Get people talking about their console of choice, and things naturally become quite heated. I get why that's happening, especially around such a hype-heavy period as E3 week. Still, it makes me a little sad, because, as gamers, there's just so damned much that we should all be celebrating.
"Oh, you're SO BIASED against the Xbox One!"
"It's only because you're on the payroll of Microsoft that you can't admit Sony is best!"
"Nintendo do great work, but you'll never admit that, because you're a Sony fanboy!"
As a professional journalist, I get that kind of mud (with vendor names pretty much interchangeable) all the time. It comes with the territory, because it's the easiest knee-jerk reaction to throw out there, even if it's not accurate. It makes the mud-slinger feel better in an instant, and that's what's important in that instant. Which isn't to say that I don't have my own personal biases, because I pretty clearly do… but I'm getting off point here.
Between Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft and plenty of others, big and small, we've seen some incredible news come out of E3 this week, including a number of things that could well change gaming markedly over the next couple of years. On the small scale, the next generation of Sony and Microsoft machines are seriously cheaper than most expected, which is a huge plus.
On the larger scale, digital is picking up speed, even though nobody's quite sure how it's going to finally look. Microsoft went into E3 with a black eye over used games policies, but it seems as though that could be mitigated entirely by their plans to make your "family" any group of people you choose to name. Sony's adopting what appears to be an open attitude to gaming that's generally at odds with the way that Sony usually does business. Nintendo's relying on existing IP, but at least from Mark's first-hand reports, they're doing the usual finely-crafted business of making very playable games.
That's the business of games — and then there's the games themselves. New iterations of old IP, and entirely new games to get excited about, whether it's this year, next year or in the years to come. E3 has shown that it's unlikely that any one company will dominate, and you know what?
That's excellent, no matter which gaming "camp" you decide to put yourself in. Competition amongst the big players leads to bigger gains for us as the eventual end consumers, because it encourages a whole lot of innovation. Will everything announced this week come to Australia — or even matter if it doesn't? I don't know, but that doesn't matter, because there's new games models being tried, new games to play and a whole lot of fun on the horizon.
That's something I think we should all celebrate, rather than bickering endlessly about how "That console is for the insert-your-choice-of-sadly-all-too-often-mysoginistic-or-homophobic-or-narrow-minded-slur-here".
If Microsoft busts out something truly great that's only for the Xbox One, that's no reason why a Playstation 4 owner can't be having fun with some Playstation 4 exclusive either. Wii U owners can look forward to the long drought of titles being over, and PC gamers aren't left out either, as they get to pick and choose around the best of the best.
It's all good, and we, as a gaming community, should be celebrating that, rather than slinging mud at each other. I've spent serious time comment moderating this week, and there's been an awful lot stuff I've rejected simply because it's fanning the flames without adding to the conversation, and nowhere near enough celebration of what's actually wonderful in gaming. I know... that's human nature for you. Still, it'd be nice if we could all accept the really cool stuff that's bursting forth from every side of gaming right now.
Also, and this is entirely tangential, I'm never writing an article around a Black Eyed Peas song lyric ever again.