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Comment on "John Siracusa on Wii Hardware"
by Jose — Oct 23
(BTW sorry for the super long comment)
I don't know... Maybe I'm being silly, but I don't see the PS3 as such a big hardware advance. Yes, I admit those cell processor are mighty impressive and I'm sure people will figure out ways of doing really impressive things with it. But i don't see a fundamental change. The way I see it, the PS3 has the same components as the PS2, but much more of them... The added parallel processors will no doubt be put to good use (eventually, by team will multi-million dollar development budgets) but really they are throwing more cpus at the same problem(s).
John made a good point, the inovations in hardware of the N64 allowed Mario64 to go in a completely new direction. But that is the point, the N64 did have something novel that previous platforms from Nintendo did not have, it had hardware 3D acceleration. Not only did the N64 have more CPU power than any Nintendo before it, it also had something completely new, something that enabled new areas of game design.
Sure, the PS3 might enable new possibilities, eventually teams of of developers will figure out how to make one processor take care of gameplay, two extra processors do artificial intelligence, maybe another dedicated to cool in game communications with other players on the net, and of course, what ever is left trying to do more physics than ever before. But if you ask me this is just a brute force approach. (It happens to be very brutal!!) and will probably give us some very cool games, personally I want to see the next Gran Turismo. But along the way Sony is taking a big gamble... the PS3 is going to be really expensive and they will still be losing a lot on each unit sold. Will they make up for it later with software licenses? probably... but that will require really smart and well funded teams to figure out how to get all those cell processors to do something useful together without tripping over themselves.
In contrast, Nintendo is saying, let's explore new game design areas... let's make new controller that involve people in new ways. Let's see what we can do with a machine that is always on and connected to the net. let's explore new markets (new demographics) and oh by the ways let's do all this things while being profitable on each new console sold (not having to recoup on software later on) not only that, but let's share the profit with our reseller ANDoh by the way, let's put make it the most inexpensive new console in this generation. Given all those constraints it's a small miracle they managed to get anything out at all! But what they came out with is interesting indeed. Already they have capture pretty good buzz despite being the number 3 console platform out there. They claim they want to focus on new inovative gameplay. That is part of the reason for the new controls. Well developers will not have to worry about gettting strange new architectures to work for them (like the PS3) instead they will get some improvements in CPU (the y are better than the GameCube after all) but can concentrate on using new controllers and networking. I think it is a good move for them in this round.
Now if you really wanted a new platform to enable completly new games... maybe they should have included physics processors.. or I don't hardware ray tracers... Or if they wanted really innovative stuff they could have thrown an FPGA in there and really let developers go wild. Imagine games that included custom hardware designs... maybe even reconfiguring for each level... NAhhh.. that is way too out there... Game development teams would have to include hardware designers... Oh well we can all dream... in the mean time I will keep dreaming of Zelda twilight princess.
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