Editorials

Published on April 14th, 2012 | by Lawson Douvier, Contributor

What Would a Single Console World Be Like?

At this time, one of everyone’s favorite subjects to speculate upon is the next generation of consoles. However, I like to think a little further ahead. Well, probably a lot further ahead. I’m curious as to what the future of the console holds. And, after considering all the factors, I feel that that future should bring a single, monumental console that gives all gamers, whether casual or hardcore, exactly what they want. It’s not the easiest path, and it comes complete with its own set of pitfalls, but it makes the most sense. Just hear me out.

At this point in time, we obviously have three major consoles, discounting handheld consoles: the Xbox 360, the PS3 and the Wii. The Wii has been the best selling, strongly due to Nintendo’s ability to capture the casual crowd. Of course, Microsoft and Sony were not going to close their eyes and think of England, and that’s how we got the Kinect and the Move. Nintendo is now going to attempt to win a larger group of the hardcore gamers with the Wii U. According to various sources, it is going to meet, or possibly surpass, the power of the 360 and the PS3. Of course, the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony will follow shortly, and will probably surpass the Wii U. For all intents and purposes, it’s an arms race.

Every console wants what the other two have, while retaining what it does best. In my eyes, somebody is going to win eventually, even if it’s a dark horse that no one sees coming. One console will be able to harness both the hardcore crowd, and the casual gamers. One console is going to take a major risk that the others are too afraid to follow, or someone’s going to make a huge error; in this hypothetical scenario, it doesn’t really matter how it occurs. What matters is what it will change for the gaming community; and, as always, there will be benefits and disadvantages.

The PSWii60 (Speculatively)

The first and most obvious benefit of a single console (let’s call it the PSWii60) would be the impact on your pocketbook. Many gamers, including myself, now own multiple consoles in order to take advantage of the best of each, not to mention the console-exclusive games. If there was only the PSWii60, that wouldn’t be a concern. Granted, it would probably be more expensive without competition, but it would more than likely be less than three consoles at launch date. Another benefit is that there would be no more deciding which console to purchase a game for. For me, that decision doesn’t come to the infinitesimal difference in the graphics between the 360 and the PS3; it’s basically which console haven’t I played in a while, with a preference given to the PS3 for the controller. It just wouldn’t matter anymore.

The game you get will be the same for everyone. No more bemoaning purchasing Skyrim for the PS3 because you got a horrible lag issue; if you have an issue, mostly everyone else will, too. And knowing that others feel your pain is quite nice, sometimes. Another, albeit lesser, benefit is that it would just reduce clutter. I have my fifth wedding anniversary next month, and if I had a hat for every time my wife complained about the ridiculous amount of controllers I have laying around on the coffee table and couches, I could open a damn haberdashery. I’ve told her that maybe in the future, I won’t need multiple controllers for all the different systems, but that argument has gotten me nowhere.

Now to deal with the disadvantages. Honestly, I can only think of one, but it is a pretty big one. My one fear is that if the PSWii60 did come about, it would staunch the flow of innovation. If there were no competition, then there would seemingly be no reason to create new and better products. They could rest on their laurels, and we would just have to take it. But my answer to this is to put faith in developers. People who make games want to break new ground and amaze people. At least, most of them do. I believe that in the new video game landscape, the developers would have to drive innovation, forcing the triumphant company to create new peripherals and other things that they would need to keep creating better products. It’s a lot of faith to put in a small group of people, but I feel that this would be the way it ended up working; the console would be made by the games, and not the games by the console.

Of course, this is just my thought process, and I’ve never claimed to be Nostradamus; the tri-console system could continue on indefinitely for all I know. But it would be interesting to see what happened if someone won the console wars. Would new ideas have a place? Would the losing companies still have a place in the video game world? Would the winning company be brought up on charges of a monopoly? Probably. All I hope is that you don’t have to pay an extra $50 a year to play online. That would just be ridiculous.

I would like to hear what you (Yeah, You!) think about it. Any pitfalls I missed out on? What company would you like to see rise above the rest?

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