One of the biggest debates in gaming has always been console vs PC. You can count me on Team Console, but even though I’m a console guy, I suspect the age of the console will come to an end pretty soon. In fact, this may indeed be the last console generation.
Now remember, I’m not a snobby PC gamer who uses the term “PC master race” unironically. And yet even I suspect we will be seeing the death of the console soon. It will be a death by suicide.
Plug in and play
PC gaming has always and will always be about a generation ahead in terms of graphics and sound. I don’t dispute that. But consoles had their advantages. The biggest was the simplicity. To play a console game you just hooked it up, turned it on, and played. There was no worrying about whether your video card was up to date, or if you had enough memory or processing power. You just plugged in and played. You didn’t need to know anything except how to play the game.
PC games can be a pain in the ass, especially if you’re *gasp* a bit more of a casual gamer. I remember getting Tomb Raider for my PC as a kid for Christmas back in ’97, only to find out I lacked the proper video card to play it. Sure, I just went to computer store in the mall, Babbinger’s I think it was called, and got one the next day. But that was still a sadly Tomb Raider-less Christmas day. Meanwhile Sonic 3D Blast for the Genesis, which I also got that day, required no such additional purchases or hassle.
I recently got a Nintendo WiiU with Mario Kart 8 (fantastic game by the way). I couldn’t get it to work at first because it seemed to required an update off of the internet. Why would a system require an update right out of the box to play a game it came with? I don’t want to hook it up to the internet. I want to play Mario Kart with my friends when they come over, not with a ten year old in Korea.
It had actually turned out that the update was on the disc—it was just read wrong the first time and needed to be tried again. But when I was on the line with Nintendo customer service the rep told me there would be updates down the line I needed to be online for. Why? What ever happened to just turning it on and playing?
I realize a lot of you probably love online gaming, but as far as I’m concerned it was the beginning of the end for consoles. Aside from killing the social aspect by sitting in own separate little dark living rooms, it nullified the major advantage of the console: simplicity and accessibility.
Sure, it was just an optional thing at first, but soon it won’t be. We already saw XBox try and force always online on everybody. The consumers rebelled, but frankly I think it’s only a matter of time before they get enough people to accept it. Nintendo is one of the better companies when it comes to not forcing this upon us, and even they told me it’s coming.
And this is the biggest monster that online console games have ushered in. DLC. This is the biggest dick in the mouth to the customers imaginable. Like online play itself, this was a good idea when it started to breathe life into older games with optional additional content, but it has turned into an excuse to nickel and dime the ever loving hell out of you.
How many games now have DLC out the same day as the game? Doesn’t that beg the question of why it just wasn’t on the game to begin with? You did pay sixty dollars for the damn thing after all. Capcom was even caught releasing DLC for content already on the disk—the DLC just allowed you to unlock it.
Try to be everything to everyone and you end up nothing
PC games are supposed to be where you have to deal with buying constant upgrades and expansion packs. Where you have to make sure all your technological ducks are in a row before you can play. Where you have a monthly fee just to play a game you already bought. That is the world of the PC. And some people chose to deal with all that to get the higher quality graphics and sound. Consoles were suppose to be where you traded off some of the sound and graphical quality in exchange for not having to deal with all the hassle and expense the PC guys dealt with.
But now consoles want you to pay a little more here, pay a little more there. Be always online, always updating, always jumping through hoops. If I wanted that I’d go PC. So if you’re going to keep making us do that, what’s going to stop more and more people from making that jump to PC?
Consoles truly might die after this generation, but it will be a death by their own hands.