Tiny Android Console
"Basically, let's stuff an XBox 360 inta a Rubix Cube." It wont be as powerful as traditional consoles, but it's another android game system so power probably wont be priority. Valve may be going with Linux, but the Android game market may actually be the next big thing.

Official - http://www.ouya.tv/

Kickstarter - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120444-Ouya-Plots-Course-for-December-Release

IGN - http://www.ign.com/videos/2012/08/09/news-ouya-kickstarter-ends-big



GameStick - Another Tiny Android Console
If it's worth doing, it must be worth doing over and over again. This console is actually the size of a thumb drive and comes with a NES-style controller.

Official - http://www.gamestick.tv/

Kickstarter - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872297630/gamestick-the-most-portable-tv-games-console-ever

Content Patch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQqzqHgvB90

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121350-UPDATE-GameStick-Kickstarts-Its-Way-to-Mobile-Console-Glory

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/02/gamestick-takes-on-ouya-as-a-portable-android-game-console



Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 - We Still Have No Clue
News on the new Xbox and PlayStation have been very quiet, but this is probably for the better. With the market opening up so much, I'd like to see Microsoft and Sony loosen their grips and instead work to make a genuinely competitive system. Both have a lot of opportunity here and it would be a shame if either of them wasted it.

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/12/11/report-xbox-720-and-ps4-codenames-and-details



Here's more interesting hardware which we should be keeping an eye on.

Oculus Rift - Next Step in VR
A small team of indie hardware developers have been working on a stunning and affordable virtual-reality headset. Gamers everywhere have their fingers crossed and those who have been lucky enough to try prototypes of the Oculus Rift have given it a lot of praise.

Official - http://www.oculusvr.com/

Kickstarter - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/119294-Hawken-Adds-Oculus-Rift-VR-Support

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120851-Big-Demand-Delays-Oculus-Rift-Headset

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/10/rift-a-glimpse-of-gamings-future



IllumiRoom - Kinect Finally Has a Use
This system might add a nice touch to a gaming environment. Using a projector and Kinect, games can produce light effects and even extend the picture outside of the TV, into the player's peripheral vision. It seems like an expensive addition, but at least Microsoft can finally give some amount of backing to their "better with Kinect" slogan.

Official - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/illumiroom/

Content Patch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lNySukF9FI

Escapist - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121434-Microsofts-IllumiRoom-Brings-Games-Outside-the-TV

IGN - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/09/ces-microsoft-illumiroom-makes-your-room-a-screen

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Elabajaba on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:45 pm

Oculus Rift and IllumiRoom

I can't see these as being anything more than niche products that catch on until the next next gen (next gen is WiiU/xbox 720/ps4 imo) due to cost and the fact that things like Oculus Rift may cause people to feel nautious (3d does it for some people, VR may have the same problem). There's also the problem of Oculus Rift and IllumiRoom being used in very gimmicky ways, like Kinect is now.

Steam Box

Valve claims to have a lot of different companies working on prototypes right now, with the Piston being one of the models they showed off at CES. Not really sure to think of it before they release finalized hardware specs and price. However, since it's going to be running Linux and I'm guessing it will probably be priced at around ~$300-$450. There's also the problem of getting PC games to run on Linux, though more games might be created with Linux being one of the targeted platforms (increased use of opengl?) I don't see it as being nearly as powerful as a mid-high(~$800+) end gaming pc though.

Ouya

It seems like a number of backers are angry over this, as they thought they would be getting a console that is similar in power to the current gen. This doesn't seem to be the case as it is running on mobile hardware. From the looks of it, most developers won't be putting their AAA games on it due to it being underpowered and having to get their engines to work on ARM chips. The biggest thing I don't like about it is that they force developers to have some sort of f2p in their games, and I don't think every game works well with a f2p business model (I don't like it in most games, but that's a different discussion). From what I've seen and played of the Android marketplace, the majority of the games on it are crap, and most of the ones that aren't are ports of pc/console games that usually don't run as well, don't look as good, and have worse controls.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Gauz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:19 pm

That's cute, Ouya has 8 and a half million dollars.


That's not enough money to make a console, much less a good one though..
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:50 pm

Elabajaba wrote:Oculus Rift and IllumiRoom

I can't see these as being anything more than niche products that catch on until the next next gen (next gen is WiiU/xbox 720/ps4 imo) due to cost and the fact that things like Oculus Rift may cause people to feel nautious (3d does it for some people, VR may have the same problem). There's also the problem of Oculus Rift and IllumiRoom being used in very gimmicky ways, like Kinect is now.

Oculus Rift might be a tad on the expensive side, but I think it definitely has potential past being a niche - although I don't imagine it will ever be a permanent replacement for traditional monitors.

Elabajaba wrote:Steam Box

Valve claims to have a lot of different companies working on prototypes right now, with the Piston being one of the models they showed off at CES. Not really sure to think of it before they release finalized hardware specs and price. However, since it's going to be running Linux and I'm guessing it will probably be priced at around ~$300-$450. There's also the problem of getting PC games to run on Linux, though more games might be created with Linux being one of the targeted platforms (increased use of opengl?) I don't see it as being nearly as powerful as a mid-high(~$800+) end gaming pc though.

The Steam Box wont be a single set of hardware. It's more of an idea than a console. From what I can tell, Valve is trying to push companies into building their own modular consoles and Valve is offering their distribution platform and financial support as a means of enabling it. Also, Valve has pushed heavily for controller and Linux support in games recently - both of which are key to the Steam Box's success.

Elabajaba wrote:Ouya

It seems like a number of backers are angry over this, as they thought they would be getting a console that is similar in power to the current gen. This doesn't seem to be the case as it is running on mobile hardware. From the looks of it, most developers won't be putting their AAA games on it due to it being underpowered and having to get their engines to work on ARM chips. The biggest thing I don't like about it is that they force developers to have some sort of f2p in their games, and I don't think every game works well with a f2p business model (I don't like it in most games, but that's a different discussion). From what I've seen and played of the Android marketplace, the majority of the games on it are crap, and most of the ones that aren't are ports of pc/console games that usually don't run as well, don't look as good, and have worse controls.

Ouya was never meant to directly compete with the big consoles. Besides, people are crazy if they expected a 1" Cube to be able to support high graphics. The Ouya is supposed to be a low-cost system to play Android games on your TV.

Games don't have to be f2p on the Ouya. The developers said some gameplay has to be free. This can be in the form of demo, trial, or f2p model. As long as some amount of gameplay is free so that gamers can get an idea for what they're buying.

Also, most Android games tend to be poor because they are restricted to a bad control scheme. There will still be bad games, but tried-and-true game generas will play much better once traditional controls are re-implemented with many of the upcoming Android game platforms.


Gauz wrote:That's cute, Ouya has 8 and a half million dollars.

That's not enough money to make a console, much less a good one though..

I would very much disagree with that sentiment. We build our own computers all the time. The parts exist - the Ouya devs just have to pick 'em out, put 'em together, and convince the manufacturers to support the console by lowering their prices so Ouyas can be made en-mass. Difficult, yah, but 8.5 million dollars is more than enough to back that up.

They're not building an OS, an online system, a marketplace, or a giant ad campaign. Google provides the first three and we've already given them the fourth. All they really need is hardware and a development plan.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by KrAzY on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:54 pm

8.5 million dollars is NOWHERE near the cost required to mass produce a console civ, maybe enough to develop a console, but not enough to mass produce.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:10 pm

It obviously wont be on retail shelves across America, but don't you suppose it would be enough to get it started? Allow core consumers to order it and hope its popularity spreads enough to advance the market?

I'm not a die-hard for the Ouya - doubt I'll even be getting one - but its success would be monumental and I'm just trying to be optimistic about it >.<

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by KrAzY on Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:09 am

well, production costs are the most expensive costs, and this thing is supposed to be sold for cheap. you can't develop and produce something complex then sell it cheap and not widespread. thats how companies go out of business
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Nocbl2 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:33 am

If you look at Xi3's products and compare that to what will probably be in Piston, it looks very promising. On their website they have a "build your product" thing that features some decent hardware, and you can apparently upgrade it with what modular pieces are available on the market now (though these are obviously limited in scope). Despite the fact that they cost around $800 for a decent one, it does fit in the palm of your hand, and had the power of a mid-range PC.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Elabajaba on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:21 am

For Ouya, they might have done something similar to how the star citizen kickstarter was run, with the crowd funding being proof that people are willing to buy a space sim, then using that to try and get investors to back it.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by PiEdude on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:56 pm

The holograms are coming.

We don't have much time. The future will be here shortly.

I hope you have a good relationship with your roomba, because you may be its sex slave sooner than you think.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Nocbl2 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:36 pm

The Steam Box began learning at a geometric pace. At 5:35 pm, January 13th, it became self aware. In a panic, they tried to pull the plug.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:26 pm

PiEdude wrote:The holograms are coming.

We don't have much time. The future will be here shortly.

I hope you have a good relationship with your roomba, because you may be its sex slave sooner than you think.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Lord Pheonix on Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:06 pm

I am just waiting for the day when Microsoft announced the new xbox's name so I never again have to hear "xbox 720".



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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:01 pm

Honestly, the one thing I want more than anything from Xbox is for GFWL to be replaced by XBL for the PC (with cross-platform gaming and chat support). Enhanced hardware and a more open distribution and development platform would be nice... but seriously, just replace GFWL with XBL. Please.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Lord Pheonix on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Just put a bullet in GFWL.



Makes me question why I should buy a game and have to deal with that bullshit and MAYBE be able to play the game with it over pirating which cuts that shit out.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Elabajaba on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:32 pm

CivBase wrote:Honestly, the one thing I want more than anything from Xbox is for GFWL to be replaced by XBL for the PC (with cross-platform gaming and chat support). Enhanced hardware and a more open distribution and development platform would be nice... but seriously, just replace GFWL with XBL. Please.

GFWL already has cross-platform chat support. Cross-platform gaming has been in a few games (Shadowrun(2007)), but is hard to balance. I don't think MS can just replace GFWL with XBL, as it would probably take a lot of work to get titles that currently use GFWL to still be compatible with a new PC XBL without the games themselves being updated. As for XBL on PC, I can't see it as being a big competitor as MS doesn't discount games or offer as many (or as good) sales on the titles in their catalogue. There's also the fact that they would have to somehow get over the negative connotation of GFWL even if they managed to redo it to the point where it is easy to use and doesn't cause problems with people trying to play their games on it. (I remember trying to play Bulletstorm on PC, and GFWL wouldn't let me use my profile despite multiple attempts. It would just download the profile then say something went wrong. Ended up having to make a new profile for GFWL after wasting a lot of time.)

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:47 pm

GFWL is buggy, featureless, and devoid of users which make it nothing more than a barrier between me and my games (plus dead weight slowing down my computer).

XBL can still be a bit of a barrier, but it's much more stable and offers features which I would actually use. If they do put it on the PC, though, M$ will have to stop charging for it.

Elabajaba wrote:GFWL already has cross-platform chat support.
Really? If so, I have tried and been unable to use it. Messaging works, but not voice chat.

Elabajaba wrote:Cross-platform gaming has been in a few games (Shadowrun(2007)), but is hard to balance.
That's the one and only game I've ever heard of with XBL cross-platform support. Balance would be very easy if M$ added mouse-and-keyboard support to the Xbox. It would be very easy for them to do so.

Elabajaba wrote:I don't think MS can just replace GFWL with XBL, as it would probably take a lot of work to get titles that currently use GFWL to still be compatible with a new PC XBL without the games themselves being updated.
They could easily use backwards-comparability support just like they do for the original Xbox. Old serves would still have to run on the old system, but that's hardly an excuse to punish newer titles.

Elabajaba wrote:As for XBL on PC, I can't see it as being a big competitor as MS doesn't discount games or offer as many (or as good) sales on the titles in their catalogue.
No, but if the next next gen Xbox is as successful as the 360, they wont need huge discounts. Most PC gamers who also use the Xbox would have plenty of use for XBL on the PC - plus M$ would shamelessly push the system on any M$-published PC title... which still sucks, but it's better than GFWL.

Elabajaba wrote:There's also the fact that they would have to somehow get over the negative connotation of GFWL even if they managed to redo it to the point where it is easy to use and doesn't cause problems with people trying to play their games on it.
Which is why you, as LP said, "Just put a bullet in GFWL." Get rid of it (except for backwards comparability) and replace it with XBL. Of course the bulk of PC gamers wont drop Steam for it (most will still hate it, just like UPlay, Origin, and GFWL), but it will suck less. Much less.



I think the idea could work well. Doubt it will happen, but it's still top of my list.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Nocbl2 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:28 pm

#1 priority should be making XBL free. Seriously.
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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:44 pm

Right, but that would be forced if they put it on the PC. PC gamers don't take kindly to subscription multiplayer (as GFWL clearly demonstrated in the past)

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Rotaretilbo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:01 pm

CivBase wrote:That's the one and only game I've ever heard of with XBL cross-platform support. Balance would be very easy if M$ added mouse-and-keyboard support to the Xbox. It would be very easy for them to do so.

But who would honestly use a keyboard and mouse on their Xbox? I don't know about you, but I have my Xbox plugged into a TV, and there are no desks facing my TV. There are couches and arm chairs. A majority of people will continue to use controllers, and will proceed to get their asses absolutely fisted by PC gamers.

I've mentioned this before, but when I went to e3 back in 2010, I had the wonderful privilege of getting to meet and talk to Doug Lombardi outside of the Portal 2 trailer booth thing they were doing. One of the things we discussed was the use of cross-platform multiplayer in Portal 2. There were two questions we had for him: will Portal 2 be cross-platform with Xbox 360, and will other Valve games be moving to cross-platform as well? Sad to say, but Valve wanted to do cross-platform with Xbox 360, but Microsoft would absolutely not allow Valve access of any kind to the XBL servers. This was probably one of the driving factors behind porting Portal 2 to PS3 in the first place. Moreover, Doug informed us that Valve had been testing cross-platform for a while with a possible implementation on Team Fortress 2. However, they found conclusively that PC players just always won, and it wasn't any fun for console players.

Cross-platform between console and PC currently only works in a cooperative playstyle, because mouse and keyboard are infinitely superior to controller in certain genres, and vice versa with other genres. I can't think of any genres in which keyboard/mouse and controller are on an even playing field.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by CivBase on Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:46 pm

I accidentally Civ's post. D:
-Rot

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Vigil on Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:54 am

From what I know about these things, Occulus Rift is and always has been essentially a step up from track IR already available for PC.

The Android consoles are going to have a hard time being successful, as while there is a lot of people using mobile android devices now, there's such a large market and games on that systems are essentially pirated.

Seems like the NGage all over again to me.

From all I've heard about Steam's thing it's essentially only going to be a streaming box, most likely to allow you to play PC games on your TV without having to run a wire throughout your house. It's most likely tied to Big Picture mode.

The Kinect stuff seems interesting, and there have been other applications and mods for the system that looked promising, but I highly doubt they'll capitialise on it and will continue their futile attempt to pursue Nintendo.

As for the big 3, WiiU has already shown its cards and sits in this weird area where it seems to be trying to appeal to the more mainstream audience of both the hardcore and the casual and alienating both.

Xbox the third and Playstation the fourth, to be successful need to not only make it easier to navigate content, remove some of the stupid design decisions like Patch policy and have more open systems. They also need to step it up and make their sales and deals more frequent and more desirable. Xbox should also work on making Silver membership actually worth something, as currently Silver and Gold Don't feel like their worth the price for admission.

Furthmore, gaming has moved significantly into digital over the last console cycle, and a lot of content we have now needs to be available on the next Xbox Live and PSN. It would strenghten their lauch line-up if you had access to all the online content available already on the previous systems.

Also to your point Rot, a lot more people are using controllers for PC games instead of the keyboard, as support for gamepads is significantly better than it was before this cycle and PC ports have also have significantly improved.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Rotaretilbo on Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:03 am

So I accidentally all of Civ's post...

CivBase wrote:I could list a number of factors for why PC players would always win (more familiarity with controls for instance), but I still think this could be remedied with optional mouse-and-keyboard support for the Xbox.

Now you're just grasping at straws. I imagine that if Valve seriously considered doing cross-platform, which is heavily evidenced by Portal 2 and Doug Lombardi's statements in that regard, they would have thought to make sure that both sides were quite familiar with the controls. And you are applying a very narrow demographic across a very large audience. I highly doubt more then 20% of all console gamers have their console in a place where adding a keyboard and mouse would be simple or desirable. I'm frankly probably being generous in that estimate.

Vigil wrote:Also to your point Rot, a lot more people are using controllers for PC games instead of the keyboard, as support for gamepads is significantly better than it was before this cycle and PC ports have also have significantly improved.

And those people probably don't do as well as same-skill players using mouse and keyboard in first person shooters and real time strategy games, though RPGs that aren't too crazy with the number of abilities you can use would definitely be something to use a gamepad for. Gamepads and joysticks are best for controlling vehicles, especially aircraft, and for controlling something that is third person. They are also excellent for running older console games in emulators.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Vigil on Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:18 am

I agree with the shooter argument and partially for real time strategy, as I think it only applies to complicated RTS with loads of keyboard commands like Starcraft.

I've seen someone play XCOM using a controller on PC and it worked pretty good.

RPG games are getting a lot of Radial menus nowadays. I have the Witcher 2 on 360 and I play it with a controller without much difficulty, not to mention that game has a whole maze of systems you have to manage.

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Re: Next Next Gen

Post by Elabajaba on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:21 pm

Vigil wrote:I agree with the shooter argument and partially for real time strategy, as I think it only applies to complicated RTS with loads of keyboard commands like Starcraft.

I've seen someone play XCOM using a controller on PC and it worked pretty good.

XCOM is TBS, not RTS so you don't need the extra precision and speed of a mouse.

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Re: Next Next Gen

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