The Big Question: How Do You Feel About Console Wars?

EA's COO Peter Moore recently said something interesting. He claimed that console wars are good for the games industry; that fans love it, that it drives interest in products and it drives investment in products. How do you feel about that? Would you like to live in a one console universe, with no exclusives, no need to buy three pieces of tech that do that same thing, or do you enjoy spending thousands of dollars on different consoles?

On the one hand I understand precisely what Peter Moore is saying: console wars are dramatic, they're fun, they're interesting to write and read about — but are they really consumer friendly? Wouldn't a single console future be better for consumers and better for business? Less confusion, more money to spend on games.

Think about the way HD-DVD's and Blu Rays stalled until a winner was finally declared on the next generation movie format. Maybe there are millions of lapsed gamers just holding out and we don't even realise it?

What are your thoughts?


Comments

    Competition is good for games. You really think Sony would push The Last of Us as hard as they do if they were just a developer for the "one console?"

    A "single console future" sounds like a recipe for stagnation.

    Last edited 02/07/14 11:21 am

    Competition is great for business, and also great for consumers.

    On a personal level, I couldn't give a rats ass about the "console wars". I'm just happy to sit here and play games.

      +1.

      Competition is good.
      Juvenile pissing contests on the internet are tiresome.

        But the Sony rebuttals against Xbone on release was hil-freaking-larious

          The "how to share games on PS4" video was one of the best things I've ever seen, period.

      Damn right. Who wants to miss out on some great offerings due to some stupid platform bias.

    Tip: If EA's telling something is good for you, there's probably a 70% chance it will give you cancer.

    We can have more consoles, but I don't like the war attached to it. The fanboyism, the dedication, the belief that somebody is somehow lesser than you because they bought a different product.

    The vitriol is astounding and only cements our bad reputation as a whole. I doubt that the 'wars' helps us, the competition certainly does, but the 'war' is damaging and stupid and has been for years/decades.

    War. War never changes.

      People find excuses for tribalism in just about ANYTHING they're passionate about. It's pretty healthy, normal human social conditioning.

      The only problem is when you take it too seriously and actually start to believe in some kind of inherent superiority or types of people, or whatever. (Unless you're a console heathen or haven't properly dedicated yourself to the purity of KB&M in which case yes, there is probably something wrong with your genes.)

      Sports, cars, politics, religion, universities, hell if you delve deep enough into any hobby you'll frequently find some sort of minor schism between proponents of One True Way or the other. I had a friend who used to get into fierce forum wars about banjo 'picking' techniques. Rivalry is fun, competition is fun, getting good and frothy about, fully aware of the act for what it is.

      Tribalism's in our blood. Part act, part ritual. But having the self-awareness to know when to go home arm in arm with the 'opposition' is what makes it OK. But if you can't do that, that's when people get hurt.

      You only need to take a look at the British/Australian schooling system of using 'houses' for competition, compared to the US where they compete school vs school. The US kids don't get conditioned to realize that your best mates, your home-room classmates, CAN be in another House, and it's OK to come back together outside of the designated competition spaces. They are genuinely schooled in an inflexible 'with us or against us' mentality from childhood, which carries over to far too many other activities in life. (Including International diplomacy, it seems.)

      That kind of education doesn't seem to exist so much in the Internet outside of the cliques where better-adjusted Elders lead by example, even if only lampooning themselves and mugging for the camera about their tribalism.

        Tribalism in many forms is - I agree - healthy, leading to decent competition, innovation...a lot of positives both for the individual involved and the community as a whole. Not one argument there.

        Where I get worried about this kind of response is highlighted mostly in this case, the console wars. Going back to your banjo picking friend, that schism is based around technique, around skill. Political schisms are based off philosophy and (you would at least hope this is the case) the thoughts and experiences of the people involved. Most schisms/collaborations/tribalism comes from something that involves work on behalf of the individual, be it thought or something else.

        Here, it is because you made one single decision - "Which piece of hardware will I buy?" That's it. The end. No further effort required. One decision, no further thought, follow up, nothing.

        To promote this 'war' as healthy for the marketplace is childish and foolish. To leverage it for business opportunities (XBONE exclusive DLC for Batman! PS4 exclusive DLC for Batman!) is both a terrifyingly astute business move and a shockingly face-palming social decision. The 'war' should be nothing - don't fuel the fire, don't stoke the ego or the ire of one side or another based around a single commercial product. Brand loyalty is one thing. Leveraging that loyalty to such a degree that nobody would blink if I copy pasted comments by fanboys telling people to prematurely end their life by their own hand because they spent their hard earned money on a different product? That people shrug and say "that's the Internet."

        Where is that a good thing? How is that a good thing?

        It isn't, which is why I agree that the inflexibility of such a system ingrains patterns of behaviour onto people which becomes harder and harder to shake off as they age, and the tribalism leads them into territory where viciously defending your side of the argument in the way they have been trained leads to terrifying consequences. That 13 year old that calls you a fag because you bought a PS4? One day he will be in a workplace and potentially in charge of people, with some of them not sexually straight.

        You would hope maturity comes along before then, but this kind of thing would have an impact on later life.

        In short I agree with what you said, including KB&M, and am sitting here wondering how we ended up in such a deep conversation about console wars.

    company competition is great, but when you're talking "console wars" that breeds fanboy-ism amongst consumers? Tiring, childish and a total waste of goddamn time. Just STFU and play games. Nobody cares what console you play.

    Competition is definitely good for consumers in this context, but it'll have a more direct effect for the consoles and a much reduced effect for other platforms and on the industry in general. PC users will feel this somewhat from devs who actively produce for the console market and mobile gaming will be completely unaffected by this. As long as this is an actual, tangible win for consumers and not simply PR bluster from industry heavyweights, it can only be good.

    Last edited 02/07/14 11:32 am

    I think "War" is probably not the best word to be using. AFAIK nobody has died defending their console of choice.

    Also, it seems the majority of games are getting the cross platform treatment and neither Sony nor Microsoft have THAT many exclusives when you think about it. And does it really matter which console you get if you by and large can get the same games on each one anyway? Nintendo probably has the upper hand in that area at the moment.

    It does bring competition which usually means a good thing. On the other hand it sometimes means companies don't take risks and just churn out what they know will sell well *cough*Activision*cough*.

      You tell that to the Veterans of the Gamecube Valley, man, who marched 15 kilometres through heavy gunfire from them damn Sony guerillas only to walk into the XBOX artillery forces!

      Also, more seriously, Activision would churn out the same product absent all consoles, it's how their business is set up.

    Competitions are great. Wars are just messy affairs in which both sides escalate until everyone loses. I'm just glad they haven't reached Apple/Samsung heights yet and hope that they never do.

    Competition is good, we can't have one player being top dog all the time because then they get too big for their britches and think they can get away with anything.

    Take Sony and the PS3 launch. Bugger all games, limited online features and a $1000 price tag. Then they had to eat humble pie and drop the price because it turns out that people won't work extra shifts to pay for an expensive console with no games and limited online features when there's cheaper competitors. The PS4 might not have many games yet but it was a much more attractive launch option than the PS3.

    Nintendo are sort of going through the same thing now. The Wii printed money because it was unique and they targeted non-gamer audiences, but the WiiU isn't doing the same thing because it isn't as unique and the non-gamer audiences aren't the type to upgrade their hardware each generation, so now they have to fall back on the gamers again and are working to get actual games on their system.

    Microsoft had a bit of it too with their "You will be online all the time, register every game and use kinect because we say so!" attitude before launch and they had to change their tune because all they did was make the PS4 look more attractive.

    All this craziness happened WITH competition, so imagine what we'd get if we just had one console on the scene.

    I really hate timed exclusivity. It usually results in me being hyped about a game finding out its a timed exclusive then not caring by the time it comes to my preferred platform.

    If it's all in fun... unfortunately 99% of the comments/forums I come across are filled with incredibly hostile and violent diatribes against what is essentially an individuals personal preference.

    When it was SEGA Vs Nintendo it was never as psychotic as it is now... because all in all we all knew we liked the other guys system anyway and most of us now own both, and usually buy all current consoles as well.

    True gaming community can really only be found in the Emulation scene and the many retro forums tucked away on the net, where all Consoles & Computers are respected as equal, and the pros & cons of any system can be discussed without even a glimmer of some biased emotional attachment. Does not mean you cannot still have your favourites!

    Last edited 02/07/14 1:17 pm

      If you read the recently published book 'Console Wars' there was some pretty zany shit going on, mostly on Sega's part, but it was all greatly entertaining. Even Sony pulled a few strokes at the point where the PS1 wasn't even out yet.

      Last edited 02/07/14 3:45 pm

        I mean on the gamers side. On the corporate side, though, I love when companies take jibs and jabs at each other. Unfortunately it's really a bit of a thing of the past - to many potential court cases to worry about in these decades...

        The original PlayStation was such an awesome machine that all us long time Sega & Nintendo fans all jumped ship. I still remember when the PlayStation 1st released, the local K-Mart had a machine on display, behind glass, like in a jewellery store and many gamers would stare at the beautiful machine, spellbound, with only the price-tag snapping you out of the daydream. I have never seen that effect since - it really was like a machine from the future somehow made it into our 1990's reality.

        I miss that Sony Computer Entertainment. They captivated a generation.

        Now it all feels like we are just the end of Sony, MS & Nintendos production lines...

        Last edited 08/07/14 11:47 am

    It's a bit of a mixed bag, really.

    On the one hand, fanboyism is a plague I think we could really all do without. Also, with a single console platform there would be less resources wasted in porting a single game to multiple platforms, reducing costs overall and probably leading to more games.

    On the other hand, competition helps drive the technology, so we wind up with better consoles sooner. Investment in exclusives results in some development that otherwise would probably not happen.

    There will always be console wars. Maybe not Sony and Microsoft, but there will be console wars in one form or another. 20 years ago who would've predicted that a company who made Walkmans and another that does geeky computer stuff for your office would be the big two console competitors?

    The thing to consider is what shape will these consoles be in in 10-20 years time. Will more companies try to be like Nintendo and offer a pure gaming platform or will they go the way of Sony & Microsoft with 'media centre' consoles? Either way, any competition is better for the consumer than no competition, but considering the size of the industry and how well the Xbone & PS4 have flown off the shelves even without a killer game between them, there's always going to be someone willing to step into the circle should Microsoft or Sony pull out of the industry.

    As above though, the only downside of a console war is trawling through loads of fanboy and trolling comments on forums

    Console Wars: Good for Competition, Bad for Sanity.

    Having a single console manufacturer sounds bad from the innovation/competition stand point. Having multiple brands of consoles that can play the same game discs would be an interesting development though.

    Console wars are just dividing the same group of people, as for fanboys, I always assume they (or their parents) can only afford one console.

    "...end of the day, as long as there are two people left on the planet, someone is gonna want someone dead."

    Monopolies are never good for any industry. That said, I wish the playing field with this generation were a little more even. Competition where one side has a (not insignificant) perception bias is almost as bad as a monopoly.

    Im sure that "competition" is /= to "console wars".

    2 different topics. One is competing products, the other is insane fanboyism that doesn't necessarily equate to actual spent dollars. Personally, im platform agnostic. Just waitn on that console pokemon game to round out this gen (built a pc last week).

    Last edited 02/07/14 3:41 pm

    Fine. My PC master race with steam, gog, torrents, mods, Xbox 360 controller and tv is obviously the winner.

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