There's a market here somewhere.

 A lot of gamers are a bit on edge after the Xbox One reveal, and rightly so. The new console seems to be more like a multimedia box that has gaming capabilities than a gaming console. Understandably folks across the interwebs are voicing their concerns. Whereas a typical console war usually springs up even before the release of the hardware things may take a different turn this time around thanks to … whatever it is Microsoft is up to.

In the last generation (can I call it “last” yet?) the hardcore either used the Wii for just a handful of titles or didn’t use it at all. We recognized that this particular iteration of Nintendo was somehow alien to what we wanted. Maybe it was the gimmick, maybe it was all the shovelware, but we knew this thing wasn’t quite with it. For that reason we liked to say that Sony and Microsoft were not in “direct competition” with Nintendo. I think this was true, but it was also a convenient way to go about our console war without having to admit that early on both hardcore gaming systems were being spanked in sales by something that didn’t even support HD.

Now Microsoft appears to be doing something at least sort of similar to what Nintendo did with the Wii: they are aiming at a very specific kind of market with a different kind of console. The Xbox One has set itself up for a curious position, and in so doing may have just bowed out of the console war altogether.

The Wii U has not done well, but it has far from failed. There will be loyalists, kids and motion fanatics for Nintendo. The Xbox One is clearly not as powerful as the PS4 and doesn’t seem to even be focused on the same market of gamer. With built-in Kinect, a system that must check itself online, a hundred odd ways to interact with TV and apps, the Xbox One doesn’t appear to be trying to win anything at least where gaming is concerned as the top priority. Furthermore, the bells and whistles on the machine will be essentially useless outside of the US. This shouldn’t be surprising because the PS3 dominated everywhere but the US.

 If you can accept these things you might begin to see how Microsoft is using a successful console generation to carve out a nice slice of the US market where it is already cozy. By doing so they renounce many fans (the gamers who want a games-first machine) and possibly diffuse the age old tradition of a console war since each of the three candidates will at some point stop being in direct competition with one another.

Do you think this will be the case after the excitement of the console releases are over, or do you think the nasty, ugly flaming will be just as rampant for just as long?

 

David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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18 Comments

  1. I don’t really care, cause PC gaming is the only real way to game anyways.

    1. Haha – you silly PC elitists, there’s no stopping you is there? Stop being so narrow-minded and let people enjoy what they enjoy. I’m a PC-PS3-360-Vita gamer, and like all the systems, and can tell you with a certainty that the PC side is far from all win. Yes, you have more power (as long as you’re happy to spend the coin to get it), but there’s also a lot more BS that goes with things (compatibility issues, searching forums for fixes to odd bugs, all of that – just compare the size of a tech issues forum for a PC game vs a Console game if you’re not sure what I’m on about). PC gaming is great for those that like to tinker, and enjoy dealing with tech issues, but for people who just want to _game_, it could be argued that the best _gaming_ device is a console. Or a football, or a tabletop ;).

      1. Think what you want, PC’s only, and I repeat ONLY, downfall is that you are more likely to run into odd bugs. However, in the modern age of game development, especially with DX10 and DX11 GPUs, there are extremely few odd bugs and you almost never actually run into them. I know for a fact that I have only run into 2-3 hardware-based bugs in the last 10 years.

        1. Then you’ve done well – I don’t know whether my bugs are hardware or software related, but I’ve had issues running Jade Empire, Victoria II, Mass Effect, Cities in Motion, The Witcher, Cities in Motion 2 and a few other games in recent years (most of those examples are in the last six months, but Mass Effect was a couple of years ago – took over three hours of forum searching and trial-and-error to get it to run). So those are my views, and they are based on experience. On the other hand, over the same period, almost every single console game I’ve played just ran (Fallout 3 and Skyrim being the notable exceptions – if I said every non-Bethesda game I’d be fine, and Skyrim had numerous issues on PC at launch as well), first time, no need to remap the gamepad, no need to tweak the settings, no need to trawl through various tech issues on forums.

          You’ll often find this – those PC gamers that have had a ‘good run’ stay PC only, while those PC gamers who’ve had numerous tech issues (and I’ve been gaming on PC since before windows, and gamed on PC before console, I’ve got some idea what I’m doing) tend to have a preference towards console where possible.

          1. Well, what GPU are you using? Is it a DX9 GPU? If so, then that is your first issue. DX10 came with new manufacturing standards that make the cards more consistent and eliminate a lot of the work needed to fix bugs with individual GPUs, thus making the # of bugs cause by GPUs almost nothing.

          2. i7 and GTX 660. Is unfortunately a new box, so Win 8, which is where I think the issues with The Witcher came from. Vicky 2 was Win 7 and Win 8 (had issues getting it to run on both), Jade Empire Win 8, ME Win 7. Win 7 machine was AMD FX 8150 and GTX 550. Don’t get me wrong, I like PC gaming, and do plenty of it, I just find it comes with a whole lot more hassle than console gaming.

          3. You must just be really unlucky…out of those games, I have only played Mass Effect 2+3, and I had no problems with them. I have a GTX 460 with an i5 2400.

          4. Aye, I’m definitely not on the lucky end of the curve, but I’ve got other mates who game on PC and console who have similar PC issues (they’ve got different set-ups of course, which is the big issue with getting everything to run well all of the time – any one PC could have a selection of a large number of GPUs, CPUs, motherboards, RAM and could be running an OS from Win 98 to Win 8 (or earlier, but I doubt too many are still on Win 95 and earlier)). It’s no surprise, given the circumstances, that games are on average more stable on the fixed hardware of a console.

            While it’s a matter of personal preference, gamepad support is also pretty hit-and-miss on PC, and almost non-existent for older titles. Xpadder can help a bit, but it’s generally nowhere near as smooth as using a gamepad on console, where the code has often been tweaked for the controller that’s being used.

          5. Well, keyboard and mouse is almost always, if not always, more accurate and better suited for gaming. So you shouldn’t want to use a gamepad because you will be better with keyboard and mouse (it may take a couple days getting used to). And, I cannot think of a recent game that has support for OSes older than XP. And again, many problems were fixed with DX10 and DX11. You shouldn’t be running into many bugs that are the fault of the hardware in games that use DX10/11.

          6. Depends what you’re playing and looking for in your gaming experience – gamepad is better than a mouse/kb for racing and flight games (flight is gamepad + kb, and best is flight stick + keyboard as well), and it’s a matter of preference for shooters (mouse is more accurate, but more so than actual firearms, so makes everything unrealistically fast-paced in MP, or too easy in SP, and digital movement using WASD is clearly a step back from analog movement with a thumb-stick – so mouse/kb is great for casual, arcade shooters, but for more serious stuff it’s a bit each way). Mouse/kb dominate when it comes to strategy gaming, as you’d expect, and MMOs are better with mouse/kb, or gamepad/kb combination. Mouse/kb is easily the best option if you’re looking to get RSI ;).

          7. I would agree that a gamepad is preferable for racing titles and flight games (although I never play those and there are so few out there). But, I would wholeheartedly disagree with shooters. Mouse and keyboard is ALWAYS better for shooters cause it is more accurate, and it is definitely not unrealistic, unless the game is unrealistic. The control of weapons is usually handled in an unrealistic game in modern shooters, so it feels unrealistic in general. But, I would go so far as to argue that the aim with a gamepad is far more unrealistic due to the complete lack of accuracy. I will agree that, technically, a gamepad’s analog stick is better for movement, but I feel that aiming is much, much more important anyways and WASD more than suffices for easy movement. That said, some games are made for console and some are made for PC, making them feel better on one version than the other.

          8. There’s plenty of racing games out there, and a decent (but not a lot) of flight games. Platformers and fighting games are another genre that suit the pad. Really, strategy games are the only out-and-out game that is better with a mouse/kb.

            Totally agree that the weapon handling in mouse/kb games _could_ be realistic, but PC players have become so used to the crutch of being able to spin and shoot at the speed they flick their wrist that it isn’t, leading to such abominations as the speed of the tank turret’s movement in ArmA2 – how a ‘sim’ could have such arcade movement. I remember the first time I played Counter Strike on PC, after getting a PC I could game on again after a five year break. I’d heard how ‘hardcore’ it was, and have always preferred shooters with a more realistic bent, and all I got was a non-respawn arcade shooter that had mechanics so casual Zynga could have designed ’em. It’s a great shooter, but, the ability to spin and aim as fast as you can with the mouse completely destroyed any feeling of realism. So, in the absence of devs getting their act together, the slower speed of getting your aim locked on a target of a gamepad actually better reflects the speed it actually takes IRL. Again, no issue if you’re into the likes of CS, TF2 or CoD and prefer your shooters arcade and casual, but for someone who prefers stuff like SOCOM, Operation Flashpoint and ArmA, the mouse is a second-best option (and the kb is a second-best option pure and simple).

            I also found playing through Mass Effect with a mouse/kb (I played it before I picked up a 360 or had become familiar with Xpadder) pretty painful – enjoyed it far more on console with a pad for ME2 and ME3. I haven’t found a PC title that implements aiming with a mouse/kb in any way realistically, so stick to gamepads with my shooters, because that’s the way I like them. I can play with a mouse/kb, and only ever use a mouse/kb playing PC shooters competitively, as the more realistic but slower aim speed of a pad puts you at a huge disadvantage, but I prefer to play them with a pad. Strategy games I generally don’t touch unless they’re mouse/kb, with the notable exception of RUSE with the Move on PS3, which worked really well.

            I’m not saying mouse/kb is worse, no way known, it’s just another option. But there’s no way that it’s out-and-out a better _experience_ for shooters. It’s definitely more accurate, but the limitations of movement using WASD (in a realistic shooter, movement is at least as important as aiming, the gameplay is far more careful movement with occasional shooting) combined with personal preferences mean that the pad is just as valid a control scheme.

            Nothing wrong with your choices, but that doesn’t mean there are things wrong with other people’s choices either ;). The important thing is that we all have choice, so that everyone can enjoy what they enjoy as best as possible. I find in gaming there’s an ever greater incidence of people assuming that their way is the only right way, which is odd in an entertainment medium as diverse and deep as ours is.

  2. I think that many of the “gaming first” faction (such as myself) will make fun of the Xbox One for quite some time. Why? Because, that is all we have left to remember the good ol’ days of the console wars and as far as pc is concerned well, I have one, but there are some exclusives that I want for a console. Sorry, I do think that pc gaming is better overall I just think it’s more expensive overall and I have no monetary value to my name.

  3. I don’t think the console war will end for a long time, there releasing around the same time zone and announce similar time zones aswell giving spark to debates, people will always look for something to compare or choose between the two. I have both a ps3 and xbox 360 so im a little in the neutral space :P, But i think looking at these expensive consoles i may just turn more to PC gaming.

  4. What absolute flame bait nonsense

    1. Flame bait? Ha

  5. Is it really a “console war” when the console industry is heading for a collapse?

    1. Sounds like “console armageddon” and microsoft commits suicide in advance, but let’s wait for the final thing…

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