Monday, January 16, 2012

Gaikai remarks about next-gen consoles exaggerated beyond reason

Welcome back to my blog and welcome to 2012, a most interesting year in gaming. The year starts with the rumour that Sony or Microsoft will not compete in the next console generation and presumably leave the hardware market altogether.

An article by IndustryGamers cites comments made in a panel on the future of consoles.

Speaking during CES (...), Nanea Reeves, chief product officer for Gaikai, predicted, "Not all of the current console makers will have one more generation. That will be the big news at E3."

Reeves' comments can be understood better in the context of the entire session:

“Are we all in agreement that there will be a PS4 and there'll be an Xbox 720? And/or when is the console dead?” [panel host Mike] Vorhaus asked the panel. (...)

“I think some will have one more cycle and I think others will not,” said Reeves. “I think that will be the big news at E3. That's just my prediction.” “That's a very newsworthy opinion,” said Vorhaus. “Which of the three people are not going to have a next console?” “I'm not going to say which one, but I will predict that there will be one.” said Reeves. (...)

The panel ended with a provocative question: What will be the biggest surprises coming up for 2012? (...) Nanea Reeves, Gaikai: “I will go with the previous comment. I think one console will opt out of the next gen.” (...)

Mike Vorhaus, Magid Advisors: “I think Nintendo will be the one to do what you are suggesting [opt out of the next gen].”

I am very surprised that these comments have been spun into so many news stories, assuming Reeves has actual first-hand knowledge of either Microsoft or Sony bowing out of the hardware race. I am certain she doesn't. I called them up and they refused to elaborate on the story. It is clear, though, that they enjoy all the press coverage.

Ask yourself: Who is making these comments? Gaikai has a vested interest in talking up the death of gaming consoles - and understandably so. Steve Perlman, CEO of Gaikai's rival OnLive, told me in an interview in 2010 that this (meaning Wii, PS3 and Xbox360) was "probably the last generation." This is not news, this is PR. This is like Mercedes spreading rumours that the Japanese car industry is in big trouble.

Also, such comments are meant to be overstated. I have hosted a number of such panels myself and the point is to get the participants to make exaggerated statements which news outlets pick up on and which the community can discuss.

Besides, if any company really were to leave the hardware market they would not formally announce it at E3, because that would blatantly hurt their current-gen sales and third-party relations. They would refuse to comment for as long as possible.

So, rest assured that these comments are not worth your attention. Microsoft and Sony may, indeed, opt out of the hardware race. But Gaikai would not know about it any sooner than us. And, in my mind, we will eventually see another PlayStation and another Xbox competing with the Wii U.


Sebatians World said...

hi falafelkid and all reader.
first of all: happy new year,
hope this will a good year without too many catastrophes in the world.

for the consoles me too i don t think that one of the companies will have now the last console.
but maybe some of teh next ones will the be the last, cause the tablet-market gets stronger and stronger,and sony and ms can produce their own tablets.
but it depends of innovation. for me this is the most important part in the console-war.
only playing games on the touch-screen of a tablet like ipad is not enough. only beefing up graphics couldn t be all.
i am very excited what nintendo will do at e3 this june. i don t belive that they have shown all now.
i would not be surprised, if they have something left to surprise us all, maybe a new type of feed-back-control, like "feeling" different structures ( sand, hart and smooth, cold or hot) and/or the screen is a 3d screen, a bit like for ex. the 3ds but with a better technology.
this would be great and a good idea to compete with the tablet-market.
for sony i don t think that there will come a playstation4 before 2014.
and for microsoft maybe 2013, but without too much innovation, they will make kinect a bit better, graphics a bit better but not more.
we will see....
but it will be a very excited competition

Falafelkid said...

Hi Sebastian.

Thanks for your comments. I agree. Perhaps one of the next-gen consoles will be the last. MS and Sony have been bleeding for years and they share a second place way behind Nintendo this gen. It is only natural to ask yourself whether you should continue burning billions in the hope of landing another PlayStation2.

A colleague and friend of mine had an interesting theory, though. He thought it would make sense for Microsoft to abolish traditional consoles and get into bed with a service like OnLive. Imagine the Xbox720 to be no more than the OnLive Micro Console, integrated into Xbox Live. That could be an option for MS.

I entirely disagree with you on the tablet front. I do not see tablets as any kind of competition to traditional consoles. I have played those games, of course. And Cut The Rope can keep me busy for a little while. But where are the equivalents to a Zelda, Halo or Wipeout? The lack of buttons restricts the interface to pushing or swiping the touchscreen which is a hopelessly imprecise and superficial means of interaction. The stylus input of the DS has a matrix that is three or four times finer than that of a touchscreen.

And games like those graphically impressive titles by Epic really reveal themselves as pretty boring and clunky after a short while. iOS and Android prove like no other platforms that graphics are not everything.

The gaming tablets featuring physical buttons and analogue sticks that have started to be announced may be a bridge. But iPad or Xoom or Galaxy Tab are no gaming devices and never will be. That will be an important lesson the industry will learn in 2012.

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Adrian Chen said...

r4 for ds said...

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Anonymous said...




next you will write articles on HOW GREAT IT IS XBOX 720 WONT PLAY PRE OWNED GAMES


i the consumer desides on what and were my owned disc goes NOT THE INDUSTRY

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Anonymous said...

3DS vs psvita 5 TO 1 sales ratio and 3DS out sold wii first year LOL @ nintendo doomed vita sales already below almost all other systems in japan

3ds still has pokimon love plus and monster hunter and many other casual games to come vita is dead

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