Removing Console Features
Author :        Date : 20-Aug-11

Its been some time since the Dark Watcher ventured out from the cave, stepped upon the coveted soap box, and delivered some good ole ranting.

Today’s topic of rant? The removal of features from a console…

The announcement for a redesigned Nintendo Wii for 2011 drew our attention. A lower price point would definitely get the device in more hands, and that’s a good thing. However, we continued reading about how the new Wii design will remove GameCube backwards compatibility. Argh! Here we go again…

It seems not to long ago when ole DW got a Nintendo Wii over the Christmas holiday. We recall being excited when we tested the GameCube backwards compatibility. We booted up “Viewtiful Joe”, and on the initial screen it prompted whether or not to enable Progressive Scan mode. Oh that’s right! We had forgotten that the GameCube could output 480p resolution! Too bad we could not enjoy it back in the day . Apparently, Nintendo chose to discontinue the Component video cable because of a supposed lack of interest (Bull $^%&). Oh that’s right! Nintendo also removed the Digital A/V port required to use 480p in the redesigned GameCube DOL-101 model in 2004. Argh…

It got us thinking about how many features were stripped off consoles over the years. We understand that in the case of Wii the backwards compatibility is just a featured perk, but it was a perk that added to our desire to own it. Just like GameCube, why would you boast the ability to output 480p resolution in system specs, and then restrict the ability to use it?

Hey you in the back! Mr. “Mouthpiece for the Corporate Man”…shut your sandwich stuffer about cost savings rolled onto the consumer. Over the course of the consoles lifetime the console manufacturers improve on their design process to make it cheaper for them to produce units. The cost of parts also decline over time. Realistically, console manufacturers recoup revenue from software more than the hardware. Is it really necessary to remove features? It got us thinking of what features have been removed to consoles over time.

Sony had done this to us as well. We had to scramble in order to find a Playstation 3 model that retained PS2 backwards compatibility. Sony removed the Emotion Engine and “Graphics Synthesizer” chips that allowed the compatibility in initial models. Cost savings? Really? They had refined production of a combined “EE+GS” chip that they used in the Playstation 2 Slimline. Was it really that hard to put those in? Did Sony not continue selling Playstation 2 units well after the release of Playstation 3? Over time the PS3 has also lost USB ports, the ability to load other operating systems (Linux), Flash Card readers, Super Audio CD support, etc. Granted they did offer larger hard drives and made the beasts slimmer.

 

We guess that we experienced it a lot over the span of many console generations. Along with our complaints about the GameCube during the 6th Generation, we suppose we would miss The Playstation 2 IEEE 1394 interface for console link multiplayer (and the HDD expansion for Linux). From the 5th Generation we miss the original Playstation’s Parallel I/O port (used for the Game Enhancer) and the Serial I/O port (For use with the PlayStation Link Cable SCPH-1040). From the 4th Generation we will miss the SuperNES ability to output Component and S-Video (removed in SNES 2). We will miss the stealth gaming we had done with that stereo headphone jack from Sega Genesis Model 1 (Removed in later models). From the 3rd Generation, we will miss the NES console’s direct composite video output (removed in favor of the RF Modulator plug). Lastly, from the 2nd Generation , we will miss that old school “wood grain” Atari 2600 (replaced by the “Darth Vader” all black models). We won’t miss anything from the 1st Generation though.

So far the new redesign of Wii is effecting Europe, but it is only a matter of time. Until then…DW fading into black…


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