As time passes, it becomes more and more evident that revised PS4 and Xbox One consoles,with enhanced and upgraded hardware and capabilities, are indeed going to be coming soon. As the time has passed, we’ve gotten more and more acclimatized to an idea that admittedly seemed radical at first, but in the end is a very sensible path of progression for consoles to follow.
But what do people on the other side of the gaming equation feel? Do developers appreciate the idea of these kinds of mid cycle revisions, especially considering the kinds of extra resources they get in terms of hardware to work with as a result? Or are they resentful of changing specs, which is exactly what console game development is meant to avoid in the first place?
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk seems to fall on the side of the scale that doesn’t approve of these upgrades- in fact, in an interview with Gamespot, he went as far as to call the entire idea a ‘gigantic pain in the ass.’
“I’d say that’d be a gigantic pain in the ass that flies in the face of the purpose of consoles,” he said. “It’s funny, there’s actually some stories behind that. For example, the original Xbox…Microsoft actually had multiple different DVD drives. They didn’t tell anyone that, but as a developer you discovered that you have different performance and sometimes you’d have these boxes of refurbished drives and different brands and different equipment. It caused incredible variability.
“The whole purpose of consoles is the set of requirements that you work against from a hardware perspective,” he said. “To change that is complete lunacy.”
The idea, he feels, is not suited to the console market as a result of this.
“I just think it’s bad,” he said. “I think, ‘lock it’ and let developers do their thing. But at the end of the day, if you can focus your development effort on one set of hardware requirements and target, you are going to get a better result. It’s easier than having to split it, adding more people, having to port things across.”
“It’s like dipping your toe back into the PC pool where you have to consider all these things. It was nice on console not having to consider like performance sliders. But it’s just crazy. I guess maybe [Microsoft and Sony] feel the need to.”
Personally, I am not sure I agree with him- I think iterative consoles are a very logical evolution for consoles in a changing market.A market where technology evolves rapidly, and consoles either need to keep up,or risk being left behind in the dust.