Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Everybody's talking about the next generation consoles. Consoleconsoleconsole. There's fifty posts a day about them in my blogroll, meaning it's the majority of the posts I get.

Some people are beginning to understand. Some people still do not.

This next generation console thing - it isn't a war between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo as we know them. It's not a war of better graphics, or new games.

It's a war between the past and the future.

We have reached a crux. There are now enough games out there that we have ENOUGH GAMES. Even the most dedicated gamer would have a hard (perhaps impossible) time playing ALL the games that have come out. The weight of the past is notable, unlike ten years ago.

Microsoft has no part of that past. The XBox was their first project, and it has a very limited number of good games. I own an XBox, so don't tell me I'm wrong. This new XBox has no access to a real history. It has to rely on the future, with sharp graphics and solid new games.

The new Nintendo Revolution is BACKWARDS COMPATABLE. All caps. They're talking about compatability all the way back to their FIRST CONSOLE. They have no need of a future, although they will continue to build one. Their content is their history. Their release titles are potentially the THOUSANDS of games released for the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, N64, GameCube, and their various GameBoys. They do not need to stress about the future: time is quite literally on their side.

Sony straddles the line. They have a solid history, and they are leaping into the future. I can't help but think they'll come out ahead in the end.

This isn't a contest of who has graphics. Every nuance is about embracing either the past or the future. You will be able to see this in the marketing, as they strive to shore up or hide their weaknesses while embracing their advantages.

The XBox 360 isn't about the past. It isn't about US, with our decades of geek culture and games and anti-Microsoft sentiment. It's about THEM - the non-gamers who cannot see our increasingly rich history. Blind to the main advantage of the other consoles, they can be convinced to buy into Microsoft's vision of the bright future. Thus, MTV.

The Revolution is quite the opposite. It is for us, and it plays to our geekhood. We will buy it, even if it goes unadvertised, because it is ten thousand games, a million moments, eager to be re-lived. Favorites: Zelda, Mario, Sonic. All live on in Nintendo and Nintendo ALONE.

The Playstation 3... I wonder how they will approach this conflict. With strength on both sides, they would seem to have their pick of approaches.


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