Before I begin this rant, let me begin by saying I have been a console gamer for a sizable portion of my life. I had a lot of fun playing consoles, particularly in the sixth generation of gaming with gems such as the Nintendo Gamecube and the Playstation 2. Those consoles were great, the Gamecube especially being my favorite videogame platform of all time, so much so that I decided to make it into the logo for my website.
I loved playing consoles for a long time and after having invested in a SNES and a N64 I have consoles littered all over the place and it’s kinda difficult to keep everything together. So much so that I had to separate them from my main setup which is the main reason why it has been difficult to write about SNES/N64 games on the site because I have been unable to get screen caps from them due to them being on the other dies of the room to my PC.
The biggest selling point of a console to me has always been its accessibility, its ergonomic focus on design, the ease of setting up local multiplayer and finally the ability to purchase games second-hand to avoid sticking my crotch into the mouths of greedy publishers, something I have taken great pleasure in doing for many years. When you compare these factors to the flexibility of PC gaming, it may appear to be easily outmatched at face value however when you weigh them up, as someone who enjoys playing local multiplayer (particularly Co-Op) and buying second-hand games at a cheaper price without having to worry about DRM and having to forfeit my principles when it comes to purchasing games distributed by greedy publishers, I believed for a long time that console gaming was the real deal.
However like most things in the gaming industry, consoles have moved on and like most things these days, have become a shadow of their former self. It all started in the year 2005 just as the sixth generation was nearing its end and beginning to transition into the seventh generation which began in the year 2007. The console known as the Xbox 360 was manufactured and distributed across the world.
Now I was never an original Xbox player. I saw that the Xbox was lacking a lot of exclusives and that many of its games were PC ports and vice versa. The console never appealed to me and I found that the Gamecube and PS2 overshadowed it in every single way. However with what I presume to be the power of marketing brought by none other than Microsoft or as I like to call, the kingpin of the tech industry. As a result, Microsoft could easily catch up with Sony due to the fact that they already have plenty of money from their previous successes via software distribution. They believed that they could make their mark on the console market and so they did and people bought into it.
I purchased an Xbox 360 mainly because it was the console all my friends were playing on and I purchased Halo 3 which at first wasn’t a game I was excited for but I grew to enjoy it. This is when things started going wrong. First of all an acquaintance of mine offered to set it up (which I didn’t need but he did it anyway). Problem is that in doing so he entered his own details into the console without telling me so essentially I had no access to my account even though it was on a console… but wait, why do I need an account to play videogames on my console? It was never a thing that I expected at the time. Previously I had just put the game in and it played but now I saw this huge menu littering the screen.
At first I was just baffled by just how much needless bull crap this console seemed to want to throw at me but I just wanted to play Halo 3, so I did. Of course I was also given a free trial for Xbox Live so I played online for a bit and had some fun, however I didn’t know all of this because an acquaintance set it up for me. In any case eventually my Xbox Live ran out and realizing that it was a subscription based service I was outraged but I paid the money anyways because back then I was a complete mug.
However over time I grew to hate the Xbox 360, I hated everything about the console, the disk drive wouldn’t work half the time, the red ring of death, the needless subscription fee for online which I never had to deal with on other consoles at the time and the fact that besides a few exclusives like Infinite Undiscovery, many of the games in the seventh generation were either shit or mediocre and Xbox’s exclusives besides Halo and Infinite Undiscovery were just that. Heck Halo itself wasn’t anything special and Infinite Undiscovery is still considered to be one of tri-Ace’s worst games by many and for good reason. However I enjoyed both of these games and they were the only saving grace of that console.
Quite frankly though, the PS3 wasn’t much better, sure it had free online but the fact that there was no removable harddrive was annoying as well as the lack of good games on the system. I played White Knight Chronicles one of the most abysmal JRPG’s I have ever played in my life and besides the Tales games such as Graces and Xillia, there was really nothing for me on that system. It was full of open world action games (which were all inferior to the cross-platform Prototype which I took pleasure in buying second-hand)and silly little hollywood wannabe games like Uncharted which I couldn’t give two shits about.
All that was left was the Wii. Well at least they had the decency to add Gamecube compatibility and as such it is the main reason why I still use my Nintendo Wii today. It’s quite sad to say that I’ve played more Gamecube games on the Wii than actual Wii games. My Wii library is pitiful having a measly 9 games in my library, yes 9 as opposed to my huge collection of 35 Xbox 360 games (well it’s not as huge as most people but it definitely takes up a lot of space on my shelf) and 11 PS3 games (which is only so small because I sold most of them). This is pathetic Nintendo. There was no Kirby (until 2011 which was very late on in the console’s life), no Starfox, no new Pokemon game in the same vein as Colosseum (Battle Revolution was a joke) and most importantly F-Zero.
So needless to say, seventh generation was pretty depressing for me overall and now we are in eight gen. Putting the excitement of Star Ocean and Exist Archive aside (both games I really did enjoy despite their reception amongst critics), the consoles introduced this generation have been complete gutter trash. Basically, take seventh generation consoles and make them worse, that is essentially what eighth generation consoles are, complete and utter horseshit.
It didn’t help that the Xbox One’s launch was a complete disaster and that they forced on a shit load of bullcrap such as always online DRM, digital only gaming and a kinect spying on you 24/7 which you were forced to have kinected (see what I did there) to the console at all times for it to work. Needless to say, fans were in uproar so Microsoft had no choice but to give up on their original plan (temporarily of course) and give them the console the consumer really wanted… except they didn’t, it still has that shitty Xbox Live service that continues to siphon our hard-earned money for seemingly no good reason and it still uses that stupid disk drive and what makes things worse is that it no longer has a removable hard drive which is absolutely ridiculous.
During this Fiasco, Sony took the opportunity to apply their own pay wall to online multiplayer via their Playstation Plus which they only got away with due to Microfoft’s failed Launch of the Xbox One. Needless to say unlike the masses who all went to sony begging with their pants unzipped waiting for their dicks to be sucked (not meaning to offend here but that’s pretty much metaphorically speaking how these companies treat us), I took what I personally believe to be the smart approach and joined the PC master race, a group of individuals I used to hate and still kinda do (even though I completely understand their frustrations).
Then news came in that tri-Ace’s newest titles, Star Ocean 5 and Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky came out. Obviously I knew they would be PS4 exclusives because I saw the tri-Ace logo on Sony’s presentation at E3 about the PS4’s exclusive. So I went to my local game store to see if he had a second had PS4. Sadly he didn’t but he offered me an Xbox One instead. I laughed and went to my nearest GAME store, something I usually try to avoid. I walked up to the counter and asked for a PS4.
After waiting for them to get into the back room only to come out with two boxes each with an exclusive game (I think one of them was Little Big Planet 2 included in the bundle) I told them that I wasn’t having any of that crap and asked if they had any pre-owned in stock. Turns out they did, so I paid a bit less for it, got my wallet out and funneled cash into GAME because even though GAME like to charge obscene prices for their games, at least they still sold pre-owned games that I could get on the day without having to wait for the post all the time.
I received my PS4 in a blank white box, in this box now lies my long and forgotten Xbox 360 which has been buried within its casket that was formerly my PS4’s blank box. I plugged my PS4 in… or tried to. I realized that It came with a HDMI cable which would not work on my cheap standard definition telivision and as such I was forced to buy a converter from Amazon in order to play on my PS4. Next thing I noticed is that I had no games for the system. I wanted to make sure I got it before Exist Archive released in Japan and as such I got it early. I wrote a blog about it on Destructoid which got a lot of negative reception due to the fact that I was tearing the PS4 (and the Xbox One) to shreds.
So I bought Toukiden Kiwami just to kill some time for a bit. I thought about doing a review of the game but somebody else on Destructoid got there before me so I abstained and moved my focus onto Exist Archive and Star Ocean. Eventually the games came out and I played them and enjoyed them. Afterwards I was left wondering what I should do next so I picked up DOOM reluctantly on PS4 since my PC couldn’t run it only to remember that I couldn’t play it online. So I applied for a trial and played some DOOM multiplayer. Needless to say I was hooked by it for days… until my PS+ ran out then I found out some terrible truths.
You see one of the things Sony offered with their Playstation Plus is free games each month. Naturally I downloaded these free games. One of them was NBA 2K 2016 which was shit but I played a bit for the lulz, the other one being Gone Home which was interesting but I never got around to it since I was playing too much DOOM. Finally some Indie game I can barely remember.
However when my trial ended I tried playing these games only to find out that I could no longer access them. Wait what? Turns out that once your PS+ expires, you can no longer use the games. This is the most misleading thing I have ever seen any console manufacturer do, offer a service promising free games but forgetting to tell us that they only lasted for as long as your Playstation Plus subscription lasted. Heck even Microsoft’s Games with Gold allowed me to keep playing the game after I cancelled my Xbox Live subscription (right after they started their whole bullshit security crap which I couldn’t bypass due to my acquaintance setting it up for me and as such I couldn’t access Xbox Live at all, not even silver.
So my hatred for Sony and Microsoft grew more and more potent. Microsoft have already reached the pinnacle of asshatterry but Sony’s recent scandal involving Fallout 4’s clack of modding capability have moved them ever so closer to Microsoft in regards to how shitty their company is. The silly thing is that there isn’t even any monetary gain involved in this which just makes Sony look like a bunch of fools in comparison to Microsoft who can already smell the big bucks coming their way. Add to this the PS4 Pro fiasco, I don’t know much about it nor do I care but the Xbox Scorpio has also been announced.
Could the most recent console generation be coming to a close already or is this just another one of those throwaway ideas made by Sony and Microsoft get some quick cash from newcomers to their respective platforms? I swear if this is another “walled garden” as Boogie2988 puts it in this video (you should totally watch it since it relates strongly to this topic). We can only hope that it doesn’t come to that, maybe it will be like the so-called “new” 3DS which only had Xenoblade Chronicles as it’s only exclusive. We can only hope that it doesn’t become the next Playstation console otherwise things will be very bad for consumers, very bad indeed.
Then again it could be worse, we could be getting another console like the Xbox One was supposed to be at launch with Always Online DRM and there is still a good chance that they will pull that one out of the hat again in the near future. I haven’t heard much about the Xbox Scorpio but I don’t expect much good will come from it. All I can say is that the future of consoles keeps looking grimmer and grimmer with each coming console generation. Oh and here’s a message from me to all of you console manufacturers. When you create a new console and a new walled garden of games for it, for the love of god do not call it an optional “upgrade” of the previous console. It sickens me to just how much of a lie that is, stop doing that.
Oh and before I forget, the most important message I can give to all of you console manufacturers, enjoy it while it lasts. The market for PC is slowly rising higher and higher and the more accessible PC’s become, the faster you will be brought to your knees begging for us to support you and if you aren’t, you are going to lose relevance in this industry quickly with the exception of your devoted loyalists.
As for all you consumers out there, be sure to keep in mind that if my observations are correct, with the path consoles are trying to take “to be more like PC’s” and with Microsoft’s original Pitch of the Xbox One to be “always online and digital only” alongside the fact that most games on consoles lack local multiplayer, consoles are becoming a harder sell to us now. Don’t be a mug like I was when I purchased my Xbox 360 and signed up for Xbox Live. If you give a single fuck about the future of the gaming industry, hop right onto the PC bandwagon. I’m not saying this to be an elitist, I am saying this to make a point. Consoles are dying out, the only thing that remains is their brand and it’s the only thing keeping them afloat. If you want to move on from a “dying brand” then PC is your only option. I wish I could say otherwise but we really don’t have a choice now, PC is the only way to go now, either that or Mobile gaming and I’m sure no one wants to do that.
Finally to all you console manufacturers out there, if you think for a second that you’re going to compete with PC, you are mistaken. PC’s tech is upgraded so regularly that it’s impossible to compete because PC offers the freedom that your pathetic plastic boxes of shit don’t have. You cannot win against PC. It doesn’t matter what you do really… unless you get rid of your stupid monthly subscription fees and return to the days of the Playstation 2 back when games had local multiplayer as well as online (yes Playstation 2 has online) then you are well and truly fucked from my perspective. You better pray that your loyal fans don’t get fed up with your shit Sony and Microsoft because I’m already gone. You will never hear from me again and if you do, my money won’t be coming your way, it will be going straight to the retailer just so that I can personally slight you for your wrongdoings.
In addition to all of this, let’s not forget the licensing fees which Boogie2988 brought up in his video also bring harm to game developers as well which is more money which could be spend elsewhere such as… um I don’t know… games? This is another problem that consoles have had for a very long time.
So there you have it, I believe consoles need to go and will go. Do you agree or do you still hold onto your consoles? Leave a message here if you agree and I might respond, leave a message here disagreeing and I probably won’t respond because I can’t help you any further. Regardless, my path has been decided, PC all the way for me, consoles can just go and jump off a cliff.
You can also watch Jim Sterling’s video on the topic here, I think he mails it pretty well as always: Video.