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Do you think the market exists for a new company to enter with a low cost console?

Amiga

Member
Valve should make a Steam Deck console, removing the screen and battery could make them sell it for sub-$300.
 

The_Mike

Gold Member
Apple has money and leverage.

iPod Touch wasn't expensive, and they could revive a device in that range, made for gaming with their own silicon, to give entry level access to Apple Arcade and other services.

It would likely trigger Nintendo management take retirement options and cause the whole industry to lose it's mind and make partnerships with them.
Apple has changed a lot since the ipod days.

An iPhone costs 10 times as much as back then when you could buy an iPhone 3g,at least in my country.

Apple won't make a low budget product, at least without the customer paying insane overpriced for it.
 

CeeJay

Member
Consoles live and die by their software. I don't understand how you are going to get quality games developed on a shoestring.

Where are you going to find all these single developers capable of making good quality games AND get them to come and work for you. Surely anyone who has the talent and an amazing fully formed idea for a game would just go and create that game as an indie developer and self publish on every platform they can.

What was it, 6 games in a year for 72k? You are expecting to hire someone for 12k to be self-motivated and deliver a finished game from scratch within a year that they have designed and created but will then not get any royalties from? Also, as the entire budget for those 6 games is 72k there is no money for support staff, development tools, project management, qa etc.

You may well be able to hire a Chinese coder for 12k but you are not going to get a finished article Jonathan Blow or a Phil Fish package for that price to come and work for you.
 

PhaseJump

Member
Apple has changed a lot since the ipod days.

An iPhone costs 10 times as much as back then when you could buy an iPhone 3g,at least in my country.

Apple won't make a low budget product, at least without the customer paying insane overpriced for it.

I wouldn't expect them to enter with a low cost console. Normal consoles are arguably low cost already.

But iPad Mini is what? 500 bucks USD? That's console price.
They have all the pieces to get into console gaming with some good performance if they want to. They already make a ton of money on video game sales with their devices than the console industry itself.

They would have to have a launch window as impactful as the Sega Dreamcast for this to happen.

They are a marketing behemoth as much as, if not more so than, they are an innovative tech company.

I don't like Apple much at all, but they already have Arcade and only lack a low cost entry point for the traditional gamer, to ensure that gaming dollars flow to their ecosystem, instead of Playstation/Xbox/Nintendo/Steam, etc. If they enter the market with easy access, the gravity in the industry will completely shift.
 
I wouldn't expect them to enter with a low cost console. Normal consoles are arguably low cost already.

But iPad Mini is what? 500 bucks USD? That's console price.
They have all the pieces to get into console gaming with some good performance if they want to. They already make a ton of money on video game sales with their devices than the console industry itself.



They are a marketing behemoth as much as, if not more so than, they are an innovative tech company.

I don't like Apple much at all, but they already have Arcade and only lack a low cost entry point for the traditional gamer, to ensure that gaming dollars flow to their ecosystem, instead of Playstation/Xbox/Nintendo/Steam, etc. If they enter the market with easy access, the gravity in the industry will completely shift.
They would need the right people, the right minds, and the right research to understand people who play console video games. Also they would have to play nice with competition which is something Stadia refused to do which includes offering a unique streaming option but charging full price for older games people already owned on other systems and having zero compatibility with steam and xbox store. I don't see closed-system Apple sinking a ton of money into doing any of this. At least not right now.

I think Apple is too scared to be the second version of Stadia to try anything in the console space right now. From what I've seen, any rumors about them going into the console gaming avenue went extremely silent when Google swept their failed Stadia project under their rug. Maybe another time and place.

Now what I do think Apple could do is to continue to make Apple Arcade a very, very good and well curated market for mobile gaming to the point where they are doing a way better job than their competition in that field. They could legitimize the mobile gaming market for those PC and console gamers who are tired of the gigantic mess that is mobile gaming and lead it to a place where it can be seen like an actual handheld console in terms of offering.
 

TLZ

Member
Yea. Always. But it's always about this:

What does it offer that is appealing to us? Why would I buy it?
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
I know that all these Chinese manufacturers are coming out with their own handhelds and consoles... Plus there has been a glut of micro consoles (by Sega, Nintendo etc) that have been released in recent years. And then there are low cost computers and consoles such as the Raspberry Pi 400 and Evercade.

Basically... There's all these "indie companies" that are already releasing "indie hardware" for less that $100. With that in mind, couldn't a new company enter the console space with their own low cost console?

The new contender could make a low cost console that uses low cost "off the shelf components" that are either ARM based (ie Raspberry Pi 4) or X86 based (ie Radxa Pi X). They could then pair the consoles with a custom Linux OS distro.

In terms of retail cost, the total hardware package should definitely be less than $100.

But what about the software?

Well... the new company could opt to make the console "indie centric" by developing games that are made by teams of 1 or 2 people. The new company could even hire developers from countries like China (where the salary for an average developer is around $12k).

The new company could hire 1 person to work on their own unique game for a year. And then hire a few more developers...

If the new company hires 6 people, then that company would essentially have 6 new games after 12 months. And the total software production cost would only be about $72k.

Granted... a few of those games could be average... But then again, the total cost per average game would only be about $12k. So the risk factor isn't even that great.

The new company could also have their own game store portal - like a variation of Itch.io - and this would certainly help in making it more appealing to indie game creators (which would help with software selection in the long-run).

So what do you think, Gaf... With the risk factor being quite low, do you think the market exists for a new company to enter with a low cost console?
Jack Black Genius GIF
 
It's interesting that you say that...

I was talking about a console that costs under $100, and with the Pi 400 costing about the same, it definitely seems achievable for a similarly powerful console to cost $100 (if not lower).

$100 also makes the console an impulse purchase.

$200... And the consumer would probably need to think about it.

I'm just thinking about indie game creators like Vlambeer - where the bulk of the programming was done by 1 person (I think), and where a lot of their games had development times of 6 months (or thereabouts).

Hire 1 relatively experienced developer... Give them 12 months to make a game... I'm sure that something "great" will eventually materialize.

Do that with 6 developers... And you're basically going toe to toe with companies like Devolver Digital.
Isn’t that just an android trap phone?
 
Who would the games come from though?

Which publishers will justify them focusing on retro style games that are so low tech that it puts a wall between them and the stuff on Ps5/Xbox?

Smaller publishing labels that could put those games on this hypothetical system and the main systems would, I'm sure. And depending on who makes such a device, the specs could be anywhere from a Raspberry Pi-level to something perhaps around 1 - 2 TF in generic graphical performance.

Remember much of game development is iteration and all this would do is ensure a glut of low tech developers that aren't equipped to move onto the higher end consoles.

That depends on the aims of those developers, however, and scaling up is much easier than scaling down. Most small developers won't be able to compete with AAA devs in budgets or production values, anyway, and engines like UE5 are democratizing the dev process for smaller teams as well as larger ones, while scaling well with low-end to high-end hardware configurations.

I mean we're in a reality where some of the most anticipated games coming can run comfortably on lower-end laptops with integrated graphics or even the Switch in specific cases, these aren't games that require the full power of a PS5, Series X or even Series S to perform well. There will always be a market for such games.

Novelty only goes so far

Well, as long as the novelty serves a niche, and the product is smartly designed around the niche, then it could work I think. The floor when it comes to the lowest-end GPU/CPU capabilities in cheap devices is always rising and scales somewhat in lockstep with the ceiling (for high-end GPU/CPU hardware), even if the scaling is not an evenly proportional one.

I've been thinking again about the concept WRT a company like Sony or Nintendo doing it, since if it's something that'd require one of the Big Three to make it work, they have more nostalgia with their IP and classic libraries than Microsoft. Design a cheap entry-level gaming box that's basically good enough for 1 TF - 2 TF of GPU performance, decent but cut-down CPU, some small amount of storage (64 GB for example), and you can primarily sell it as a game streaming & media box that can play select games natively, but would have to stream others it can't run on its own.

Something like that designed at large enough mass scale can make the economics work and sell it for $100 or so, including a controller. But then you also provide an option for those users (and maybe also those who have say a PS5) to buy a cheap cartridge or CD module to attach to the system aesthetically designed to look like one of the classic consoles, but it'll only run discs or cartridges for the intended console (PS1, SNES etc.), or new games licensed for that platform family that have physical copies designed to act like discs or cartridges of those classic systems as an access point.

So users can play disc versions or cartridge versions of games from those classic systems, and in the case of the $100 box you have something at enough market saturation and cheap enough price where smaller devs or teams making games that could natively run on it, can do so. If they want to create physical copies calling back packaging styles of games for classic systems, they can do that. Other companies that would want to do something else with it or users with these expansion modules (knowing the gaming preferences and tendencies of people who would buy these add-ons) could make other products like game magazines inspired by retro publications like EGM or GameFan, physical versions of demo discs, etc.

I think that would be the best way for one of the Big Three to appeal to that type of demographic with a cheap gaming box option that might otherwise be primarily focused on the larger mass market; make the low-end gaming/media box its own thing, and provide options for buyers of that to make that type of device more retro-like via optional CD/cart expansion modules (they shouldn't be that expensive; $20 - $30 at most considering what's in them) that can also be used with other products in the line (like the PS5 Digital in Sony's case), but make sure they ONLY run disc or cartridge copies of old games made for the system they're imitating, or new copies of games designed to function like a game for the old classic system at least in boot-up function, then be recognized as "modern" games after some kind of security check at boot off the disc or cartridge (users should also be able to rip/install games from these add-ons to internal storage on the console itself, and run it from there if they want, similar to what the Polymega allows). It would be an option in the product ecosystem family for one of the Big Three.

But, if it were a Sega or Konami doing it, they could probably streamline a lot of it into a more singular package. They could just build a cheap device with the CD drive and/or cartridge port built right into it. Make a simple, custom OS (but it'd need to be something compatible with a bigger OS, so maybe a custom lite version of Windows or Sony's OS if either of them were to do this as a partnership with them) and any games that could run natively on it run natively, others could be streamed via local stream from a PC in the home or a NAS & PC setup. Other stream options could include Nvidia's network, Xcloud etc. depending on what would be doable on the device. Games that want to appeal to the particular niche can do physical print runs with packaging reminiscent of classic Sega or NEC console game retail packaging, and maybe depending on what internals the systems could pack in them, have emulation for classic Sega or NEC systems as well. Things like storage they could keep small and let the user expand themselves. Most important thing though is games made to run on it, you'd also want those games available on other places, at the very least on PC through Steam, GOG, EGS etc.

In the Sega/Konami style approach they wouldn't produce it in volumes the way Sony or Nintendo could do theirs, and probably couldn't price it as cheaply (for example, a hypothetical system like this from Sony could go for lower profit margins or break-even because the base system (sans the PS1-style CD module) would be a device they could use to get more PS+ subscribers into the ecosystem and also get money through software sales, provide as a companion device for PS5 owners and that in turn might drive even more PS5 sales, at some point could also provide them in bundles with PS5s to appear as better value-add over what MS could do with Series X (they could not really bundle in Series S units with Series X due to overlap and costs), tho MS could make their own super-cheap Series-branded game streaming device with limited local native play. In fact that's what Keystone is going to be but, I'm focusing on such a device that can also provide an option for tapping into retro nostalgia gaming libraries & culture, that's why I've focused explicitly on Sony & Nintendo (and Sega & Konami to a smaller degree; can throw SNK in here, too)).

However, in the Sega/Konami/SNK scenario they could pack more "oomph" into emulation options (WRT system support) and also price accordingly with higher profit margins since they'd be producing less units anyway.



...seriously, though; nah, I don't think so.

Frustrating part with the Amico is aspects of it sound like they could've worked, but it's just been terribly mismanaged and I'm not even sure it's still coming out. At least port that new Earthworm Jim game to other consoles & PC. Salvage at least that much.
 

NinjaBoiX

Member
Ouya squandered over $10M... Due to bad management.

You could most likely prototype the "indie console" for less than $50k.

Spend another $72k on games.

Do a pre-order campaign that pays for console production (ala PlayDate).

Total cost to bankroll the project for a year?

$125k max.
So…..no marketing whatsoever?

$125k to launch a new console, lol

Some people really do live in their own little world sometimes don’t they? 😂
 

The Alien

Member
No.

What could they offer a consumer that make a consumer invest in them over MS, Sony, or Nintendo?

Desirable exclusive games......highly unlikely.
More power...not likely/not likely to make a diff.
Cheaper price...possible, but not likely.
Better service than GamePass/PS±......no.
 

poppabk

Member
It would have to be from one of the big players. No-one is gonna trust that the HiZtech Gametast is gonna be around long enough or out compete the Miraphason VGpower XL to make it the low cost platform of choice.
 

Jaybe

Gold Member
Probably but it would be niche at best. I guess it depends on scope. Phones kind of already fill that void though so it would be tough. I kind of wish someone just made a dock for phones to plug into a tv and controller

This is smart. Apple should package a dock with HDMI, a controller, and three months of Apple Arcade. Then add more games with controller input to the service.
 
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01011001

Gold Member
a low cost console that has strong Indy dev support at launch and has good controllers could do well.

edit: such a console already exists btw.



this thing and its handheld counterpart which plays the same games seem to be popular enough in their niche market to survive
and while this mainly plays collections of older, emulated games, it does have some new games on it as well.
 
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Sakura

Member
If a dude could create a quality, finished game entirely on his own in a single year, then why would he want to work for this retro console company for 12k a year?
It doesn't really matter if wages in China are trash, because he is a solo dev and can just release it on Steam.
The company wouldn't be helping him do anything he can't already do on his own.
 

AJUMP23

Gold Member
Not with gaming on phones. I think a low cost console would be for casual games, that consumer base is filled by phone gamers. Couch gamers what an elevated experience.
 

AndrewRyan

Member
Good Old Games could probably launch an inexpensive portable leveraging their huge library of games/licenses. Would also love something portable based on Apple's M1/M2 since they have such great power/performance. Either from Apple or someone else.
 

Cryio

Member
Hardware wise, absolutely. Someone just needs to take the Xbox Series S and throw the equivalent 16 GBs of RAM the Series X has. They can keep the number of CUs, but throw in PS5 clocks or hell, the regular RDNA2 desktop clocks: 2500-2700 MHz.

Problem would be marketing and attracting developer interest. Apple or Amazon could do it. Google couldn't be arsed. Maybe some other high tech company with money to burn, like IBM maybe, but companies of that scale are rare.
 
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wondermega

Member
I think this could absolutely be successful, there is certainly a niche of the market that is interested in this stuff. Sadly, every attempt in the past 10 or so years to attempt it have had enough major setbacks or overreach/poor planning/incompetence to prevent anything from really coming to fruition. Coleco Chameleon and even Intellivision Amico both held great promise and had a lot of smart people involved, but the above mentioned factors basically stood in their way, a shame. I feel like Evercsde is the closest thing we have to a modern successful version of this.
 

BreakOut

Member
I think it could be done but they would have to land every major title on it. It’s not gonna have a first party lineup right out the gate. But I don’t see any new console makers having any success without having every third-party developer on board immediately. Which I don’t really think a low-cost Console manufacturer could do.
 

Sosokrates

Member
It works for Nintendo , sega, sony etc because they have the brand and the nostalgic old content.

The other options are to innovate in someway,like the playdate or be really cheap like and easier like the pi.

So yes any company could do it, but making something new that people will buy is extremely hard.
Probably better off making a mobile game or console/pc game.
 

acm2000

Member
Game Pass Cloud already does this, works on most phones, laptops, chromebooks, android tv boxes etc etc
 

Mephisto40

Member
The sheer development costs of making a brand new console would tip it over how much the likes of an xbox series S costs to buy, basically rendering this new console pointless

When you have companies like Microsoft that can sell things at a loss straight out the bat each gen the idea of a new company getting into the market now is comical
 
An normal Open market is always open for new things.If the new things will establish themselves is up to the company of those things.Let’s say a new console is introduced well build same specs like Xboxx PS5 but way cheaper great controller too.Very good OS so some people will buy them instead even without own games.Only play multiplayer games.Same happened back in the day with the xbox brand they came in an already crowded place and brought an amazing product with very good future future fit.So they established themselves.For new good things there will always be room how much room depends on different factors.
 
I know that all these Chinese manufacturers are coming out with their own handhelds and consoles... Plus there has been a glut of micro consoles (by Sega, Nintendo etc) that have been released in recent years. And then there are low cost computers and consoles such as the Raspberry Pi 400 and Evercade.

Basically... There's all these "indie companies" that are already releasing "indie hardware" for less that $100. With that in mind, couldn't a new company enter the console space with their own low cost console?

The new contender could make a low cost console that uses low cost "off the shelf components" that are either ARM based (ie Raspberry Pi 4) or X86 based (ie Radxa Pi X). They could then pair the consoles with a custom Linux OS distro.

In terms of retail cost, the total hardware package should definitely be less than $100.

But what about the software?

Well... the new company could opt to make the console "indie centric" by developing games that are made by teams of 1 or 2 people. The new company could even hire developers from countries like China (where the salary for an average developer is around $12k).

The new company could hire 1 person to work on their own unique game for a year. And then hire a few more developers...

If the new company hires 6 people, then that company would essentially have 6 new games after 12 months. And the total software production cost would only be about $72k.

Granted... a few of those games could be average... But then again, the total cost per average game would only be about $12k. So the risk factor isn't even that great.

The new company could also have their own game store portal - like a variation of Itch.io - and this would certainly help in making it more appealing to indie game creators (which would help with software selection in the long-run).

So what do you think, Gaf... With the risk factor being quite low, do you think the market exists for a new company to enter with a low cost console?
Terrible idea in my opinion.
 

IDKFA

Gold Member
What's the point? We're heading into a streaming/subscription only future where you'll be able to play the best games with anything with a screen and internet connection.

Consoles will be a thing of the past soon.
 
I was thinking that perhaps we could move away from this entire "Brand 1" and "Brand 2" system. The way I see it is one universal console that can run any game you want, that way you cut the amount that you would have to spend in order to develop multiple versions of the game for each console, you eliminate the so-called "console war", and you give a piece of mind to people that don't have to worry about not buying the correct piece of plastic, as Phil once said.
 

Lasha

Member
Mobile fills that niche. Mobile games already look and play fantastically. A phone like the Poco x3 pro already offers a great gaming experience in the sub 200$ bracket.
 
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