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Headscratchers: Console Wars
  • This might be the wrong place to put this, but... Why aren't the Console Wars more like the Computer Wars? Sure, Apple and Microsoft have ads putting down their main competing operating system, but Apple still makes programs that run on Windows, and Microsoft still makes programs for the Mac. So why doesn't this happen with video games? How come Nintendo, for example, doesn't start making games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as the Wii?
    • The markets are a little different. The operating systems offer more to differentiate themselves than their library of software while consoles sell mostly on their library. Nintendo making games for Sony would hurt their console brand while Microsoft making Office for Mac or Apple making iTunes for Windows doesn't really have much of an impact.
    • Probably something to do with hardware. My guess is that PC/Mac processors have the same set of operations, thus with the exception of OS exclusive features, programs can run all the same. With consoles, it's not like that. Also computer programs are mostly made to attend a need. Everyone needs, say, an office suite, but games are more of a niche market. And, finally, the problem with the input: different computers, same keyboard/mouse basic set. Different controllers: quite different controllers.
    • Because it doesn't really make a lot of business sense. This is especially true for Nintendo, since they make more money selling both consoles and software than they would selling software alone.
    • Well, there's the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs game, which is based on a movie from Sony Pictures which shares a name but not much else with a beloved children's book, but is Multi-Platform or Open Season and Surf's Up video games and the Sonic the Hedgehog series which does best on Nintendo Systems.
      • Sony pictures sells the rights to make games off its movies, as they hardly ever are any good or worth bothering with (to date, there have been only two that could be called good - Spider-Man 2, and Ghostbusters, and with the latter they negotiated timed exclusivity). Sony's subsections rarely see very much crossover, except where it makes the most sense - using Columbia Records musicians for Singstar, for example.
      • To elaborate on the above reply: Wintel boxes and Macs used to be totally different in every way, but both companies still made software and hardware for the enemy platforms (Apple out of pity. MS out of necessity, since the IBM-PC sucked too hard to do primary development on.) 7th-gen set-top consoles, on the other hand, are all basically identical Powermac G3/5s with ATI/nVidia cards in them. The real difference between general-purpose PCs and dedicated consoles is that PCs are free environments where anyone can make anything and run anything on any platform, while consoles are fascist dictatorships run by Nintendo/Sony/etc…

        The “business sense” referred to by the above reply is that 3rd-party developers are required to render royalties from a portion of the revenues from any games or hardware accessories that're compatible with a console to that console's manufacturer, or else they'll get bitch-slapped like a cheap crack whore who tried to keep her pimp's cut. 3rd-parties benefit from this whole process in two ways: One, console games are priced higher than PC games, and always have been (don't believe the BS about piracy, a quick spin through a DVD burner works just as well on consoles.) Two, “gentlemen's agreements” between big 3rd-party houses and console manufacturers can keep devkits away from upstart competitors and excessively good games off store shelves.

        Exclusive titles, especially 1st-party ones, are primarily used both to make potential owners buy a console, and to keep current owners sated enough where they won't buy a competing console. The reasoning behind this is that if a gamer buys a 3rd-party game for some other console, YOU don't get any royalties, but if they buy a 3rd-party game for YOUR console, that developer must pay you a royalty. If a customer of yours owns no other console, then royalties from their 3rd-party purchases can ONLY go to you, and if they don't own your console you CAN'T get any royalties from them.

        Of course, this incestuous little arrangement only applies to consoles, since PC developers don't pay royalties, so PC gamers don't either.
    • Another reason why Mac and Windows aren't really competing is because the companies deal in different parts of the computer. Apple is a hardware company while Microsoft is a software company. Microsoft only gets profit from you buying the operating system. They're perfectly fine with you dual-booting Windows on your Macintosh computer... as long as you paid for the copy of Windows. Apple on the other hand needs to sell computers to make money. The operating system is just a way to convince people to buy the hardware.
    • Companies like Atari, Coleco, and Mattel of Intellivision famed loved to do this with arcade hits, up to and including Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, and Mario Bros. The PC had a number of educational games with Mario. Then there is the CD-i. Hell, the PC-88 in Japan had a Super Mario Bros. game! The thing is that fans of Nintendo games knew these games sucked (however, the PC88 games do have there fan base, and most of the pre NES ports aren't to shabby ether) So anyone who wants to play a Nintendo game are leery of any game featuring them on something other than a Nintendo system. And heck, SNK and Hudson did it with various consoles! As for the current console war between Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, it's not done for a number of reasons. Nintendo hates Sony for trying to screw them out of royalities for the failed SNES CD-ROM addon (yet Sony says it's the other way around) and Sony hates Nintendo for making a deal with Phillips behind their back for said SNES CD-ROM addon. Both feel the other dishonored them, and the Japanese pride themselves on Honor. Microsoft sees Sony's PlayStation as a possible threat to their OS monopoly, and Sony sees Microsoft as a shark trying to muscle in on their territory. Oddly, enough Nintendo and Microsoft have what could be called a friendly rivalry with each other in terms of the Console Wars, as they are the only two to ever suffer from being in an Enemy Mine situation. Because of the relegation of Sony to third place with the PS3, this generation is the first where Nintendo and Microsoft actually have to compete with each other, which is why Microsoft now has Avatars and Natal, and Nintendo is letting Team Ninja make a Metroid game.
      • ...what?
      • tl;dr, It's happened before, but the current console makers mutually hate each other.
    • "Hate each other" is probably a bit strong; everyone involved is a grown-up and realize it's a business. Nintendo's current executives have generally refrained from bad-mouthing the competition (Iwata has not hesitate to say he owns a PS3, an Xbox 360, and an iPhone), but whether that's just traditional Japanese humility or honest civility is unknown. And Nintendo has not hesitated to hire outside developers when they needed skills they lacked (such as having Sega work on their F-Zero titles), so hiring Team Ninja for Metroid might be them simply recruiting a developer reknown for "hardcore" titles.
    • Simply put, Nintendo doesn't have a stake in Sony or Microsoft. On the other hand, Microsoft owns a bit of Apple.
  • Why are there even console wars to begin with?
    • It's a redirected frustration coming from the lack of universal media. Each console has it's own set of exclusive games, and owners of different consoles may as well have nothing in common.
    • Because a lot of people can't afford every console that comes out, so they pretend the one(s) they buy are inherently superior to the one(s) they don't buy.
      • And they actually think the ones they buy are superior, at least to them, because otherwise they would have bought another console.
      • Not everyone can afford more than one recent console, or justify additional consoles when the same money could get several games.
      • Exactly. You just spent $X00 on a console. Somebody tells you that the other console can do something yours can't. It's understandable that you'd want to fervently defend your purchase rather than being made to feel like you wasted a lot of money on second rate.
      • If you'll permit a troper to offer some unsolicited advice: Before you buy a new system, make sure there are games for that system you want. Regardless of its specs, I won't buy a new system unless I know of at least five games available for that system that appeal to me.
    • Because people are morons.
      • Agreed.
    • Here's a good theory for this generation's war. When the new generation (PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii) came out the 360 and Wii outsold the PS3, mostly because the Wii was a new kind of system and the 360 wasn't over-priced. The PS3 had a lot of the stuff the 360 had, but with a price that's too high (*cue reference that some people won't get* Ranger Lucky wasn't pleased). So the PS3 owners defended their [personal opinion omitted] decision by bashing the 360, which responded by bashing the PS3. That, and people are morons.
    • In the early 80's, third-party games ranged from forgettable to awful. Everybody rushed to get games and hardware out to market, because they saw it as the next big thing, but everybody focused on the technology rather than putting out a good product (seen also in the Internet bubble of 2000). With few exceptions, the best games were those released by Nintendo and Sega themselves; these are naturally platform-exclusive so the manufacturers could sell more consoles. The Console Wars of the 8- and 16-bit era were bigger and louder than today's because the average 1980's American family couldn't afford two consoles.
    • People naturally want to divide the world into "us" and "them". They used to do this with religion, nationalism, ideology and so on. But those forms of prejudice aren't cool anymore, so console loyalty is the new substitute.
    • They're the only thing that make consoles anthropomorphizable.
    • The majority of people who do this whole console war thing are immature teenagers. That should explain it enough.
    • Honestly, there really aren't anymore. The only serious console war was during the 16 bit era, and that one only existed because Sega decided to start one. In general, to have a console war you have to have some parity between platforms. In the 8 bit era, for example, there was no console war because Nintendo just ran the show—what were they supposed to war with, the Master System? It's almost silly to even think about. In the PS2 era there was no console war because PS2 was the only real contender and the others were just sideshows. That's not to say that there weren't devotees of this or that system in these eras, but any sizable group of people is statistically guaranteed to have some nuts in it—that doesn't mean that there is some sort of overriding narrative of a console war.
  • As a player, why do you care how well each console is selling? All you need is one, right?
    • "Sorry guys, but Sony is closing down because we haven't been able to sell enough consoles." Or possibly because people don't want to feel like they made the "wrong" choice.
    • A great deal of (if not all) the multiplayer games being played on the various systems use team based systems of competetive play, this instills in the player base of a given console an "us and them" mentality within the game world that sometimes seeps into the real world. Think "Red vs. Blue" but in real life.
    • Besides, everyone is missing the point. All the consoles suck compared to a keyboard and mouse. I'd play with the Xbox a lot more often if I wasn't stuck using that stupid handheld controller.
      • Please tell me that was Sarcasm Mode.
      • I sure hope it was. I find console controllers a lot easier for gaming in almost every instance save the "[insert name here] teaches typing" genre, which is a niche market at best.
      • There has been research done by Microsoft which concluded PC gamers had such a massive advantage over consoles that they finally decided to not let PC gamers play along with Xbox Live users in online games because of it, keeping servers separate. The mouse/keyboard does give a massive advantage in precision and reaction time in pretty much every genre to the point players with similar levels of skill will wipe the floor with their controller using adversaries, specially in FPS.
      • This Troper has heard about the fabled "MS Cross-Platform Research" for a while now, heard it constantly being used as the evidence for console gamer inferiority, and has generally become sick and tired of it. Does it exist? This incredible proof of the M&K superiority suspiciously can't be found...
      • After a bit of searching, it appears that this is where the whole PC superiority study rumor started. There is no link to his reliable source, so he has no objective evidence to support his claim. This troper prefers PCs to consoles, but is aware that this is a preference, and doesn't really care what other people use to play their games.
      • A classic controller is far from unplayable, but using your entire wrist to manipulate the crosshair is much more intuitive than one thumb. I should point out that the original "keyboard and mouse" poster is almost certainly referring to First Person Shooters.
      • Varies significantly by genre. Puzzle games, menu-driven RPG's, platformers, and simulations all fare well with controllers. FPS, RTS, and action RPG's like World of Warcraft certainly fare better on a keyboard-and-mouse model. This is why Microsoft sells an Xbox-like controller for computers, and the PlayStation 2 supported a keyboard and mouse. It's not a matter of platform dominance, but fitting the tool to the task.
      • Exactly. Games like EndWar and Halo Wars showed what goes wrong when a genre that's been pretty much exclusively based in the PC realm tries to swim in console waters. Porting the other way works well (well, most of the time), but between EndWar's ridiculously broken voice command system and Halo War's poor mechanics, it just goes to show that sometimes you need a mouse and keyboard.
      • Wait, the PS2 allowed mouse control? I know the PS3 lets you use a keyboard to type into textboxes but can you actually use a mouse/keyboard to play games? If so, then I can finally start using my PS3. If not, I'll stick to the computer thanks. Honestly, I don't think it will happen because it'll remove the last difference between PC gaming and Console gaming, and console games will lose their individuality (not to mention they may feel "forced to change" if the Microsoft inter-platform research story can be believed).
      • You may rejoice
      • Try playing a fighting game with a keyboard and say that again.
      • This troper finds it easier to play fighting games with a keyboard. This troper is also very bad at fighting games and joysticks in general. Pulling off a precise move like right-downRight-right-punch is much easier when each direction is a separate button, and I only need to worry about timing rather than whoops-that-was-upRight-and-now-I'm-jumping.
    • Well I think that it differs from person to person, I for one feel much better using a controller over a mouse and ((specially)) over a keyboard.
      • It also, as previously mentioned, differs from game to game. In my personal experience, some games (e.g., World Of War Craft) tend to work better with a mouse and keyboard, while others (e.g., Sonic Generations) tend to work better with a gamepad/controller. And then you have ones that are more or less just as playable either way (e.g., Transformers: The Game). And God help anyone who tries to play a NASCAR, Need for Speed or F1 game on any system without using a steering wheel.
  • Why is everyone so against Console Wars and so for Multiplatforming. I get that there are people there are people out there who take their console love a bit too much, but consider that were there a cheaper to develop for mainstream console there wouldn't be so many companies becoming bankrupt or the fact there wouldn't be as many lazyily done ports if the hardware and software in the PS3 and 360 weren't so similar. Competition breeds innovation, but now all we have are going to have is one console with three different names, despite the idiocy it generates in people the idiocy that it creates in the industry when its not in play is to me much worse. It is a necessary evil.
    • Well, personally, I think part of the reason is you can now get games like GTAIV, and FFXIII regardless of whether you bought a 360 or a PS3. Before you'd have to buy multiple systems if you wanted to play GTA, and Halo, but now with lots of games going multi-platform there's no need to buy two or more systems, and it's good for the consumer. Though I must agree that the competition breeds innovation, but people want to spend less money, and this way is just better for them.
    • Because people who don't feel like spending more money outnumber people like you.
      • It might seem counter-intuitive, but Console Wars, as tedious as they are, actually serve to keep costs down. If there was only one console out there, the manufacturer of said console would be able to put whatever price they want on games - monopolies all eventually go the same route. This was evident in the early 90's - the price of new games was getting ridiculous (some new SNES games were over $70 when first released), and that was when competition was happening (although the Genesis was on the downswing at the time). Though the glut of poor ports has less to do with dreams of multiplatform unity and more to do with greed and a lack of creative spark.
    • Another downside of multiplatform is it stifles creating new IPs since it creates barriers to entry.
      • For that matter, games themselves are getting expensive. Every game company wants to turn a profit because, frankly, they might only have a couple of flops in them before bankruptcy. So they go the direction that Hollywood goes: Multiple Demographic Appeal by intention instead of accident, design by committee, Executive Meddling as a rule instead of an exception. In other words, Safe beats Sorry; a modest but guaranteed profit is a smarter business move than a wild gamble. (Multi-console releases play into that by increasing your profits for a (relatively) small investment in time/money.) The point is that, to a certain extent, Money, Dear Boy is the enemy of Doing It for the Art. And we know which of the two the big video games companies prioritize.
    • An issue I have with multi-platform is that, when it simply comes down to video gaming in general, it de-values the consoles as a gaming device. If all consoles have the same game, then it isn't about the games anymore. It's about the side features that a "hardcore gamer" wouldn't give two cents about. Back in the 16-bit era, it wasn't really so much about what Genesis did that Nintendidn't, or whatever other marketing schema Sega tried to pull off (or Nintendo for that matter), it was about Mario vs. Sonic, Final Fantasy vs. Phantasy Star, or what have you. Now it's just "well the PS3 does this, this and this, what can your Xbox do?"
  • Why hadn't anyone mentioned the Nintendo 3DS yet? It will be the only system with 3D technology without glasses. Surely that would make things harder for Microsoft and Sony, who are just developing motion-detection controllers (and the Wii beat them out of that too).
    • No one's mentioned it because the 3ds just doesn't bug them.
    • The 3D isn't perfect and some people have bad reactions to it, plus it hasn't been selling as well as expected.
  • No mention of the Virtual Boy? I know that the sales figures could be counted on one hand, but still...
    • Fixed. There's a mention now. Merry Christmas.
  • Why does Nintendo market Sonic so much? isn't Sonic Sony's? and ins't it a bit of a dick move of Nintendo specially since Playstation and Xbox came Nintendo has become so clingy of his products.
    • Sonic is Sega's. Which is why there's Sonic games on every console, not just Sony ones.
      • Sonic is Sega's and Nintendo and Sega have history that's just not there with Sega/Sony and Microsoft. It's been a dream of some Nintendo consumers to play Sonic games on an Nintendo console. Nintendo knows this so they market Sonic a lot more than Sony and Microsoft do.
  • Heres a good one- why did Sony build a new motion-dection thingy instead of just putting money in making the eye-toy(which was almost as good as the kinect years in advance) even better? would saved time and made them kinectic nothing but a weaker copy, giving them motion gaming and undermining the x-box all in one go.
    • Short answer: Sony hasn't adjusted to the speed of the consumer electronics world.
      In more detail: Sony haven't learned the difference between bad ideas and bad timing. In the consumer world, a product starts expensive and then gets cheaper for one of two reasons: 1) lots of people buy it, allowing the manufacturers to streamline costs using the profits, or 2) venture capital is sunk into it, allowing the manufacturers to streamline costs using the profits. The problem is, if a product is ahead of its time, neither of these things happen, and the design languishes in a vault somewhere until Microsoft revives it / develops it independently. But Sony then took the additional step of assuming that, because their first-generation webcam didn't sell, webcams are terrible peripherals forever and no matter what improvements are made to the hardware and software, they will never be a good idea. They missed the boat by being too early, and then ignored it later when the Wiimote started gathering attention.
      ([DISCLAIMER] The above poster, Slvstr Chung, is by his own admission talking out of his ass. Not a word of the above analysis should be considered authoritative or, for that matter, factual.)
  • Why are console developers obsessed with whether their console is "the most powerful console" when "the most powerful console" has never won any of the console wars.
    • I think it's at least partially a Pandering to the Base thing, since it's mainly the hardcore tech-heads and fanboys who are interested in that sort of thing.
    • What else are they supposed to pitch? They don't make most of the games, which are the true benefits of the system, and the really good stuff isn't finished at the point they are selling the launch models. It's about hooking consumers on potential.

  • Alright, I don't really see any other place to put this. But what is the reason behind region locking? I know there is one.
    • Price discrepancies between countries. As recently as this generation, Japanese gamers often could find it cheaper to import a Western game's native version than their own localized version, as translated games are more expensive to pay for due to the price of localizing and translating. This tended to work the same way when the Western world imported Japanese games. This caused video game developers to lose money, or at the very least, their foreign branches, as additional markup is added to games in addition to the costs of the localization. Generally, it could also be said that censorship could also be controlled in a country-specific way, as censorship laws apply very differently from country to country.
    • In addition, try taking a look at this wikipedia article. In short(er) terms, TVs work differently between parts of the world, and thus a Japanese/North American console won't work with a European/Australian TV and vice-versa. Japanese and North American devices do not have this particular problem with each other however, nor do European and Australian ones with each other, and of course this only apples to home consoles rather than portables.

  • Why is Sony so against piracy, the PS One and PS2 had piracy and they won their respective console wars and make them lots of money, PSP had a huge piracy problem and sold well and did not win its console war only because the DS was also easy to break. There was no piracy on the PS3 and they lost lot of money.
    • You may be confusing cause and effect here; perhaps piracy was not as big a deal on the PS3 because there were few "KillerApps" for the system (relative to its competitors) until late in the 7th Gen.
    • "We sold a million games this quarter and made $60 million. But another million people pirated the game and didn't pay anything. Imagine what we'd make if everybody paid for the game."
  • How would the development of consoles be altered if a culture of game exclusivity did not exist?
  • What is causing the 3DS to succeed where the Virtual Boy failed?
    • Slider knob, can turn the 3d up or down or even turn it off. I know speaking for myself, I usually keep it off and use it as a new and improved DS.
    • Also color, more advanced technology, the ability to actually take it around with you, and (eventually) more games.
  • How can Nintendo successfully advertise the Wii U to the casual Wii userbase?
    • Evidently, they can't, anymore than they can successfully advertise it to the gamers who are still waiting for a sufficient number of killer apps to justify the purchase.
    • By they can't, you mean they haven't? I wondering what they can do DIFFERENT>
      • Well, for the casual crowd, again, the answer is unfortunately, they really can't. While the Wii and the iphone came out at similar times, the latter took a while to get going; however, at this point, the market is sufficiently saturated - casual gamers are now probably more likely to load a casual game onto their phone then to buy a separate system for their casual-gaming needs, since phones capable of such are now so ubiquitous. Or do it on their tablets. The market is a different place now than it was in Holiday Season 2006. And the two advantages Nintendo has over smartphones for casual gaming are motion sensing (same in Wii as in Wii U, so no need to upgrade there), and in graphics and processing (which don't matter to a casual audience that isn't going to push anything more advanced than the Gamecube to its limits anyway due to the inherent necessary simplicity of casual games like Wii Sports or Angry Birds).
      • That's a really good answer. So that entire audience is a no-go then. Unable to please either of their former audiences, and afraid to create anything majorly different for their current franchises, what can they do, then?
      • Make games, that's what they do. Doesn't matter what innovations or pandering either audiences want, making appealing games is what brings in the audience. What drove the 3DS's sales? Price cut? No, only temporary before dropping back. Games, yes. And not just one game, a whole lot of games drove the sales because it is the games that make the system.
    • At this point? Claim to be Apple.
      • No, claiming to be Apple is a bad idea; you know, since people know Nintendo is not Apple. They're already putting out the big system-sellers right now (which is mascot characters like Mario and DK, as well as casual games to keep the Wii's audience and hardcore games for the gamers), Super Smash Brothers for 3DS is getting closer to launch (the system already had Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, Super Mario 3D Land and other big sellers, so this is only bolstering it) and the Wii U game comes out this winter (which could mean either October, November or December). And Smash is almost certainly going to be a huge seller when either version launches. The 3DS failed at first because of a lack of software; the same problem the Wii U's had. With the sales Smash is going to bring, more third-parties will be more interested in Nintendo; and I'm already expecting the E-Shop to begin hosting indie games at some point. Hell, the Wii U's been doing well in Europe since the Xbox One was revealed. Nintendo also has a fuckton of money from the last generation to sit on, so I highly doubt they'd drop the Wii U for sales and instead focus on, you know, making games for it. The Virtual Boy failed for more reasons than just Nintendo's finances (for one, it caused physical and visual strain...which isn't exactly good for buisness), but the Wii U is enjoying good sales and good games right now. Nintendo pretty much has the stranglehold on the casual market sales, too; the Wii, as much as people bitched about the motion-controls, outsold both the PS3 and 360. Hell, Nintendo has the record for most sales of a launch-title on a game console twice. (First Super Mario Brothers, than Wii Sports) The best thing Nintendo could do at this point? Be Nintendo and make games people will buy. Both of which they're doing.

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