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PlayStation's Future: No More Hardware, Just A Service?

Many analysts and industry experts believe that the upcoming generation of video game consoles will be the last.

Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada agrees with that theory, as he told Famitsu (as translated by Kotaku) that the PlayStation 5 will probably include just a controller and monitor. No more dedicated hardware box.

"I think in the future, it'll will be a contest of services instead of hardware. When there's the PS5, it will probably be just a controller and a monitor. Then, the thing that will be left is the name of the service."

Sony will be implementing its new Gaikai cloud service on the PS4 in 2014, and then it'll be available on the PS3 and PS Vita. That appears to be the future, like it or not. Furthermore, Harada isn't the only one with this view, as president of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida hinted last month that the PlayStation brand will likely evolve from hardware to a service. An actual console is important, he said, but only "for now."

Yes, the digital age means less tangible, physical things and more reliance upon things we can't see. Get used to it.

Tags: ps5, playstation 5, new playstation, playstation brand

10/8/2013 10:16:48 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (47 posts)

spoonTRex
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:52:20 AM
Reply

Until ISPs in the US are given a reason NOT to instill data caps on us (i.e. Government interference that is likely to NOT happen), this isn't really a logical step for the future of entertainment. I just found out that my unlimited data got switched to a 300GB data cap in the last month or two, and that if I keep up at my 5-700GB/m usage I will have to move to a business account. Between, Netflix, games and movies, I can only imagine what Gaikai would add to the mix.

If the future of gaming moves that way, I'll be extremely limited on bandwidth.

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 3:30:12 PM

Indeed.

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Dan
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 6:21:48 PM

At least you get 300GB. Here, in Lebanon, we get 5 to 12GB. We have plans for up to 30GB but those are really expensive.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:11:07 PM

I pay $90AUD per month for 200GB data, and my download speed is 'up to' 20mbps, but is actually 6mbps.

So yes, I completely agree with you.

I am tired of seeing all these industry people saying that the next-generation will be the last for hardware boxes, and that soon it will be a service only. I question whether these guys truly understand what that means to the world. Not only are ISPs not positioning themselves well for the all digital future, but the worlds broadband infrastructure is extremely limited, and will be for the next decade.

Switching to all digital would only happen if all digital could be proven to have more growth and profit than having a hardware box, and I do not think that all digital will be more profitable for a long time.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2013 7:11:24 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:33:57 PM

Damn! What does. $90 AUD convert to in US dollars? I pay $79 a month for 350gb a month with speeds up to 50mbps, upload 10mbps. On bad days download drops to 25mbps but usually hovers on average around 45-35.

Oh and this comes with basic cable too.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/8/2013 7:34:27 PM

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:39:45 PM

At current exchange rates, it converts to about $85USD. And now, I am officially jealous. Ahaha. I can only dream of what 45mbps would feel like.

What technology is most of the US using now days?

Cable or fibre?

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2013 7:40:21 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:40:53 PM

I'm getting that with cable. Some are using fiber optics. I'd like to switch to another provider but the only other option I have in my area is DSL and DSL stinks by comparison.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:52:41 AM
Reply

I think there's a lot of truth here. Not sure how soon it'll all happen but it does appear to be the future. Sony may be similar to a broadcasting service like NBC or Fox or something in the coming years. Gakai is likely a big part of that. Apparently MS is also aggressively preparing a similar service. The thought of eliminating $400 boxes from the home, you know the unprofitable thing, so more and more of an audience can embrace your software and services has got to be high on an publishers agenda.

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godsman
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 1:11:20 PM

Thats true cause all boxes are sold at a lost

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:16:54 PM

Unfortunately that last bit is a bit of a contradiction.

Eliminating the hardware box actually removes a portion of the audience, and it also restricts growth quite severely. The growth of the gaming industry would be limited to the growth of broadband infrastructure and ISPs.

The US might have fast broadband in most, if not all homes. But the rest of the world does not. I pay a substantial amount for mediocre speed as it is. And websites that show 'Country Average' broadband speeds can't really be trusted, because a large majority of those averages come from cities which are densely populated and have better infrastructure than most homes.

If Sony does move towards this, then I will exit the console gaming industry for good.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2013 7:18:12 PM

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Kryten1029a
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 11:12:14 PM

The console manufacturers are getting smarter about that. Nintendo sold the Wii U at a narrow loss at launch and Sony has indicated that they can make a profit on the PS4 if they sell one game with it. When you factor in Playstation Plus subscriptions and online purchases then it looks even better for them. Why do you think that Sony and Microsoft are going for systems based largely around commodity parts rather than proprietary, custom components? You're not going to see any more systems that take 4-5 years to reach the break even point.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 7:09:38 PM

And also, if the manufacturers begin to lower the expectations of each consoles life cycle, they can reduce the specs a little bit which in turn lowers the price.

The PS3 was built to be future proof, like the PS2's 10 year life cycle. If they produce a console which only needs to stay competitive for 5 years or so, then costs can improve further. PC friendly architecture will help a great deal with developing for that life cycle.

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kraygen
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 11:00:28 AM
Reply

I can see them reaching for this future, but I doubt it will happen by the time people are looking for ps5.
Too much of the world needs their line/cable work modernized and too many U.S. phone companies are unwilling to perform the upgrades.

It's not that the technology won't be available, just a lot of companies aren't willing to dish out the money to make it available.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:18:03 PM

Fibre optic broadband infrastructure has been around for a long time, however how many cities/countries actually have it installed?

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kraygen
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 3:32:46 AM

It's been around in major cities, but even then it doesn't always reach most residents. Outside of major cities, especially in rural area's like where I live, they don't even have fiber optic cable running out of the local stations to the hubs in the neighborhoods.

The U.S. simply needs a huge upgrade, one that the government doesn't care about and the phone company doesn't want to pay for.

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Solid Fantasy
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 11:28:55 AM
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I've been reading about the abilities of future computation and technology in general. Unless the consumer stops consuming the tech will grow at an accelerated rate. There isn't time for another physical console on a faster than linear progression. For now, every time we buy a digital DLed game it's sort of just another nail in the physical console coffin.

Does any one else already miss the having a wires attached to there controllers? Not to mention memory cards!

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White_Mocha
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 12:42:37 AM

i miss the hell outta my memory cards, but I can do without wires on my controllers. gives me a LOT more freedom to sit any way i want without pulling my console off the entertainment center

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ethird1
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 12:42:42 PM
Reply

Then I will go back to Nintendo.

Like it or not.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 12:51:52 PM
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Some day, but in the next 6-7 years? Probably not. Not unless they install fiber optics all over the country and half the world in that time.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:23:39 PM

The previous Australian Government was the first in the world to begin construction of a Government(taxpayer) funded nationwide fibre optic broadband infrastructure.

The plan was conceptualized about 7 years ago, construction started 3 years ago, and as of now only a very small fraction of the country has been installed. It was originally meant to be done by 2020, but that has been delayed because of the Governments mismanagement and is now 2025 at the very earliest and will probably get delayed again until 2030. Our government recently changed and the new Gov. are looking to stop this NBN and redesign it....

My point is, it is going to be a very long time before the entire country is finished. And that is Government funded concept and ONLY in Australia. Can't imagine how long it will take private industry.

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FatherSun
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 1:04:57 PM
Reply

This is an inevitability! Most consoles are sold at a loss for years until production costs are lower. It is only logical that manufacturers wish to eliminate production altogether. That said... Only a limited few will be capable of accessing entertainment services in this manner. I see another round of consoles on the horizon. Unless technology finds a way to deliver these services to consumers in an efficient and cost effective way. We will have to wait and see. Our discs and consoles will be collectors items some day.

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godsman
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 1:15:43 PM
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I still dont understand how gaikai works.will there be a ps3/ps4 somewhere out there streaming it to my tv? Even if their server is 1000 fasterthan ps4, what if there 100 mil customers? Can someone more technical shed some light on this?

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wiley_kyotee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 1:51:50 PM
Reply

I think the only way the PS4 is the last Sony console is if this new generation is a bust. It could happen. I have watched a fair amount of documentaries that predict that peak oil production is going to happen around 2015. Once that happens the price of oil/gas will just keep climbing and this will more than likely cause a bad recession or depression. Lets face it, peak oil production is going to happen sometime in the future and right now I don't believe any nation is prepared for it.

Or something else could spark a worldwide recession. Less likely a scenario is that consumers just don't buy the new consoles in mass because they decide that phones and tablets provide the best gaming platforms (or they purchase the Steambox over consoles instead LOL).

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SaiyanSempai
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 2:43:25 PM
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That's just nonsense. That future is definitely a distant (WAY distant) one. Seriously, that's like saying that people are going to stop buying beast video cards for their PC (where the market is already completely online).

I don't see people not buying beast video cards in the future just as much as I don't see a console-less console.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 3:54:23 PM
Reply

This is supposed to be progress? This is as retarded as Apple removing the disc drive from their new iMac.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 6:34:48 PM

it's also removed from their newer Mac Minis =)

We have had a Mac Mini for like 5 years now. I suppose not having a disc drive is so bad. THe disc drive in ours died years ago and we haven't much missed it. Except for maybe doing family dvd movies or something.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:30:38 PM

I'm a bit of an audiophile when it comes to music. You just can get the same quality from an mp3 as you can from ripping from a CD in high quality format. It's pretty annoying for someone like me. Not to mention I like to save my work via CD-R. Can't do that now.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:36:16 PM

No faith in USBs?

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:42:43 PM

Yea, that's an option but it still feels like regression because they're effectively stripping out a piece of hardware then saying "hey, you can still have your disc drive but you have to buy it separately." It's kind of akin to Sony taking away B/C and the card readers that came with the original PS3 design.

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Knightzane
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 4:04:22 PM
Reply

This is one of those things I hear about and laugh about it. Remember in the 70's they said we'd have jetpacks and flying cars, and would be living on other planets? Yeah, we aren't there yet lol When all of this crap happens I hope to be living on some island away from all of this BS. I don't want the stuff they want. And thankfully, I have faith the physical people are going to have something negative to say, when ps1, 2, 3, and 4 sales along with the 360 and nintendo stuff skyrocket in sales, because they want physical stuff and not digital that they bring back the physical stuff, if this happens anyway.

Shame I wasn't alive in the 70's would have been some good times. I could have predicted MS

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:25:17 PM

Well, plans to create a Moonbase were actually drawn up in the 60's. There was several solid idea's that could have been completed by now, but it was deemed unnecessary after the Apollo program was shut down :(

I want to live on the moon.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2013 7:25:41 PM

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PC_Max
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 4:55:22 PM
Reply

Essentially it means you will not own the games. Well, we don't now really. You will have a membership that gives you access to all the games library. Possibly a tiered membership, access to the AAA games will require a the top one, or gold like on the Xbox.

Adobe has done (forced) this on to that industry market, I know. Its bee predicted for a number of years in coming, but the gaming industry seems to have decided to go that way. They might have done so for a long time as well.

So question will be are we still downloading these games to be able to play them? Yes, most likely in this age of tech. Which of course means the bandwidth is going to go up and I am sure in my case my service provider will undoubtedly be laughing to the bank. They already do knowing that many are watching films via the net,

Can't say I completely like it... but do we have a choice if we want to play a game? Probably now unless its a board game. I think I still have Clue some where and Trivia Pursuit.... 90's edition.

Now it will come down to who delivers the better services. We shall see in the next 5 years or so.

Keep playing if you can!

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Sandtech
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 4:55:30 PM
Reply

The US is long way off before the technical infrastructure will be in place to support an all digital gaming system and we are one of the most advanced countries in the world. I see systems growing in capability to support digital but not going away totally.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:30:47 PM

And the funny thing is, if the US is that far off, then what of the rest of the world?

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FoReVeR_0515
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 6:49:07 PM
Reply

Many people have mentioned the network infrastructure of the U.S. not being there, and that is completely true. And what about people who do not have access to fast internet or none at all, and just want to play single player? They're out of luck.

But there's also the issue of hardware. Though you wouldn't have it in your house, there has to be hardware somewhere running the game. It would take a lot of server power to host everyone who would normally have a console in their house. Imagine everyone who is going to own a PS4, then imagine Sony having to have enough server hardware to equal the power of all those PS4s. Crazy.

As a PC gamer as well, I don't see this happening for PCs, because most of us love to build our own machines and choose our hardware, whether to go low-, mid-, or high-end. How could you get the same performance using an online service, as you could with a quad-SLI GTX Titan/Ivy Bridge-E setup? I just don't see it. Though they have set hardware, I don't see why this would make sense for consoles either.

Even if they had the hardware in place to handle every Playstation player, I believe internet latency would still be an issue. With an in-house console, input is essentially instant.

I'm not saying never, but I just don't see it anywhere on the near horizon.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:34:56 PM
Reply

For as long as I can remember, I have argued that an All digital future would be dependant on the worlds broadband infrastructure, because data limits and download/upload speeds would need to be good enough to support it. However, with the advent of game streaming ala Gaikai, my previous points are becoming 100x more relevant.

Game Streaming is MUCH more data/speed intensive then just downloading a game and running it locally.

IF the gaming industry moves this way, and it probably will, it needs to be timed perfectly, otherwise it will be the end of the console gaming industry. A company like Sony cannot afford to invest that much money into a product like the Playstation Service and have it flop. This is why, I do not believe we will see an all digital and/or all streamed console platform for the next decade.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2013 7:35:38 PM

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homura
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 7:57:44 PM
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So in the future. It means that NO INTERNET, NO PLAYING VIDEO GAMES. That future sucks.

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Kryten1029a
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 11:16:59 PM

Just do what I'll be doing: go full retro! There are thousands of games from the last 35 years that I haven't played. I won't be lacking for things to do.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 1:05:13 AM
Reply

it will be sad day when you no longer need or have a new playstation box/console to play my exclusives and multiplat games on cos i have enjoyed it for about a decade personally owned and about 12 years including with my friend before i got my own ps2 but yeah i will always since i started playing playstation want to play playstation on a playstation console plus like you say we will need an insane bandwidth cap to do this at all. i want to always have the option to buy and play on a playstation console/box(watever you want to call it)

happy gaming =)

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___________
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 3:57:23 AM
Reply

eventually yea there will be no need for new consoles.
but ps5 soon?
i doubt it.
no one can say what the average net connection will be like in 10 years time.
but another thing people are forgetting, 10 year internet might be fast enough and high enough bandwidth for todays games.
but 10 years games?
4K movies are upwards of 250GBs!
and there movies, games would be through the freaking roof!
when onlive was still alive, yes nice pun, it was using on average 20GBs per HOUR!
so if i was to play my normal 2 hours a day 7 days a week i would need 280GB per week!
thats 1.12TB a month!
TB!
not GB!
TB!
A MONTH!
and thats from gaming 2 hours a day every day, im sure most people spend more than 2 hours a day!
and thats at current game specs, up the resolution to 4K, up the specs to beyond what onlive was offering, and that will only go up.
will internet in 10 years time be able to facilitate 1TB/M plans?
at the required speeds?
and have enough bandwidth so i can do that, and everyone else in the house can do there things, without affecting eachothers connections?
well, who knows.
but ill say when pigs fly, that will be possible.
but not a second sooner!

i cant even watch a 5 f*cking minute video without it freezing!
went to go watch the beyond two souls review from IGN, and, well, 2 hours its been buffering and im still only 20 seconds into the video it keeps buffering!
this morning i streamed the latest episode of good game because typical foxtell recorded half of that episode and have of the show before it, so i wanted to watch the rest i missed out on.
even that took forever buffering.
i cant watch a single f*cking video without wasting 10 times more time waiting for it to load than it does to watch it.
so, how the &^%$ am i going to stream games when i cant stream half hour videos!?
and im on cable a much higher speed and bandwidth you would get if you were on adsl.

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FoReVeR_0515
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 @ 1:39:00 PM
Reply

Yeah, the infrastructure just isn't there. I think a lot of people don't realize that even if you have a really fast connection (high throughput), the speed at which the data reaches it's destination is what will decide if your input translates instantly or if you have a certain amount of input lag. And input lag just will not be acceptable with most games.

For example, when you press the "X" button, that command will have to travel over the internet, through whichever other servers on the way, to reach the Playstation server running your game. Also remember that the server is streaming the video back to you (at something like 1920x1080 resolution). So how long will it take from the time you press a button, until you see it translate on-screen? Longer than it would take with the console sitting right in your house, where there is no internet for your commands to have to move through.

For those that may not know, latency is how long it takes data to get to a certain server, then back to you. To test your latency to a certain server, you could ping it. The 50Mbps part of your internet connection refers to the bandwidth, how much data can travel at any given time.

Having a 50ms (ping) connection to a game-streaming server, would be like having a monitor/TV with a 50ms response time at home with a home game console. That's a lot considering that most people's monitors/TVs vary between 1ms and 5ms response times.

Maybe they'll find a way for it work well one day. I just don't see it as any time soon.

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ricksterj
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 12:18:29 PM
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Eco friendly sure BUT even so a SAD precursor of the future and at what cost?

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Id00urmomma
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 12:33:51 PM
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Its extremely optimistic to see consoles go completely digital and online, developing countries will still want Playstation, and like it or not, the infrastructure isn't there yet to support such a digital move, and probably won't exist for a very long time. While from a business perspective switching over to a "service" might sound profitable it will be cost prohibitive from a structural and logistical standpoint. Sony needs to invest in ISP services in order to make this investors dream a reality.

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Id00urmomma
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 12:36:03 PM
Reply

+ Cloud services I feel are just a fad that will fade out when businesses realize that the costs of bandwidth and maintenance are far greater than disc production and distribution.

Last edited by Id00urmomma on 10/10/2013 12:37:04 PM

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DxJeckel
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 4:10:27 PM
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I don't know if it is just me or if I am just becoming an old fart, even though I am only 29, but when I spend money on stuff, I need to have a physical object. I mean, sure, I don't mind purchasing a short digital game for like 10 bucks, but when I spend 60 or or even more on those collector's editions, I want to have something I can put on my shelf and "own". Plus, I don't like the idea of the cloud doing the processing for games. That is why I am unsure about the new Xbox. Say you buy one of these games and it looks and runs amazing because of the cloud, but then 5 or 10 years from now when you want to play it again for some nostalgia or w/e reason, you can't because they stopped supporting it on the cloud. So in a sense, you aren't purchasing the game, you are just renting it. I have an original Nintendo and Sega. I can pop in a old game and still play it if I want. That is going to be impossible with the way things are headed.

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Ather
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 4:44:07 PM
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We don't have to get used to it. If we don't like it, we don't buy, and we complain. When Sony gets enough complaints and loss of sales, they'll change back.

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Caanimal
Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 11:13:46 PM
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Sooooo they are going to move AWAY from working w/ standardized hardware to something like PCs where you have to factor in a WIDE range of components? That doesn't sound smart in the least, if you're going to do that then just move over to PCs and call consoles dead... The 1 thing consoles have had over PCs for all these years is the fact the hardware was standardized, making it easier to make a game for "everybody", you know since not everybody can afford "to of the line" PCs and/or to upgrade them ever couple years... This would be a HUGELY stupid move for console makers in my opinion.

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