It’s time for video game consoles to disappear. I am sick of the whole practice honestly. Why the hell do I need to buy a new system just to play a game I’m interested in? Video games should be available to anyone that wants to play them, regardless of their preferred device. As a culture we have drastically matured since video games were created, but we cannot continue to progress without addressing the underlying issues behind game consoles.
While it is true we wouldn’t have the industry today without them, that alone doesn’t justify their continuation. Simply put, these archaic devices create barriers for both consumers and developers. Consumers are often forced to choose a console based off its exclusive titles, causing them to miss out on other games and future IPs. It’s a stupid system that only benefits the companies that created it. We should be able to play any game we want regardless of the platform.
At the same time the lifespan of consoles limits game developers, as they must design games that will work with older technology. This often results in content being cut and graphics being dulled down. It essentially creates a bottleneck that impedes the industry’s evolution. Who knows how games would look today if we didn’t have to wait eight years for each new consoles release.
Our culture needs to advance in a different direction if we want to progress. Instead of games being developed with code written for specific machines, there needs to be a universal code that works on all platforms. This would give gamers the freedom to play any title on any device, something we have never experienced before. How great would it be to play Halo on a PS4 or Monster Hunter on the PC. Everything would also be backwards compatible and have cross-play support. Of course, as this universal code changes software updates would be released to add new support to existing consoles.
Consoles should still be developed, but as moddable machines. This would allow for greater customization. Modders would be able to customize or build systems to their specifications and gaming needs. There could also be prebuilt devices for non-tech savvy consumers, allowing them to continue gaming without worry about the specifics. Valve explored this territory with their Steam Machine lineup. These are customizable machines meant to bring PC gaming into the living room. But these machines can be quite expensive, and lack the universal playability discussed above.
Alright sounds good, but what about the major developers like Sony and Microsoft? While these companies would no longer be developing standalone consoles, they could still produce and sell prebuilt devices and gaming accessories. This would continue to promote competition between them and benefit consumers even further. We would be free to use whatever accessories we’re most comfortable with, allowing for a better gaming experience. Perhaps we would use an Xbox controller for standard games, PSVR for virtual reality, and something from Nintendo for mobile gaming. The point is this gives both us and the industry greater options and avenues to grow.
I do understand that this reality isn’t obtainable anytime soon, but it is reachable. The main obstacle is convincing the major developers, and it won’t be easy. But that shouldn’t deter us; nothing worth having is easily obtained. This is something that we need to strive for as a community, something that benefits everyone involved. If we desire the freedom to play the games we want then we have to make it known. There is nothing to lose in doing so, but everything to gain.