Sections

Bilson: “It would be horrible” if new hardware came out right now

Wednesday, 19th January 2011 12:03 GMT By Johnny Cullen

PSWii60

THQ core boss Danny Bilson has told Eurogamer “it would be horrible” if new hardware appeared now.

“It would be horrible. But I think they all know our model’s broken anyway,” he said, speaking at the publisher’s New York event last week.

“It still costs us a fortune to make games on this platform. If they’re going to up the scale, up the art, up the content, I don’t know how to make that and sell it to anybody for under $100 a game. Who wants to do that? It’s bad for everybody.

“As long as we’re creatively satisfied as gamers by what we’re getting, I’m really satisfied. I still see cooler stuff, better stuff. So much is in the software engineering and working with the technology. I look at games and I go, wow, how did they get such great characters?”

Although a new set of home consoles isn’t on the horizon, a new batch of handheld wars will begin this year with the release of 3DS and PSP2. Bilson said THQ is fully supporting the former, but what about the latter?

“No comment. I really can’t comment on hardware that’s going to be announced soon.”

PSP2 is set to be announced at a business overview and strategy meeting by Sony next Thursday, as first reported by VG247 last week.

3DS launch details for Europe and the US will be confirmed later this afternoon. More details here.

Breaking news

28 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  1. AHA-Lambda

    He’s completely right, we need to:
    -lower dev budgets
    -get tiered pricing
    -and go digital

    Cos the $60 retail model is broken. Right now gaming is in the same position the music industry was in before iTunes really.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Mike W

    I agree with him when it comes to the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, I really think it’s time for Nintendo to release an HD console.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. xxJPRACERxx

    I don’t think this will cost a lot more. Game assets are already created in higher details than game engine can render. Having more polygons and higher detail maps on your models won’t cost more to make. Having better draw distance and better AA/AF won’t cost more to make. Same thing for physics. The only people that’ll have more work are programmers.

    And I even think maybe cost will go down. If we have hardware powerful enough to render high-detail models, artists won’t have to make low-poly version of their models and bake normal maps. But this will probably be for the next-next gen consoles.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. ybfelix

    @JPRACER: Apparently it’s like an arm race, at the beginning they were content to make graphics like last-gen, only with higher image quality, then someone ups the ante on gfx department, and everyone starts to raise, and so does the cost.

    And gamers would call out if they bought an expensive new console but not getting visibly better screenshots

    #4 4 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    How much better can games graphics really get?

    Glad I am leaning more and more towards being a Steam Gamer exclusivly. I am getting to the point where I use my xb360/psn more for other media(netflix/dvds/tv and movie downloads/BR) then I do for games. Most games I buy are bargin bin or DD.

    Overall I agree with Lamba.

    I am waiting for Console based Cloud gaming. Onlive has a mini console(micro small, works great), I figure the next gen of consoles should include a cloud/streaming games service. 20usd a month/unlimited play = the sweat spot.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Isuru86

    The same Bilson from Goliath National Bank ?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. G1GAHURTZ

    I agree, OG.

    I think the next gen of consoles will probably be heavily cloud focused.

    But I think that after that, no consoles or phsyical mediaat all. Just cloud services and subscription models.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    I can imagine saves and such going to the cloud next time out, but not streaming games. For large parts of the world the broadband infrastructure just isn’t capable of supporting that yet. Hell, wasn’t there a stat just a few months back that a very large percentage of people hadn’t even hooked their console up to the ‘net?

    I imagine we’ll get one more run with discs but with brand new games increasingly available at launch via download as well. After that, we’ll see.

    As for the expense, I (and many other) people have said numerous times that the Nintendo model is the way to keep costs down next time around – the new machines keeping the architecture and APIs of this generation but just dialling everything up to 11. More memory, more cores, more processing power, latest graphics revisions, etc. etc.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Crysis

    @7, Highly doubt it, although i do believe that both MS & Sony will heavily emphasize on Downloads, hopefully with same day releases as retail at competitive prices with frequent sales.

    Not everyone is connected to the internet, not everybody connected to the internet has strong, fast & reliable connections so I can’t imagine cloud gaming becoming a viable standard within the next 10-15 years, not to mention if retail is cut out of the picture, we’ll have MS, Sony & possibly Ninty dictating our prices & i quite frankly don’t like that idea, but i don’t believe Ninty has the revenue to put that much emphasis on such expensive services so they could very well be out of the hardware game by that time, no one here will agree with me but it’s not that far fetched.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Robo_1

    Part of the argument for better quality hardware, is that developers are having to create high quality artwork and assets for games, but the hardware is so memory constrained by todays standards, that it’s all having to be spat out as low quality textures.

    In terms of artwork, I think we’re at, – or more or less approaching – the “good enough” level for most people, even core gamers, so taking that artwork and presenting it all in crisp uncompressed form, along with a nice 1080p resolution and 60fps/3D with oodles of lighting/particle and mapping techniques means the visual quality of games could take a significant leap without game budgets spiralling out of control.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. lexph3re

    Lol. Cloud based services/onlive are very finicky. Remember the phantom? Yeah I know you don’t because barely anyone does because it never launched. The phantom is the exact same thing as onlive. But, the problem with that is exactly as the above mentioned. Not everyone around the world has dedicated internet streaming capabilities.

    A core console is essential at this point in time of technological advancement. Until gaming is achieved in more the 8% of a population. They can’t take a chance with high development and a locked fee. The business model would be more like 20/mnth for a set limit of gaming like 6-10 games a month. And. 40-60/mnth for unlimited gaming access. Onlive just seems great due to its new face in the community.

    But, if sony,ms,or nin all jump on that band wagon the competition would add to thee price, features, and “exclusives”.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    Couple of things come to mind:

    The Nintendo way of doing things consolewise would mean that we won’t see new systems for about 5more years, at least. The Wii is essentialy the GC 1.5. Last gens tech, making this gens xb360/ps3 next gens 1.5 of sorts. If ya follow me.

    No doubt this gen should have an extended lifecycle. But who knows how long. I think if they wait too long the industry might fatigue a bit.

    I recall people saying the same thing about HD and online as they now say about broadband being viable.

    The key isn’t replacing Disc/DD games with streamed ones, but instead offering them as an extension of your service.

    Think Netflix.

    As far as Phantom goes, I do remember reading about that. But please keep in mind that before we have super sonic jets, we had prop biplanes, and before that a long line of failed attempts.

    I think streaming services are the destination. It just makes sense from so many povs(from hacking/price points/standarizations/and more), however how long it will take to get there I don’t know. I recon it will be sooner then some of you might think.

    I also bet Gamestop/Game/walmart/retail will fight it tooth and nail. Then again Netflix. Blockbuster had no vision, they have been replaced by Netflix. But in the end we still have a movie service. Just that it has evolved. Games will go through the same thing someday.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Blerk

    As an option, maybe – it’d be a neat addition. I wonder whether they’d have trouble getting third-party publishers to sign up to that, though?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Crysis

    @12, As an extension service, well we may see it happening soon, but it’ll take a long time before it becomes a more efficient choice than DD or physical media.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    “How much better can games graphics really get?”

    I remember saying this exact quote when I played the first
    NBA Shootout on the original Playstation.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. TheWulf

    The interesting thing to me about this is that console owners want computers – and it seems as simple as that. What I see is that whenever PC-like functionality is added to a console, things that PC owners have taken for granted for years, the console crowd goes nuts.

    The exuberantly happy kind of nuts.

    The most recent example of this is the SteamPSN merger, so that the Playstation Network will be getting very Steam-like features. And from many PS3 boards I’ve read nothing but people saying exceedingly positive things, almost shoveling out the praise.

    I think the end point for hardware is that eventually we’ll have two sorts of systems…

    - A closed, proprietary PC which is cheap and connects to a telly.
    - An open, standards-based PC which is expensive and connects to a monitor.

    The more advanced consoles become, the more PC-like they become. That’s not to say that I don’t think Cloud isn’t the future. I actually think that OldGamer is onto something, but I think it’s a little further away than that. We’re all going to need very good connections before Cloud gaming really works out. Cloud gaming is very dependent on fast down and up streams.

    The UK has some pretty spiffy down streams at the moment, but across the country our upload speeds absolutely suck to unforgivable degrees. Not only that, but they’re going to need to spider out a network of servers in every single nation. The reason for this is that they’ll have to lower latency, and this is the only way to really do it.

    The infrastructure for Cloud gaming isn’t really here yet either, then. But it will be, eventually. And I think that Cloud gaming will be absolutely perfect for proprietary systems that can’t be modded. Just like you can’t run mods on a console version of New Vegas these days (except on a jailbroken PS3, and even then it’s difficult), you won’t be able to run mods on a proprietary system.

    Consoles will keep veering more and more toward proprietary systems. The humble home computer will continue to veer away from that until eventually there’s a massive rift between the two.

    The end result will be, as OldGamer thinks, tiny boxes in front of the telly with total access and a monthly subscription, but completely closed and proprietary. The PC will continue to have games which can be bought, but they’ll also operate on a far more open system. And the sorts of games developed for each will likely be very, very different as well.

    It’ll be interesting to watch.

    Eventually though, you’ll have people who want more control over their system and those for whom that control isn’t worth the benefits. Ease of use versus actually knowing what’s happening inside your system and being able to take control over any part of it.

    And proprietary things don’t really work on computers all that much, anyway. The most scary thing we have is World of Warcraft’s Warden. But if you run WoW in WINE under Linux, it essentially neuters Warden regardless.

    As Microsoft move more towards proprietary platform, I can see an increased degree of interest in Linux as well. In fact, I think this is why so many indie developers have been releasing Linux ports lately – it’s not hard to see which way the wind is blowing. And it’s not hard to guess how things will be in a few decades from now.

    [Rambly post ends.]

    #16 4 years ago
  17. G1GAHURTZ

    I really don’t think that the transition to cloud gaming will be all that difficult.

    In any case, new technologies usually need a driving force, so to speak, to make people want to get on board.

    Where are most of the games sales made worldwide?

    The US, east asia, and Europe (most of which is the UK).

    Where are the best online infrastructures in the world?

    East asia, Europe and the US. I believe that BT is currently planning on rolling out 1GB broadband by 2015, and you can almost guarantee that the rest of Europe probably won’t be far behind.

    East Asia already has lightening speeds, and although I don’t know any details, I can only assume that the US has more than enough money to invest in something along the same lines.

    Basically, the point is that you can’t really make the arguement that cloud gaming isn’t a viable option because some people in Latvia or Zimbabwe can’t get online.

    Cloud gaming is practically free money for the industry if it’s done correctly.

    Right now, I’m in Saudi Arabia, and I have an internet technology (HSPA+) that’s not even available in the UK yet (afaik). I basically have a mobile internet connection that actually gets speeds of up to 21.6mbps. I’ve been playing CoD:BO on XBL with it (with people in Europe and the US) and getting pretty good connections, without too much difficulty.

    This doesn’t need a land line or underground cable. Just a phone signal.

    I’m pretty sure that within the next few years, technology even better than this will be pretty standard in just about every low budget phone that you can think of, so people can download movies/games/apps by the bucket load at fast speeds.

    What’s to say that a future gen’s consoles won’t come with built in internet technology, just like an iPhone or an iPad? You could even just do it with a sim card in the controller that connects to the cloud, and have it connect to a TV via WiFi.

    The way things are going, it looks to me that within the next 5 or 6 years, we’ll be able to get online just about anywhere in the world at very good speeds.

    Step in Sony/MS/Nintendo/Apple/Sky/Virgin/Whoever else with subscription fee, cloud based gaming systems that work just like satellite TV does right now, and I’m pretty sure that no-one will look back.

    Publishers can have their own channels, people can subscribe to as many as they can afford like.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. OlderGamer

    ^^Thats pretty much the way I see things going too.

    But whatever will the dedicated fanbois do at that point?

    #18 4 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    They’d probably be much the same…

    ‘Stick to NintendoCloud Channel! It teh l337z!!1 xbox and ps cloud hav to many adverts.’

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Overdos3

    I get mad when i read such crap. “NEW HARDWARE”, shut up bilson because there’s always new hardware and evolutions except on the consoles.
    I’m talking about the pc now we’re at the dx11 while the consoles are stuck to dx9 and he’s still crying about the new hardware.
    What peoples should do is to switch to pc and give consoles to their child. This done, devs will get interested in pc platform and we’ll get real new generation games.
    Devs imagination is also going to be tottally free because they’ll not get limited by memory or cpu capability.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. osric90

    I’m totally satisfied with my PlayStation 3 and I think both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have a lot to offer yet. Games are STILL expensive, so, yeah, it would be HELL ON EARTH for developers and gamers. Anyway, a new console with full backwards compatibility, huge and versatile network functions and similar is being waited for all of us… but around 2015 at the earliest…

    #21 4 years ago
  22. MushroomStamp

    Well I’m going to stand up and say, I would LOVE new console hardware. Bring it!!

    #22 4 years ago
  23. jacobvandy

    Development costs spiraling out of control is not the console-maker’s concern. Sorry THQ, you need to evaluate yourselves and figure out how to make good games for cheaper, or else go out of business. Period.

    How many times do one-man indie game makers have to make 6 and 7 figures in their spare time before the big guys realize THEY’RE the ones to blame?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Crysis

    @23, Costs a fuckload to make a fuckload, when you’re working with stronger equipment, you’re EXPECTED to make more powerful games, more powerful games take much more effort, time & resources.
    The only exception to this is Nintendo, people eat up Nintendo shit, no matter how insignificant the differences are & when there is a large difference, it’s normally just a gimmick that it could have done without.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. AHA-Lambda

    @23 – i agree but this is an industry wide thing really not just thq.

    There’s a reason why demon’s souls is a huge success at a couple hundred thousand but 7 million for BC2 isnt good enough cos its still not at CoD levels -_-

    #25 4 years ago
  26. jacobvandy

    @24 But that’s no way to run a business. If you spend $100 million on a game and only sell 200,000 copies, you’re obviously overestimating or otherwise misunderstanding your customers. You can’t let the vocal minority of gamers demanding better graphics and whatever else to dictate the way you make games if it’s going to lead to HUGE losses, which it usually does when the game itself sucks. Ignore the whining and make a product you can be proud of for a cost you can manage.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. xxJPRACERxx

    There’s no reason a game should cost 100+ millions. Look at Gears of War, Crysis, Half-Life. The developement cost is less than 10 millions. Still a lot, but 10 times less than the average game of today and the quality is still really good.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Overdos3

    @21 i dont understand how you can say that your totally satisfied with the ps3 and 360. I’m sure you’ve never tried pc gaming.
    How can you say that you’re satisfied playing at 1024×768 resolution omg this was the resolution of pc like at 5years from now…
    And for those who are saying that they want new hardware it means that they want a pc.

    #28 4 years ago