I never very much liked the idea of the one console future. While having one console that can play any and all types of games has its appeal, I believe it does a disservice to the core of game culture. Let’s be honest …. we love this crap. Relishing in the battles fought year after year over who is better, PC gamers showing they have more power than anybody, the big three bringing their best to the table and trying to outdo one another. Forget about console allegiance for a moment and think about why we go over every detail, argue over exclusive games and debate system specs and features. It’s because that is what the heart of game culture is about, competition.
While most media separates itself from how they are accessed (people who make movies can’t own the theaters, DVDs can be played on anything, television shows can be watched on just about anything), video games have evolved differently. As a culture, we are very much concerned with the machines that play our games just as much as the games itself. Gamers do not just play with each other, they play against each other. We curse each other’s names, laugh at each other as we prove who is the best and feel pride when we explain away our devotion to these consoles and PCs.
It goes beyond the big three and the PC as well. There are a plethora of other gaming machines changing the landscape of how we access our games. They offer different experiences, attracting new gamers into the world and having an impact on the culture of games. VR, androids, tablets and more. They bring about new arguments about why they are good and bad, challenging the consoles people devoted their lives to and known.
There is a certain level of identity comes along with the console wars as well. We all know Nintendo, even though they have a hard time moving beyond it, relates to a certain level of charm, extravagance, and nostalgia. Sony is always known to bring something new to the table, even if a few of their ideas are not wholly original. Like it or not, Microsoft is a juggernaut that does not have a lot at their disposal, be what they do have makes an impact and the PC is known as the one who can do it all, even though it takes a little investment.
The console wars are the great metagame of life. People pick teams they align with and fight to prove why theirs is the best. Our weapons are articles showing features and games our teams has, as well as ones that make the other look bad. It is the game that exists outside the games we actually play. It also goes beyond the competition in a way. Gamers may try to prove who is best at first, but the level of involvement that comes with console allegiance brings about a discussion. We look at the culture with open eyes and different views. We defend our consoles because they each bring about different styles of play that fit our interest. We argue over what each of them does for the industry and what benefits or consequence they might have. In a way, the console wars define gamers themselves. Tell me are you for the console wars or against it.