writer, speaker, content creator

Destroy all Consoles

In Video Games on February 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

Sony announced the PS4 yesterday, and it is a thing that should not be. Game consoles as we know them need to go extinct. They present system is clunky, inefficient, bad for the consumers, and frankly annoying. Below are a few of my cranky gripes about the state of gaming, why consoles should die, and what I’d like to see.

All consoles should be able to play all games. Remember back when CDs were a thing? I know, it was a long time ago, but bear with me. Would you have bought a CD player that could only play discs from EMI? What about one that would only play albums by artists on Atlantic Records? How about some indie player that only ever played Kill Rock Stars? Would you accept that? Obviously not. Yet, that’s the system we accept for games. It’s mind boggling in how long it’s persisted, and kind of maddening that consumers aren’t more upset about it. In no other kind of media to buyers accept such limitations, but when it comes to video games people actually get fanboyish about their favorite consoles. That’s ridiculous.

Physical disks should die. Why the hell do we still have physical disks? We have the Internet. Cutting out disks would mean that game companies would no longer have to worry about the manufacturing and distribution of disks or retail middleman taking a cut. That would (hopefully) drive down the costs of games. Hopefully. Maybe not EA or Activision’s games, as those companies are kind of shadowy and evil, but hopefully those of other companies.

There needs to be an iTunes for old games. Yes, Nintendo had the Virtual Console, but that wasn’t enough. Far too many old games are fading away because the hardware that ran them has gone obsolete. I’d love to have a service where I could purchase classics like Planescape: Torment, Monkey Island, or the Sega X-Men games.

Nintendo should just be a software company. The whole reason people buy Nintendo’s consoles anymore is to play Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games. I seriously doubt that anyone buys Nintendo’s consoles because they want to play games in general. No, they want to play Nintendo’s games specifically. As someone who grew up with Mario, Link, and Samus I’d be happy to sit down and revisit some of these old IPs for a game or two, but not so much that I want to actually buy the ridiculously clunky flop that is the WiiU.

Consoles should be generic and upgradeable, like PCs. I replaced all manner of parts in my old desktop. I jammed more RAM into it, gave it a new graphics card, replaced the fan and the power source, swapped out all of the peripherals, and replaced just about everything except the motherboard and CPU. I’d appreciate that kind of screws-not-glue approach to consoles. Instead of things being upgraded in fits and starts with new generations of consoles coming every few years, we’d just have a gradual increase in what people’s machines were capable of.

Fuck it, consoles should just be PCs. A PC that hooks up to your big TV where you can do stuff with a controller, and you’re not locked into a single company’s hardware, OS, game library, or anything like that. Can we have that? No?

Fine, I’ll just wait for the Steam Box.

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