(Warning: Wall of Text ahead. Read at your own risk )
The Custom Console is a really nifty addition to the game. It requires a very significant investment but can provide great returns. There is just one problem: It isn’t really that customizable.
The problem is, that its bonuses to various game genres mirror those to the mBox and Playsystem lines. Action games, RPGs and casual games.
What I would like to see is: Customizable genre and audience bonuses.
When building your consoles, you can pay extra money to put specific hardware boosts to certain game functions. This will, in turn, give a bonus to specific genres of games.
The console starts out with a minor penalty to all genres. This penalty is similar to the penalty on non-favored genres of other consoles. (Like Strategy games on a Playsystem 4).
Each Genre has two, potentially three, options that can boost it.
The Choosing one option will eliminate the penalty, Choosing a 2nd option on top of it will make your console boost the sales of that specific genre.
The Console will have a neutral appeal to all three audience types by default.
Streamlined Controller Shape: (Minor Boost to Action Games) (Gameplay Specialist)
“No Loss” graphics card: (Minor boost to action games) (Graphics Specialist)
Photorealistic backgrounds: (Minor boost to adventure games) (World Design Specialist)
Quest E-Notepad peripheral: (Minor boost to adventure games) (Storyline/Quests Specialist)
Cutscene rendering Chip: (Minor boost to RPGs) (Storyline/Quests Specialist)
‘ReelSpeech’ Soundcard: (Minor Boost to RPGs) (Dialogue Specialist)
Motion controlled controller (Minor boost to simulation) (Engine Specialist)
Screen in Controller (Minor boost to simulation) (Level Design Specialist)
“Creation” RAM enhancements (Minor boost to Strategy games) (Level Design Specialist)
AI Learning Memory banks (Minor Boost to Strategy Games) (A.I. Specialist)
Camera Peripheral (Minor Boost to Casual games) (Gameplay Specialist)
Voice Recognition (Minor Boost to Casual games) (Sound Specialist)
Portable (Boost to market share, cannot do AAA or Large games, -2 tech level penalty) (Engine Specialist)
Microprocessor Memory Boost (Requires Portable, allows Large games, reduces tech level penalty to -1) (Graphics Specialist)
Custom OS(Counts a 3 picks, eliminates all non-boost penalties, ) (Requires Two Technical Specialists And Two Design specialists. Tech level becomes N/A)
Interactive Avatars: Boosts appeal to Young gamers (A.I. Specialist)
Interactive Social World: Boosts appeal to Everyone (World Design Specialist)
Home Theater integration: Boosts appeal to Mature (Sound Specialist)
Family Friendly Branding: Boosts appeal to Young gamers, penalty to Mature (Dialogue specialist)*
Darker and Edgier Branding: Boosts appeal to Mature gamers, penalty to young (Dialogue specialist)*
“In the Know” Branding: Boosts appeal to Everyone gamers. (Dialogue specialist)*
*(can only pick one of these three)
Each aspect needs to be researched. While they will be researched by your normal employees (rather than the R&D lab) they will be expensive in terms of research points, so you will likely need to have the lab running with no project to generate the RPs needed.
Each feature you add to a console will add time and money to the development project. Further, each additional feature you add beyond the first will cost more money. While you could theoretically add every single feature to your console, it would cost so much that you’d never make back your investment no matter how many units you sold or how many hit games you have on it. The costs would be such that you could add about 4-5 features and have the console cost about as much as it does now. Fewer than that and you’d have a much cheaper but less flexible console. More than that, you’d have a more flexible but more expensive to develop unit.
The end goal of this is to allow the player to choose the boosts to different genre/ audience types, rather than having them dictated for you. It would also allow the player to turn their console into a PC alternative like the G64 (By using the custom OS option) Or a portable system like the GS (With the portable options)
This would make the custom console viable for any company, regardless of what genre(s) they choose to specialize in. It would also lend further importance to having a diverse array of specialists. It would make the investment in a custom console a more strategic decision: Do you pay more to have a more diverse array of genres it is good with? Or do you hyper-specialize but limit your flexibility?