Posts Tagged ‘next generation consoles’

PS4, Xbox One first-party game price confirmed

PS4 and Xbox One game prices have been confirmed for first-party titles.

As much as gamers love or hate the next generation consoles, they have more in common than you might think. Even their overall designs are almost identical, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.

Yes, their outward appearance makes the PS4 and Xbox One look like twins. Even the camera/sensor add-ons look the same. Now we have something else that will be identical between the two: the price of first-party games.

The PS4 and Xbox One are both expected to have their first-party games sell at the price of $59.99. This means they will sell at the same price as last-generation releases. While Microsoft has boasted that their game price will never go up, we can guess why. With the DRM controls making it next to impossible to make pirated copies of Xbox One games, Microsoft can practically guarantee that they will never lose money on games, even used.

Of course, Xbox One gamers will still be bitter about having to pay twice to get a used game, eliminating half of the reason that used games have been a smart way to go.

The PS4, on the other hand, could still have first-party game prices go up, as their decision to not use DRM controls could make pirating PS4 games that much easier.

Source: Inquisiter

Consoles have historically been seen as banner products for the companies that manufacture or design their hardware. Nvidia’s original Xbox win was a sizable windfall for the company in 2002-2003 and the GPU designs of the Xbox 360 and PS3 (built by AMD and Nvidia respectively) were topics of intense discussion when those consoles were new and exciting.

Given these upsides, it might seem odd that Nvidia apparently walked away from the negotiating table with Sony on the PS4. It isn’t. While there’s some marketing upside from game enthusiasts, GPU manufacturers don’t get top billing (or typically, any billing whatsoever) on console titles. There’s no lengthy logo crawl or joint marketing. Sony isn’t selling the “Sovidia PS4″, it’s the Sony PS4, period.

Then there’s the margin question. Nvidia’s 10-K filing for fiscal year 2003 (that’s calendar year 2002) states that the company made 23% of its total $1.9B revenue, or roughly $400M, on Xbox sales. That’s profits for one year — the original Xbox went on to sell some 24 million consoles worldwide. Nvidia and MS eventually signed an agreement that reduced the cost Microsoft paid for Xbox hardware, but this figure gives us a starting point to work with.

Fast forward to the PS3 and its RSX graphics. Two years ago, in January 2011, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told reporters that the Sony-Nvidia deal had earned Nvidia $500M in royalties since 2004. The total number of shipped PS3 consoles by March, 2011 stood at 50 million according to data from the NPD group. Half a billion is nothing to sneeze at, but the numbers imply that NV agreed to much smaller margins on the PS3 than it managed to lock in on the Xbox.
Xbox 360 internals

A small Sony segue

One of the most persistent rumors about next-generation consoles like the PS4 is that both Sony and Microsoft wanted to avoid the bloodbath that occurred in 2005-2006. Both companies took three-digit losses on a per-unit basis. Sony’s losses were worse than Microsoft’s, despite the PS3′s higher price tag ($499 and $599 as compared to the Xbox 360′s $299 and $399). Going in to the PS3 launch, Sony executives were hilariously arrogant, with print-ready quotes like “The next generation doesn’t start until we say it does.” When asked about the price, then-CEO Ken Kutaragi memorably declared that the company wanted consumers to think to themselves “I will work more hours to buy one. We want people to feel they want it, irrespective of anything else.”

We don’t know when Sony and Nvidia sat down to talk about the PS4, but the Sony’s market position had changed drastically by 2010-2011. The PSP Go was moribund, smartphone sales were rising, and the PlayStation 3 — despite costing far more than Microsoft’s Xbox 360 — had only recently begun to make a profit. Total development and marketing costs on the PS3 from the 2004 Nvidia deal to that time were still deeply in the red.

From Sony’s perspective, a number of the gambles it took on Cell, Blu-ray, and on high-margin Nvidia hardware, simply hadn’t paid off. Yes, the system was selling well, and yes, it had boosted the adoption of Blu-ray, but the advent of streaming video and the initial war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD had slowed the new standard’s adoption rate.

The PS3 was a massive gamble. It combined multiple cutting-edge technologies, a specialized processor core, an entire PS2 (for hardware-provided backward compatibility), and an integrated wireless solution at the high end. In the long run, that gamble didn’t work. An analysis by Ben Cousins, a 13-year game-industry veteran, writing for Kotaku, shows the profits and losses for Sony’s gaming division from 2004 through the end of 2011. His figures and graphs are available for perusal.

Source: ExtremeTech

“Compared to gaming PCs, the PS4 specs are in the neighborhood of a low-end CPU, and a low- to mid-range GPU side,” said Nvidia’s Tony Tamasi to TechRadar. Tamasi is the senior vice president of content and developer at Nvidia, and he is not at all impressed with the revealed specifications for the PS4, claiming that it is outperformed by years-old PC graphics cards. “If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX680 GPU (based on GFLOPS and texture), which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago.”

Tamasi is also unimpressed with the very closed nature of consoles, and claims that releasing the PS4 with such low specifications is going to harm it in the long run. “What you get today in terms of performance is what you’re stuck with five – 10 years down the road. PCs don’t have these problems,” he says, telling us that he much prefers working with PCs, as “they are open and can be upgraded at any time to harness the power of newer GPUs for more performance and to take advantage of newer, modern graphics technologies.”

The latest console generation has made the performance gap between PC and console much more apparent, and Tamasi thinks that the next generation will only widen that gap. “If history predicts the future, then these next-generation consoles, while being more powerful than the current ones, will very quickly end up more than an order of magnitude behind the PC.”

While its very easy to brush these comments off as just an industry rival trying to promote PC gaming, it should be noted that Nvidia currently provides the graphics chip technology for the PS3. The PS4 will instead use a custom Radeon GPU, with Tamasi revealing that, “I’m sure there was a negotiation that went on, and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to do the business [with Sony for the PS4] at the price those guys were willing to pay.”

Tamasi says cutting ties with Sony will allow Nvidia to focus on its other industries, such as delivering high-end graphics card for PCs, supplying the graphics chips for Apple computers, and working on its own dedicated gaming device: Project SHIELD.

Source: Tech Radar