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Keatah

Computers and the videogame crash of the 80's.

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19 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

Seriously questioned.  But, wow.

 

https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/

 

When US gamers were asked which platform they preferred for gaming, it was found that 61% used their Smartphone, 52% used a dedicated console, and 49% took part in PC gaming

I know, right?  Hard to believe, but considering how many games are on mobile platforms and that people carry them around all the time, not all-together too shocking.  Still, a little eye opening for sure.

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Yeah, no shocker on the mobile gaming thing. It's more than good enough for the average/casual person (and, to be fair, for others, there are plenty of core gaming experiences), especially since it's a device that's with many of us nearly 100% of the time.

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1 hour ago, Hwlngmad said:

I know, right?  Hard to believe, but considering how many games are on mobile platforms and that people carry them around all the time, not all-together too shocking.  Still, a little eye opening for sure.

I think it's because mobile devices got people who normally never played videogames to play videogames.    My parents never showed much interest in videogames when I was a kid, but when they got tablets about a decade or so back, they started playing bejeweled clones.   Also all those Candy Crush players..   mobile opened up an entirely new market segment for gaming.

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17 minutes ago, zzip said:

I think it's because mobile devices got people who normally never played videogames to play videogames.    My parents never showed much interest in videogames when I was a kid, but when they got tablets about a decade or so back, they started playing bejeweled clones.   Also all those Candy Crush players..   mobile opened up an entirely new market segment for gaming.

Yep.  The rise of the casual gamer.

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I want to see genres across demographics in these percentages.  I bet they exist so I will dig a little more later.  I would like to know if 80% of the 61% of gamers are playing Candy Crush-style puzzle or luck games, or if there is some even division between these and strategy, FPS, etc.

 

I mean, I suppose you could count my mom.  She went from playing solitaire on her computer to playing Skipbo on her tablet.

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4 minutes ago, Hwlngmad said:

Yep.  The rise of the casual gamer.

The problem I see with that is developers tend to make stupid decisions based on simple numbers.  80% of the 61% of gamers playing on mobile are casual, will they try to push non-casual gamers onto mobile when only a relative fraction want to be there?  (Diablo.)  But then, it seems mobile devices are on-par with hand-helds for power, size, and fidelity, so why not?

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Just now, OLD CS1 said:

I want to see genres across demographics in these percentages.  I bet they exist so I will dig a little more later.  I would like to know if 80% of the 61% of gamers are playing Candy Crush-style puzzle or luck games, or if there is some even division between these and strategy, FPS, etc.

 

I mean, I suppose you could count my mom.  She went from playing solitaire on her computer to playing Skipbo on her tablet.

Sounds like a plan to me.  I, myself, am interested in any breakdowns.  Also, yes, I do believe your mom would count as a tablet is concerned a 'mobile device' if I am not mistaken.

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15 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

The problem I see with that is developers tend to make stupid decisions based on simple numbers.  80% of the 61% of gamers playing on mobile are casual, will they try to push non-casual gamers onto mobile when only a relative fraction want to be there?  (Diablo.)  But then, it seems mobile devices are on-par with hand-helds for power, size, and fidelity, so why not?

That's the publisher's fault for not doing proper market research.  Diablo would make a good case study for business textbooks.

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On 9/19/2020 at 10:04 PM, Bill Loguidice said:

I think we can both agree, however, that a lazy Spectrum port to the C-64 is hardly the best indicator of the C-64's relative audio-visual capabilities versus the CPC464, right? We can do the same in the reverse:

C-64 Life Force/Salamander:

Life Force Commodore 64 Guardian of stage one

CPC464 Life Force/Salamander:

Life Force Amstrad CPC Level one boss

We can certainly agree to disagree, but the point I was trying to make was that there really wasn't much room for in-between systems between the 8-bits and 16-/32-bits. The Amstrad CPC has some serious limitations and would have never sold in the US had it been introduced there. Something like the Enterprise 64/128 is probably a better example of a genuine step up, with fewer limitations in color and resolution and actual stereo sound, but that landed with a thud because it arrived later than it should have (among other reasons). There really was a small window, roughly up to mid-1984 (around when the CPC464 was released, I might add, not 1985+) for something to gain a foothold, particularly in the prime US market. Again, after the C-64's introduction and first big price drop, time was running out at a furious rate on anything not truly next gen. And as I pointed out earlier with the example selling prices, I just don't see the math working out.

If you had to spend $200 more than the well-established low end 8-bit computer or $200 less than the considerably more powerful 16-bit computer, it would be hard to make the argument for the mid-range solution. That was my main point.

The Amstrad CPC seemed to fare better in France than here in the UK, where it was treated to far too many ZX Spectrum Ports and the hardware was never used to the full potential. 

 

 

CPC: Barbarian, Gryzor, Starglider, Dan Dare, Chase HQ and a few others showed what it was capable of, If coded for wisely, but so few people seemed to use the hardware wisely. 

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13 minutes ago, Lost Dragon said:

The Amstrad CPC seemed to fare better in France than here in the UK, where it was treated to far too many ZX Spectrum Ports and the hardware was never used to the full potential. 

 

 

CPC: Barbarian, Gryzor, Starglider, Dan Dare, Chase HQ and a few others showed what it was capable of, If coded for wisely, but so few people seemed to use the hardware wisely. 

The Amstrad CPC is a heck of an underrated machine imo.  Definitely it is quite capable.  One only has to look at the recent port of Pinball Dreams to realize that.

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I'm no mobile gamer myself, seems like every one I try you either have to watch an ad every 30 seconds or spend or spend 10-20 bucks a day to keep competitive.

BUT

I can definitely understand WHY they are popular.

 

As much as "pay to win" seems "stupid" today... it's just like the arcade days.

You were never gonna beat "those other kids" at SFII, MK, or NBA Jam or whatever if they went there every day with 10 bucks in quarters to get as good as they did.

You had to keep pouring in money to stay competitive, just like with mobile gaming today.

 

The few games I DO play, are basically like old school Atari games, simple to figure out, hard to master.

Hence why I still play Atari today, and the few phone games that I do play.

I don't have to spend 3-4 hours going thru tutorials and cutscenes just to hit the meat of the game, only to be bombarded with MORE cutscenes and text and blah blah every 20 minutes.

Something that scares away a gamer like me, and especially casual gamers.

 

I imagine there were quite a few "Atari Gamers" back in the day that shied away from gaming when things like like SMB3 and Mega Man and such became the standard style of gaming, cause they thought (like I do of modern games today) I don't have that much time (or even WANT) to sink that much time into a game.

 

I just wanna have a 15-30 minute distraction from what's currently going on in my life.

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The big difference between dropping quarters and tapping an in-game purchase is your pockets.  If you did not have deep pockets, you had to walk away.  Feeling how many quarters were left in your pocket also helps you with physical budgeting of your money.  With today's digital economy, you have no feedback, tactile or otherwise, of your currently available funds; you just keep tapping and tapping and wait for the over-drafts to occur or you run up your credit card bill.

 

This has been a large issue on which I need to maintain a grasp, and I do slip from time-to-time, and the statistics on money management prowess are not good for any of our generations right now.

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5 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

The problem I see with that is developers tend to make stupid decisions based on simple numbers.  80% of the 61% of gamers playing on mobile are casual, will they try to push non-casual gamers onto mobile when only a relative fraction want to be there?  (Diablo.)  But then, it seems mobile devices are on-par with hand-helds for power, size, and fidelity, so why not?

I don't like today's pushy-pushy developers. I even know some of them from across the neighborhood and they are too single-minded for my social circle. It's like their products' philosophies invaded their personality.

 

Back in the day we were exploring a new art form, not trying to exploit it. Not at least till the mid/late eighties. And even then the exploitation was spotty.

 

1 hour ago, Torr said:

I'm no mobile gamer myself, seems like every one I try you either have to watch an ad every 30 seconds or spend or spend 10-20 bucks a day to keep competitive. BUT. I can definitely understand WHY they are popular.

It's one of several reasons why I don't chase after the mobile experience.

 

Quote

As much as "pay to win" seems "stupid" today... it's just like the arcade days.

You were never gonna beat "those other kids" at SFII, MK, or NBA Jam or whatever if they went there every day with 10 bucks in quarters to get as good as they did.

You had to keep pouring in money to stay competitive, just like with mobile gaming today.

Arcade games were too hard. The difficulty ramped up too fast to derive any lasting enjoyment. Instead it was frustration. But there were a few games like Blasteroids, RoadBlasters, Super Space Invaders '91, and Assault, that had a continue option. And only because of that I was able to complete them. That's as far as I went and they were sunset games before I quit the scene entirely.

 

I did excel at Gyruss and MissileCommand, with savant-like performance. Though those were early games and by 1984 had all but disappeared.

 

Quote

The few games I DO play, are basically like old school Atari games, simple to figure out, hard to master.

Hence why I still play Atari today, and the few phone games that I do play.

I don't have to spend 3-4 hours going thru tutorials and cutscenes just to hit the meat of the game, only to be bombarded with MORE cutscenes and text and blah blah every 20 minutes.

Something that scares away a gamer like me, and especially casual gamers.

Indeed.

 

Quote

I imagine there were quite a few "Atari Gamers" back in the day that shied away from gaming when things like like SMB3 and Mega Man and such became the standard style of gaming, cause they thought (like I do of modern games today) I don't have that much time (or even WANT) to sink that much time into a game.

 

I just wanna have a 15-30 minute distraction from what's currently going on in my life.

I found such games overly distracting in and of themselves. Then again I always preferred the refined "upscale" simulation category of gaming. Especially on home systems where savestates are the order of the day. That and of course the simpler and shorter Atari VCS style of games. Something like Demon Attack, Slot Racers, Basic Math, Dodge'em, or Air-Sea Battle. Those always get me riled up but good!

Edited by Keatah
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I'll add that if you think about gaming world-wide and not just in the USA or "global north" than an even larger percentage of gamers are playing on mobile because it is likely the only platform they have . . . or can afford . . . or have ever experienced.  

 

The $$$ signs in the eyes are huge when you think about the market.

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1 hour ago, OLD CS1 said:

The big difference between dropping quarters and tapping an in-game purchase is your pockets.  If you did not have deep pockets, you had to walk away.  Feeling how many quarters were left in your pocket also helps you with physical budgeting of your money.  With today's digital economy, you have no feedback, tactile or otherwise, of your currently available funds; you just keep tapping and tapping and wait for the over-drafts to occur or you run up your credit card bill.

 

This has been a large issue on which I need to maintain a grasp, and I do slip from time-to-time, and the statistics on money management prowess are not good for any of our generations right now.

This is 101% exactly and precisely what credit card companies, fast-food diners, developers of mobile twitch games, and casinos want you to do. Or not do. Not manage your money. There are many terms in the industries such as "whales" or frequent fliers, or heavy users. All used in slightly derogatory manner. Definitely used in closed-door board meetings but never to the public consumer.

 

Once you're disconnected from managing your money, it's all up for grabs. And companies will spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars compiling statistics to help them scrutinize your every touch. It's like with mobile twitch gaming, screen touches are measured with fractions of a second precision. And each one is recorded and graphed 10 different ways.

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On 9/19/2020 at 6:50 AM, wierd_w said:

For me, my very first computer experience was dad's PCjr, which he had purchased to do police work with. We had a single game; King's Quest.

One of my first recollections of seeing a PC up close in action would most likely have been at this one girl's house in the early 80's. She wanted to be my girlfriend and all that. But she was too wild and fat for my tastes. And her dad was even fatter.

 

He had this monochrome green screen PC or PC-XT set up on this dais in the corner of the living room. It was only a few steps high, but it was big and wide (like him) and it seemingly overlooked the whole house which he commanded with a Dante-esque booming voice. The slob would sit there all day long, presiding over the household like a scornful judge. Barking whenever something wasn't to his satisfaction. His only rival could be Jabba.

 

All he seemed to do was look at his HAM radios and run zip file operations and backups. All for ever! Never observed any other activity. And you couldn't make a peep if you went over there. The fear of repercussions was overwhelming and stifling and I just had to get outta there. But that 10MB HDD was possessed with god-like powers and a vast capacity I could only dream about - till I got a 10MB Sider for my Apple II from First-Class Peripherals.

 

On 9/19/2020 at 6:50 AM, wierd_w said:

I remember wanting a computer of my own so badly that I could taste it, but they were way too prohibitively expensive, and mom did not want to sink the cost.

Same here. I feverishly read through all the magazines and all the advertising brochures of the time. Furiously circling the tiny numbers on the Reader Information Cards. I might as well have been playing the lottery. 386 machines had 5-digit price tags and the 486 was still being taped out at Intel. In 1992 I got a Gateway 2000 brochure. A nice gloss folder with gloss printed individual sheets in pockets, far beyond today's printing capabilities. And it had real information in it like specifications and feature lists and more! Not that anyone in any corporation would dream of such an elaborate production, let alone know how to do it. I always put gloves on to avoid staining it. And I read through that bad boy every day for weeks and months on end till I could afford it. By that time, still before 1994, the 486 machines were going for $2,300 on average. They were now coming with whopping airport-sized 200MB hard disks!! I still have the brochure/folder. And it's amazing how much personal provenance it lends to me.

 

On 9/19/2020 at 6:50 AM, wierd_w said:

he felt it was time for me to get a summer job working on computers (to keep me out of trouble.)

 

This propelled me down the road to working in the slave-pit, but it's an experience I would gladly do all over again.  It was a magical time to be working on computers; There were all kinds, and I got to have a very broad palette of experiences doing service and repair. (But, I did also have to contend with the Packard Bells... *cringe*.. You have not known pain and suffering until you have had to work on a 486 class Packard Bell Legend that has a Cyrix CPU installed in it.) 

I also had a summer job or two doing computers. I got going at a mom'n'pop operation. Started out sorting the serial and parallel cables and other odd'n'ends in those factory production boxes that would hang on a rack or peg-board.

 

 

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On 9/19/2020 at 6:50 AM, wierd_w said:

It wasnt until the early to mid 90s that she finally relented, and got us an AST Advantage 486sx 33 system.  It did not come with a sound blaster, and came with a very customized version of windows 3.1.  It had a cirrus logic based video chipset integrated on the motherboard, and had a whopping 4mb of RAM.

Even though PCs were still in their infancy with gaming graphics (we had yet to see 3D on anything more than the ISA bus) they were already absolutely fabulous as it is. Eclipsing what was done on the Amiga and anything else that came before. First time I played Wacky Wheels, Raptor, Doom, and other games of the era it seemed it was always on a Cirrus Logic chipset. By happenstance chance of course - we couldn't be picky about graphics chips. But we could be thrilled to use them.

 

Only years later, like in the mid-2010's did I became appreciatively infatuated with the CL-GD54xx series and gather all the programming and data books, drivers and utilities. And incidentally again, the graphics card I picked for when I got my first PC had a CL-GD-5422. A rather middle of the road performer. But a solid one. I didn't know it was a CL chip at the time of choosing - I was just going on what I could afford and the bit-plane depth at 800x600 and 1024x768. I wanted lots and lots of colors. I had also gotten some promotional flyers and brochures from CL - way back when they would call their specialty parts "feature chips". Way back when companies were proud to make colorful, tasteful, sophisticated pamphlets worth reading.

 

By the time 3D Began entering the PC world. CL was exiting their graphics biz. With the last product being the Laguna. On par with the S3's Virge.

 

Thankfully I didn't jump in too fast. And I didn't know what to pick. 3DFx Voodoo? Rendition Verite? 3DLabs Permedia? Intel 740 Starfighter? Savage3D? Virge? Number Nine? ATi? Matrox Millennium? PowerVR? And unfortunately CL was nowhere to be found.

 

I didn't like the pass-through of the Voodoo boards. And about the same time Nvidia hit the scene with the Riva-128. Got one. Loved it. Still have it. 2D + 3D in one chipset was the only thing I would spend money on. No pass-through crap.

 

Again, thankfully, my soundcard purchase excursions were more mundane and easy. CreativeLabs SoundBlaster all the way.

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The CL chipsets could really rock that 2D performance, for sure.

 

The 486 was not really powerful enough to do true 3D.  Hell, a 486 DX could *BARELY* play an MP3 file. (there was contention at work one day about if a 486 could play MP3s or not-- The boss was of the opinion that you needed at least a pentium 90 to do it, but I dug up a 486 DX 2/50, and fired up winamp on it.  Sure, it COULD NOT multitask while doing it-- but it COULD in fact play MP3s without dropping out-- just barely.)  For the majority of games that were available at the time though (with the exception of things like Quake, or Unreal, which were real 3D) it was plenty good enough.

 

By the time I was building my own systems though, I was using Trident cards.  The better CL chipsets were faster, but it was hard getting an affordable discrete graphics card with CL chipset in appropriately large memory sizes. (Needed at least 1mb vram to do anything modern, for the time-- Most CL offers that were in the same price range as the tridents were 512kb, and that was not acceptable.  Of course, the Trident offer pool was saturated in 512kb vram offers too-- you had to dig to get one of the 1 or 2mb cards.

 

Eventually I migrated to an Nvidia Riva TNT. (but first got a voodoo2, to go with my aging Trident card.  STILL have that 8mb voodoo 2!!) It was amazing to feel that silky framerate on Unreal.

 

For a long time, when people would ask about running a second monitor, I would always suggest an S3 Virge PCI.  They just played nice with every other card out there, and had solid 2D performance. (and very few people needed 3D on both heads.)  I installed so many of those things back in the day for that purpose.  (Customers would see me through the window in the techroom, driving two displays-- with one display showing file copy operations, and the other showing various other things going-- and they were all enraptured by the idea of having two heads like that.  Looking back on it, I think the shyster boss I worked for left the blinds open for that very reason...  At the time, I thought it was because he was convinced I was slacking off back there, but in retrospect-- I installed a SHITLOAD of S3 Virge cards to drive secondary displays.)

 

I also have fond memories of setting up ethernet networks for local businesses on service calls.  I remember one deployment that needed a massive kluge to get going--  A local aerospace company had two engineering labs that were physically too far apart for un-shielded ethernet.  I hunted, and dug up a local switch that could do both 10base ethernet, and 10base-2 coax ethernet.  Used a coax drop to link the two labs, and advised to keep traffic on the link to a minimum.  (I remember suggesting that fiber would be a better choice, but the cost was exorbitant back then. For the budget they quoted, 10base-2 was the only viable offering with the distance involved.  It was not "just a little over", it was more "2x the max cable distance of 10base-T ethernet", which is why it needed the shielded coax drop to even remotely work.)  I often wonder when they replaced that, and what they replaced it with.

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I think my father's Pentium 133, sadly lost, had a S3 Virge. Is that possible?

 

3D games like Quake, Tomb Raider, Screamer 2 or Jedi Knight ran pretty well, but you needed to use the low res (320x200) to make it happen. I guess the CPU did all the work?

 

While this paragraph would fit better in another thread ("what computer would you recommend..."), that machine was amazing: it could emulate hundreds of ZX Spectrum games that came in a CD before the Internet was a thing. It could ran natively dozens of classic MS-DOS games. And it could ran those new 3D games. 8 bit, 16 bit and 32 bit games running on the same machine in the pre 2000 era was a big win for any gamer. The lack of Internet and the number of masterpieces and hidden gems among those games, combined with the first boot disks I ever created, made the Pentium 133 a very special machine in my life.

 

I wish I could buy the same one I had, but sadly that's impossible and I don't even have a picture of it.

Edited by IntelliMission

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11 hours ago, Keatah said:

Thankfully I didn't jump in too fast. And I didn't know what to pick. 3DFx Voodoo? Rendition Verite? 3DLabs Permedia? Intel 740 Starfighter? Savage3D? Virge? Number Nine? ATi? Matrox Millennium? PowerVR? And unfortunately CL was nowhere to be found.

I had a Matrox, but I was in no rush to buy a "good" 3D card as I wasn't impressed by the quality of 3D graphics in those days.   We had finally had beautiful 2D & isometric games without the color restrictions that plagued earlier computers.   But suddenly everything had to be 3D, even games that didn't benefit from it.

 

10 hours ago, wierd_w said:

The 486 was not really powerful enough to do true 3D.  Hell, a 486 DX could *BARELY* play an MP3 file. (there was contention at work one day about if a 486 could play MP3s or not-- The boss was of the opinion that you needed at least a pentium 90 to do it, but I dug up a 486 DX 2/50

I have a 486 here with a DOS MP3 player.   No-frills, but it works.   In my 486 days i was more interested in playing .mod files and .mid file through my Gravis card.  I know some people were getting into mp3s, but I didn't see the point as they required so much storage, and our hard drives were still not that large, so it wasn't yet practical.

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18 hours ago, Lost Dragon said:

The Amstrad CPC seemed to fare better in France than here in the UK, where it was treated to far too many ZX Spectrum Ports and the hardware was never used to the full potential. 

 

 

CPC: Barbarian, Gryzor, Starglider, Dan Dare, Chase HQ and a few others showed what it was capable of, If coded for wisely, but so few people seemed to use the hardware wisely. 

 

I'm not quite sure how you can say that the CPC was "never used to ithe full potential" in the UK, and then list five games that "showed what it was capable of" that were all developed in the UK! ;)

 

The Amstrad was a lovely machine to program for ... the problem with getting too many Spectrum ports (especially early on, 1984-1986) was because the game publishers often contracted small teams, or even single programmers, to develop both Spectrum and Amstrad versions of a game, and gave them neither the budget nor the development time to take advantage of the Amstrad's capabilities.

 

That was less of a problem later on (1987+) when the Amstrad market was large enough for the big publishers to justify enough time/budget to create Amstrad-specific versions of games.

 

The CPC's biggest problems from a game development standpoint were the lack of pixel, or at-least byte, horizontal scrolling, and the overall lack of memory (because games were targeted at the base 64KB machine, since that was approx 2/3 or the overall sales).

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I built a "muzak" system for the store where I worked.  I used an old Compaq Pentium 100 and a Syquest Sparq drive.  It played, but choked hard on 128kbps MP3s.  That machine was pretty terrible, the only thing it was ever good for was Internet Connection Sharing over 56k dial-up.

 

During the time that my friends were getting into MP3s, Pentiums were brand new (still in the P5 era, P54 just around the corner,) and most of them were running high-end 486s (DX2s and DX4s.)  I would use their machines to rip CDs to WAV, then convert them to 22kHz stereo Fibonacci-delta compressed IFF to play on my Amiga.

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16 hours ago, wongojack said:

I'll add that if you think about gaming world-wide and not just in the USA or "global north" than an even larger percentage of gamers are playing on mobile because it is likely the only platform they have . . . or can afford . . . or have ever experienced.  

 

The $$$ signs in the eyes are huge when you think about the market.

And then when one multiplies potential profit against risk*competing products?  It's dismal, unless one has a new niche, or social media type viral boost help, or a legit home run.

 

I know some pro game dev guys who have put serious effort into mobile several times.  There is an initial flurry of downloads, and some percentage of those buy, or pay to play.  Most don't, or will on occasion.  After that initial, "hey it's new, try it" bump, everything after that is a long grind with diminishing returns.  

 

Because of this, it makes a lot more sense to develop multiple more shallow apps, get very broad appeal, make them sexy and addictive, tie in to some pop culture where possible, and build an income off the long tail of casual players willing to view an AD, or pay to play.  Wash, rinse, repeat for every small revenue boost, and wash again when someone else clones your stuff, and again as it all kind of fades...

 

The product of that today is a free sea of shitty games with some real gems mixed in there.  Many people are looking to play what their friends play too, because sorting through it, or not having a shared experience isn't worth it.  This all favors established players and those who have social media / culture tie-ins.  

 

And here in the USA a surprising number of people are mobile only, maybe console too, and if they have a console, it's an older one, types.  Numbers on that are growing as basically flat wages up against diminishing higher wage jobs get backfilled with minimal wage type jobs.  Zoomers are particularly impacted right now and things like Covid aren't helping.  (Let's not go political.  Those are just socio economic realities in play right now that do affect gaming.)

 

Mobile is cheap ass when one looks at overall spends for a month, and the phone is multi-purpose.  An increasing number of people in my circle get whatever high data, unlimited plan they can find, and use their mobile for basically everything.  Attach it to the TV for viewing, game on it where ever, do Internet, pay bills, stay in touch on social media, the whole nine.  

 

Mobile is a damn tough place to make a living right now, unless one has some cred, or other tie in as I mentioned above.  

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13 hours ago, wierd_w said:

but I dug up a 486 DX 2/50, and fired up winamp on it.  Sure, it COULD NOT multitask while doing it-- but it COULD in fact play MP3s without dropping out-- just barely.)

The lowest clock I ever saw play respectable MP3 files (128, 192, 256kbps) was an SGI Indigo running at 30Mhz.  :D  8 stage pipeline processor.  Bad ass for the time, and $$$$ out the wazoo too.

 

For what it's worth, compiling "amp"https://www.rarewares.org/rrw/amp.php on low end machines to play MP3.

 

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8 hours ago, IntelliMission said:

I think my father's Pentium 133, sadly lost, had a S3 Virge. Is that possible?

Absolutely. Both were released in 1995. And both used the PCI bus.

 

8 hours ago, IntelliMission said:

3D games like Quake, Tomb Raider, Screamer 2 or Jedi Knight ran pretty well, but you needed to use the low res (320x200) to make it happen. I guess the CPU did all the work?

With some of the faster Pentiums or even early Pentium II processors, the Virge was jokingly referred to as a decelerator. The main CPU would render faster in software!

 

The problem here with some of these early 3D chips was poor D3D performance and/or lack of OpenGL support. Not every 3D mfg had the luxury of having games compiled specifically for their chipset. PowerVr had support and so did Rendition and definitely 3DFx. Having custom drivers for each chip for each game was an untenable and illogical situation - especially with D3D and OpenGL becoming a standard in home systems.

 

But there were other problems inherent in these early chips. The chips that had support for both standards AND the ability to do 3D in a 2D desktop window would become winners. This award would arguably go to Nvidia's Riva-128. The quality of 3D was a little rough, but its feature set was right and all it needed was refinement. Soon came TNT and TNT2. Quality and performance were both up. And nVidia was on the map!

 

It has been said that the Riva-128 had the fastest 2D performance of anything to date. FWIW.

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