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Video Gaming Cheaper to Xbox 3 and PlayStation 4

by February 09, 2009

Every industry by now feels the effects of the economic slowdown. The good news for gamers is that it's not just the price of gas that’s being throttled back, it's also your favorite hobby. Research suggests the cost of not only consoles but the games themselves is going to get cheaper until the release of next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony – and we're already hearing rumors about future console's technology.

Rumors of an imminent price drop for the PS3 console is supported by analysts at Wedbush Morgan Securities. They say the PlayStation 3 should see a new U.S. retail price of $300 by April. To stay ahead Microsoft should pull back the price of its console to $250 by June. Don’t expect a cascading effect to ripple through to Wii. Analysts say the number one selling game console is likely to stay put at $250. As long as Wii keeps selling like free beer at a football game - who can blame Nintendo for sticking to its price?

But it’s not just consoles that are getting more affordable. A recent study by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) says new games are getting cheaper too. The price point for a new video game has previously sat around $60. But the EEDAR study found that long-standing average has recently declined to about $53.

The main reason is probably belt tightening from retailers in the face of declining consumer confidence. But EEDAR suggests there is also a paradigm shift in game-play is contributing to lower prices. It seems that lighter, more family-oriented fare is on the rise at the expense of the serious and sometimes darker games that have long been the gaming industries staple.

EEDAR says that as the current generation of game consoles go through even more price reductions the cost of games will only decline with them. The current generation is likely to stick around a very long time and continue to decline in price, making games a more affordable hobby.

Rumors Mill: Xbox 3 and PlayStation 4

Given the difficulty Microsoft and especially Sony has had in deriving profit from their console sales – the current generation is likely to stick around awhile. Both companies want to extend the sweet-spot of profitability from console sales for as long as possible. Early sales of Xbox 360 and PS3 have been at a loss. Sony and Microsoft both have their respective misfires that heaped financial losses from which they must recover before seriously considering their next generation.

An article out of The Inquirer tech-news site contains premature rumors about the future direction of the major console manufacturers. It says both companies are securing deals with chip-makers to meet a 2012 launch for new consoles. Although this seems very early, it still extends the previous five-year life cycle for game consoles. But Sony has long said it foresees a ten-year life cycle for PS3 making 2012 difficult to believe considering it was only released in 2006.

The Inquirer says Sony and Microsoft are securing contracts with chip makers to fill their next consoles. But it might be more accurate to say that they’re both just dumping one manufacturer – Nvidia.

Nvidia has apparently harvested some bad blood with the console makers because it overcharged for prior graphics processors. Next gen consoles are likely to combine duties of GPU and CPU onto a single chip and both Microsoft and Sony are set to shun Nvidia as a potential provider, if the Inquirer is to be believed. The article’s rumor suggests Intel and its unreleased Larrabe architecture is in the running to provide for Sony and AMD would side with Microsoft.

Last week’s Inquirer article may read like editorial speculation on a slow news day. But even its premature speculation speaks to an extension in the current generation game consoles lifespan. According to the research from EEDAR that means we’ll enjoy cheaper consoles and cheaper games well into the foreseeable future.

Game On!

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

lsiberian posts on February 23, 2009 15:17
emorphien, post: 527346
Agreed on the above. You can write in VB which makes things easier for you, but come time to output that to something you want to run as quickly as possible and it won't perform as well as the other options. I don't write in those (have done C in the past) but I notice it with the various tools I use. Mathcad is a quick and easy way for creating and checking algorithms, but it is not good for performing many calculations quickly.

I could use IDL (similar to Matlab) and while coding it will take a fair bit more time it will run far faster. What could take 20 seconds in Mathcad could take less than a second in IDL.

To go faster than that I know some people who write some of their projects in C and Java and performance improves yet again, which is good when you're dealing with complex calculations on large images although that difference in performance in general is not as significant. Still, IDL or Matlab are most popular because they strike a good balance between performance and ease & speed of coding as well as ease of use for most people I know.

It's delusional to think that just because a programming language is easier to code in it is more powerful. Usually the exact opposite seems to be the case in terms of runtime to complete the same tasks.

I didn't intend this to be condescending or to make sweeping statements. I simply provided information learned in my Software Engineering program in order to aid in the understanding of the underlying issues in the debate.

To be honest I found the numbers quite low, but after doing software engineering projects. I found that the numbers held true. Of course their are numerous ways to speed up and improve a process and there are variances for each situation. But the numbers are fairly consistent with the research I have seen. These numbers are based off of a 2000 hour work year.(FYI)

One of the common metrics to measure the power of a language is by counting how many instructions it can generate per LOC. The more it generates the more powerful the langauge. In this the assumption is made that the language is used properly to it's full potential. In that case a C program would lose to a Java program. In pratice few people use a language to it's full potential. I think that's mainly because OOP design patterns are fairly new in the Software Engineering field and with time they will enjoy widespread use.
lsiberian posts on February 23, 2009 11:31
emorphien, post: 527346
Agreed on the above. You can write in VB which makes things easier for you, but come time to output that to something you want to run as quickly as possible and it won't perform as well as the other options. I don't write in those (have done C in the past) but I notice it with the various tools I use. Mathcad is a quick and easy way for creating and checking algorithms, but it is not good for performing many calculations quickly.

I could use IDL (similar to Matlab) and while coding it will take a fair bit more time it will run far faster. What could take 20 seconds in Mathcad could take less than a second in IDL.

To go faster than that I know some people who write some of their projects in C and Java and performance improves yet again, which is good when you're dealing with complex calculations on large images although that difference in performance in general is not as significant. Still, IDL or Matlab are most popular because they strike a good balance between performance and ease & speed of coding as well as ease of use for most people I know.

It's delusional to think that just because a programming language is easier to code in it is more powerful. Usually the exact opposite seems to be the case in terms of runtime to complete the same tasks.

To understand power is difficult, but in many applications it's much more efficient to use and OOP language. Especially commerce applications. The reasons are numerous, but generally speaking it allows you to easily implement design patterns which make life way easier and dramatically improve the efficiency of a design.

Plus if you use your compiler correctly it will factor efficient code. And considering it take considerably longer to build something in Assembly it will save you a lot of money.

One crazy thing to note is the efficiency functional language like LISP have when used properly. But programming in LISP takes practice and a very different way of thinking.

FYI you can do just about anything in C that can be done in assembly. You can even shift bits in C if you so choose. Just make sure you check your arrays very carefully.
emorphien posts on February 22, 2009 15:16
Agreed on the above. You can write in VB which makes things easier for you, but come time to output that to something you want to run as quickly as possible and it won't perform as well as the other options. I don't write in those (have done C in the past) but I notice it with the various tools I use. Mathcad is a quick and easy way for creating and checking algorithms, but it is not good for performing many calculations quickly.

I could use IDL (similar to Matlab) and while coding it will take a fair bit more time it will run far faster. What could take 20 seconds in Mathcad could take less than a second in IDL.

To go faster than that I know some people who write some of their projects in C and Java and performance improves yet again, which is good when you're dealing with complex calculations on large images although that difference in performance in general is not as significant. Still, IDL or Matlab are most popular because they strike a good balance between performance and ease & speed of coding as well as ease of use for most people I know.

It's delusional to think that just because a programming language is easier to code in it is more powerful. Usually the exact opposite seems to be the case in terms of runtime to complete the same tasks.
abboudc posts on February 22, 2009 13:58
lsiberian, post: 527163
Coding is only about 20 percent of the development process. And those numbers are straight from software engineering program.

You are dead wrong about power. Assembly isn't more powerful than C. Have you ever even coded in assembly. It takes significantly longer and is far more complex and difficult. It has absolutely no control structures. C is less powerful than VB. I can build a application much faster in VB than in C or even C++ which I programmed in for years.

If you write more code than that. That's because you are either working under a poorly organized company or you are just part of the process. The latter being most likely. Most software is built very poorly and 60 percent of software projects fail. These are hard statistics.

There is a difference between a software engineer and a coder.

Based on your sweeping generalizations, i'm not even sure i could convey my points to you, but here goes.

There are things you can do in C that can not be done in VB. There are things that can be done in assembly that can not be done in C. From a performance perspective on the same hardware, given optimal code, the C program could wipe the floor with the VB program, depending on what you're doing. Therein lies the power.

This computational efficiency may be insignificant in things like Microsoft Word, and it wouldn't make sense to write in a low level language given the added complexity of the code. But for things like graphics engines, where efficiently utilizing the hardware is critical, it can and does lead to a significant performance and competitive advantage.

But what do i know, i'm just part of the process

But enough about programming…this isn't Slashdot. Let's just agree to disagree.
emorphien posts on February 22, 2009 13:46
It will be interesting to see where they go next. Whether Sony learned from the Cell processor and goes back to something a little more friendly for programmers making games. Both are pretty comparable for what I want from them: gaming, but each does offer other various extra features the other does not. It would be nice to see more of the things not built in to the Xbox 360 start being standard like the wireless adapter for example. Would also be nice to see PS3s version of the dashboard take on some of what the Xbox can do with Xbox Live a bit better. Of course I can't stand the PS3's controller so a replacement for that would be really ncie too.

Power wise? Eh, each one has it's winning points and losing points. It all comes down to which combination of CPU & GPU & memory architecture is easier to take advantage of for gaming. As time goes forward they will continue to get better with each console but the Xbox seems to have had the edge from the start, on top of the fact that it came out earlier. The Xbox has powerful hardware that is more “traditional” than the PS3 and the development tools have been better.
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