No. Thanks for reading.
Okay, I’ll do a bit more than that since there is a lot I’d like to say and I just so happen to have a strong aversion to this idea.
Home game consoles were traditionally something you’d get and keep for a good seven to, idunno, twenty years? My SNES was played until the power supply failed on it and forced me to give it up. The main reason those systems had that level of staying power was because throughout their life cycles, the hardware changes were very minimal ranging anywhere from a new controller to an easier way to load the cartridge in. In fact, it wasn’t really until the original Playstation where we got an actual dramatically different looking version of a home console.
The first PlayStation was a surprise success and spawned the PSOne (I think) which was basically just a tinier version of the same system. Nothing special, just smaller and maybe a marginally better chip set. I think there may have even had the option to add that tiny screen to play it “on the go”. Well, as long as you had an outlet and a place to sit with it so the disc didn’t get scratched from movement. Looking back, not the best idea to play with it outside either, since there was so much dust and bugs that could fly into your vents. Man, what a dumb idea in the end…
Anyway, that console and its predecessor were essentially the same thing and instead of dividing the audience, it gave more options for people to choose from. However, I don’t believe that is the case with the advent of the PS4.5 and Xbox 1.5 (or whatever name it ends up being). I believe it was Microsoft that talked about “Project Helix” which despite its very Sci-Fi gone wrong name, actually refers to its plan to completely merge its Xbox and Windows platforms. However, the issue isn’t with that but with the idea that they can begin to ask for an upgrade similar to how Apple does things. In other words, build a fairly hard to tamper with unit, request you to return it to them for repairs, and then upgrade it every year until your hardware can no longer run the latest software.
But so what? Why does that make this a bad thing? Well, because perhaps ironically, the essence of video gaming and interactive entertainment is inclusion. Imagine if you would, a scenario where physical media was still prevalent. Say you just spent all night playing your newest game and as morning breaks, sprint over to your friend Scott’s house with the latest Halo game in hand. You’ve played the shit out of it on your “Xbox 10k.2” and you can’t wait to do some co-op with him. So you get to his place, pop it in and…. it doesn’t work. It turns out your friend bought his Xbox two years ago and has the regular “Xbox 10k”, you know, the one WITHOUT the neural link. So your brand new software is just “incompatible” without a workaround of some kind and since the system isn’t perfectly modular, you can’t just switch it out easily. That’s how Apple operates and that is similar to what iterative consoles could do.
Now I know this is pure speculation at this point but it wouldn’t be an Editorial otherwise. However, I would like to posit one note Heisenberger brought up when I suggested just turning these consoles into tiny PCs. People buy home consoles because “they just work”. You don’t need expert knowledge to boot up an Xbox. You plug in the cables, turn it on, and it runs by itself without any formal knowledge of error codes or its inner workings. A PC on the other hand is a fragile creature that can break from just about anything, so its operator needs to know the basics to keep on playing CS:GO all night long. It’s for this very reason that iterative consoles could prove volatile to the industry. Instead of buying a console every six – seven years, you’re basically forced to upgrade every year or two just to make sure you don’t become obsolete or worse yet, to make sure your software continues to work.
The idea to turn home console gaming into a more Apple i-device scenario is a scary step towards something I never thought I’d see. Back in the day, it was so easy to play with anyone you want. Your friend has an SNES, you go get an SNES and it will work with whatever games he has. However, our future generations may have to face a scary & divisive question no home console gamer has had to ask when just trying to play with their friends; “which version do you have?”
Andron (or Ace as he likes to call himself) is the so called "Head Honcho" of Bombchu.com. He has a deep passion for video games primarily RPGs, Fighting or Adventure. When not gaming, he's furiously typing on his keyboard or coming up with new schemes.