It’s not like you need more reasons to love the 50’s, but that’s when man invented both video games and lasers. The decade is basically the guitar solo of human existence but I digress. Ever since gaming appeared, we have been trying to use whatever available technology to make it more awesome, from vector displays to PC’s to HDTV’s to cell phones. If gaming is at all possible on a given gadget, we have put it there (there is Doom on a calculator for fucks sakes); and whenever gaming became too much of a pain in the ass on a certain type of a gadget, we have abandoned it and moved on to better things.
For awhile now, video game consoles have been a very convenient and suitable gaming gadget but perhaps it’s time to take a closer look and see if the upcoming 8th generation of consoles is about the time to move on yet again. I would argue that since everyone now owns a computer of some kind, there are just no justifiable reasons to buy another game console. Actually, there are 4 huge reasons not to, and even though mentioning them here is probably not going to discover life in anyone’s undershorts, it’s about time to bring them up and have ourselves a thinking moment:
1. No More Ease and Convenience
Not to sound like a lazy bastard but it can be quite a pain in the damn ass trying to get PC games to work. Sure, most of them self-install and self-setup, without you having to guess which Sound Blaster you’ve got, but if you have been PC-gaming long enough to know what the fuck a Sound Blaster is, you know that it isn’t too rare for shit to just refuse to work. I mean, there are 1.1 billion computers in the world and very few of them are identical. I mean, think about it: if you buy a sauce that simply says “for food” chances are that it will make things taste good or make you shart your underpants into oblivion after the first bite. Even PC’s that have the exact same hardware, can have a configuration or a set of random junk installed that might need to be accounted for.
There is no such problem with consoles. You could always insert your thing into the thing and be good to go… until now. Even though each console that sounds the same will still be the same on the inside, you’ll be installing your games from now on, in order to play them. Sure, you won’t have to browse forums to make shit work… or will you? Chances are that after keeping your eyes open long enough to see the installations and all the mandatory updates through, you will also have to squint at some fucking access code, which might not work (which can be an issue you can’t solve with the help of online forums or even game publishers). If you think that online passes and all that crap is gone for good now that Microsoft has decided to follow Sony’s ‘we won’t fuck with you when it comes to used games, we will let game publishers do it‘, then you are as mistaken as you are if you think that all that nonsense is going to be a gentle breeze one hundred percent of the time. Your frustrations with console gaming won’t be any less than those of PC gamers anymore.
2. No More Price Advantage
Let’s take the cheapest next generation console, the PS4 (Wii U doesn’t count). In the United States, it will be priced at $399. That will get you the console, with all the cables and one controller, and a bunch of plastic to wrap it all in, which will set you up for the next seven years or so. Of course, if you plan to ever play the multiplayer component of your games, you will also need to shell out about $50 a year, and this includes 60-dollar online only games, which makes a shit load of sense. That 7 year of gaming will come down to $750, purely spent on the console, without including the cost of games (for which you will pay more than an average PC gamer pays for his, unless you can freely sell them for a somewhat decent price, which we all know you won’t), a TV, a second controller and other overpriced console gear.
Well, assuming that you don’t feel like building your own PC or upgrading your existing one, you can go to Best Buy and pick up, say… this for $50 cheaper. Notice how it’s got better specs than the future gen consoles and how you can connect it to any TV you want and do whatever the fuck else you want on it or to it, including freely accessing every Netflix-like service Sony and Microsoft can think of and enjoying “features” that console services are only starting to introduce (cross game chat, gross game video chat while playing two fucking games simultaneously, enabling a mod that lets you battle a giant enemy dong, etc.). We have reached a point where a good gaming PC is not only affordable enough to eliminate the need for a stripped down equivalent but when those seven years of console-lifespan are up, you will catch up to the next next gen with an even cheaper upgrade.
3. No More Value in Hardware
Consoles have been expensive for awhile now. Back in 1993, a console called 3DO would set you off $700 (and it was worth every penny! well, no… not really). That’s not modern money equivalent either; we’re talking $700 of then money. In today’s dollars that’s $1127, which is enough money to get like ten complete Highlander DVD sets and a wrestling singlet to watch it in. 3DO has failed but the successful console makers have been able to help their customers justify those expensive purchases, by offering another useful feature along. Early consoles offered gaming solutions without having to sell your kidneys to get PC’s, PlayStation could play music CD’s when that was something someone appreciated, PlayStation 2 and Xbox could play DVD’s, PS3 brought the cheapest Blu-Ray player under your TV and the next gen consoles are… as useless as
These days, there are a lot of cheaper solutions for things the new consoles offer and those things are not even bringing anything new that we don’t already have with the existing consoles (well, at least with the PS3). Microsoft did try, with their cable TV… whatever that thing was but, well, they basically came out as a kid who decided to help with the laundry and shit all over itself in the process. What I’m saying is that it’s bringing nothing for your TV needs or anything else that pretty much any device you own doesn’t do. Hell, get a Chromecast and stream all your PC stuff to your TV without as much as a cable, get ROKU and do without a freaking PC.
4. More Restrictions
What the second entry said. No sane person can deny the fact that when it comes to PC gaming, if you can think it, it’s only a quick Google search and a short install (and maybe another quick Google search to make things work) away. Consoles are traditionally limited gaming machines that are there to remove the pain-in-the-ass element out of the whole equation (or at least that had been the idea up to a point). And I don’t have a problem with that whatsoever. What does cause problems is the general sense of ownership that has changed across the gaming industry.
You see, when it comes to PC gaming, you own the hardware (chances are you’ve built the thing yourself), you supply your own (or your neighbor’s) Internet connection for your PC gaming needs, you own your games most of the time and you don’t owe shit to anybody. This used to be the case with consoles (minus the Internet because that’s a recent factor). But now, the console makers feel like they own all that shit you buy. Paid for the console? Paid for your own Internet? Paid for the game? Well, if you want to use that shit, keep that wallet out. I mean, even the unanimous lesser of the two upcoming evils, the PS4, is going to charge us for the privilege of playing multiplayer portion of our 60-goddamn-dollar games. Sure, the fanboys like to get their calculators out and let us know what a great deal we are getting because of the free games that come with the paid PSN, but you know what? If that service is so amazing, there should be no need to make it mandatory. I mean, it pays for itself right? Some of us just want to use the shit we buy, man, without any bullshit.
So, the question is why the fuck should we put up with all of that when there is an easy alternative you are looking at right at this very moment?