With the upcoming release of the new next gen consoles and the excitement growing everywhere for the next generation of console gaming, it struck a curious thought for me about them. I’ve noticed something that has affected me in many ways when I’m conflicted between what new console to buy, and that is the exclusives that come with each console. On release or 4 years down the road, I want to buy the console that has the games that I will enjoy the most on it. I’ve been an Xbox fan for such a long time because my best game experiences have been on the Halo franchise, despite growing up on a Playstation. When considering if I’d like to buy the Xbox One down the line or the PS4, I find myself conflicted between broadening my horizons or sticking to what I know with the new Halo 5.
Indeed I won’t just buy a console for one specific game, but if I’m attached to a franchise and want to see the continuation and eventual end of it, that would be my first pick. The whole debacle had me left with multiple questions and I eventually ended up just wishing that there was only one console, and no exclusives at all. I realized that this would be the death of consoles altogether and it led for some interesting discussion.
The one thing in my eyes that keeps consoles flourishing and forever relevant is the fact that there is an ongoing competition between Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft. It’s not necessarily the fact that they are constantly neck and neck trying to pull more consumers to their product with the best technology in their devices (more so for Sony & Microsoft), but rather the exclusives they offer. It seems that the thought process as perceived from an outsider is; the more exclusives you control, the more consumers you gather. This is why E3 is a thing, why GamesCon is a thing and why every video gaming convention is a thing, game announcements and creating excitement.
What would happen if we didn’t have the exclusives at all, and we had the power of choice between what platform we wanted to buy our game on? If I had the choice on whether I wanted to get The Division, or Watch Dogs for any platform, I would most likely choose PC. Although my opinion obviously does not reflect that of every gamer, I’m not the only one out there that would choose a PC game over a console game if I had the choice. The question isn’t if a computer is better or more reliable than a console or vice versa, the question is simply what if we had the choice?
Comfortability and ease of use are the biggest things console gaming has going for it at the moment. Some might argue the price point is the biggest thing that separates a console from a computer and that would be a reasonable statement if it was true. While a great gaming computer that has the potential to last a few years and run most games might cost around $1000, the games can also be infinitely cheaper. Price point is almost a null and void factor when most games on console are $60 right off the bat, PC gaming has evolved to a point where we have an infinite number of possibilities and one of the most prominent is indie and free to play. While I may not be a fan of free to play games, they are becoming a massive thing as of late and cannot be ignored.
Just because you have to fork out that $1000 upfront and out of pocket does not mean that a computer is automatically more expensive than a console. There are hundreds of variables that come into effect and for each person it might be different but the average gamer would be spending almost the same amount if not near. So is it the illusion of a higher price because we are paying more for a PC, or is there something else still making people want console gaming?
I’ve been a console gamer since I was a little kid, in fact I still am a console gamer, just on a different platform. I may not play exclusively on a console 100% of the time, but 75% of the games I play are with a controller USB wired into my PC. Perhaps the comfortable feeling is a larger factor than most might think, it is very relaxing to sit down on a couch rather than a rock hard computer chair anyways.
This isn’t a debate over which platform is better, rather a connection of ideas and points that the general populous seems to always fall back on. When all of those points are stripped away and the only one left is the exclusives, what happens if those didn’t exist anymore? Are we really going to continue to base our purchase on these next gen consoles simply because we have a deep loyalty to one game? Console gaming has become a fight between who gets what game for what platform and who has more processing power and RAM in their respective product.