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John Romero: Console design needs radical rethink

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 10 Apr 2007 6:21 User comments (6)

John Romero: Console design needs radical rethink John Romero, ex-designer at id Software and Ion Storm, has warned that manufacturers of gaming consoles need to radically rethink the design of consoles to compete with powerful cheap PCs and the services they can offer in the near future. He believes that Xbox 360, PS3 and beyond need to offer the same services as home PCs, not just for gaming, but all aspects of home entertainment.
"My prediction is that the game console in the vein of the PS3 and Xbox 360 is going to either undergo a massive rethink or go away altogether," Romero said in an interview with The Adrenaline Vault. "Next-gen console is big but its future isn't too bright with the emergence of cheap PC multicore processors and the big change the PC industry will go through during the next five years to accommodate the new multicore-centric hardware designs."

He continued: "The hardcore gamers are going to either be playing on their PCs or a new PC-like platform that sits in the living room but still serves the whole house over Wi-Fi, even the video signal." While he does believe that consoles need to match the performance of PCs and offer the same services, he did have some good words for the less-powerful Wii console from Nintendo.

"The Wii has the perfect design for a console that doesn't pretend to be a PC and is geared more toward casual gamers than hardcore gamers," Romero said.

The Adrenaline Vault

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6 user comments

110.4.2007 7:15

Romero has made some huge contributions towards gaming but his comments this time show a lack of insight.

Although PC's will always have the cutting edge, unrestrained games first in most cases; most gamers want a stable platform that does not keep getting changed due to minimum spec changes. Console game sales eclipse PC games sales simply because of their ability to perform on a rigid spec platform.

Consoles are only at their 2nd generation of online gaming which is an incredible feat considering their popularity already. With more R&D and feedback from users there is no reason why in 5-10 years time that online gaming via consoles can not be the accepted tool for online gaming.

Although alot of PC games push back boundaries, real exposure and commercialisation can only be had via a console. That is where the most money can be and the largest stable userbase can be had.

The future of online gaming, whatever the tool, lies in an arena where gamers do not have to upgrade their hardware every 6 months to stay "up-to-date"; a stable platform where the gamer knows he will get 5-8 years of good gaming online is the way to go. In the end fancy graphics and sound are great but a good game is a good game period.

210.4.2007 7:26

the wii is a very fun console but one thing that will but it over the top not in term in sales but in features is more multi-media in the future

310.4.2007 8:25

Although alot of PC games push back boundaries, real exposure and commercialisation can only be had via a console. That is where the most money can be and the largest stable userbase can be had.

What are you talking about???

Romero is a visionary and can see the time is short for consoles if TV's come with a strong PC base multimedia environment in which you'll be able to do just about anything with. This isn't a new theory it has been envisioned for over a decade now. Game consoles are extremely popular right now but times will change, they always do, and he is just trying to look ahead and keep up with the time which moves fast these days.

What does online generation have to do with anything other then online gaming is evolving and isn't that really part of his point if you think about it.

410.4.2007 11:44

I think unicronic and Romero are both right in a way. It's true that you can't drive a powerhouse marketing campaign for a game when you don't have the console buzz to back it. "PC" is not interesting, and the interchangeable parts do make for complicated minimum requirements and often cause the developer to be hesitant about flexing full visual muscle out of fear that only a small portion of the market have the processing capability to play the game.

However, this problem disappears when you go the direction of Apple, offering home computers in a "this is the way it is" package (more or less). If PCs were made in certain models with uniform specs, a developer could say "this game can be played on a Generation 4 PC or above." I just made up the name, but you get the idea.

What is happening here, as most people can tell, is that home computers and gaming consoles are merging and becoming one. Eventually, the "home computer", whatever that may be, will be your one stop shop for serious gaming, internet, music, TV, movies, email, office type work, and whatever else you would do with it. And that's pretty much what Romero is saying

510.4.2007 17:59

i'd rather game consoles stick to being effing consoles and computers stick to being effing computers. more is not better, and less isn't worse. and that's part of why wiis are still flying off the shelves right now. furthermore, one stop for all? if one tiny thing breaks, if you're hacked, you're screwed for sh*t.

610.4.2007 19:36

Hardware upgrades? Spyware? Viruses? Driver issues? Crashes? Programs that don't uninstall properly? Resource hogs? Buggy code? End User License Agreements?

If PC gaming is the future thanks but no thanks. I'll stick with my 360.

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