Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-12-01 05:47:33
'The Console War'
Why can't we all just get along?
Competition is healthy and all, but there's a fine line between competition and launching into unscrupulous diatribes against someone who bought a different console to you. We have become obsessed this generation with such tenuous differences between gaming consoles that it's becoming a bit of a headache.
Do you remember the upgrade from the Playstation 2 to the Playstation 3? Do you remember seeing just how damn impressive games like MotorStorm looked when you first saw them in action? The idea that a home console could run games that looked that good was incredible, and really made me want to invest in a next-generation system.
But now we see the mud-slinging over which system has the longest legs to stand on and which is technically superior, despite the fact that all three systems can make games that look good, and don't, in many respects, look all that much more impressive than what we see on current-gen systems. People scoff at the Wii U for being an inferior piece of hardware and try and create such nominal differences to distinguish between which bit of tech - the Xbox One or the Playstation 4 - is better that they seem to lose track of what really matters.
The fact is that all three systems will release a series of good and bad games. All three systems are worthwhile purchases. Yes, even the Wii U will be a worthwhile purchase. While I understand that people are conservative with their money and don't necessarily want to buy more than one system - and thus comparing them to decide which is the best value for money is important - the idea that one system will be inherently better than another, particularly in this early stage, rubs me the wrong way. All three of these systems will be with us up to, roughly, 2020, meaning we have a long-term relationship with all of them in the gaming industry.
During that time there will be lovers' quarrels with all three systems: they will make us shout and curse, and they will churn out bile and bilge. But they will also have great qualities - there will be exclusive games on all three systems that receive high reviews, and the tech, when it's working, will be good for years to come. While discourse between console owners can be productive, people need to give it a rest when it comes to constantly putting down other people and their systems of choice.
Newsflash: the Wii U, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One are all good consoles. Whichever one you pick, you're going to have a good time.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you're looking for. The Wii U is still the best console for younger audiences and families; the Xbox One is still the best all-round media centre; the Playstation 4 is probably the 'most powerful' of the three. But just because the systems excel in certain areas doesn't make them any less worthy in other departments. Just because the Wii U can't stream to Twitch TV doesn't mean that it's a crap console or isn't worthy of a purchase - if Twitch is your thing, no one is stopping you from buying the Playstation 4.
The 'Console War' is a fabrication tailored by the gaming media and given credence by message boards and comment sections to make you think you care more than you do about this mythical battle between the systems, where one will somehow be victorious and leave the others in the dust. In all truth, video gaming shouldn't be this cynical landscape, where everyone is attempting to belittle each other and get the upper-hand. It should be a collaborative experience, where great games are enjoyed across multiple platforms by people who care about the medium and industry.