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PlayStation (Games) Input Devices Microsoft Sony Hardware Games

Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect 222

Posted by timothy
from the they're-practically-tiering-up dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Gary Marshall writes that.Microsoft's marvelous motion-sensing device is doing really good work for Sony, helping the PS4 outsell the Xbox One in the US and rocketing it to the top of the world's console sales charts. With the Xbox One $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4, the Kinect is the explanation for the huge difference in price between the rival platforms says Marshall. "That kind of money makes a huge difference, and I wonder: if Microsoft had kept the Kinect as an optional add-on, which we all know it should be, would the Xbox One be much more attractive?" Ben Kuchera describes the peripheral as one of the most hated pieces of equipment in current use. "The system is still new, but every Xbox One owner now has a peripheral that has little reason to exist, aids their gaming in very few real ways and costs them a significant amount of money." The common defense of the Kinect is that developers wouldn't support it unless it was forced on consumers but according to Kuchera pushing a product on the public with the hope that it will be useful once we have it is a cruel inversion of how product adoption should be handled. "The forced pack-in proves something we already knew at the beginning of this generation: Almost no one would want to buy the Kinect separately if they were given the choice," writes Kuchera. "It's time to make the Kinect a peripheral, not a pack-in.""
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Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect

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  • It's the ads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:56AM (#46295061) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft started including ads on the xbox home page last generation. It was enough for me to entirely drop purchasing anything at all for it(and definitely not xbox 1). I had no reason to believe the PS4 is better in that regard, so they get ignored too.

  • Social (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:57AM (#46295065)
    I wish they'd both make everything a lot less social and less connected. I don't want to go into another persons house if they have the NSA/GCHQ spy cam installed. I don't know what the police think I've done and come get me regardless. Think they wouldn't?
    Luckily the games are awful so I've not need to buy either.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:06PM (#46295151)

    The Kinect isn't the primary reason that the XB1 costs more and has worse performance than the PS4. The primary reason is that during the design phase, Microsoft's engineers overestimated the cost of GDDR5 RAM. As a result, they decided to go with DDR3 instead of GDDR5 for the 8GB of system memory, and compensate for the slower speeds by including a 32MB cache ("eSRAM") on the die. This cache is so large in terms of die space that it meant there was much less room for GPU – which is why the XB1 only has 768 shaders, compared to the PS4's 1152. Meanwhile, developers have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get decent performance out of the XB1 by carefully managing allocation of the on-die cache, while on the PS4 they can simply rely on all 8GB of memory being fast enough because it's all GDDR5.

    So the result of this miscalculation is that the XB1 is more expensive to build (due to a faster die), more complex, and slower. Oops.

  • by lord_mike (567148) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:22PM (#46295301)

    Diskless consoles are great in theory. After all, who wants to go around physically inserting discs like it's the 1980's or somethin?. But, it comes with a cost--the inability to buy used discs or discs from third parties at a discount will keep prices outrageously high for games. Yes, in theory, they could reduce the price to make up for savings from using physical media, but they won't. A $60 game (which is way too expensive to begin with), will always be $60 as a download, whereas a $60 disc can be acquired cheaper new at amazon.com or ebay, and even less used. The only way a disc-less console would be attractive to the cost conscious consumer would be if they would guarantee a significantly lower price for content--like $30. That would be a big selling point.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:35PM (#46295411) Homepage

    Every single Xbox owner I know that has a Kinect does not use it at all. the games for it suck, even Forza Horizon had support for it but it rarely works right. and if you have windows behind you it fails completely.

    The $100 difference does make a difference as well, I know a lot of hardcore console gamers looking at the PS4 instead of the Xbone this time around, and they were Xbox360 hardcore fanboys.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:50PM (#46295597)

    Those were decisions that should have made the Xbox One cheaper. It's basically the same architecture as the original Xbox 360, and is well-understood; by comparison the PS4's GDDR5 is luxuriously expensive. Kinect is definitely to blame.

    While GDDR5 is definitely more expensive, the price difference isn't that massive, at least when you are a company as large as Sony or Microsoft with the corresponding bulk purchasing power. This estimate [eetimes.com] indicates that Sony's 8GB of GDDR5 costs about $62, compared to $39 for Microsoft's 8GB of DDR3. Add to that the fact that Microsoft is paying more for a larger APU die to offset the RAM's weakness: roughly $132 compared to $121. (Those figures are estimates, but we know that the XB1 APU die is 363 mm^2, compared to 348 mm^2 for PS4.)

    So when you factor the larger and more expensive die into the equation, Microsoft saved a grand total of $12 a unit by going with DDR3 – and in the process, reduced their graphics performance significantly. Like I said, the only sensible explanation is that the Microsoft designers drastically overestimated the cost savings of skimping on primary system RAM, and probably also underestimated the performance hit it would cause because of the die space trade-off.

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