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Why are videogames different from movies (concerning multiple formats)?

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Why are videogames different from movies (concerning multiple formats)?

Old 12-22-04, 08:05 AM
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Why are videogames different from movies (concerning multiple formats)?

I'm not sure which thread this goes in, so move it if it's out of place.

Any time there is a thread about high definition video formats like HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, some people have a tendency to get defensive and say they won't buy into it for two reasons: they just got into DVD, and they want to have one format for movies.

Yet, how many of these same people have more than one videogame console? There are four major platforms: PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, and computers. (Not to mention handhelds, and systems of the past that people still have hooked up.) With the exception of the PlayStation family of consoles, almost none of the home platforms are compatible with each other, and there is never a device that plays more than one of the major competing formats. These formats also have a shorter life cycle than a video format.

It looks as though there will be a format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Why is this so bad? At least you will almost certainly be able to buy one machine that plays both, and your current DVDs. That is not true for videogames.

I suppose my question is aimed not just at members of this forum, but also society as a whole. Why are people not willing to accept more than one format for movies, but have no problem with multiple formats for videogames? Also, why are people willing to buy new systems every five years or upgrade their computers just for games every two years, but not willing to get into HD-DVD because they "just" got into standard DVD?

I would love to have one format for HD video. I hate a format war as much as anyone, but if there is going to be one, is that any reason to avoid purchasing both formats? I don't think anyone is refusing to buy any of the next generation game consoles because it won't play all the games.

I realize that a format war will hurt HD-DVD and Blu-Ray in the marketplace and cause their growth to be slower, but that goes back to my question about why consumers are willing to buy more than one system for games. Why is a format war bad for Hollywood but good for the videogame industry?

I suppose the reason why people accept a shorter life cycle for videogame formats has to do with how the technology behind the games keeps progressing, and maybe someday when the technology gains with new systems are minimal there will be people who will say they won't buy the new system(s) because they are perfectly happy with what they have and don't want their collection to become "obsolete."

Am I comparing apples and oranges here? Your thoughts?
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Old 12-22-04, 08:31 AM
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I think videogames should have one format too, and companies should compete with software. They could put out their own hardware, but it must contain a base set of specs, and they could compete with bells and whistles (mp3 players and the like). Same should go with movies. You don't see theater chains having only certain movies because they were shot on a certain stock do you? They compete on pricing, availability, and quality of the facility.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by milo bloom
I think videogames should have one format too, and companies should compete with software. They could put out their own hardware, but it must contain a base set of specs, and they could compete with bells and whistles (mp3 players and the like).
This exists and it is called PC gaming. The game industry thrives on competition, and having obne console would snuff out creativity and actually be more expensive in the long run since upgrades would be more and more frequent, like PC gaming.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:10 AM
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I think the main reason people buy multiple consoles is that certain games are exclusive to those consoles (Halo only on Xbox, Mario only on Gamecube) so there is no other way to have ALL the best games. I'd hate to have a situation in which a similar thing happened regarding movies, but I suppose that's not an issue since dvd player manufacturers do not create software for their players (Sony would be the exception, but their product is not exclusive to Sony players).
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Old 12-22-04, 09:16 AM
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Apples and oranges.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:00 AM
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How many people went and re-bought all of their old games on the new format when the new console came out? I think that's a big part of it. People, especially here, are creating collections. Probably many had LD and/or VHS collections and have recently begun or finished rebuying the films they wanted on the newest/best format. They will want to get their favorite films yet again on the newest format, and if there is a "war", they may end up buying it on Blu-ray, then have to re-buy yet again if Blu-ray dies and HDDVD "wins" out.

I think some people are still upset over that whole Beta/VHS thang....
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Old 12-22-04, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Qui Gon Jim
This exists and it is called PC gaming. The game industry thrives on competition, and having obne console would snuff out creativity and actually be more expensive in the long run since upgrades would be more and more frequent, like PC gaming.
I knew someone would bring that up and I should have mentioned something about the upgrades. That is precisely why I'm not a PC gamer, and for a "one console" system to work, the upgrades would have to be agreed upon by all the manufacturers, then released at decent and fair intervals. I do realize getting several companies to do this would be like herding cats, so we'll just live with the industry the way it is.
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Old 12-22-04, 12:36 PM
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3DO anyone?
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Old 12-22-04, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Yocke
3DO anyone?
I really liked my 3D0, well, for a summer. The problem was it launched for $750 with one controller and a demo disc!! Games were next to impossible to find for it and only one or two that I played were any good. Nevertheless, the system still holds a place in my memory because it was the first time I played Alone in the Dark.
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Old 12-22-04, 01:39 PM
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I don't own any game systems. The competing formats might be one of the reasons why (though not the sole reason). This is why I get upset regarding the upcoming competing versions of DVD in high definition. I won't buy two different things, so I just might go without.


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