Saturday, May 21, 2011

While I Countdown To The Apocalypse...

I normally rant about how the GameOverthinker has done something horrible and stupid and he's a bad person. Well, I still think he's a bad person ("I didn't like 'Scream' because I wasn't special anymore!") but I think we should hear out his ideas on cartridges. In short, bring back the cartridge. Not the exclusively cartridge based consoles, God no. Simply as an extension on existing consoles (the hardware's already in place for flash drives) to add a bit more convenience between now and the singularity. See his video on the topic for more details (note on the new opening: how's that ego going?). Meanwhile, if you're a PC gamer who thinks that the home console is dying out; why do you hate me? Seriously, hardware isn't cheap. That's what I hated about Extra Credits video on the future of gaming hardware; it's great if you don't live in a deadzone and can afford all that shiny new tech. Meanwhile, I have food and utilities to pay for.

1 comment:

Matoushin said...

I have a number of problems with his argument.

1. The cloud is coming, but it's not the ideal Utopian future he imagines.
2. There isn't a significant market for what he describes.
3. Consoles wouldn't be significantly cheaper.

First and foremost, what he described is the idealized vision of what the cloud could be. Remember all the things people said the internet would be back in the early 90s? You can expect the human condition to similarly corrupt the current alabaster visions of the cloud.

The bottom line regarding the cloud is that there will always be data we need to keep private, and the best way to do that will never be to throw it into a chaotic cloud of machines you have no control over. A heck of a lot of stuff will certainly be put into the cloud, but it won't encompass all media and data.

The next problem is that the market for this cartridge revolution isn't significant enough to warrant any company dumping R&D money on it. It's a certain loss. By the time you finish development, include it in a console and begin the road to market saturation the average internet connection will be twice as fast as it is now, and all those middling titles that didn't fit as an app or as a disc title are easily downloaded.

There are people who would make use of the technology if it were available today, but he's essentially trying to improve a dam after it burst. It's already too late for it to be effective.

Finally, this technology would not make consoles cheaper. Any console currently in development would incur significant R&D costs and potential delays to add this functionality, and those costs are always passed on to the customer one way or another. Moreover, this technology does not eliminate the need for hard disk drives. Removing disk drives at this point would be like taking the wheels off a carriage in preparation for the obsolescence of horses due to combustion engines. On top of that, hard drives are one of the cheaper components in a console and also one of the quickest to drop in cost.

So basically his idea is interesting but it ultimately is about as sound as the virtual boy.