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"Gaming: Defying Convention"

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Tue 11/12/01 at 20:51
Regular
Posts: 787
I will try not to make this just another "Console Wars" topic, Ok?

Well, just who is going to win the next generation console war? Is it really going to be war-like? Does it really matter? Has Sony become all empowered in it's 32bit supremacy? Could Sega's Dreamcast indeed be the 128bit console to own? Will Nintendo release their Game Cube on time, or will it be too little too late? Could Microsoft extend their reign as the one of the most successful companies ever by taking the console market by storm with their highly anticipated X-Box? Letís have a little look back in time and see what has happened, maybe thereíll be some indications as to what we can expect.

New times await us, and these are very exciting times indeed. The console market is no longer simply about games, us, the public demanded more, and as a result we are going to get more, and I mean a lot more. In the past, consoles have been nothing more than games machines, and in some peopleís eyes, just a form of anti-social amusement. The whole console era started off back in the late 70ís/early 80ís with Atari launching the first proper games console, which was soon joined by the ZX Spectrum Ė the first colour console/computer! However, these two machines didnít sell very well by today's standards, but the market has since changed and games machines are very much an important and popular form of entertainment.

Sure enough, with the launch of the first real "mass market" games machine in Nintendoís NES: Nintendo Entertainment System. The console offered something new, something exciting, and proved to be very popular amongst the general public all over the world, especially in Japan and the USA. Slightly later on, in 1987, Sega joined the fray and introduced their very own machine: The Master System. Both consoles had strong points, the control pads were something new at the time, although youíd laugh today if a company released a system with a joy-pad /controller like these 1st generation consoles. Also, in 1989 the most successful console of all time was released in the form of Nintendoís handheld masterpiece Ė the Gameboy. Sega tried to compete in this niche founded by Nintendo, their handheld was more comfortable and had full colour, but the Game Gear was a failure. The battery life was incredibly short, and the system had nowhere near as many games as the Gameboy.

Back then, the machines were about games, and Nintendo produced some classic titles that have been graced with many a re-incarnation; games like Mario and Zelda have been recreated so many times, simply because we loved them. The game-play was unrivalled. Again with Sega; Sonic, created by Yuji Naka, first appeared on their little 8bit-er, has become a global corporate mascot for the Japanese company, and has also had many games based around the little Blue spiky haired hedgehog. Mario is Nintendoís main character and mascot, but recently the Pokemon phase has dominated all things Nintendo, and Pikachu has taken his place somewhat.

The 16bit "battle" was, again fought by Nintendo and Sega, with both consoles (Nintendoís SNES (super) and Segaís Mega-Drive) offering gamers some amazing titles to choose from. In the early nineties the SNES and Mega-Drive both arrived (in Japan firstly of course), but this time it was Segaís turn to dominate the market: the Mega-Drive was a more successful console, but, one of the greatest games ever "Mario Kart" was released on Nintendoís machine. The 16bit machines brought with them more comfortable controllers and a mass of quality fighting titles, with Capcom leading the way with its Street Fighter series. A few years later on in 1993 Atari released its Jaguar to a discerning public, who neither liked it or disliked it because they simply didnít know about it. Needless to say the machine was a complete flop, and was Atariís last attempt to break back into a market that it had, in a way, started. Panasonic tried its luck with the 3D0 (what? I hear you say?), and hardly anyone bought it.

Sega brought out many add-ons for its Mega-Drive (known as the Genesis in the US) including the 32X and the Mega CD. The sales spoke for themselves, a true failure on Segaís part, as the public really didnít know, or care about these; a shame seeing that the Mega-Drive was a great success.

Only 5 and half years ago saw the release of the Sega Saturn, signalling times of change. The worldís first 32bit console had arrived offering games of near arcade quality such as Sega rally and Daytona USA. However, Sega had lost a lot of image Ė people werenít aware about this new console, and a lack of serious advertising didnít help things. Only a few months from the release of the Saturn came the 32bit 33.9mhz Playstation from Sony Ė the electronics giantís first ever console, developed in collaboration with Nintendo who were quick to leave the Playstation alone and hand the reigns to Sony: they obviously didnít feel it would be a success. Everyone loved the Playstation, it could do all things the Sega Saturn could like offering CD playback, but was a superior console in many ways, and ultimately it was, and still is a hugely successful console. The problems that Sega had were the following; developers were finding the Saturn too hard to develop games for, and could not get the desired effects (transparency effects) on the Saturn, and were finding the Playstation much easier to program and make games for. Sonyís success grew and the Playstation has now sold over 70 million units worldwide. This is no mean achievement. Even when Nintendo brought out the Ultra 64, (which immediately changed name to N64) which offered brilliant graphics and a 94mhz 64bit processor, but it still had the same old Mario, and a lack of a really decent driving or fighting game. The console was still cartridge based (no copying of games, see?). Sony was still enjoying success as the Playstation was outselling every other machine. The brand identity of the Playstation grew and grew, and is instantly recognisable by the PS logo and the circle, triangle, square and cross/x. The ball had rolled into Sonyís hands, and neither Nintendo nor Sega could stop the ever-popular Playstation.

The N64 has sold around 12million worldwide, and the Saturn not even half this amount, but all 3 manufacturers began to start on new consoles.

Times have rapidly moved on, and the N64 has kind of been left behind now (certainly has been left off the retailing shelf at least), but the Playstation has continued to sell well, with only PS games and the occasional GB game dominating the top 20 console charts. In 1999 Sega released its next generation console to the UK public, a year after the Japanese release. The Dreamcast was set to redefine gaming, and add new elements to it. Firstly the console was complete with a 33.6K modem, allowing for instant Internet access, and, in spring 2000 the launch of the first European online game: Chu Chu rocket! An instant hit, mainly due to it being absolutely free! There have been many fantastic games on the Dreamcast that can only be described as groundbreaking: take a look at Crazy Taxi, Soul Calibur, Metropolis Street Racer, Shenmue, and many more. Youíll see that the games still have an important role. Sega have been criticised for only giving European Dreamcast owners a 33.6K modem, whereas the USA gets a 56K! An innovative range of peripherals including a smashing VMU (Visual Memory Unit), a DC mouse, microphone, keyboard, great controllers, and the soon to be released Web-cam meant that Sega was surely on to a winner with the Dreamcast. However, many people chose to ignore it as they thought that it would fail within a year or two and repeat the demise of the Saturn, which it did, which leads me on to my next discussion: The sequel to the Playstation.

The Playstation 2 was released in Japan in March after an extensive amount of hype had built up about the console. With many newly made fans from the Playstation success, Sony could expect the Playstation 2 to be just as successful. With stats that showed a DVD playback facility, a 291mhz processor, and the ability to play nearly all of your Playstation titles on the new machine got a lot of people very excited indeed. On itís release the PS2 broke the record as the fastest selling console Ė previously held by the Dreamcast. And many Japanese gamers now use the machine as a DVD player in favour of playing games on the system: Sony had expected an average of 4-5 games to be sold per PS2 console, but only half that figure had been achieved after a while. So, has the games market moved away from games? I donít think so, but with added elements and features to consider (DVD playback and Internet capabilities) it seems the market is changing in a big way.

The PS2 was released in the states with a promised 500,000 consoles for the whole of the USA available at launch: only half the original amount promised. The launch caused fights to break out in the streets, as people couldnít get hold of the new console; demand truly did exceed supply. This is because of various problems at Sony regarding production difficulties of the console Ė a tiny but essential chip was in short supply and so not as many consoles could be produced. In the UK though it seems Sony actually did us a favour. Forget the price of the console and forget the fact the USA public has to pay a third less than the UK public, because Sony introduced a fair way of distributing the consoles through an organised pre-order scheme. No consoles were available at launch last Friday because people had to pre-order their machine. With 165,000 consoles said to be ready at launch this was a sign that Sonyís new toy was very in demand. Unfortunately only 80,000 consoles were dispatched at launch, but the other 85,000 were said to reach their owners by Christmas.

So, thatís two out the way, what about Nintendo? You may well have heard rumours about the name of Nintendoís next generation console - many believed it would be named the Dolphin. It isnít and Nintendo have unveiled their new super console, which is a pure games console (which will offer internet access and a DVD playback facility, hmm.) called the GameCube. A strange name, a strange design and the controllers look very weird indeed, but donít worry, there is not too long to wait now, but long enough so thereís plenty of time to get used to the look of Nintendoís new offering. Many games are set to be resurrected on to the GameCube including Metroid, Zelda, and a new, more grown up, version of Mario.

And for the final console, yes, you guessed it: The X-Box. This will be the first console from Bill gatesí Microsoft, and looking at the statistics could be the best console yet. It will be a kind of PC-console hybrid I feel, and Iím sure itíll be a huge success, as long as Microsoft can launch their "machine" before the market has been filled. I am looking forward to the X-Box. It could offer just the right blend of PC technology and facilities, with console gaming and DVD playback. The X-Box will arrive Internet ready, complete with a top of the range DVD drive. I canít wait!

Whatever happens when these new consoles arrive, it will be an excellent time to be playing games, surfing the net or watching DVD movies. The future will be ever changing, virtual reality is just on the horizon, and weíre all beginning to see more clearly now. If you arenít into games consoles then donít worry, you might really like watching DVD movies or surfing the Internet Ė games consoles arenít just about games now, theyíve evolved and are ever evolving as I type. Have fun with what ever you do, and I hope this topic has been of some use to you.

Thanks for reading.
Firebalt.
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Tue 11/12/01 at 20:51
Regular
"Fat Red-Capped Vale"
Posts: 427
I will try not to make this just another "Console Wars" topic, Ok?

Well, just who is going to win the next generation console war? Is it really going to be war-like? Does it really matter? Has Sony become all empowered in it's 32bit supremacy? Could Sega's Dreamcast indeed be the 128bit console to own? Will Nintendo release their Game Cube on time, or will it be too little too late? Could Microsoft extend their reign as the one of the most successful companies ever by taking the console market by storm with their highly anticipated X-Box? Letís have a little look back in time and see what has happened, maybe thereíll be some indications as to what we can expect.

New times await us, and these are very exciting times indeed. The console market is no longer simply about games, us, the public demanded more, and as a result we are going to get more, and I mean a lot more. In the past, consoles have been nothing more than games machines, and in some peopleís eyes, just a form of anti-social amusement. The whole console era started off back in the late 70ís/early 80ís with Atari launching the first proper games console, which was soon joined by the ZX Spectrum Ė the first colour console/computer! However, these two machines didnít sell very well by today's standards, but the market has since changed and games machines are very much an important and popular form of entertainment.

Sure enough, with the launch of the first real "mass market" games machine in Nintendoís NES: Nintendo Entertainment System. The console offered something new, something exciting, and proved to be very popular amongst the general public all over the world, especially in Japan and the USA. Slightly later on, in 1987, Sega joined the fray and introduced their very own machine: The Master System. Both consoles had strong points, the control pads were something new at the time, although youíd laugh today if a company released a system with a joy-pad /controller like these 1st generation consoles. Also, in 1989 the most successful console of all time was released in the form of Nintendoís handheld masterpiece Ė the Gameboy. Sega tried to compete in this niche founded by Nintendo, their handheld was more comfortable and had full colour, but the Game Gear was a failure. The battery life was incredibly short, and the system had nowhere near as many games as the Gameboy.

Back then, the machines were about games, and Nintendo produced some classic titles that have been graced with many a re-incarnation; games like Mario and Zelda have been recreated so many times, simply because we loved them. The game-play was unrivalled. Again with Sega; Sonic, created by Yuji Naka, first appeared on their little 8bit-er, has become a global corporate mascot for the Japanese company, and has also had many games based around the little Blue spiky haired hedgehog. Mario is Nintendoís main character and mascot, but recently the Pokemon phase has dominated all things Nintendo, and Pikachu has taken his place somewhat.

The 16bit "battle" was, again fought by Nintendo and Sega, with both consoles (Nintendoís SNES (super) and Segaís Mega-Drive) offering gamers some amazing titles to choose from. In the early nineties the SNES and Mega-Drive both arrived (in Japan firstly of course), but this time it was Segaís turn to dominate the market: the Mega-Drive was a more successful console, but, one of the greatest games ever "Mario Kart" was released on Nintendoís machine. The 16bit machines brought with them more comfortable controllers and a mass of quality fighting titles, with Capcom leading the way with its Street Fighter series. A few years later on in 1993 Atari released its Jaguar to a discerning public, who neither liked it or disliked it because they simply didnít know about it. Needless to say the machine was a complete flop, and was Atariís last attempt to break back into a market that it had, in a way, started. Panasonic tried its luck with the 3D0 (what? I hear you say?), and hardly anyone bought it.

Sega brought out many add-ons for its Mega-Drive (known as the Genesis in the US) including the 32X and the Mega CD. The sales spoke for themselves, a true failure on Segaís part, as the public really didnít know, or care about these; a shame seeing that the Mega-Drive was a great success.

Only 5 and half years ago saw the release of the Sega Saturn, signalling times of change. The worldís first 32bit console had arrived offering games of near arcade quality such as Sega rally and Daytona USA. However, Sega had lost a lot of image Ė people werenít aware about this new console, and a lack of serious advertising didnít help things. Only a few months from the release of the Saturn came the 32bit 33.9mhz Playstation from Sony Ė the electronics giantís first ever console, developed in collaboration with Nintendo who were quick to leave the Playstation alone and hand the reigns to Sony: they obviously didnít feel it would be a success. Everyone loved the Playstation, it could do all things the Sega Saturn could like offering CD playback, but was a superior console in many ways, and ultimately it was, and still is a hugely successful console. The problems that Sega had were the following; developers were finding the Saturn too hard to develop games for, and could not get the desired effects (transparency effects) on the Saturn, and were finding the Playstation much easier to program and make games for. Sonyís success grew and the Playstation has now sold over 70 million units worldwide. This is no mean achievement. Even when Nintendo brought out the Ultra 64, (which immediately changed name to N64) which offered brilliant graphics and a 94mhz 64bit processor, but it still had the same old Mario, and a lack of a really decent driving or fighting game. The console was still cartridge based (no copying of games, see?). Sony was still enjoying success as the Playstation was outselling every other machine. The brand identity of the Playstation grew and grew, and is instantly recognisable by the PS logo and the circle, triangle, square and cross/x. The ball had rolled into Sonyís hands, and neither Nintendo nor Sega could stop the ever-popular Playstation.

The N64 has sold around 12million worldwide, and the Saturn not even half this amount, but all 3 manufacturers began to start on new consoles.

Times have rapidly moved on, and the N64 has kind of been left behind now (certainly has been left off the retailing shelf at least), but the Playstation has continued to sell well, with only PS games and the occasional GB game dominating the top 20 console charts. In 1999 Sega released its next generation console to the UK public, a year after the Japanese release. The Dreamcast was set to redefine gaming, and add new elements to it. Firstly the console was complete with a 33.6K modem, allowing for instant Internet access, and, in spring 2000 the launch of the first European online game: Chu Chu rocket! An instant hit, mainly due to it being absolutely free! There have been many fantastic games on the Dreamcast that can only be described as groundbreaking: take a look at Crazy Taxi, Soul Calibur, Metropolis Street Racer, Shenmue, and many more. Youíll see that the games still have an important role. Sega have been criticised for only giving European Dreamcast owners a 33.6K modem, whereas the USA gets a 56K! An innovative range of peripherals including a smashing VMU (Visual Memory Unit), a DC mouse, microphone, keyboard, great controllers, and the soon to be released Web-cam meant that Sega was surely on to a winner with the Dreamcast. However, many people chose to ignore it as they thought that it would fail within a year or two and repeat the demise of the Saturn, which it did, which leads me on to my next discussion: The sequel to the Playstation.

The Playstation 2 was released in Japan in March after an extensive amount of hype had built up about the console. With many newly made fans from the Playstation success, Sony could expect the Playstation 2 to be just as successful. With stats that showed a DVD playback facility, a 291mhz processor, and the ability to play nearly all of your Playstation titles on the new machine got a lot of people very excited indeed. On itís release the PS2 broke the record as the fastest selling console Ė previously held by the Dreamcast. And many Japanese gamers now use the machine as a DVD player in favour of playing games on the system: Sony had expected an average of 4-5 games to be sold per PS2 console, but only half that figure had been achieved after a while. So, has the games market moved away from games? I donít think so, but with added elements and features to consider (DVD playback and Internet capabilities) it seems the market is changing in a big way.

The PS2 was released in the states with a promised 500,000 consoles for the whole of the USA available at launch: only half the original amount promised. The launch caused fights to break out in the streets, as people couldnít get hold of the new console; demand truly did exceed supply. This is because of various problems at Sony regarding production difficulties of the console Ė a tiny but essential chip was in short supply and so not as many consoles could be produced. In the UK though it seems Sony actually did us a favour. Forget the price of the console and forget the fact the USA public has to pay a third less than the UK public, because Sony introduced a fair way of distributing the consoles through an organised pre-order scheme. No consoles were available at launch last Friday because people had to pre-order their machine. With 165,000 consoles said to be ready at launch this was a sign that Sonyís new toy was very in demand. Unfortunately only 80,000 consoles were dispatched at launch, but the other 85,000 were said to reach their owners by Christmas.

So, thatís two out the way, what about Nintendo? You may well have heard rumours about the name of Nintendoís next generation console - many believed it would be named the Dolphin. It isnít and Nintendo have unveiled their new super console, which is a pure games console (which will offer internet access and a DVD playback facility, hmm.) called the GameCube. A strange name, a strange design and the controllers look very weird indeed, but donít worry, there is not too long to wait now, but long enough so thereís plenty of time to get used to the look of Nintendoís new offering. Many games are set to be resurrected on to the GameCube including Metroid, Zelda, and a new, more grown up, version of Mario.

And for the final console, yes, you guessed it: The X-Box. This will be the first console from Bill gatesí Microsoft, and looking at the statistics could be the best console yet. It will be a kind of PC-console hybrid I feel, and Iím sure itíll be a huge success, as long as Microsoft can launch their "machine" before the market has been filled. I am looking forward to the X-Box. It could offer just the right blend of PC technology and facilities, with console gaming and DVD playback. The X-Box will arrive Internet ready, complete with a top of the range DVD drive. I canít wait!

Whatever happens when these new consoles arrive, it will be an excellent time to be playing games, surfing the net or watching DVD movies. The future will be ever changing, virtual reality is just on the horizon, and weíre all beginning to see more clearly now. If you arenít into games consoles then donít worry, you might really like watching DVD movies or surfing the Internet Ė games consoles arenít just about games now, theyíve evolved and are ever evolving as I type. Have fun with what ever you do, and I hope this topic has been of some use to you.

Thanks for reading.
Firebalt.

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