hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Next-Gen: A 'bullshot' backlash?

6:30 PM on 07.16.2012 // Jinx 01

[For his Next-Gen Bloggers Wanted essay response, Jinx 01 tackled the industry trend of gussying-up screenshots. Want to see your own words appear on the front page? Go write something! --Mr Andy Dixon]

How do you sell gamers on next-gen graphics after years of faked screenshots?

"Bullshot" is a common industry term for promotional screenshots that have been doctored to make a game look better than it really is. They tend to have flawless anti-aliasing, higher quality textures, and higher resolutions. They may be generated via a developer console, altered in Photoshop, or taken on a high-end PC. The practice has been mocked by Penny Arcade, and there is a good article on the evolution of bullshots over at Eurogamer.

The practice of deception has expanded, too. Pre-rendered trailers have become popular, for example. No one forgets the amazing Dead Island trailer - or how frustrated we all felt when the actual game was nothing like it. The latest move at trade shows is to demo games on hidden PCs hooked to 360 controllers, something Rock Paper Shotgun referred to as E3's Dirty Little Secret. The media is often complicit, especially when it comes to platform-specific magazines. PlayStation Official Magazine UK repeatedly labeled obvious bullshots of Crysis 3 as "PS3 screens."

Ultimately these practices may come back to haunt console makers and developers, though.


This Infamous 2 bullshot is a ridiculous 2160p resolution. (Click for full-size image!)

Next-Gen - The Hard Sell

What's the problem with bullshots? Selling next-gen consoles. Convincing consumers to buy new hardware means convincing them it will provide a better experience. That means creating games that reach or surpass the "Just Noticeable Difference" that will motivate them to purchase.

Therein lies the problem. Bullshots and other deceptive practices have blurred our perceptions so badly that actual next-gen screenshots and trailers may look no different than current games to consumers. How do you convince a gamer you've been deceiving for years that this time your screenshots and footage aren't fake? This may be one reason Nintendo went with a unique controller instead of a powerful GPU. It is easy for a consumer to see the Wii U controller and know that it's different. Yet Star Wars 1313 and Watch Dogs, two of the most impressive games of E3 2012, have been subjected to endless debate as to whether or not they are "next-gen" based on their graphics. Both were shown running on high-end PCs, of course, further confusing the issue.


The Wii U controller is clearly different from its predecessors.

The first wave of next-gen console games will probably be comparable to current PC games, running at native 1080p with improved anti-aliasing, textures, and framerates. It is difficult to demonstrate that difference in advertising, though, even without bullshots further confusing things. A 1080p screenshot is too big for many consumers' monitors to fully display. Nor do screenshots do justice to games that have advanced animation, lighting, and particle effects. And even if a consumer sees a screenshot under optimal circumstances, they may compare it to current-gen bullshots and assume it's fake. After all, current bullshots are roughly PC-quality, the same quality next-gen consoles will be shooting for initially.


A bullshot of Halo: Reach vs an actual shot of Tribes: Ascend. If the latter comes out for the new Xbox, what basis for comparison will consumers have? (Click for full-size image!)

How to Deal?

How can MS/Sony get past these issues and show consumers the visual difference? The issue is similar to the DVD vs Bluray comparison, so high-quality in-store demo kiosks may be the way to go. Let gamers play the actual games in-store on a nice 1080p television so they can experience the difference in visuals and performance first-hand.

It's also likely Sony and Microsoft will take a cue from Nintendo and side-step the graphics issue somewhat. The next Xbox, for example, may have an improved version of Kinect integrated. That gives the system a "difference" that is easy for consumers to understand. Consoles are now media hubs, too, and will be selling themselves on non-gaming applications as well.

Thanks to years of bullshots, though, it's going to be difficult for Microsoft and Sony to get through to jaded core gamers. The best hope for hardware manufacturers may be word of mouth. Because you can bet that when someone hooks their PlayStation 4 to their 50" HDTV they will want to tell people about it.

In parting, here's one last comparison shot to bring it all home:


A bullshot of Gears of War 3 compared to a screenshot from the next-gen Samaritan Tech Demo. The bullshot is an equalizer; it matches the next-gen demo's detail level, while at the same time Samaritan's incredible visual effects are wasted on a still screenshot. (Click for full-size image!)



Jinx 01,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.


Login to vote this up!




Follow
Jinx 01

More Community blogs  


0 fappers have come:

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
I took some shots of my DIzznee Infineetee Quorra figure. Been waiting for this since the brand first stumblefucked its way onto the scene. (pics in comments of post to save feed space)
Sophie Pierre avatarSophie Pierre
Ninja Trail New Game App of 2015
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Now Listening to Old Music 7 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
[youtube]https://youtu.be/9aHQnDTd1y4[/youtube]
Shinta avatarShinta
[youtube]https://youtu.be/ix6BJTSjAB4[/youtube] There is a ton of awesome music in this game.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Laracraft: World of Tomb Raiders
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
So there's a game called School of Ragnorok coming out, and in it there's my new boyfriend. He's an 8 foot tall demon thing with awesome hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ibgnjCHv24
Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3KgJfBt0uE
Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
Hay check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QemwbuspOJg
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]http://cdn.destructoid.com//ul/308609-RR1.jpg[/img] Dayum. Billy Mays is back and lookin' good.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Pivot smash my way to victory
Osc44 avatarOsc44
You ever dream of flying through the clouds, but couldn't so you just watch TV? Me neither.
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
Oh GOOD, The Flock is awful. I was hoping to break my high review score streak. (this is a joke)
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
So many PAX things to write. So many.
Shinta avatarShinta
Bwahahahaha .... my helicopter now arrives in the middle of a fight blaring "Take on Me" on the loudspeakers. Metal Gear 5, 10/10. [youtube]https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914[/youtube]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh neat, Hollow Knight got through the Colosseum of Fools stretch goal while no one was looking. Shame they couldn't get to three characters but the game still looks awesome.
techsupport avatartechsupport
S Rank is so satisfying. Too bad I rarely earn it!
Bardley avatarBardley
My MGSV: The Phantom Pain playthrough has quickly devolved into a journey to fill out Big Boss' 80's synth pop collection. And I couldn't be happier.
Dinosir avatarDinosir
You know what I love? Game tgat force you to connect to their servers even though you only want to play single player. Then the servers are down an the game tries for like 5 minutes, not even giving you a way to cancel the process, you just have to wait
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In today's Spelunky daily challenge, I was nibbled by a bat that pushed me into a Tiki trap that landed me dead on Kali's alter. Kali was pleased with the bat's sacrifice.
Shinta avatarShinta
It's pretty good guys ... [youtube]https://youtu.be/_98VZT9s7M0[/youtube]
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -