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Old 02-09-2017, 01:59 AM
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Default Game Consoles: What's Next?

List of home video game consoles Since the early 1970's game consoles have gone through eight generations so far, with no sign of a ninth one coming up.

Console makers have come and gone, with only Nintendo staying in business from the beginning to the present.

Console specs have improved enormously over the years.
  • Working parts: discrete components, CPU chips: 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit.
  • Color depth: black-and-white (2 colors), indexed color, truecolor.
  • Game code and data storage: hardwired, cartridges, optical disks, hard disks with over-the-Internet delivery.
  • Onboard writable storage: none, cartridges, hard disks, flash memory.
  • Game characters: simple geometric shapes, blocky sprites, smooth sprites, 3D models.
  • Operating systems: none, runtime software libraries, full-scale OSes
  • Connectivity: standalone, on the Internet: complete with movie and TV access.
The most recent generation has not had much progress in kind relative to what earlier generations have had, though it has had progress in degree. Nevertheless, the flagship consoles, the Playstation 4, the Xbox One, and the Wii U, would make respectable desktop computers by present-day standards.

What might be next for the ninth generation? When might it appear? From how long previous generations have lasted, it should be due around 2019. I've seen speculation about a Playstation 5 and an Xbox Two, but that's about it.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

8 generations exactly? How do we know it's not 6 or 11? It seems pretty arbitrary, doesn't it?
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

The dividing line here is mostly technologic; newer generations of computers make a newer generation of consoles. Sometimes it's also a new technological concept, like 3d polygons.

Gen 1: "Pong", and counting games, built from individual components. No real graphics to speak of - sometimes you had to stick an included vinyl sticker to your TV to know what you're looking at. Oh, its a castle, with windows lit or dark! God help you if you have the wrong size TV.

Gen 2: Primitive microprocessors, color, the first sprites. Pac-Man, Adventure, etc. Extremely limited computing power and memory even by standards of the day - consumers couldn't afford anything better in a game. They didn't have an entire screenful of video memory either, they had to draw 2-color blocks repetitively. Lots of weird things had to be done to put up with limits on the number of things they could draw simultaneously.

Gen 3: When they blur lines with computers. Super Mario Bros. An optical mask improvement flipped microchip manufacturing errors from "70% dud" to "70% good", which allowed microprocessor chips to be made a lot smaller and cheaper. The NES, Commodore, and Sega Master System all used this new generation of cheap processors. Refinements and expansions of the last gen of graphics chips allowed fuller expression with the same technology.

Gen 4: 16-bit processors accessed more memory, and memory prices came down and gave them more room to do things. Bigger and better sprites, longer games, better and more complicated audio... A lot of things video game designers wished were possible suddenly were. This gen spawned a lot of new and memorable things, even though the technology hadn't changed much, just gotten bigger & better. Digitized audio started to appear ("SEGA!") They flirted some with compact disk storage, but really didn't have the memory capacity to deal with it yet.

Gen 5: N64, Playstation. The first consoles with hardware 3d, 32 bit processors, and the first to really depend on CD's for mass storage. This was huge - the largest games in gen4 were a few megabytes, a CD had 600! This caused a few to go greedy and fill their games with full-motion video, but it turns out that making your game 9 big cutscenes isn't very entertaining. The systems still using cartridges inevitably had smaller, more expensive games, also much snappier since a cartridge's load-times are nonexistent.

Gen 6: When the industry they realized they had to take PC's seriously. Nobody uses cartridges anymore (except for savegames). Specs approaching their PC rivals - hundreds of megabytes RAM, modern(ish) 32-bit processors of the sort found in "real computers" running hundreds of MHz, and internet support. Internet support! We only remember the ones which had that, the Xbox and PS2.

Gen 7 had wireless internet, wireless controllers, high-definition, and 64-bit processors. (Not always all of them.) Wireless in a console is meh, but wireless in a portable meant being able to pokemon duel the guy behind you in the bus.

Since then, improvements have been "faster and bigger". Games are downloadable now (which not everyone considers an advance). Nobody knows what the next big thing is.
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

That's one possibility of a story you can tell, but you list a lot of things after each point that didn't all happen at the same time, the boundaries are quite fuzzy. You could as well end up with 6 "generations" or 10.
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
no sign of a ninth one coming up.

Console makers have come and gone, with only Nintendo staying in business from the beginning to the present.
[...]
What might be next for the ninth generation? When might it appear? From how long previous generations have lasted, it should be due around 2019. I've seen speculation about a Playstation 5 and an Xbox Two, but that's about it.
Nintendo is launching a new console in literally less than a month.

I guess it's somewhat subjective whether it counts as a new generation or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corona688 View Post
Internet support! We only remember the ones which had that, the Xbox and PS2.

Quote:
Gen 7 had wireless internet, wireless controllers, high-definition, and 64-bit processors. (Not always all of them.) Wireless in a console is meh, but wireless in a portable meant being able to pokemon duel the guy behind you in the bus.
Wireless is a good feature for a console, but it has significant downsides. You're still better off using a wired connection if you can.

Latency is still lower on wireless connections than wired connections (playing matches online in games that require significant reflexes is still much better wired).

For similar reasons (higher latency), wireless controllers tend to be inferior to wired controllers for certain types of games (fighting games most prominently). Wireless controllers also cause problems for tournaments, because too many wireless controllers running in a small space can have interference. But the tradeoffs are such that companies prefer to go all wireless... Wired controls will only be important to highly competitive players.
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Since then, improvements have been "faster and bigger". Games are downloadable now (which not everyone considers an advance). Nobody knows what the next big thing is.
Nintendo is trying for a second time to make the "tablet as controller" the new thing. Except this time they've upgraded to "tablet as both controller AND console, and you can play it on the go."

Hopefully they've finally gotten their internet experience up to scratch. While I won't be happy to pay a subscription fee, it probably does indicate that the online experience will be better than before (Nintendo has always had it be free in the past).

I do appreciate that Nintendo concentrates more on gameplay experience and innovation (which Sony and MS frequently copy) than on cutting edge graphics. The downside is that they tend to have smaller game libraries as many 3rd-party studios prefer to emphasize graphics.
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Old 02-10-2017, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

I could see a bigger push to VR. Especially something that puts what was ultimately a failure, motion control add ons, to use.

I think Nintendo is on the verge of Shamalaning it. Trying to repeat the mold breaking experience they had with the Wii, but without success.
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

The difference is that even if the Wii U wasn't revolutionary... it still had some very good games.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

Nintendo Switch will be back to using cartridges - no optical drive.

The new Switch won't be a technical advance, just (maybe) a packaging one. Nintendo have always cared more about making fun playable games than they have about technical advances.

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Old 02-10-2017, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

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Originally Posted by But View Post
That's one possibility of a story you can tell, but you list a lot of things after each point that didn't all happen at the same time
Each generation is a new generation of microprocessors - almost. The Great Video Game Crash separated two generations which used the same processor.
  • Pong era: None.
  • Atari era: 8-bit 6502.
  • Great Video Game Market Crash
  • NES era: 8-bit 6502, Z80
  • 16-bit Era: 16-bit W65C816S, 68000
  • 32-bit Era: MIPS R3000, 32/64 bit (matter of argument)
  • Modern Era: Common processor types like PowerPC and Pentium with near-PC specs

I don't feel like diving into generations of processors in the modern ones. I stopped console playing somewhere between the 16 and 32 bit era.
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

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Nintendo Switch will be back to using cartridges - no optical drive.
Probably not "cartridges" as we knew them. Just dumb flash cards which have to be read into memory just like any other storage these days, not a direct bus plug-in which bypasses any loading process and allows them to pack hardware expansions into the game cartridge itself. (A surprising number of cartridge games included extra features like RAM expansions, auxiliary processing, etc. Star Fox is probably the most famous one to do that.)
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

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I think Nintendo is on the verge of Shamalaning it. Trying to repeat the mold breaking experience they had with the Wii, but without success.
You mean when they successfully sold the same tired old experience, same tired old games, and nearly the same tired old controller circa 1985 made wireless, and it was a hit for nostalgia reasons?
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
Nintendo Switch will be back to using cartridges - no optical drive.
Probably not "cartridges" as we knew them. Just dumb flash cards which have to be read into memory just like any other storage these days
Yes. In the photos they look to be about the same size as a regular SD card - though of course they are proprietary so as to make piracy more difficult.




Regarding the special souped-up cartridges, here's the Super FX graphics processor chip inside a UK Star Wing cartridge (that's what Star Fox was called here).

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Old 02-10-2017, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corona688 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari View Post
I think Nintendo is on the verge of Shamalaning it. Trying to repeat the mold breaking experience they had with the Wii, but without success.
You mean when they successfully sold the same tired old experience, same tired old games, and nearly the same tired old controller circa 1985 made wireless, and it was a hit for nostalgia reasons?
I disagreed with some of the choices made on the Wii but... uh... Nearly the same controller because it had a D-pad and the placement of a few buttons on the top? An accelerometer and infrared sensor seem to be a pretty huge difference from the NES.

The industry hasn't changed controllers that much since the Playstation 1 either, because people only have so many fingers. But Nintendo certainly has tried changing more things with its controllers than Sony and MS have.

Also the killer app that made the Wii sell huge numbers was Wii Sports, which doesn't seem to have any connection to nostalgia. That would be gimmicky reasons, not nostalgia reasons.

But if you can get over how awful it is to play off nostalgia, I would recommend playing the top game on this list: All-Time Best - GameRankings
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Old 02-11-2017, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

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I disagreed with some of the choices made on the Wii but... uh... Nearly the same controller because it had a D-pad and the placement of a few buttons on the top?
Well, yes? Do you think that's not important?
Quote:
An accelerometer and infrared sensor seem to be a pretty huge difference from the NES.
I could have gone into detail about how similar the Wii was to the Nintendo's less successful add-ons - the power glove with its motion sensing bar, the foot sensing mat, the sports games which went with them, but I figured you'd get it. To me it doesn't look an advance in technology so much as marketing - they bundled things with the sports games, and lowered entry prices in a way that allowed the gimmmicky widgets to sell this time.
Quote:
Also the killer app that made the Wii sell huge numbers was Wii Sports, which doesn't seem to have any connection to nostalgia. That would be gimmicky reasons, not nostalgia reasons.
Gimmicky nostalgia? They've done very similar things before, they just didn't sell.
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

You can't have much nostalgia for things you didn't own. If people didn't buy the power glove and so forth... People have nostalgia for Super Mario Bros. 3, not the power glove. (That and, of course, many Wii owners were too young to have had an NES).

And if you're saying World Class Track Meet vs Wii Sports isn't much of an advance in technology...

The same would go for Duck Hunt, which at least you have a better case for.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:17 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

Thanks for the history lesson Corona. I played some of those consoles (starting with Pong lol), but never really kept track of how the technology changed from one platform to another over time. P. cool.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Game Consoles: What's Next?

Then there's this.

Man loses 50 pounds by playing a VR game
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