Originally Posted by Gigatel
And a high end PC costs hundreds upon hundreds of dollars more than a console. I don't know why you people always brings this up. Build a $400 PC from scratch and compare it to a $400 next gen console. Then run a game that's been made for the vast array of varying PC configurations and the same game made specifically for the next gen console and see which is better.
You don't need to look further back than the XBOX 360 launch and see what sort of a GPU that console had. It was pretty good for it's time, with features that came to PC much later.
I do understand why people keep saying that "console markers cannot afford another 599$ console", but it's not really that way around. Xbox 360 launched for less, a year earlier, and wasn't a hardware design failure. Sony had big plans with Cell, Blu-Ray, eventually having to resort to nVidia to bring in the graphics power with soon-to-be-outdated hardware.
This time around, the console GPUs are inferior to what they were at that time. It's not all that bad though, as people claim it to be. First thing is the resolution, TVs aren't going to move into 4k resolution just next year. 1080p is here to stay for a good while, especially since countries with outdated internet infrastructure such as the US would have difficulties in delivering the 1080p+ content.
People do overestimate the "to the metal" improvements of the hardware as well, though. We're talking of a roughly double the improvement, which will be done in within less than two years for the average PC gamer if the improvements keep at the same level as they have for so far. What happens, rather, is games being put into corridors, usingly ugly hacks and making game design choices to accommodate the hardware, for the sake of putting out better graphics. The movie-likeness of many modern games has it's roots here. With 8GB of GDDR5 this can be eliminated pretty well, especially if people dont go crazy over having extremely fine textures and stuff on everything.
The only new feature that I've seen to fight against this - "Graphics are the only thing we can show to the customer before he buys the game" - is the PS4's try-before-you-play feature. That can be gamebreaking. Otherwise, I don't really know what to say. If MS really wants to lock out the game with their "no used games" -policy, combined with focus on gimmicks such as kinect (no, the hw improvements aren't enough), I think they are in trouble. The only real value in services such as XBOX Live is the user base. If people realize how the service isn't all that great in many respects and don't migrate to that on the nextbox, the subscription-based service becomes utterly meaningless.
One of the biggest key things about next generation will be the pricing and the value customers feel they're getting. I don't buy many games new these days, seeing how something like Bioshock costs ~80€ if bought new (Game + Season Pass), I'm gladly waiting. The whole movement towards a service model is rather threatening for the whole industry, because everyone's going for the gold rush instead of thinking the best long-term solutions.