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RajanSky

Five year cycles in game industry

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Hi, I''ve been doing a bit of "secondary market research" on the games industry, i.e. looking for info about the industry on google =) I''ve found a pretty good assortment of stuff with statistics and demographics and all sorts of useful goodies. One thing I ran across was the statement that the game industry runs on 5 year cycles- you see growth and then it plateaus for a while, and then starts up again. I was wondering if anyone has any idea why there''s this cycle? My guess is it has to do with how long it takes between generations of new consoles to come out, but I really don''t have a clue hehe. Anyone got an idea? =) Raj

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In the industry investment reports I''ve read, this is what they mean by the 5-year cycle. It''s the period between the release of one generation of console hardware to the next. The 5-year cycle doesn''t really apply to PC games, since the hardware is constantly evolving and the market works differently.

As to why this cycle exists, well, it has to do with many factors. How long a game console needs to sell to be profitable (since hardware vendors take a loss on the platforms for at least the first couple of years), how it compares to the hardware of rival platforms, market acceptance, the fact that people are more likely to wait for the next gen hardware to come out if they know it''s coming within a year, rather than buy hardware they know will be obsolete soon, etc.

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I think with the increasing competition and console wars, you will begin to see the 5 year cycle come down to 4 or maybe even 3 years. Theres already talk of PS3 and Xbox 2...

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Cool, thanks for the replies! Yeah, I think you''re right Tacit, it''s the consoles that make the cycles. I don''t know about the cycles shortening though, gotta wait that one out and see hehe

Raj

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The hardware will have to become cheaper and easier to program for the cycles to shorten, but this would fit in with MS''s Xbox strategy. Cheap, accessible hardware that can be programmed using the same techniques one would use to program a PC, and a huge mod community just waiting to serve.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:

The ps2 is a nightmare to program



From my understanding, this is intential by sony. It means that the first batch of games dont use the system to the limit. The second round gets closer, and the third closer again. It means games can keep getting better as people learn the system, rather than having all games start by utilising the whole system straight away. If that happened, you would have an obsolete system fairly quickly...

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I doubt it was intentional. Anyway, I too have heard many horror stories of programming for the PS2. From what I hear, one of the biggest nightmares is the fact that you have to coordinate your code across 3 difference parallel processing units. Well, from what I have heardm the PS3 is supposed to have even MORE parallel processing units, so it doesn''t look like its gonna get much funner there. Thank god I''m just a simple PC programmer.

Ron Frazier
Kronos Software
www.kronos-software.com
Miko & Molly - Taking Puzzle Games to A Whole New Dimension

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Guest Anonymous Poster
>Yeah that would be cool if consoles get easier to program.. The ps2 is a nightmare to program, or so i hear hehe

The PS1 was a real pain in that you have to use Code Warrior. After using Microsoft''s Visual C++ everything else sucks. No just in time debugging or any of the other cool features. I''ll never work on a console game again no matter how much is on offer.

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