Why Next-Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

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Games Consoles   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]The current generation of video game consoles – the Wii, the PS3, and the Xbox 360 – have all been with us for some time. This seventh-generation began in 2005 with the release of the Xbox 360. The Microsoft console was joined by Nintendo’s innovative new motion-control-based Wii and Sony’s more-of-the-same PS3 a year later in 2006.

By industry standards this is a long-lasting generation. Gamers are now champing at the bit to get their hands on shiny new video game console. With the Wii U already on the way, and successors to the PS3 and Xbox 360 definitely in development, they will get their wish very soon. However, I am in no rush to see the next-gen emerge from whatever rock it’s lying dormant under. Here are five reasons why I’d like to hang on to the current-gen just a little longer.

Launch Games Always Disappoint

Launch Games   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

The games available to purchase at a new console’s launch are almost universally bad. There may be the odd good title in there – Perfect Dark Zero on Xbox 360, Resistance: Fall of Man on PS3, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on Wii – but even these exceptions lose their sheen a few years into the console’s life.

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The reasons for this are simple: developers rush to get a game, any game, ready for launch; they invariably struggle to properly get to grips with the new hardware. This not only means they don’t take advantage of the new hardware capabilities open to them, they also make mistakes. So, launch games are, at best average, at worst glitchy and generally grotty.

Couple this with the fact that games released at the end of a console generation tend to be some of the best yet seen (for the exact opposite reasons as those outlined above) and the case for holding back begins to take shape.

Hardware Failures

Xbox 360 RRoD   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

The start of a new generation of video game consoles brings with it the probability of new hardware failures. It has happened before and I’m sure it will happen again.

The Xbox 360 is of course the main culprit here, at least in the current generation. Early versions of the Microsoft console had a high failure rate, with the user’s first indication there was a problem being the infamous Red Ring of Death. The reason for the RRoD hasn’t ever officially been revealed but it’s believed to have been as a result of cost-cutting by Microsoft; designing the graphics chip in-house.

I don’t know about you but I’m not looking forward to a similar thing happening next time around, whether the company at fault is Microsoft once again, or Sony or Nintendo instead.

Paying For New Hardware

No Cash   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

Even if the new hardware is perfect and failure-free, it still costs money to buy in the first place. Money that many of us haven’t got at the moment thanks to the continuing financial crisis. New hardware costs money, and companies tend to charge a small fortune at launch, knowing the hardcore, early-adopters will not be able to resist jumping on board.

I would rather be spending that cash on new games than a new machine to play said games on. The PS3 cost $599 in the U.S. at launch. With the games retailing at $59.99 that was 10 titles worth of my hard-earned cash spent on upgrading from the PS2. The same will be true for the PS4. The longer I can get away without having to shell out such a sum of money just for the opportunity to play new games the better.

Anti-Used Games Measures

Used Games   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

There are rumors that both Microsoft and Sony are planning on building measures aimed at killing, or at least mortally wounding, the used games market into their next video game consoles. They may ‘allow’ Gamestop and the like to remain in business but they want developers and publishers to get paid for every sale, whether it be new or used.

Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox 720 (codename Durango) haven’t been revealed, but Sony’s plans for the PS4 (codename Orbis) have. The new console would require all gamers to be online and have a PSN account which a new game would sync with. Buy it used and you’d have to also buy a code to unlock all but the most-basic of content. Mere rumors at this stage perhaps, but it would be a believable endgame from what has already happened.

Many in the industry hate the fact there is a such a thing as a market for used games. In an ideal world they would like you to buy a title brand new and then keep it forever. Or just bin it when you’re done with it. Their argument being that while the physical media may be your property, the actual content on the disc is merely licensed to you.

There have been attempts during this generation to limit the appeal of buying used – offering extras to those who buy new, only allowing the original purchaser to play the online multiplayer portion of the game – but Microsoft and Sony (possibly in some kind of mutual agreement) could be about to up this effort a notch by using the hardware against those who buy used. A development I’d rather not see happen for as long as possible.

Incremental Upgrades

Incremental Upgrade   Why Next Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion]

There is one indisputable reason why this generation has already lasted longer than any other: the pace of change in this particular sector of technology has slowed down. The jump between some generations has made a vast difference: from 2D to 3D, from cartridge to disc, from offline to online. No longer.

It could be argued that motion control was a big innovation, but that has already arrived. Nintendo put it front-and-center with the Wii and the gamble paid off. Microsoft and Sony then copied them. Kinect will be an integral part of the next Xbox, Move will possibly an integral part of the next Playstation. But that change has already occurred. What else can we expect?

The obvious call is for better visuals. But hasn’t the success of the Wii shown that visuals aren’t everything? Gameplay and storyline, which some developers seem to have forgotten how to institute, are more basic tenets of great games. I would rather see these being improved than the eye candy being ratcheted up a notch.

Conclusions

This opinion piece may make me come across as a backwards-looking fool settling for what I have rather than imagining a glorious future. And that may well be the case. But I have been bitten before, and bitten hard, by the bug which makes us all look to the next big thing.

In the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii we have three video game consoles which appeal to different demographics. And there are still great games being released on all of these machines. I’m settled, I’m happy, I’m a seventh-generation console kid (aged 34). I’m happy for that to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

As always we welcome your comments on the article above. Do you agree or disagree with my views? Feel free to let me know either way. Opinion is free, discussion is good, debate is healthy.

Image Credits: DieselDemon, DavidHT, HowardLake, Seth Werkheiser, Radly J Phoenix

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47 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Matt Smith

I am absolutely sick of the current generation of consoles. There have been massive improvements in computing power since they were introduced and it’s hugely obvious if you own a gaming PC. Mass Effect 3 on the Xbox? Total trash. Mass Effect 3 on the PC? Beautiful – and it doesn’t even push the hardware. You can play it on any mid-range graphics card.

Graphics aren’t everything, of course – but they are something, and the current generation has simply gone too long without an upgrade. I would perhaps excuse this if games were innovating in other ways, but they’re not. So just give my eye candy, please.

The real reason not to buy a next-gen gaming console is the anti-used game measures. If I have to be online to play, or authenticate every game, or whatever – I’m not buying. Simple as that.

Dave Parrack

I don’t own a gaming PC. I spend too long on a computer all day working to then sit at one for entertainment purposes. But I take your point. The graphics aren’t exactly bad on the current gen consoles though. Look at GT5.

You won’t be alone in your attitude to the anti-used game measures. But the rumors are so strong and from so many sources I fear they are true. If one of the next-gen consoles launches with them in place and the other doesn’t then the winner is guaranteed, surely.

Matt.Smith

I think GT5 looks pretty bad to be honest. Same with its Xbox competitor, Forza 4.

Once you’re used to playing games on a PC it’s hard to look at a console.

I’m sure you’re right about the next-gen consoles. In fact, requiring an always on connection and prohibiting used games is already becoming a reality on the Xbox 360. More and more games are missing functionality without an Xbox Live connection and all of the digital games sold on Xbox Live are, of course, not eligible for resale.

It’s one of the reasons why I did not replace my Xbox 360 when it recently kicked the bucket. I’ll stick with my PC, my Roku and some older Nintendo consoles.

Dave Parrack

If you think GT5 and Forza 4 look bad then PC gaming has spoiled you! ;)

It’s certainly the way it’s headed. But I don’t see used games as inherently evil like developers and publishers do. They can be good for the industry. And what about console gamers in places where broadband isn’t available? Or if your connection goes down? It’s a risky move.

Matt

I agree with you, Dave. The used market creates more gamers that would possibly never buy in at full price. I never would have purchased Majora’s Mask, Windwaker, Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword for full price if I had not purchased Ocarina of Time for $10 in a bin a few years after it came out. That $10 purchase for a used game (that would not have happened had it cost more) gave the industry a few hundred dollars (if you count console purchases) via my future purchases.

Dave Parrack

Exactly! I’ve plowed money into the industry in much the same way. I think developers and publishers are actually risking their futures by heading down this route.

Eric

“The real reason not to buy a next-gen gaming console is the anti-used game measures. If I have to be online to play, or authenticate every game, or whatever – I’m not buying. Simple as that.”

Bingo. Same here. I’ll probably just keep investing in my PC. The irony is that moves like this just push more people toward piracy.

When [major game company name here]’s servers go down, whose game still works? The pirated ones. Who’s left fuming and frustrated? Paying customers. In their zeal to grab more revenue from games that they have *already been paid for* game companies are actually creating incentives for people to skip paying altogether.

Tony

Exactly right!

Dave Parrack

Surely they would be mad to put this in place. But I’m guessing they’re getting leaned on by developers and publishers quite heavily.

You’re right though. I will refuse to go along with this. If I buy a game it should be mine.

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Simo Kosmowski

I am an owner of wii for a third time. What it tells about my attitude for HD graphics in consoles ? I really does not matters when You will have a nice story to play and fun of playng with wii remotes. :) And yes , I am also 7th gen kid , raised on zx spectrum , amiga , and 386 doom :)

Dave Parrack

You’re clearly not a graphics whore, Simo :) I’m guessing you’ll be buying a Wii U? No interest in the PS3 and Xbox 360 though?

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Dave LeClair

I hope they wait just because my 360 died a couple of months ago so i just bought a new one lol

Dave Parrack

I’d put money on them both launching before the end of next year. An Xbox 360 that died? Never!

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Yannis Vatis

I am really not looking forward to the next generation so they can delay it for as long as they want. I don’t buy used so that is not a concern. What does trouble me, though, is that we need to be online in order to access our games. I do have internet connection and all that but I do know a person or two that don’t so they are basically left out in the cold. Yeah, I know, people need to get with the program and the internet is already a huge part of our lives. Simply having to fulfill a corporation’s desire to control every inch of their product is not reason enough for someone to subscribe to an internet connection if they don’t need it.
Furthermore, I’m not liking that the Orbis (based on rumors always) is going to be tied to a single PSN account. The differences in PS Stores from region to region are just too great. What if I buy games from different regions? Will their DLC be region locked? In my opinion, before Sony or anyone can start talking about such restrictions they need to solve the issue of region locking of content.

Dave Parrack

You make excellent points, Yannis. Certainly anyone without an Internet connection or who hasn’t got their console hooked up will effectively be barred from the next-gen.

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Jim McKay

I’m with the PC gamers, I’m a huge racing fanatic and have never found game consoles to come even close. I credit NASCAR 1 for my computer addiction as well, in 1994 I paid over 4000 dollars for a top of the line 486 with a huge 340 MB harddrive :)
Personally , because I have tried every new console along the way, don’t believe these next generation of consoles will be a good simulator platform either. So I guess I’m saying I could wait forever for the next console.

Dave Parrack

You’ve revealed why most people aren’t PC gamers though: the cost of the machine capable of playing the latest and greatest games. I’m happy enough with consoles, especially when they’re much more affordable.

Jim McKay

I know a few people, that if the XBox 1440 was 2500.00 and Call of Duty 15 was 325.00, they would buy it tomorrow.

Dave Parrack

Of course there are fanboys out there, even Microsoft ones. Thankfully consoles are much cheaper, and easier to deal with!

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Dylan

I have an idea. Let’s make console games with thin to no plots and mediocre graphics and then complain when consumers don’t want to pay $60 for a brand new copy.

If I think a game is worth it, I’ll pay the price, but often times I will wait a few months until the first price drops. Sometimes I’ll pick up a game in the < $20 used bin that I would never have bought new.

Sometimes my Internet connection goes out for a few hours. Even when it is up, it doesn't always maintain a constant connection, and often it's a lot slower than I would like.

I guess I'm not a good candidate for the next gen console systems, even though I've been a loyal consumer since Pong, grew up on the Atari 2600 and the original Nintendo, and have owned 2 Xbox360s.

Dave Parrack

I buy used games almost exclusively. You can’t beat picking up a bargain for a fraction of the cost of buying new. And the publishers aren’t losing as I would never have bought it new for £40 ($60).

The always-on measure is clearly putting a lot of people off.

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John Penland

So, if the next generation of game consoles follows the trends from the current ones, we’ll be looking at a ~$10 increase in the base price for a new game, a console that will debut ~$100 more than the older ones and will be loaded with what can best be described as malware(DRM).
I still use my PS2, I might buy a 360 or PS3 when the new ones come out, or I might just use the money that I save to buy a decent computer that has about 300x the functionality, less malware and isn’t the RIAA/MPAA’s wet dream.

Dave Parrack

You’ve done well to resist moving up to the current-gen for this long. I capitulated after about a couple of years of waiting.

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Joe

Half of this article makes no sense. Whether they launch new consoles now or in a few years, you’re still going to have launch game crappiness and early revision hardware issues. Postponing new consoles won’t change these two things in the slightest.

Dave Parrack

This is true. But I’d rather not have to deal with either issue for as long as possible.

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Jeff

I agree with you! Also, as a heavy gamer I know of no one other than bloggers who are champing at the bit for new systems. i will wait out the first year of a new system as i already have a substantial backlog of games for the existing systems.

Dave Parrack

I think I’ll do the same. I have a shelf-full of games I have yet to finish. I haven’t even started half of them.

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Austin

I think the 360 and PS3 are perfectly fine to remain around for a few more years, they are still very capable to run any new games that come out, and at this point I wouldn’t see a point in upgrading. However, I am looking forward to the Wii U. I really like the Wii, and it has some of the best games of this generation, not just a bunch of shooters with no good plot and no variety, but it’s hardware is aging badly. The graphics can’t compete, online support is limited, and it just needs upgrading, and it’s keeping third party developers away. The Wii U is necessary at this point, as the Wii just can’t keep up with the other two at this point, but yeah, the 360 and PS3 can stay around for a while longer.

Dave Parrack

That’s an interesting point. I kind of skirted around the Wii U because we already know that’s on the way. Will you be getting a Wii U on day one?

Austin

I won’t be getting a Wii U on launch Day, but only because I know I won’t have the money. Out of the 3 next Gen consoles that will come out, Im Most interested in the Wii u.

Dave Parrack

As as industry watcher so am I at this point. It’s certainly going to be interesting seeing what Nintendo delivers and how the public react.

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LordDai

I am in the firm belief that the older games are better. Compare the original deus ex to, say, MW3. Deus ex has more content, more options, a MUCH better story, and UPGRADES! I don’t know about you, but I love upgrades in games, gives me something to work for, and newer games don’t seem to hit that spot. Unlocks aren’t the same, as I cannot improve my character with them. I would love to see a return of the free roam RPG that seems to have been forgotten.
Rant over, the Wii U is the only next gen console that I plan on owning. Nintendo seems to be the only developers willing to focus on story and gameplay, with Zelda and Starfox being my favorites. They’re pretty much guaranteed to be good, and judging by the current situation, the new Xbox and playstation are looking to be as casual as the Wii when it came out.

Dave Parrack

I love free-roaming RPGs. Final Fantasy is about as close as we get on consoles, but the free-roaming is limited to say the least. Story isn’t the strong point in any of the Call of Duty games. Hell, it’s all about the multiplayer now, sadly.

You make a good point. Sony and Microsoft are definitely going to try and appeal to casual gamers more. They got bitten by the Wii once, they don’t want it to happen again.

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Scutterman

I was bitten by the ps3 compatibility, and the pan outages. I’ll stick to pc for now. For the cost of a new console I can make some very nice upgrades to an already nice system. Also, with a few exceptions, almost all games are available on pc, even ones exclusive to a particular console

Dave Parrack

PS3 backwards-compatibility? Yeah, that peed me off as well. As did the PSN outage that lasted two weeks too long. I just cannot afford to get into the PC gaming market though. If you can then good luck to you :)

Scutterman

I am about to start making games, so I needed a fairly powerful computer anyway. It’s not high-end compared to some gaming rigs, but it was a great deal and I expect it’ll play everything I want it to. Plus I can always save up for upgrades.

Dave Parrack

Ah, you do indeed need a good setup for that. I guess I’m lazy. I have a plug and play mentality these days.

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Jesse D.

Since this generation of gaming has launched, back in 2006, I’ve pretty much stopped caring about video games. I was perfectly fine with xbox, gc, and ps2…their realistic 3D was good enough for me. But hold on, now the realistic 3D looks better and it will only cost you a whooping $600 for the new ps3 or the xbox which overheated and then later got the RED ring of death…Meanwhile, my SNES is still upstairs in working order. Hmm…is that some crap or what? But my favorite gen of gaming was the 5th with N64, ps1, dreamcast. When games became 3D, had cd quality music, and tons of game types were first developed. Most of which would later be copied by the 6th generation to make all the thousands and thousands of GTA clones that appeared that generation. Also, I’m supposed to pay you a fee because I was smart enough to buy a game used and not waste my hard earned money on a game that will drop quicker than a new car off the dealer’s lot? Screw that. Why don’t I pay the clothing designers, VHS, CD, DVD makers, a fee when I buy something 2nd hand? Oh, I know…because that’s totally stupid. That’s why.

Also, it seems this whole online thing…while being good for some games, has turned a lot of people lame and anti-social. My best friend is one of these people. He used to be a pretty cool dude. But now his one passion is life is to play video games, and that’s pretty much all we can do together now. Yeah, I like them, too. But being productive is way cooler. Also, when I was younger, it was school, sports, dinner, homework, shower, play some games or watch TV, and then bed. I was never that dumb to get ‘hooked’ on gaming and being a lazy ass.

AS A SIDE NOTE: I’VE NOTICED GAMES LIKE “AMY”, THAT COULD BE DEVELOPED INTO FULL GREAT GAMES, BECOME PSN DOWNLOAD GAMES THAT ARE SHORT AND CHEAP…MEANWHILE, IT SEEMS “THEY” CAN’T WAIT TO THROW A CRAPPY HACK N SLASH OR SHOOTER GAME AT US.

Yeah, there are still good games coming out and all that jazz, but I’m 25 now and focusing on other more important things than gaming. The current gen has seen game companies pull a lot of crap, and I’m hopping off this vessel before it heads the way of the Titanic. Thanks for all those recycled shooter games and being greedy game publishers. I’m off to enjoy my “NEW’ (to me) Dreamcast that I bought today and all those games I got dirt cheap. Have fun running the game market head on into a tree. I’m evacuating to go play good games like the ones I grew up on, and still enjoy. When you’re ready to focus on quality, game play, and storyline above all else (mainly graphics) let me know. Until then…See ya!

Dave Parrack

I doubt this current generation will be many people’s favorite one. I agree on used games, unfortunately the developers, publishers and console manufacturers appear to have teamed up to kill the market.

I wish I had the time to play games all day, every day, but I don’t. That’s probably a good thing!

There are some great indie games out there. That’s where the creativity is coming from these days. Perhaps Kickstarter will help fund these types of games.

Enjoy your new Dreamcast. One of my favorite consoles of all time. And thanks for commenting.

Jesse

Thanks. Will do, and yeah, I think a lot of people will be sort of happy when this generation of gaming is over…as long as we move onto something that’s an improvement over what we have now. I’m still getting my library together. Any good games you can recommend that might have been hidden gems?

Dave Parrack

Perhaps not hidden gems but I would recommend Chu Chu Rocket, Skies of Arcadia, Metropolis Street Racer, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone 1 and 2, Jet Grind Radio, Rez, and of course Shenmue 1 and 2.

I’m tempted to set mine up again and play some of these games now.

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jack

It does seem pointless bringing out a new console when they haven’t even utilised the ps3 entirely yet. They have so much more they could do with the console without bringing out a new product, and as you said, launch games always disappoint. Truer words have never been spoken. I got the ps3 in 2007 for Christmas and even then it didn’t have a great selection of games going for it but now I find that it has (right now I’m playing dark souls with 130 hours done so far).

Backward compatibility really should be implemented into the ps4. As you said, the launch games are quite boring and not up to par for what should be considered good gaming. Sony could probably make more money by implementing backward compatibility for the main reason of launch games being terrible and the fact that it would be at least a year before we see better games launched. It could boost sales of the console and games while waiting for newer ps4 only games to be released.

As for the anti-used games measures, this is probably what turns me off the most about ps4 so far. Would this mean that you couldn’t lend the game to a friend to try out? Would it mean that more world resources are used for creating discs? Does it mean I would have actually have to be on-line? I use a mobile dongle for internet capability, and this really doesn’t help Sony sell me the console, as I probably wouldn’t be able to sync my PSN account to the game unless they allowed installation of a mobile broadband usb stick into the OS.

As for the probable price of the ps4 upon release, it would be much better to spend that on ps3 games or upgrading a pc. I have a feeling it might be so expensive that you could build a mid range pc instead and have a larger selection of games available, not to mention a pc has more uses than a console.

I doubt I will be getting a next gen console upon release or even for a few years, depending on what it has to offer but until it’s released, or at least the actual offerings that it brings are published, then my mind will be set on sticking with the ps3, ps2 and xbox.360.

Dave Parrack

Ooh, Dark Souls is too hardcore for me. But great game for those with patience and skill :)

I can’t see Sony bringing BC back now, which is a crying shame.

No one is quite sure what form the anti-used measures are going to take, or even if they’ll be present in the next-gen consoles. But requiring you to be online at all times is the most obvious solution. I suspect they’ll be pushing digital distribution as well, taking discs out of the equation completely.

You nailed it. I’m just going to enjoy the consoles I have for a few more years to come :)

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Yo

Most of the evidence seemed to be more towards ps3/360 and didn’t really argue anything against the wii. It’s kind of ridiculous to include the wii in this argument anyways since their big launch games didn’t disappoint (although few in number), they don’t suffer from hardware problems, their new gen, as far as I know, won’t have anti-resell drm, and their new hardware/equipment nearly always came pre-packaged with other games for barely any extra money.

Dave Parrack

It was primarily aimed at the PS3 and Xbox successor, yes. The Wii U is out there on its own. It’s next-gen only in terms of chronology.

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dalton

this is crap ive been playing games since i could press a button and im in the gen number of the ps2 and ps1 n64 i miss those games alot i got the new gen system cause of more games i never seen but alot of them suck or the type i like are to few but i swear by all thats console i will save the future of gaming some how even if i have to become the enemy of ever maker in the bis

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9

I’m less bothered with the idea of anti-used game measures (I have a tendency to wait for the prices to halve and then buy new) and more bothered by the fact that it may require me to be signed in all the time.
I know, we live in an age of high speed broadband and low-rate internet, but some of us are lagging in the dust. My internet isn’t fast and it isn’t reliable. Even downloading system updates is a struggle.
I already avoid gaming online for that reason, and it’s pretty much a deal breaker in terms of my potential investment in a new system.

I’m sure there’s a number of people out there who have no internet, or none suitable for gaming, and they’ll be left in the lurch. I guess they don’t number highly enough to put a dent in sales and profits though, so the big guys won’t care.

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