Nintendo itself is not the brand

Neither are their developers or any of the individuals we see on streams and in interviews. Nintendo’s value as a brand goes up and down according to what they do. While branding is often given to the visual design and flavour of a company or a product, everyone knows branding is a lot more. If not consciously, then through unconscious osmosis of simple consumption of products. Brand goes hand-in-hand with reputation and the perceived value of the product produced by the company. Naturally, the product’s perceived value colours the value of the company.

It is extremely easy to make your product to look bland, and once you’ve made that misstep, it’s hard to recovered. Mass Effect Andromeda is extremely bland bland game and thus its perceived value is low. Patches only help so much, and PR is what the publisher must do in order to recover from the failure. It’s even worse if the fans lose their perceived value on the game, and that takes some effort to do. Like making your characters hold guns in reverse and essentially making it inferior to the first title in the series. Much like other AAA video game titles, it’s a very bland, very grey product.

What brings colour into a product is disruption. Nintendo has a history of heating up the Blue Ocean and disrupt the market with coloured products, though they have a history doing very grey products that wallow in the Red Ocean as well. The Switch, as it is currently, is about disruption in the video game industry. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo went with what probably is the future of console gaming and created a hybrid system.

To use car industry as an example, Volvo’s brand is security and safety. Their cars are not the most exciting things in the world, but they are very trustworthy overall and suit the best for everyone. Until somewhat recently you couldn’t find a car that would move away from this branding from their main lineup. This is because Volvo has begun to change this somewhat bland yet trustworthy brand image of theirs with premium cars that offer more exciting cars. Their image is not safety, but the content with the car and the options you can have.

Nintendo’s brand has been perceived similarly as kid’s and family’s console to play. A Nintendo console usually has a good variety of games for everyone to play, whereas Xbox is a first-person shooting game wet dream in console form (though that has been severely diminished with the lacklustre recent Halo titles) while Sony is that black console cool kids who like hardcore games go for. The original PlayStation followed Nintendo’s branding as a whole family’s future generation console, but at the same time used Sega’s not-just-for-children approach. While the PlayStation had games that kids enjoyed, it also had titles like WipeOut that hit the cultural club scene if the latter 1990’s. The N64 on the other hand wasn’t everybody’s console due to the sheer shit tier library it had. Saturn was ever successful in Japan and was mostly staying within then-passed arcade port title. As much as it hurts Saturn and Dreamcast fans, arcade ports didn’t cut it any more at that point, and arcades themselves were starting to die out.

People don’t just buy what companies are selling. They buy the perceived product the company is selling. Shit in a can isn’t perceived valuable, but when an artist does it and sells it as art, the perceived value among certain crowd skyrockets.

Nintendo Switch currently has a highly regarded perceived value because of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. No other title is driving its sales as much. 1-2 Switch is a joke, though the new Bomberman seems to have gone through a rise in perceived value after the latest patch. The Switch is currently the prime example how game industry and the Red Ocean consumers don’t get the market worth jack shit. As I’ve mentioned before, the Switch was proclaim dead on arrival and that its weak hardware wouldn’t be able to do anything. Yet, BotW alone is driving Switch’s sales. This is what a Zelda game is capable of when it is allowed to be true to the series rather than just a puzzle-dungeon game. Less Aonuma there is with Zelda, the better it gets.

It doesn’t matter if you personally think that these people who bought Switch and are enjoying its games are normies or have shit taste. They are not the deviation of the form, but the rule. The AAA game industry might shove millions into a game production and barely make even with the Red Ocean consumer, who seems to be easier consumer to please and pull money from as the Red Ocean is filled with competition. Developing and releasing games and consoles is hard work, and while it can be understood why Red Ocean developers want to stick where they’re most comfortable at (of course, with no expanded life experiences outside games, how could you even imagine developing game for the Blue Ocean consumer? Shoving an agenda to the player’s view is the last thing they want) and this is why even 10% drop in sequel game’s sales will put alarms on. Despite millions being in play, even the slightest change will throw the finely tuned balance off.

While video game industry is creative, it is service industry. If you want to use this sort of comparison, video game developer is on the same level as a burger flipper. Developers’ job is to serve the consumer and their needs, it is the consumer who ultimately decides whether or not your product is good enough to be purchased. You can work your burger however well, but if the consumer doesn’t want it, the onus is on you. Not on the consumer.

Nintendo’s last three home consoles show how their disruption coloured their brand. The Wii , as much as the Red Ocean hates it, was a massive success because Nintendo didn’t stay with the comfortable Red Ocean market. The Wii U was made for the Red Ocean, and it succeeded worth jack shit. Hell, it was pulled from the stores to make room for the Switch, which again has disrupted the industry and hopefully will continue to do so with both low- and high-end software aimed for everybody.

The 4K generation

During the last generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were dubbed the HD Twins. Not necessarily by the industry itself, but at least a small amount of people. While the current generation, that will be usurped by the Switch next year, started with HD as well. However, seeing we’re again at a point where companies do mid-generation upgrades instead of just mid-generation re-design, I’ll be dubbing PlayStation 4 Pro and Project Scorpio, whatever its finalised name will be, the 4K Twins. Technically, Xbox One S should be added there too, but the games are upscaled to 4K rather being native. Call me nitpicky.

The 4K is a bit of a problem, because most people don’t have 4K screens yet. Just like HD became a thing in the last generation, it’ll take some time before 4K becomes a standard. Scratch that, technically 4K is a standard already, but the standard is not widespread within the general population in the Western world like. It takes time for people to adopt the latest cutting edge technology, and that’s good. Why is that good, people are holding technology back! I’ve heard someone ask. The reason is that despite some technology not being able to sell well at first, the reasons can be many. The high price, the unnecessary complex nature and usage, quality and sometimes not being wanted often are the more pressing elements. LCD television technology itself is a good example of this as both LCD, Plasma and CRT television existed, and to some extent still exist, beside each other.

It would seem that the general population prefers to have mature technology in their hands instead of cutting edge.

The 4K and HD will exist beside each other at least to the end of the century, if not more. This is a guess on my part, but seeing how 8K is already making its first initial rounds, investing into a 4K screen might feel a bit off. Then again, that is the evolution of technology. Something new will always be waiting just around the corner. That’s why we always come to a point where we can pick something new up, or wait until things are ironed out and becomes more affordable.

That doesn’t really work with the 4K twins.

If these were redesigns of the existing consoles like what we’ve seen in the past, there would be no real contest which one to pick up. Usually. The last version of PS3 is just ugly. The issues with PS4 Pro and the upcoming Scorpio will have whole slew of new problems that have not yet been fixed. Mainly because we have don’t have an idea what those problems are, but most likely both companies are well aware of the issues with their machines prior to launch. The Red Ring of Death is still something that looms over Microsoft’s machines. I haven’t heard any major malfunctions from this generation, outside some people seemingly having a bricked Wii U thanks to Mighty Number 9, but at least one person has reported a molten PS4Pro. Take that as a grain of salt and do some research on the whole thing. Every thing’s possible, I guess. I’m no plastics expert. However, ever a single case like this usually rings the alarm bells in people’s heads.

The whole possibly molten PS4P aside, the issue that we should be more aware is the performance issues. Perhaps the hardware found in the PS4P is of higher calibre than the base PS4’s, but that should also mean that the games should run at a higher quality. Yet, if we take Digital Foundry‘s reports true, some games run worse on PS4P for whatever reason. Be it because of the new hardware or lack of optimisation (or the lack of experience in optimisation on PS4P) this is something I wouldn’t accept. But Aalt, aren’t you the one who says graphics and hardware doesn’t matter? Yes, yes I am and I’m getting to that.

The whole deal with mid-generation updates is, by all means, to allow the developers to put better looking stuff out there and have their games run better. In reality, this thought goes only halfway through. Devs most likely will push for better looking stuff, but will continue to ignore optimisation and 60fps lock if the game needs to be out. Some titles will sell with their name alone, damned be the quality of the title. The design quality of a game should not be dependent on the hardware. The controller a game is played with affects more the design than the hardware, thou we all can agree that simple number crunching power can allow some neat things overall. In the end, it’s the design that counts. What design, well, that’s another post.

Now, the question I have about the PS4P, and Scorpio by that extent, if we should be an early adopter or sit back and wait the kinks being ironed out. Honestly, that’s up to you. Some places recommend getting the base version for normal 1080 screens and some say go for Pro anyway. I’d recommend just checking the facts out and making a decision on those.

But, there’s another quick thing; should we all just jump in with the latest tech and keep things rolling around at the speed of sound? No, because that’s impossible. As said, most prefer mature technology and even tech that’s half a decade old can feel the most wondrous when properly designed and put into use. Those who didn’t experience Laserdisc’s abilities to have multiple languages on the disc were in awe by  DVD’s ability to house such things. There’s also the point that not all people simply have the money to keep up with the pace. As such, expecting companies to have things living beside each other is to be expected and that is exactly why  SONY has not yet moved the base PS4 from the market. People will simply pick it up for its price alone and might have rationale reasons not to go for the more expensive piece.

You can future proof your technological choices only so far. At some point, all your equipment will be old and replaced with new standards. Old does not mean obsoleted, and old can be of service years more than the newfangled piece of tech with all the problems still laying in the shadows.

I admit that this post was, to some extent, me putting my own struggle with the current generation down and to try make sense how to proceed in purchasing a console, or if I should even make a purchase overall.

Options do not equate complexity

Whenever I have a free option to update my programs to the latest versions for free, I usually take it. Office being one, because it’s such a standard everywhere that there really are no objections that I could reasonably make, even when there are arguably better alternatives out there. Nevertheless, I decided to roll the latest Office to my because why not, I should stay with on top how the latest version works and rolls for the future.

The first problem that came to me was with the installer and its utter lack of any sort of options. Not that the options were hidden, but the fact that there were none. The only thing you could do was to let the installer download all the files from Microsoft’s servers and then install them. No questions asked, not even language.  After looking into the fact a bit, turns out this has been an issue with some other people as well. Not all want the complete Office package, because most of them are just junk. The only ones that I wanted was Word and Excel, and because people still use PowerPoint for some unholy reason, I was more or less forced to install that piece of shit as well.

After browsing the Web a bit, I found out that Microsoft had released a file that unpack an .XML file to a destination. Whyever it needed to be inside an .EXE file is beyond me. This .XML essentially is the base for a config file you can yourself modify to exclude Office‘s elements and change such things as directory installation, language and which bit version you have.

After that a small visit in the Command Prompt to force the installer to use the .XML file and engage the modified installer you’ll end up with less cumbersome Office experience, if such thing exists.

This kind of thing pisses me off as a designer. There is nothing wrong in giving the consumer the power of options if that is feasible. Computer software has always had options with installations and even the dumbest idiot can manage a simple installation. The precedent this new Office installer gives is that consumers are treated and seen as retards that know jack shit about computing and the best option is to take every bit of control away, even from those who would otherwise understand what they’re doing. It’s a signal that Microsoft doesn’t seem to expect anything from its consumers.

There is a section of consumers who do require this sort of installers, yes. However, they are a minority and they should be lifted to the same level as the rest of the main section of users, no the other way around. Forcing a consumer group to dumb down their products and their uses creates products encourage this sort of ineptness with modern technology. It’s like using the microwave because you can’t be arsed to learn how to cook properly.

That’s the crux here. People don’t seem to be willing to learn anything what they seemingly don’t need. Even options are regarded as a complex nuisance. Again, I know I’ve harped on this issue multiple times in the past, but the more we see general, common consumer products being tied to a noose and their nature neutered for the sake of flowing use, the more products will be built into a box. While computer driven cars most likely will become a standard thing in the distant future, the simple thought of not having the control all the time on an icy road in the middle of buttfuck nowhere in the woods scares the living shit out of me.

Pretty much anything is like a lathe. The basic idea is dead simple; it spins stuff that you can chip stuff off. It becomes complex when we start to take into account the variables in the speeds and masses, and the different blades and so on. However, as complex as a lathe seems, it simply as a lot of options one needs to learn how to use the best in order to work with the machine. The exact same applies everywhere in our lives, and it doesn’t take hundreds of hours to learn the basics how to make the best of some program or even your OS. It just takes that want to learn and then utilise that gained knowledge, but the knowledge the consumer deems unnecessary they will gladly disregard. One thing less to remember.

That’s why alternatives exist. Nature hates an empty niche, and business market follows this same line of thinking, unless financially too risky or too expensive to realize. You won’t see free flight tickets, for example. Office might have multiple options to work with, just like Windows has. I intend to switch to some Linux distro in the future, so these options become more relevant at some point in the future. A lathe has options as well, but whereas you can quickly work a missing piece with a lathe, working by hands takes loads more time. The result might not be the same in the end either, as human mistakes are more prone to happen with handiwork.

While this is more or less an anecdotal post, I must add that I have been asked to remove certain elements from designs I’ve worked on to lessen Possibilities of misuse due to ignorance, essentially removing options the consumer may select due to some mistake or error, and then end up doing something he did not intend with the product. That’s why manuals exist, and despite people saying they don’t need manuals, everybody needs to read at least one once in their life to get started somehow.

I guess what I’m trying to say that you should always demand options for your product, be it a program or some other. It only benefits you and allows you the freedom of usage you’d otherwise lack, and even when you think you don’t want it, it gives you the power to have that option in general.

Death of traditional television will change game consoles

I’ve discussed how traditional television has been changing to on-demand services for a good while now. What I haven’t discussed much is that this has removed television itself as the central point of the living room, which also means the devices connected will see a drop in significance. Physical media itself won’t disappear as people have been saying for the last ten years or so, but the form it is in will change accordingly.

Granted, saying that television will die is a hyperbole of sorts, but it fits. Just like how VHS died to make room for the VHS. Same shit, different boxers.

I’ve been watching NFL in my local American burger joint on and off, and while I’ve gained appreciation and understanding towards handegg as a sport, it did make me think how easy it is for Big D to showcase something like this in the modern era. Through that I came across the news about NFL viewership plummeting, and while NFL’s popularity has been going down, this is an indicate of where things are going. As television has become decentralised, so has our habit on how we consume it. While we do have differences in how we consume television across the world, the similarities trump them. Just check one of our old ARG Test casts to hear about it.

The game consoles will follow in suit, and if the rumours of NX being a hybrid off home and handheld consoles are true, then Nintendo has probably foreseen this trend. The high-end console gamer will not decantralise his television too easily, he has too many consoles attached to it and too many games yet to be played. For the low-end consumer who infrequently gets consoles and is still rocking his Wii, this won’t be a problem. The industry and some of the high-end consumers have already labelled NX based on the rumours as a gimmick and as the torpedo that will sink the Nintendo ship, but they did that with the Wii too. As a reminder, the Wii made shittons of money.

If the NX is a hybrid console, playing both home and a on-the-road market, it would indeed look like Nintendo is taking into account the death of traditional television. If this road proves to be true, then we have to wonder why do both Sony and Microsoft invest millions into research and development of new ultra-HD consoles that have no central point? While both of these machines could be used for their streaming services, this field is largely overtaken by other machines. After all, these dumbed down PCs will always fight a losing battle if they try to tackle a market outside their own realm. Microsoft learned this after one year of trying to push their movie, television and music streaming services, running back to high-end gamers with tail between their legs. One could argue that Microsoft has seen the death of television like Nintendo, then it would make sense for them to absorb Xbox as a brand back to PC. Sony on the other hand is fucked and nowhere to go.

Console as a media center is largely something that the last generation aimed to realise to its fullest extent. Before that PS2 could play DVDs, but that was laughable at best. Only the original PlayStation model was any good as a CD player either. You always had better dedicated devices for all that, and people tended to favour those. Now, you have tablets and whatnot with their wireless receivers everywhere and you’re able to stream whatever you want wherever you want whenever you want. That’s a harsh battle to fight against, especially when you’re trying to remind the consumers that the main thing the device is for is games. Consoles have been always at their best when they are aiming to deliver a console experience to the consumer.

Whenever Nintendo decides to fully reveal the NX will have three results. First, it will show what sort of device it is, confirm or de-confirm rumours that are about. Nintendo has not fueled the rumour train themselves, and that’s good. That has controlled the hype train, and the best thing what they could do now is to control the exposure from their and developers’ end as much as possible. This is simply to ensure that things won’t leak before they are finished, as consumers sometimes tend make false deductions on one or two trickles of valid information.

Secondly, it will show the direction Nintendo will take with the NX. Whether or not it will continue the way of the N64, GameCube and the Wii U (and Virtual Boy) is still an open question, and personally I would so much prefer returning to the NES, SNES and Wii style mindset that has profited Nintendo the most and has produced best games they’ve ever developed.

Tied to the second point is the last one, which may be the most damning. Thirdly, NX’s revelation will tell us how Nintendo themselves sees where console gaming and television itself is going. Nintendo has a spotty track record in certain aspects, but they have a solid one when it comes to defining trends and dare I say innovate whenever needed. The D-Pad just being perhaps the primary example. Let’s not forget the use of mature technology that they engineered when it came to gaming, though that has been less prominent with their more recent consoles to an extent.

The death of Nintendo has been predicted since the late 1980’s, and now consoles overall are predicted to die. However, it is far more reasonable to suggest that just like music purchasing has changed throughout the ages, game consoles will change and take new shape. They serve a market that’s incredibly wide, if the industry would just decide to provide both high and low-markets. That’s why Nintendo can disrupt the industry so easily when they decide to do so.

Competing as a multimedia device in an era where almost every device has a screen of its own and works as a fully fledged multimedia device is, to repeat, a losing battle. Game consoles and games themselves can only make an impact if they are designed and sold as games first and foremost. With times changing, the device these games are played on have to represent the era, and the era of television as the centre of our homes is coming to a slow end.

The screen is in your pocket

With the upcoming new updates to PS4 and Xbone, we’re seeing a trend where both Sony and Microsoft want to appeal to the hardcore gaming market. People are buzzing about their capabilities and all that, but in the end if the games are lacklustre, the console’s power really doesn’t matter at all. Look at PSVita, a damn nice little handheld, but its got nothing against the library on the 3DS.

As I’ve said numerous times before, PC is for hardware performance and cutting edge tech. Consoles used to stick with the philosophy of matured technology. The types of games and gameplays between PC and console are inherently different, but that line has been buried with the PC games entering console market. PlayStation was the most popular entry point, and never left. It may not have been the first console to utilise PC standpoint, but nevertheless it was something that stroke a deal. This has led consoles to be dumbed down PCs to a large extent, but at the same time everyone who plays games via Steam is playing those games via that digital game console on their PC.

Broken record, I know.

Microsoft has been synonymous with PC gaming at least since Windows 95. Other OS’ are enjoying the leftovers, for better or worse. The Xbox brand will be absorbed by the Windows platform at some point in the future, reabsorbed if you take into account that the Direct X box originally spun off from Windows itself. That will be good. The sooner Xbox as a console vanishes, the better. Nintendo will continue doing its thing. If the rumours about NX being a hybrid home/handheld console are true, this is the future where console gaming is going.

What will Sony do? They’re in deep shit, to be fair. Either they need to go the way of the dodo, or begin to emphasize something else. They have no place in the PC market, their televisions and other media equipment have been failing for some time now and they’re mostly known for PlayStation brand. If I were a dick, I’d say that PlayStation has been the thing that has killed Sony itself as a brand. They used to produce loads of new and dare I say innovative multimedia equipment. Their cassette and CD players were top-notch, their TV-sets were without a doubt cutting edge even at their cheapest and goddamn I still have a radio from the 1980’s that works better than most modern ones.

Sony has had their own little troubles. BetaMAX died in the war against VHS and Laserdisc, with VHS winning by the loads. The Blu-ray format has become more and more common, but it has not kicked DVD out from the race yet. Currently, the BD format is already competing against digital distribution. Whether or not digital distribution will end up being the main format over all else, BD and its successors will without a doubt continue the path Laserdisc paved as the collectors’ format.

Will Sony become just a publisher again? When Sony was a publisher in their pre-PlayStation days, they were known for lacklustre games. Whatever Sony will do, they can’t prevent evolution of the Screen. The Screen used to go by the name television, and before it was theatre and so on. Now, the Screen is in your pocket. It’s everywhere, you can watch and play games anywhere, anytime. The PlayStation is not. As PlayStation now, it is married to the Screen in the living rooms, to the TV. It can’t exist anywhere else, and Sony is clearly not willing to entertain handheld gaming. Sony can’t enter PC market, that’s Windows country. Perhaps, just perhaps, they can change the PlayStation into a true multimedia device for the home, except Microsoft already tried that and abandoned it very soon after.

People just want to play good games. All the companies really have to do is deliver them, but that, above all else, has seems to have become difficult within this world where those smaller groups with the loudest voice seem to be catered to. Be it the hardcore gamer or some women rallying against Dead or Alive.

Personally, I’m more or less stopped giving a damn where video games are going now. I’m just going with the flow, not really expecting any but still find myself being disappointed at times. However, I do find the constant push for 4K distasteful, as the screens meant for general consumers don’t achieve the desired quality and the prices are still high. Give it five years or so when the technology matures and prices come down. At that time those who want the bleeding edge tech will have already moved to 8K or 16K, but that’s how it always goes. Viewscreen technology moves so damn fast that’s it’s nearly pointless to keep up.

Microsoft Live E3

Xbox E3 presentation was less about the Xbox and more about how Microsoft has made a clear motion to push multiplatform support through their Live account system, something that the recent purchase of Linkedln will without a doubt tie into. Minecraft is an example how they are pushing this cross-platform play, signifying that they intend to be everywhere they can push their Live on.

Most importantly for Windows 10.

The current Windows 10 userbase is smaller than Microsoft has wanted it to be, about half the intended size. Not many people want to install it due to various reasons, ranging from its awkward UI design to the included spyware that takes screenshots and sends it to Microsoft. Use GWX to prevent all related updates. Combined with Xbox One’s lacklustre success, it’s understandable for Microsoft to want push multiple approaches.

Steam’s nigh monopoly position on PC went completely unchecked and as Microsoft essentially left their main platform for the wolves, Windows 10 and DirectX 12 will have a hard time to regain some ground back. Whether or not they can is a whole other issue, especially seeing how reports on the usability of Win10’s game store are far for admirable.

Maybe Microsoft is extending itself too thin. They tried taking over the console market and failed, then bought Nokia (which fucked us up) and failed miserably there too. I would argue that their experience with Nokia was the step towards what we’re seeing how, with further emphasize on Windows’ software compatibility across platforms. Gaming in Windows was strong after Microsoft began larger support for it, but we have a point in time where they essentially just left it be.

Indeed, Xbox has always been about dumbed down PC gaming, and now it seems Microsoft is intending to bring that dumbed down PC gaming to Windows at full force. PC used to be a platform of total freedom, that was its main pull, but now we’ve lost that and have become complacent in exchange for comfort. Windows’ modern design is also indicative of this, where users are not required to learn anything about computers any more and all systems are made so closed that the end-users have almost no real control options over their own systems.

With the Project Scorpio, Microsoft further shows that they don’t really give a damn about the console market. The promotional video Microsoft showcased for it spells their mindset; hardware power. To quote, This was the console the developers asked us to build. A console is a box to play games. It doesn’t matter how powerful the box is if it doesn’t have games that are fun and entertaining to play. Historically, the least powerful console has won each generation, as they’ve generally gained the sheer overpowering numbers in games. Do remember that the MegaDrive got push with Mega CD and 32X over SNES in terms of power, so that generation is not an exception.

While releasing an updated console has not been anything new, this sort of fetish to keep consoles at the high-end of technology has all to do with the PC mindset. The PC market was about the high-end hardware, the cutting edge tech, whereas console market used to be about the matured technology that had become cheap to use and produce. The game industry fellates and masturbates over 4K image, but the general audience barely knows such thing exists. With 4K, game development just got a notch up expensive. Much like with films, the Triple A game industry has gone completely insane with the million dollar budgets and barely produce any mid-range budget games.

If they indeed try to go generationless with Xbox, they’ll surely fail as any hardware ages and needs to be replaced at some point. Wear and tear are a reality, but much like how Nintendo generally replaces their consoles with cheaper, more efficient alternatives, a console can survive for long damn time as long as it has support.

But releasing a more powerful console per generation in the same “family” is nothing new. Atari did that too, but nobody really liked the 5200.  These high-end models don’t have a successful history with consoles or games and I don’t have much faith that they’ll do anything new or special now either.

All in all, the Xbox E3 presentation was, at its core, a showcase of Microsoft simply pushing the Xbox brand unto Windows 10. Their console has been failing, as indicated by their use over seven million Killer Instinct matches played instead of citing the number of players. That tells you a damn lot.

An Australian friend also noted that the places and scenery in Forza are fucked and don’t represent the real places at all. What’s the point of using real world locations if you’re not even going to try to be accurate with them?

“Our rivalry is what gives me motivation in life”

Seems like Microsoft wants to SONY to allow cross-play between the two console, and by that extent, with at least Windows 10 games. Everybody pretty much took this in a very positive way. After all, what possible downsides would it be in allowing everyone to cross-connect?

Cross-connection is a symptom of two things; consoles being dumbed  down and downgraded PCs nowadays and that outside Nintendo consoles, they lack uniqueness. Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam all share pretty much the same library. You can add Vita to that too. None of them really stand on top each other when it comes to unique games they have. Multi-platform games as far as the eye can see. This has killed the rivalry between companies and none of them try to trump over each other.

Some would argue that allowing each game to exist on every platform gives the consumer the choice of platform, but I would be required to ask if they were willing to give up quality for the discomfort of choice? While cross-platform games have always existed, each console had its killer titles. NES, SNES and GameBoy are all prime examples of consoles with titles people can recall instantly. The Mega Drive is one of this kind of consoles too. PlayStation and Nintendo 64 are another example with slew of unique games for better or worse, with PlayStation also having the vastly superior and larger library. Wouldn’t it be great if we only had one machine to play on? has been uttered few too many times. Modern gamers do not learn from history or they even know the difference between console and PC games any more. Arcade is being used as a genre rather than a style of game like the two aforementioned. It doesn’t help that PS4 and Xbone aren’t true consoles.

Microsoft has had their monopoly in OS market a bit too long. Their grip in the industry is hard to break, and with Windows 10 showcases one of the problems with that; if everyone has it, everyone are under surveillance. Microsoft without a doubt have and will abuse their OS monopoly position without any care in the world and at the expense of the consumer. Variety is the salt of life, and having just one thing forever doesn’t cut it. Linux, Apple’s OS and other alternatives exist, but are less used for various reasons, but there has been very slow but steady change for adoption of open source programs, which would doom Microsoft. Their largest revenue maker is still Office next to Windows. Xbox brand is just eating money, and that’s why they want to move and concentrate their current userbase on PC.

Seeing how both Microsoft and SONY want to have their units upgradeable, the biggest question is what Nintendo is doing. They’re quiet about NX, and whatever it will be, it will stand apart from the two other competitors. At this pace, I could believe a future SONY console could accept games that would be able to run on Windows OS. The fact that the PS4 and Xbone are close to each other when it comes to the architecture is yet another dumbed down PC symptom.

All these are what people have been saying for a long time; everyone’s playing it safe. Why? Because of money. Gaming has become too big for its own good and big money requires safe placing. I’m not talking about taking risks with new ways of gaming or like that, but how only Nintendo is deviating from the form even if little.

Gaming needs to expand in order to survive. Despite what forum wars tell you, most core gamers play on multiple platforms. Only Jimmy and Bimmy who get their mother buy them their console have one. The core audience has gotten older, they’re closer to 40-years. The video game industry is experiencing the same thing as comics, where it’s only catering a small audience while experiencing a push to include politics into them and nobody cares because nobody likes the game industry outside the core customers.

The only way to push for higher calibre of games is to make companies compete with each other as much as possible and differentiate from each other all while expanding the market. The core audience hates to hear this, but the industry needs more NES and Wiis, less Xboxes and PlayStations. An industry can’t sustain itself at this scale without behind-the-scenes unification at the consumers’ expense or hits with the consumer group that is not yet in.Consumer power can only go so far. If an industry decides to do one thing, they will. If SONY and Microsoft decide to enact on their upgradeable console business, console gamers will just disregard them and move to PC straight up…. straight to whatever is the latest OS that runs their games, which most likely means Windows. At this moment in time, we could use a relatively cheap, straightforward game console that stands on its own rather than using the same, overused raw materials Xbone and PS4, and to an extent, the Wii U are on. All this is essentially me steaming my frustration out. However, We can only hope that the industry decides to expand itself. Only then we will get titles like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. If not, we’ll only be stuck with New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, Train Zelda and Metroid Other M.Also, those who got where the title is from should consider playing that games again.