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The Console War: Just Stop It Already

by on May 29, 2013
 

PlayStation 4 is better… Xbox One is stronger… The Wii U has better games… I’m tired of reading these comments flooding the internet. Same trend, same opinion. The concept of the console wars is pointless, with all due respect to all journalists that use that term, there is no war to begin with. What’s even worse is that it allowed this internet sensation or trend to emerge, one of a biased virtual troll all over social media, website comment box and forum posts, for the sake of grabbing 15 second of internet fame (a like, a share, a up-vote on Reddit).

The Console Wars

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all comments by fans have no point of existence, on the contrary, some are very well put. Then again, all of the media sources and trends are to blame for this, and this is massively proven with the last two new-generation console reveals. Look at what happened in a simple naïve way: PlayStation 4 event was a letdown for the fans, because they were expecting to see the machine itself. For the Xbox One, things were even worse – which was partly because of a complete PR fiasco by the Redmond firm – with gamers making fun of the emphasis of TV and Multimedia entertainment implementation in the console.

The concept of the console wars is pointless, there is no war to begin with.

You see, as I previously said in last week’s article, Xbox One: Microsoft’s Next Frontier, myself and many of you who are reading this are the last remnants of the gaming scene as we know it. As strong as our nostalgic feelings are, we cannot help but admit that we’re the old generation, and it’s time for a younger and fresher audience to be tapped. This presumed console war has become nonexistent, even if the media keep using this term everyday – because it’s a hot and attracting topic to get hits – and all articles in the past week have become fuel to keep the buzz going on something that does not exist.

xbox-one-vs-ps4

We see the console war as console companies vying to have the cooler game selection and the better core gaming experience. The reality of it is there’s so much more that consoles can do and their makers are very much interested in exploring those avenues.

We as readers, fans and gamers are deeply connected in this created disruption or a splitting trend if you may, where we pledge allegiance to a console manufacturer (or Steam if PC gaming is your thing), and stubbornly defend it as if we are knights of a holy order. That is, and will be the only reason for the stagnation the gaming community. Everyone is just beating a dead horse on social media, siding with this or that machine, and the game journalism outlets can just fuel the fire to attract views.

As much as we fight it, we have to accept it, and all these comments won’t change a thing, from the random hate message to the childish memes. All of us, we, you, and I, as customers probably don’t affect the bigger decisions of these companies… The corporations see the big picture and they act accordingly. That’s the sad truth, and any business person – not just gaming – including you myself will tell you that sadly! We are sheep to the corporations, trends and products, not the other way around. That’s because they have people crunching the numbers and they know which way the wind is blowing.

Sony HQ

The gaming consoles, the industry in general is shifting to a different concept and ideal, to gather more people into the entertainment sector. Gaming is a form of entertainment such as movies and music. The way the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will function is inevitable to bring the best of all world, and this is sadly the worst part: Gaming as we know has changed, and whether we like it or not, the industry won’t switch back to this current generation, technology, concept or ideals.

So stop trying to revive the so-called golden age of gaming, memories of the NES, SNES and Mega Drive era. The same will happen to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in couple of years, and the next generation of gamers will laugh at us, our past preferences and old technology. Those in the end, are the dreams of a nostalgic fool. You don’t see me trying to stop you playing music on you iPod, because I believe the Walkman is better… You want to live in the past, that’s your choice, and yours only to keep. Remember when motion control was a gimmick? Well the Wii blew out all console charts.

Worldwide console sales 2007-2010

Changes need time, and nobody will accept them on the spot, and as drastic as some ideas are, they will either die, or thrive. Microsoft believes it will gather all entertainment medium in one machine? Great for them, as it is a logical financial step for them, especially with Microsoft spreading their investment into TV networks such as Telewest and music. The PlayStation 4 believes it will cater more to the core gamer? Even better, because the PlayStation and technology arm of their company is not their “bread and butter“,  losing $8.5 billion in the past ten years, meanwhile their insurance business (Sony Life Insurance Co.), movies and music has earned a cumulative profit worth $16 billion in the same amount of time.

Since I live in the Middle East, let me point out at something very urgent and important: We will suffer the most from this transition, but it’s our responsibility to make it a success. Maybe not ours, but at least the whole of the Arab countries and governments. You see, the Middle East as the rest of the world, will follow the strongest mind and products that are made to be adapted to the mass, and not vice versa. We as Middle Easterners do not influence anything when it comes to gaming consoles or titles, but we are influenced by everyone else.

You are complaining about Netflix not working in the Middle East? That’s because we are not ready for it. Making a fuss about the 24 hour connectivity required for the Xbox? Well, we should have better internet by now, don’t you think? Honestly, every major service on a PC or smartphone is shifting to the web and cloud. These guys aren’t the only people embracing always-on. There’s no Lebanon on the PSN or Xbox Live map? That’s because we can’t support it, not the other way around. Then you think DRM is a problem, and it shouldn’t exist? It’s because of our region that videogame companies are most concerned about piracy – we’re second on the piracy map –  because it’s there and shouted out in the loudest way.

The gaming-only system was and is becoming more a myth now, and as mere consumers, we all don’t like how gaming companies are all “playing” with our wallets in so many ways (DLCs, DRM, Preorders, etc.). But this is the reality, and we are just small ants compared to their master plans, because we often miss the big picture. Look at the numbers nowadays, the biggest so-called gaming medium are now tablets and smartphones, as the iPad’s grossing numbers prove it, and excessive amount of single dollar games. If the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can’t change to cater this new breed of “gaming” then they are both dooming themselves.

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  • Wasim
    May 29, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Great stuff Nazih. I don’t completely agree with your “We are not ready for it” argument, as I believe its the manufactures job to provide for global markets, taking in consideration the region’s demands and supplies.

    The Middle East is a wonderful market waiting to be explored and companies looking to invest in our region must understand the local demands of customers in Arab countries.

    Companies such Microsoft and Sony understand this market very well, but they choose to marginalize portions over production’s cost and demands. Shame we are not first, or second world countries, but we will continue to buy their systems regardless of online connectivity or alienation of used games market.


  • June 8, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Great, great, article Nazih. I plan on purchasing the WiiU, PS4 and XB1, but only when all of them give me real incentive. People go back and forth over which is better– I just want a QUALITY gaming platform. Something worth my money…


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