The Role of the Console.

So I noticed many hardcore gamers questioning why people still use consoles and why they don’t just jump over to PC. This is coming after the reveal of Xbox One from Microsoft which caused much confusion within the gaming community, my self included, when they (kind of) made their stance on used games which sounds like you will have to pay a fee to play them. First of all this upsets me. Microsoft is pushing games as a licensed service rather then keeping them product based. From their view this makes perfect sense seeing the success of the software sold for their use not the ownership with their operating systems. So now I must think what is the role of the console.

I’ve been playing games since I was 2 or 3 and I always thought of it like buying a book. You purchase the book from a store and you can do what you want with it whether it be reading or burning, it didn’t matter since it was mine. I lived near my best friend Perry and our favorite games included things like 007 Golden Eye, Smash Bros, and pretty much any racing game on the N64. We both had the console and we would walk to each other houses with the games that the other didn’t own so we could play splitscreen multiplayer. Just slap the cartridge into the slot and power on. Simple. Thats what a console is supposed to be, simple. We did not have any restrictions on what we could do with the game except for the actual game rules, which we would often break anyways.

So the role of the game console is to be an easy to use appliance type of device that plays games purchased, rented, or borrowed. It’s the family device, or if you rather the community device. Much like the television where many people gather around to watch the console is used to bring one or more person to the device. This is where it differs from other gaming devices such as computers, phones, or mobile gaming devices like 3DS or Vita. These devices, while still able to create a small audience, are not meant to  have multiplayer within the same screen space. If you are having a gaming experience on these devices they are usually single player, meaning that one player on one device, and depend on digitally downloaded titles except 3DS and Vita which can use physical storage devices.

Nobody got time for used games!

Xbox One

So does the gaming experience as appliance still have relevancy within todays world where everything is being tailored suited to each consumer and there is always a personal screen within pockets reach? I hope so. This may age me, which feels weird, but I personally don’t want to lose the experience that console gaming provides. I hope it expands with the generation of Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One, but what Microsoft and potentially Sony are doing with Digital Rights Management seems underhanded and not thinking of the consumer. If they fail I hope they fail fast and correct their mistakes to make a better game market.

So tell me what you think of the new generation of consoles and if we should all just jump ship to PC.

Also follow me on twitter @Subliminalman

 

edit: 6/5/13 11:57am fixed Digital Media Rights to the actual term Digital Rights Managment.

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About Ryan "Subliminalman" Leonski

I'm an aspiring Game Developer who is currently working on creating my own studio, (Subli)minal Gaming.
This entry was posted in Game Design and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Role of the Console.

  1. greg says:

    I think there’s a considerable difference between how Nintendo makes consoles and how Microsoft and Sony makes consoles. Nintendo has been in the console business since the beginning (or since its revival in the 80s). They know more about the business than anyone else in the industry. They might not always make the wisest decisions that please the greatest amount of consumers, but they know that letting gamers play used games is good for publishers and players. (They are very similar to Apple. Very closed off and controlling, but they know how to deliver a neat, well made product that the consumer wants to buy on day one.)

    Microsoft and Sony, however, are on the complete other end of the spectrum. People might be loving Sony right now, but if Microsoft sticks this used game policy (which still isn’t completely confirmed), Sony will follow suit. It’s wise for Sony to go after indie developers, but if Microsoft is brave enough to piss off consumers with this used game fee, Sony will feel more confident to do the same. Basically, Microsoft and Sony have not always been in the business of making consoles and many of the people working on that end worked in other parts of the corporation previously, so they have completely opposed mindsets that are still stuck in the twentieth century.

    I’m not saying Nintendo is perfect. They make tons of mistakes and in my opinion, the Wii U is a PR disaster right now. Unless they have some serious tricks up their sleeve at E3, I don’t think the future of that console looks very bright. It has tons of potential, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much third party support beyond the games announced at launch. And many of those games still haven’t released…

    The PS4 seems like the best option at this point but I think Sony cherry picked the best parts of that console for their previous event and E3 is when we’ll find out the truth (or more of the truth). The PS4 and Xbox One will be very expensive. In the long run, PC gaming seems like a more practical alternatives unless exclusives are that important to the buyer. The streaming features are nice, but also possible on a PC without much hassle.

  2. Mattsy says:

    Reblogged this on Time Machine Games and commented:
    Very good article on the new consoles.

  3. I think one thing to keep in mind when we talk about “Digital Media Rights” is that they are not talking about your Rights as a consumer but their “rights” as the owner of the data. From a consumer stand point they are actually “Digital Media Restrictions”. By using their hardware / software you are submitting to the developers potentially (and probably) malicious use. Microsoft’s next gen XBox would be considered Spyware if it were installed on your computer and in fact Windows in and of itself is also Spyware. The companies are becoming more evil and the only way to fight them is to move away from their next gen consoles and look at new systems that respect the consumer.

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