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The Role of the Console.

by Ryan Leonski on 06/03/13 04:27:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


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 Media Rights 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

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