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๐Ÿ’ฌ OPINION: Gaming Consoles will die off, sooner or later.



There's been a vary huge and long debate about gaming consoles and the PC master race for decades.


Consoles will die off sooner or later. Why? Because of their proprietary nature. It is a company right to do anything they want with their product; the console is the platform they've created.  

If you make a video game for a console, you have to have a license, qualifications, and also face corporate regulations and censorship. 

But platforms like PC, is mostly open. You don't have to have a license or face fear of censorship when you create a game.

People like consoles because of the budget price, retail physical copies of games, and easy to use.

People like PC because of the openness, flexibility, optimization and upgradability. 


Both platforms have their severe flaws that has been a concern for gamers especially during this harsh time of inflation. 


So, here's a few reasons why consoles will fade away in the next couple of decades.


Proprietary Nature

Consoles since the Nintendo-Sega console wars have always been (obviously) proprietary and closed-source that makes it difficult to hack or reverse engineer for personal use.

You can't even make your own Xbox or PlayStation games without a license or a special pressed disc for the console to read because of copy protection.

The defining characteristic of the PC platform is the absence of centralized control; all other gaming platforms (except Android devices, to an extent) are owned and administered by a single group.

The advantages of openness include Reduced software cost; Prices are kept down by competition and the absence of platform-holder fees.


Lack of Mods

The openness of the PC platform allows players to edit or modify their games and distribute the results over the Internet as "mods". Console games can't be modded unlike PC due to software restrictions. Modifications or "Mods" for short, allow users to improve graphics, add textures, and new gameplay elements. Mods are a huge part of the PC gaming community as a healthy mod community greatly increases a game's longevity and the most popular mods have driven purchases of their parent game to record heights.


Censorship

Censorship, the one damn thing nobody likes. In the United States, it the company's "right" to do anything they want with their platform because it is their property. That's okay, because we can all move to PC or BD and make our own games without the fear of corporate censorship. 

Nintendo in the 80s and 90s were famous for its censorship because the Super Nintendo console was aimed mostly at children at the time, while their competitor Sega was aiming their Sega Genisis console towards kids, teens, and adults.

However, in the late 2010s, PlayStation unexpectedly got into the censorship kick thus slowly ruining its reputation. Sony's gaming division headquarters was moved from Japan to California, giving the woke beta-male Californians power to the platform. That was a very huge mistake, as Californians are known for its very bad reputation with woke identity politics and degenerate left-wing hipster culture. 

The Woke Californians claim to be in favor of women, but they are not, they're misogynistic towards women's breasts and femininity, and have been censoring breasts and certain parts of femininity of female characters in video games so male gamers won't jack off towards them. PlayStation's censorship has made people flock towards other platforms such as Xbox, Nintendo and PC.

Id Software, the original dudes that made Doom and Wolfenstein, made their games for computers because of the versatile freedom and free from constraints. Meaning, they got do anything they want. This is one of the reasons why there's more PC games than console games.


Lack of Backwards Combability

This is one of the most talked about problems with modern consoles is the lack of backwards compatibly with older titles and this is one of the top reasons why gamers pirate video games and hack the consoles.

When a new successor console is released without having the ability to play older titles from the predecessor, those titles become e-waste. Of course, you can still play them on the original intended hardware but what happens when that discontinued hardware is broken and it's hard to find a new one?

One word: Emulation. 

An emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate (or imitate) another program or device. Video game console emulators are programs that allow a personal computer or video game console to emulate another video game console. They are most often used to play older 1980s to 2000s-era video games on modern personal computers and more contemporary video game consoles. 

Emulation is very important for video game preservation, especially games that have been declared "abandonware" or will never see the light of day. 

Now, what happens when an older video game breaks or gets lost?

Gamers will often pirate older console games because they're too expensive, no longer in print since the console's discontinuation, removed from a digital store, and the publishers never re-release or reprint them.

In comparison this is not as bad when it comes to movies, since movies on Blu-ray and DVD are always reprinted and both formats are still going and not discontinued. People do pirate movies (and TV shows) often if they're no longer in print or never been released on disc or officially on streaming (or too lazy to pay for a subscription service). But you get the picture.

Pirating in video games wasn't as bad decades ago because the consoles back then often were backwards compatible with older games and older games were re-released. The original PS3 model can play PS1 and PS2 catalog, the Xbox 360 can play 400 original Xbox games, and Nintendo Wii can play all GameCube games.

However, when Sony released the PS3 slim models, it could not play PS2 games. This did upset gamers who owned these games, so Sony and other publishers remastered and re-released alot of their famous PS2 games natively on PS3. And everyone was "moslty" happy at the time. For Nintendo however, they released newer Wii models that weren't compatible with GameCube games, Nintendo did release a "few" GameCube games to the Wii. 

But it didn't take its toll when the eighth-generation consoles arrived, PS4 and Xbox One weren't backwards compatible with their older games, because of different architectures. This has caused big criticism, and many believed they done this on purpose to make people buy the same games again. There was no accuse and video game emulation (and piracy) drastically increased.

This reminds me of the time when the first Blu-ray players (except PS3) were first released in 2006, they at first weren't backwards compatible with DVDs or CDs. and people didn't want to re-buy their favorite titles again. This gained alot of backlash, so eventually (not long) they added backwards compatibility with DVDs and CDs on newer players. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo could've done that to save everyone the trouble, but nope.

Microsoft later added backwards compatibility to the Xbox One two years later and added most games as possibly as they can. This made alot gamers extremely happy (including me). Microsoft stated they couldn't add any more games because of "legal issues", and everyone thinks they're full of shit. Additionally, as of 2021, popular Xbox 360 games are still in print like Fallout New Vegas and GTAIV, released in green Xbox One cases.

Sony however has not added "true" backwards compatibility to the PS4 or PS5. They've only added a few PS1 and PS2 games on the PlayStation Store to make you buy it again. The PlayStation Now service lets you stream PS3 games over the internet, but many people can't even do that because of lag.

Nintendo is worse than Sony when it comes to backwards compatibility and they're game library is the most pirated out of all of them. Nintendo does release their most popular games on their newest console but not all of them. Nintendo never had true backwards compatibility with their other console predecessors, but the original models of the Nintendo DS and the Wii did, as they were compatible with Game Boy Advance and GameCube games, until the newer model did not. The Wii, Wii U, and 3DS had this store front service called "Virtual Console" which offered many retro video games from every past generation consoles. The Virtual Console lineup consists of titles originally released on past home and handheld consoles. These titles run in their original forms through software emulation, therefore remaining mostly unaltered, and can be purchased from the Wii Shop Channel or Nintendo eShop. This did reduce game piracy for years, until Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, as it did not offer Virtual Console and made everyone pay for older game titles "again" and this did increase piracy alot more; worst part that Virtual Console was shut down on the Wii (Wii U and 3DS is still operational). 

For PC, that's a very different platform since it's more open and versatile. The Half-Life series is one the most pirated video games, but not as bad as Nintendo's popular games. Why? Because despite being out of print physically, Half-life has been in the Steam store front for many years and has been ported to the Macintosh and Linux (and keeping them up to date). PC has increased flexibility, PC games decades old can be played on modern systems, through emulation software if need be. Conversely, newer games can often be run on older systems by reducing the games' fidelity and/or scale.

You see, as long as companies keep their games in print, being offered on a digital store front, and be backwards compatible. There probably wouldn't be as much piracy.


Online Gaming Subscriptions and Centralized Servers.

To play online games on console, you have to pay a subscription fee like Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus to play online. On PC, BD, and Android you don't pay a dime for online multiplayer. This has considered as unfair to console gamers. 

Another thing, that the consoles' online services have dedicated centralized servers. Meaning if the server goes out, everyone goes out, because they're all connected together. On PC, for example, you can play Call of Duty Black Ops online, but if the server goes out, everyone else playing other PC games isn't affected because it's decentralized. And people can make their own dedicated servers.


One Store

On consoles, there's only one digital store and obviously a monopoly. Except physical retail versions of course, because you can buy them from any store or buy second hand.

As PC is very decentralized, digital distribution services on PC, such as Amazon Digital Services, GameStop, GFWL, EA Store, Zoom, Itch.io, Humble Bundle, Direct2Drive, GOG.com, and GamersGate.

For Android, everyone thinks the Google Play Store is the only place to get Android games. WRONG. Other stores are out there like F-Droid, APK Pure, Itch.io, and even Humble Bundle even includes Android games.


_________________________________________________________________________


Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about the flaws of PC Gaming. I'm not saying PC is bad or anything, but just wanted to point out some concerning flaws.


Lack of Physical Media and out of print games.

PC games were released on CD and DVDs. Then digital distribution took over, and publishers have never thought about re-releasing true physical retail PC games ever again. Only a few still do, but mostly casual games. 


DRM

One of the biggest problems with PC gaming is DRM. No one likes online DRM because it is aggravating as hell. Back in the 90's there was little or no DRM when installing a game.

Gog.com, Zoom, and Itch.io are the only digital store fronts to have DRM-Free PC games.


Not Easy to Use and Increased complexity

One of the reasons people like consoles, is because of their simplicity and ease of use. Simple insert the disc or download the game, and there you go. But that's not as simple with PC because you have to pick and choose which folder to install your game. And some games require certain drivers to install, Microsoft Visual Studio, Direct X update and something else to properly run, however not all PC games does this. Some PC games like indie games, casual games or the ones from GOG are simplified. 

A PC is a general-purpose tool. Its inner workings are exposed to the owner, and misconfiguration can create enormous problems. Hardware compatibility issues are also possible. Game development is complicated by the wide variety of hardware configurations; developers may be forced to limit their design to run with sub-optimum PC hardware in order to reach a larger PC market or add a range graphical and other settings to adjust for playability on individual machines, requiring increased development, test, and customer support resources.


OS Compatibility

Unlike Consoles, Windows PC games is backwards compatible with PC games that over 25 years old. But there's a few problems, such as OS compatibility. For Windows, you have to choose the compatibility setting if your game doesn't work properly. It's not just the operating system but it could also your computer because of weak hardware.

Linux, the open source "spiritual successor" of Windows, is not natively compatible with Windows programs, so Valve, released Steam Proton, to make Windows games compatible with Linux. DOS BOX is a similar program to able run old DOS games on Linux or modern Windows computers. This was created because Microsoft discontinued official DOS emulation since Windows XP. This made many people happy.

This may not be relevant, but I liked to point out, that there's a debate over x86 and ARM computer architectures and its compatibilities. x86 is over 45 years old, closed, takes more power consumption, and prone to crashes, while ARM is lightweight, open, and has less power consumption. There's an emulator called Box86 that will run x86 Linux games on Linux ARM devices such as Android and Raspberry Pi. There's no Windows emulator for ARM devices (yet). Almost all Windows and Linux games depend on the old x86 architecture. 


Lack of support for Integrated GPUs and demanding Dedicated GPUs.

Another big flaw with PC gaming is when the latest game requires a high demand of the most expensive dedicated graphics card, and they are NOT cheap, ranging from $500 to over $1000. 

The majority of AAA PC games cannot be played on low-end "potato" computers because of lack of optimization and support of integrated graphics cards. If you did try to run them on your potato PC, you'll most likely have bad performance. But thankfully there are PC games (especially older ones) that can play on potato computers with integrated graphics cards like Halo, AVP, and Star Wars Battlefront.

The majority of integrated graphics cards for PC are from Intel and AMD, but most people have Intel based computers. Intel UHD 400 or higher performs decently, if you have at least a 1 Ghz CPU. 

It is important for PC games to be optimized and support integrated graphics because most gamers are on a budget and don't want to pay thousands of dollars on a GPU that will last for 5 years until a successor starts showing up.

Thankfully, there are developers that do support integrated cards and they're getting more advanced and affordable every year.


Increased hardware cost

As I mentioned before, the price is what drives people to console because of their budget. Gaming PCs are more expensive than consoles. But like I said before, there are cheap non-gaming PCs with integrated cards that can run low-end optimized games.

PC components are generally sold individually for profit (even if one buys a pre-built machine), whereas the hardware of closed platforms is mass-produced as a single unit and often sold at a smaller profit, or even a loss (with the intention of making profit instead in online service fees and developer kit profits).



With the face of corporate censorship and proprietary restrictions, many are moving away from consoles to computers because of more freedom and openness. People just don't trust corporations anymore.


Article by Joe Bloggs

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