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If you were to create your own console...


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Posted

I would probably make an attempt to make console gaming more modular. I know it will never be that way but it'd be cool if you could buy the base, and then add extra RAM or GPU power over time as they're released. Kinda like what they USED to do with computer/gaming systems of the 1980's like the ZX81 and such.

 

I'd love it if they sold a console in kit form and then you could just assemble it yourself.

 

However that'd make the market a bit confusing since game compatibility and performance would be all over the place.

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Obviously you'll want the best hardware that you can afford-ably mass produce that will perform well, but here's an idea.

 

Modularity.  I remember the old N64 expansion pack where you could increase the available RAM by adding an expansion pack.  Why couldn't newer consoles revisit that idea?  Instead of testing out entirely new architectures and configurations with every console, why not release a modular console.  8 GB of RAM not cutting it in 5 years?  Original video card falling behind compared to newer offerings?  Sell an "upgrade" pack that is user installable to increase available RAM or to replace the video card.  Even if it's some proprietary configuration so you have to buy "Sony's" or "Microsoft's" upgrade pack, I think it would be better than just letting the consoles slowly age into irrelevance when PC gamers can just run down to Wal-Mart of Best Buy and purchase upgrades for their rigs, and better than having to spend millions (billions?) of dollars researching, developing, marketing and producing brand new consoles every 5 years or so.  Would also keep from annoying gamers who want to play their older games and realize that the new console they just spent $500 on won't play their older games.

I already suggested this with Project Ara. But it seems only HawkMan is right in this thread :/

I think upgradable parts (which can be simplified) are the way to go. People can plug in controllers, USB, HDMI, etc. A block that looks like a Lego is pretty easy as well. So they would have no problem with this and best of all, they can adjust to their price range.

However that'd make the market a bit confusing since game compatibility and performance would be all over the place.

With a proper design and correct marketing, I do not think it would bring a problem. It is a delicate subject because if you do deliver it wrong, then yes, it would make things VERY confusing for consumers.

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I already suggested this with Project Ara. But it seems only HawkMan is right in this thread :/

I think upgradable parts (which can be simplified) are the way to go. People can plug in controllers, USB, HDMI, etc. A block that looks like a Lego is pretty easy as well. So they would have no problem with this and best of all, they can adjust to their price range.

Let's not start name calling and such now.

The problem you're not seeing is that a modular console over complicates the situation, not just for the user, but for the developer. And you end up giving the developers the same problem they have on PC. They can't optimize the game, they don't know what hardware is in the console.

All in all you make something that should just be a simple box into something complex, just in a simpler way. Also modular systems re always more expensive than just simple to the point boxes.

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Posted

Let's not start name calling and such now.

The problem you're not seeing is that a modular console over complicates the situation, not just for the user, but for the developer. And you end up giving the developers the same problem they have on PC. They can't optimize the game, they don't know what hardware is in the console.

All in all you make something that should just be a simple box into something complex, just in a simpler way. Also modular systems re always more expensive than just simple to the point boxes.

I simply said that it seems like your posts are saying everyone else is wrong and you are the only one with the VHD (tech that isn't even commercial yet) no disc drive, and the resolution obsession who is right. Nothing else. I respect your opinion like anyone else's because it is a valid one.

Its just funny that Im not the only one thinking of a modular system. And PC games have been made for decades and this "problem" (which doesn't exist) developers have been facing for years.

And more expensive is the point; If Im a console hardware manufacturer, I want consumers to spend more and more on hardware than software which I just get a percentage of the sale.

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Posted

VHD was commercial before BluRay actually. You could buy driver

S and discs, they where obscenely expensive due to their extremely limited production though.

PC developers are facing that problem with every game they make, that's why PC games require significantly more horsepower, and why there are thing like Nvidia experience and now raptor to help you configure the game.

The problem with more expensive in this case is that it doesn't necessarily mean more money for the hardware maker. It most likely means less or about the same.

But why would a consumer buy more expensive modular console when he could just buy a finished model that costs less than all the top end modules and has the same or likely better performance because it's built together( let's look at the One for a second, the way it's design with an APU and custom architecture designed to work together optimally, it can't be done modularly), and on top of that on the modular one he would have to spend time tweaking the config to get the right frame rate and even then he likely suffers drops in bigger scenes.

It works better for a phone, but even then I have my doubt Ara will ever actually exist or at least sell more than a handful. In a way like the Ubuntu phone, a very few people will think it's awesome. But the millions who buy iPhones, galaxy Sx's and Xperia Zx's they're not going to buy it.

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The risk with that is you halt down gaming progress, look at the most demanding games on iPad, very few apps are only compatible with the latest iPad. Devs make it so that their game works on most of the iPads, same as PC Game Devs don't make games that require literally the most powerful video card and Processor, they make it so lots of rigs can play to maximise profit. If we moved to a yearly console release that was 100% backwards compatible devs would want to make it so their games run on as many generations of Playstation and Xbox as possible. 

 

Never once has older PC hardware prevented developers from progressing nor does it for iPad. It's actually possible for a graphic engine like Crytek 3.0 or UE to scale back to Geforce 3 video cards for example or iPad 1's if they had such a contract to abide by. The reason why Crysis 3 or Witcher 2 doesn't work on much older hardware is because they don't have to and it's an open platform and the PC market is not the same market as console. Same with iPads, Apple doesn't force compatibility for iPad 1 but there is no evidence to suggest that developers don't want to progress graphics but there is evidence from many developers own words that they want to push far more than they can now.

 

You're theory about what "may" happen is as good as mine saying that it won't.

 

 

I don't know about others but if consoles followed the release schedule of tablets and phones I'd give them up completely.

 

Not interested in that model at all.

 

It's a model that doesn't require a new upgrade. Consoles are not in the same market as PC's. It wouldn't even have to be yearly, even every 3 years, a silent upgrade would suffice. It's no different to PC gamers who already upgrade almost yearly anyway. But in my idea, license contracts (which all console makers force them to sign if they want to develop for the platform anyway which dictates packaging, functions..etc),  would protect the original hardware form, scalability is very doable with graphic engines as the hardware is very scalable. That idea means that there would never be a completely new console ever 5 years but rather one that keeps up with technology for the foreseeable future. You could buy a new console in 5 years or maybe your original one dies so you get a new one which happens to be upgraded.

Besides, most every electronics device is becoming more throwaways, even TV's it seems serve much fewer years for a typical household than they used to.

 

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Never once has older PC hardware prevented developers from progressing nor does it for iPad. It's actually possible for a graphic engine like Crytek 3.0 or UE to scale back to Geforce 3 video cards for example or iPad 1's if they had such a contract to abide by. The reason why Crysis 3 or Witcher 2 doesn't work on much older hardware is because they don't have to and it's an open platform and the PC market is not the same market as console. Same with iPads, Apple doesn't force compatibility for iPad 1 but there is no evidence to suggest that developers don't want to progress graphics but there is evidence from many developers own words that they want to push far more than they can now.

 

You're theory about what "may" happen is as good as mine saying that it won't.

 

 

 

It's a model that doesn't require a new upgrade. Consoles are not in the same market as PC's. But in my idea, license contracts which all console makers force them to sign if they want to develop for the platform,  would protect the original hardware form, scalability is very doable with graphic engines as the hardware is very scalable. That idea means that there would never be a completely new console ever 5 years but rather one that keeps up with technology for the foreseeable future. You could buy a new console in 5 years or maybe your original one dies so you get a new one which happens to be upgraded.

Besides, most every electronics device is becoming more throwaways, even TV's it seems serve much fewer years for a typical household than they used to.

 

 

 

I said it slowed progress. If each time a PC game launched it required the very latest video card and processor could you imagine what that game would look like? But games dont do that because its financial suicide so they target as many PC's as possible. Where did I say games like Witcher 2 and Crysis 3 have to run on older hardware? 

 

Could you imagine how much worse games like Infamous: Second Son and Ryse: Son of Rome would look if they were designed to run on PS3 and 360 seamlessly? Games like Battlefield 3-4 had to have completely different versions made for them. If you have developers only making a single version that will run on all it's going to impact how good the game is. 

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1. I'd make it curvy, so sick of straight lines. I miss the N64.

2. I'd put all R&D into designing it to subliminally make people think of boobs.They would call me crazy, I'm sure. I would spout random things from my office which could just barely be heard by my minions employees; "it's not boob enough!".

3. To hit the coveted 1080/60 I'd plant drugs on all developers that used words such as "nextgen", "crytek" or "graphics"; you know, within reason. I'd then report them for trafficking.

4. I'd hire Britney Spears to be my spokesperson. Although she never actually speaks. All commercials are just her staring at camera for 30 seconds with a slightly out of focus console behind her. Then the console name would appear for 1/30th of a second at the end.

5. The controller would be much like the 360 controller, only the naming convention would change form A,B,X,Y, etc to F, H, P and W as I feel those letters get no love.

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Posted

I noticed a good amount of people on here are attacking this question as if they are building a new PC not a Console and are making a console for themselves and obviously not something that would ever sell for any kind of profit.

 

Only thing I would try and do is try and make sure I had a little better lineup of games out the gate instead of a handful of decent at best games at launch.  Though atleast now each system has a game worth playing alot

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Posted

I think this discussion could be split into two parts:

What console would you build in reality and what console would you want to see built.

For me personally, I would first try to answer a few questions:

1. What price range can we get away with?

-This may be the most important question of them all since it will dictate how much hardware I can squeeze in and what features can be properly implemented. It also would help decide how much we are willing to lose on each console at launch in order to hit certain goals.

2. What is the 'mood' of the market?

- I would want to get a sense for what the gaming community and the general gamer public are looking for in a console. Then I would look at the wider market of consumers that are not necessarily gamers, but could be tempted to a powerful device that sits in the living room.

3. Decide how much 'risk' to take on

-This one is big too because I have to decide early on how risky my choices can be. I have to decide if doing things that have not been done before or have been done poorly in the past are worth investing in now or if I should play it safe and stick to what has worked. Do I embrace VR heavily along with motion controls, or do I stick to a traditional experience. Or maybe I come up with something that hasn't been attempted yet.

So for me, if I was trying to plan out a new console, I would first aim for as much hardware as can be squeezed into the budget.I just don't think there is a market for a $600-$800 console, so I would aim for $500. Within $500, I would want most of the hardware budget to go to the GPU and cut back on the cpu where I have to, so that would mirror what both Sony and MS chose to do. The cpu will be less important as more and more can be done on the gpu itself anyway, so that needs to get the bulk of the investment.

As far as the gpu, I would want to aim for mid-high end at the time the console is to launch. So that means working with AMD or Nvidia to get the most effective design based on their latest plans for cards that would be coming within the first year of launch. For the cpu, I would be fine with just mid range performance, but highly parallel, so something in the 6-12 core range would be nice. I want a high core count to allow for freedom in OS and feature designs. Everything outside of gaming itself will simply work better with a more flexible cpu. Speed of the cpu would not be a big priority, just something mid range again. For ram I would be looking at DDR4, GDDR5, or something more exotic like F-Ram or PRAM (both of which have recently been growing in density to reasonable levels) if pricing allowed it by the time we got to final production.

As for the hard drive, I would probably stick with a standard drive if I had to choose between using an ssd and cutting back on say ram or gpu. If I went with an SSD, it would have to be at least 500GB in size, so pricing would have to be very attractive to convince me that it was worth investing so much just for storage. I would definitely make it user replaceable though. As for the misc hardware in the box itself, I would want the usual stuff like a minimum of 4 usb ports, hdmi 2.0 ports and wireless ac/Wifi-Direct/bluetooth/miracast support.

For the overall design or look of the console, I would go with something a bit muted. Black of course, but also with a matte finish (no more gloss!). I'm not a fan of bubbly, rounded designs, so probably something with square edges. I would also prioritize cooling quality over physical looks if there is a choice to be made. If building the box a certain way means a quiet and cool running system, I'm taking it.

So with the console hardware down, then to consider the 'risk' part. I could bet on VR and motion controls with the hardware needed, but then I have to decide a budget for that stuff too and if its a viable platform all by itself. If I'm not going to bundle it at launch to stay in that $500 and investing all of that into the console box itself, I have to figure out what pricing avoids serious failure. $200, $300? Big prices and big risk for sure. I would have to invest a lot of money into developing the hardware and securing software to use with them, not to mention bring in developers anyway I could. Alternatively, I could bundle it with each console, but then that means I have to eat big losses on each package sold in order to hit the price and not change what I put into the console. I'm not sure which way I would go, but I would be very tempted to not introduce such a thing at all and then try something later.

Then of course the software side of things. I would want an OS that is flexible in usage and development, allowing for us to leverage the console for many things, including things outside of gaming. I would want to aggressively push updates to improve the experience and expand usage. I would want to pursue entertainment features to build into the system and be free to build in new gaming related features as the need arises. That also means it needs the right policies/tools so that developers of all types are encouraged to build games or apps for my platform. Open app stores, universal apps/games across platforms, free access to tools, server hardware, self publishing, etc, etc. I would want to aggressively pursue digital game features like rentals, sharing games with friends, or reselling them, not to mention attractive pricing and little things like the option to convert a retail game to a digital copy or at least able to install a game and not need the disc again. Hopefully I could convince developers/publishers to go along with it :laugh:

Finally, there would be a heavy emphasis on marketing and engaging with the community. That means end users and developers alike. Work with them as much as I could before launch to try and iron out issues before launch whether that is issues with policies or technical concerns. Just try to make the experience more inclusive, hopefully resulting in more happy customers at launch.

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Posted

I think this discussion could be split into two parts:

What console would you build in reality and what console would you want to see built.

For me personally, I would first try to answer a few questions:

1. What price range can we get away with?

-This may be the most important question of them all since it will dictate how much hardware I can squeeze in and what features can be properly implemented. It also would help decide how much we are willing to lose on each console at launch in order to hit certain goals.

 

 

That's the brilliance of Steambox in that there will be lots of price ranges. The downside is that the non upgradeable ones will quickly fade from being useful with some games in the near future after release. In many ways they are consoles, they just won't have games that adhere to specific standards unless they plan to only allow games that work on all of them as Valve intends.

That's IF Steambox goes anywhere with customers and developers. It would be funny to see Sony and MS's reaction if they ended up getting more popular than their consoles but that would take some miracles.

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i would demand for the games to be released on custom formatted SSD but its using standard USB connector.

 

So lets go back to the expensive Nintendo Cartage era.

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That's the brilliance of Steambox in that there will be lots of price ranges. The downside is that the non upgradeable ones will quickly fade from being useful with some games in the near future after release. In many ways they are consoles, they just won't have games that adhere to specific standards unless they plan to only allow games that work on all of them as Valve intends.

That's IF Steambox goes anywhere with customers and developers. It would be funny to see Sony and MS's reaction if they ended up getting more popular than their consoles but that would take some miracles.

A steambox is basically just a pc, so while it has advantages as you say, it has pretty obvious disadvantages that are inherent to the pc model.

Yes you can build a gaming pc for close to a console price, and yet demand still remains high for consoles.

Honestly, I think its more likely that next generation consoles will simply be small boxes that tap into streamed games vs steamboxes taking their place.

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VHD was commercial before BluRay actually. You could buy driver

S and discs, they where obscenely expensive due to their extremely limited production though.

I did a quick Google search to buy a disc but I couldn't. Could you point out a non eBay source to buy them?

PC developers are facing that problem with every game they make, that's why PC games require significantly more horsepower, and why there are thing like Nvidia experience and now raptor to help you configure the game.

I keep failing to see what problem PC developers face. You bring this up but usually console games are developed on PC themselves so...

PC games requiring more horsepower? Many people play current games with a build that they built years ago.

The problem with more expensive in this case is that it doesn't necessarily mean more money for the hardware maker. It most likely means less or about the same.

Explain

But why would a consumer buy more expensive modular console when he could just buy a finished model that costs less than all the top end modules and has the same or likely better performance because it's built together( let's look at the One for a second, the way it's design with an APU and custom architecture designed to work together optimally, it can't be done modularly), and on top of that on the modular one he would have to spend time tweaking the config to get the right frame rate and even then he likely suffers drops in bigger scenes.

A consumer doesn't have to buy a "expensive modular console"; They just buy a 199

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I would like MS to find a middle ground on their DRM route they were going with games to keep both sides happy :D If I buy physical, I don't want to have to swap the disks everytime I want to play a game.

 

Which leads me to the next place, a more open marketplace for digital game purchase - Amazon marketplace as well as MS etc. Where there is competition you will always find a deal.

 

Remove game exclusivity and have all games on all platforms, this way the console and its features will play a much bigger part in which one sells the best. Again I think this will lead to more innovation between the two to try and out do the other. I chose my XB1 because of games like Forza, Halo and Gears of War - remove that and I can't say I would have made that choice so easily.

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There are lot of good idea being posted... 

 

But the sad part is, I would never buy your console.

 

$500 is/was my limit (I was the dope who spent $600 on a PS3 and $500 on a Xbox One).  Some of the stuff ya'll are posting would jack the console up to PC status.  In which I would just build my own PC.

 

And whats worse, you will NEVER get the money from casuals/parents who are the real majority of buyers of video games.

 

There is NO WAY "Lil Timmy's Mom" or "Here and there Gamer" gonna spend that kind of money for your box.  So you will have basically sunk a company into the red and possibly closed their doors forever.

 

What "WE" want vs reality at a reasonable price point will never happen.

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I really will never understand how or why people expected this generation of consoles to come equipped with Nvidia Titans and 5ghz cpus.   1000$ consoles is a bad idea any way you look at it and if you don't think so then its only you being selfish.  You certainly don't want to fragment a console either so they have to find the middle ground with affordibility and still powerful enough to satisfy most gamers.   I mean if they put out a console TODAY that could do 60fps at 4k resolutions for 500 dollars i would be all over that and it would be the end of pcs as a gaming device.  Would prolly be be the end of who ever put it out too cause they would be losing a grand for ever console sold lol.

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Posted

I'd basically just double what's in the existing consoles. Dual CPU & GPU, 16GB RAM. Easy

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Unfortunately, these people wouldn't be able to assemble an ARA phone or console either, no matter how easy it is. 

 

 

Sell them at IKEA, problem solved :p

 

 

Seriously though, I think that a modular console would kill one of the biggest points of a console: pay a fixed price and enjoy games as intended for the whole life of the device, with the same quality (or lack thereof) as everyone else.

 

Even if modular consoles were more simple to assemble and upgrade than PCs, that modularity would get them into the same upgrading loop and you'll eventually find that some new games require newer modules to be playable.

 

On the other hand though, that could actually be a good idea for Steamboxes.

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Posted

I'd do something like the Xbox One but with Intel and Nvidia instead of AMD. Also would redesign it to look like this:

 

xboxone.png

 

 

I can imagine all the non savvy people leaving that clock to flash 12:00 till the next cycle.... remember VCRs?

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