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Warren Spector: Next-Gen Focusing On Entertainment Is A "Perilous Idea"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Entertainment, Next-gen, PS4, Warren Spector, Xbox One

Warren Spector: Next-Gen Focusing On Entertainment Is A "Perilous Idea"

Warren Spector has spoken out to suggest that attempting to turn games consoles into entertainment centres is fraught with potential pitfalls.

"I think next gen consoles as entertainment devices rather than game machines is a perilous idea,” the designer behind Deus Ex and Epic Mickey told Gamespot. “I mean, I already have more ways than I can deal with to access the programming I want and the Internet and all its pleasures. And if I want to multitask while watching television, I already have to decide which of my devices to do it on.

“I kind of get a next-gen game machine, but competing for the home entertainment business? We’ll see how that goes.”

Spector also weighed in on digital games, which he believes could lead to some major issues with ownership and consumer rights down the line. “I’m a huge fan of e-books, but the more I buy and download, the more I worry that someone could just take them all away from me,” he continued. I worry a lot about not owning things I’ve paid for. I suppose if the cost came down–way down!–I might worry about it less. But it’s a huge concern.

“Having said that, I think that boat has sailed. We live in a world of virtual goods where none of us own the 0s and 1s. What are you going to do?”

Personally, I like the idea of next-gen consoles having plenty of exciting new avenues for accessing entertainment... but that wouldn't factor into my purchasing decision. What's your take on the Xbox One's attempt to become an 'all in one' entertainment solution?

Add a comment10 comments
hurrakan  Jun. 3, 2013 at 12:15

PCs are already all in one entertainment solutions. Personal computers can be really good for playing games, but they do alot of other stuff too.

I've always thought that a games console should be a computer that is stripped down to only the hardware + software that is needed to play games, with all resources directly focused on gaming.

Quietus  Jun. 3, 2013 at 12:31

I have no interest in it all whatsoever. I want to switch it on, and play a game.

On another note, I do like digital distribution, but the idea of what happens to them long-term has crossed my mind. Take Steam for example. If Valve goes under five years from now, and nobody was interested / able to take over, what would happen to all of those games that I've bought and paid for? Would they release patches for the program, so that it never required a connection again? I doubt it, and the thought of losing everything I've paid for doesn't sit well.

davidpanik  Jun. 3, 2013 at 13:34


On another note, I do like digital distribution, but the idea of what happens to them long-term has crossed my mind. Take Steam for example. If Valve goes under five years from now, and nobody was interested / able to take over, what would happen to all of those games that I've bought and paid for? Would they release patches for the program, so that it never required a connection again? I doubt it, and the thought of losing everything I've paid for doesn't sit well.


Valve built in a patch from day one, which they will push out to all Steam users should they ever go under. Removes all the copy-protection, allowing people unrestricted access to their purchases (you would presumably need to download everything before the servers got switched off though).

Quietus  Jun. 3, 2013 at 13:45

That's pretty cool, though with a collection as big as mine, I may need to invest in a few more terabytes of space if it ever happens.:D

Anarchist  Jun. 3, 2013 at 14:53

PCs are already all in one entertainment solutions. Personal computers can be really good for playing games, but they do alot of other stuff too.

I've always thought that a games console should be a computer that is stripped down to only the hardware + software that is needed to play games, with all resources directly focused on gaming.


PC's take too long to startup/shut down (I don't want 30-40 seconds even if you go SSD, plus time to get into games - I want my game loading seconds from pressing the on button).

They are too expensive (a PC that runs new games at the same quality as a PS4/one will, will be over twice as expensive).

They are too much hassle (updates, drivers, backing up, reinstalling OS/software when things fail, etc).

They are big/noisy, unless you spend significantly more money on special SFF cases/water cooling etc. A mini tower will look stupid under my TV. Consoles fit and look fine under a TV.

Sure, they are far more flexible than consoles, IF you spend the money. I have a shuttle in my AV setup dual booting XBMC/7, which is small and smart enough to just about get away with as it blends in with my Onkyo TX515 - but it cost around £600-£650 altogether. That's not only too much money for average, non technology people to go for, but also unavailable to buy off a shelf, unless you build it yourself.

Cricky  Jun. 4, 2013 at 09:44

While consoles may be cheaper than PCs the cost of the games soon outweighs any savings made. Unless you stay behind the curve and buy budget games or wait for sales.

My laptop outperforms any of the current consoles and cost me 600 quid. I can slide it under the sofa when I'm not using it and also do much more with it than I could with a console. I can also leave it on sleep mode and have it start instantly if I want to play a game.

I still have a couple of consoles. They're not mutually exclusive. ;)

Anarchist  Jun. 4, 2013 at 17:01

While consoles may be cheaper than PCs the cost of the games soon outweighs any savings made. Unless you stay behind the curve and buy budget games or wait for sales.

My laptop outperforms any of the current consoles and cost me 600 quid. I can slide it under the sofa when I'm not using it and also do much more with it than I could with a console. I can also leave it on sleep mode and have it start instantly if I want to play a game.

I still have a couple of consoles. They're not mutually exclusive. ;)


My point is that there is much more to it than cost/performance. Although your laptop at £500 is four times the cost of a 360, and probably in real terms hardly any better visually than a 360/ps3 (don't go quoting specs or I'll have to facepalm).

People don't want hassle. They want easy lives where things just work instantly, where they don't have to spend time preparing, installing or removing anything. Consoles offer that, PC's don't.

And why do you think you're being clever with your 'ooh, they're not mutually exclusive, I'm the only person ever to think that, winky smiley because I'm so awesome' comment. Did you even read my post? I have a gaming/media PC specifically designed to go on my AV rack. It is great, it does all sorts my consoles don't do (XBMC, emulators, etc), but most of the time I just don't want the hassle.

Last edited by Anarchist, Jun. 4, 2013 at 17:01
Cricky  Jun. 4, 2013 at 20:19

My point is that there is much more to it than cost/performance. Although your laptop at £500 is four times the cost of a 360, and probably in real terms hardly any better visually than a 360/ps3 (don't go quoting specs or I'll have to facepalm).


From my own experience my laptop is a good bit better visually than the 360/PS3. But that's nothing to be surprised about seeing as it is newer than both of the consoles which came out in 2005/2007. However when I bought it they were both around the £300 mark and as I pointed out it wasn't the cost of the consoles I was talking about but the games. The consoles themselves are sold at a loss (the Wii was an exception I think).

People don't want hassle. They want easy lives where things just work instantly, where they don't have to spend time preparing, installing or removing anything. Consoles offer that, PC's don't.


I agree, consoles would be more suited to a lot of people. As for your PC I don't know what problems you are having with gaming but almost everything works fine on my laptop. Most of my games are on Steam these days and the only one I can recall having a problem with from there is Bioshock. I suspect this is something to do with windows 7 as I played it in the past on my much older desktop with no problems. Some 'very' old games (installed from disc) have had problems but most of them are on GOG and other services fully patched now so I usually get them from there instead. Apart from that I've had no problems with PC gaming. I don't even think I've updated my drivers since I got the laptop. I do remember having problems with drivers and settings years ago when I used to game on my desktop but a change in circumstances caused me to get a laptop and I've used it successfully ever since. Perhaps the closed nature of a laptop means it is more stable than a built PC?

And why do you think you're being clever with your 'ooh, they're not mutually exclusive, I'm the only person ever to think that, winky smiley because I'm so awesome' comment. Did you even read my post? I have a gaming/media PC specifically designed to go on my AV rack. It is great, it does all sorts my consoles don't do (XBMC, emulators, etc), but most of the time I just don't want the hassle.


I didn't think I was being clever thinking 'I'm the only person to think about that, I'm so awesome'. It was a light-hearted comment and how you perceived it says more about you than it does about me. And yes I did read your post and I think if your PC is causing you hassle you should switch to something else. The only reason I game is for enjoyment, if it was a hassle I wouldn't do it. If it suits you better than your current setup then I can see why a console would be a good idea for you however I still reckon a PC is cheaper in the long-term.

imdurc  Jun. 5, 2013 at 02:35

Yeah, PC all the way these days. I may have a Wii, Xbox and Wii U. But my main gaming platform is the PC. I even have a PC that sits near the tv (micro-atx tower) that looks fine. It's not for everyone, I know, but it works for me.

Anarchist, I think it would be possible to have a PC set up to be quiet, fast to turn on (i.e. same as a console), AV equipment looking, automated updates/maintenance, priced relatively cheaply, etc. etc. But, because we don't have any companies making this kind of a PC a reality, it has never been considered as a proper living room piece. Shame, really.

Anyway, no need to argue over this stuff. Just go with what works for you.

Last edited by imdurc, Jun. 5, 2013 at 02:35
Cricky  Jun. 5, 2013 at 08:52

imdurc, what you've just described sounds like some of the stuff I've heard about the Steam boxes which some companies are working on. I don't know much about them so can't really say but something to keep an eye on though I think.

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