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The Console Wars Are Getting Old | Column from the Editor

So which one are you getting? The Wi-Fi router or the mini fridge?

So are you guys getting the mini fridge or the wifi router? Xbox ...

That meme is as far as my investment goes into the next generation of console wars, between the PlayStation 5 and the XBox Series X. 

I’ve lived through the Nintendo versus Sega console wars, and I vividly remember when the first editions of the PlayStation and XBox came out. I was more invested back then firstly because I was much younger, and because each console offered a different experience with vastly different libraries of games. In the late 90s to early 2000s, it seemed as if the potential for what video games could do and be was limitless, especially in the realm of handhelds, Virtual Reality, and yes, even motion controls. 

In 2020, gaming consoles are at their best weak PCs, with the handheld market all but eviscerated by the mobile market, as it’s hanging on by a thread by Nintendo. And indeed, unless you have a Nintendo console, your PlayStation or XBox is just a fancy box full of the best graphic cards and other PC bits they can sell you at a console price. They’re PCs without the customizability, and I sincerely think that the bland graphics-driven approach Microsoft and Sony have taken to consoles is on its way out. The console wars are a boor because they haven’t been about creativity for years; they’re a pointless contest between who has the best hardware and graphics, and they’ve been between just Sony and Microsoft for at least a decade. 

The concept of gaming consoles are becoming antiquated, and I don’t anticipate buying a PS5 or XBox Series X. I do, however, hope to acquire a Nintendo Switch. 

We’ve reached a point where graphics only have so much more room to improve, and we’re already capable of our games reaching a level of frames per second that the human eye cannot detect. There’s a fine limit as to how realistic we can make our games.

The arms race to have the most advanced graphics and technical benchmarks is a dead end for consoles. What they need to focus on is innovative gameplay and creative ways to tell interactive stories PC games are ill-equipped to handle. 

As consoles become more bloated, and their prices skyrocket to be on par with your average gaming PC, they will lose the one advantage they have: Convenience and ease of access. And when that happens, the day of the console will be over. 

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