Over the last few weeks & months, there’s been more & more rumblings about the next generation of gaming, and where we go from here. Recently, Uproxx published an article about the potentially upcoming PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, and talked about whether or not the pointless & absurd argument of the console wars would actually end with the next generation of hardware. To put it plainly, this is stupid. Friends…gamers…dear readers… It’s 2017. WHY are we still having this debate?
To give a bit of exposition for our younger readers, the so-called “console wars” began back when Nintendo was the big dog on the block, Sega was about to fail, there weren’t really any other options for gaming. It was at this point, that toy designer Tom Kalinske stepped in at Sego to help rocket Sonic the Hedgehog to a household name. This ignited a battle between Sega and Nintendo, to see who could remain on top with their respective seminal mascots – Nintendo had Mario, and Sega had Sonic. That’s really the whole thing in a nutshell. This pointless argument is, at its origins, simply about mascots. There’s even a whole book about it, and that’s the only time that the console wars really even “mattered”; almost THIRTY YEARS AGO.
The issue is, that over those last (nearly) thirty years, this idiotic diatribe has continued to permeate the fabric of gaming fandoms. Console gamers argue amongst one another about which is better, while some PC gamers simply sit on their proverbial high horses, looking down their noses at everyone else, and declaring themselves the “PC Master Race”. The divisiveness continues to this day, and many of us are simply tired of it. There are MUCH bigger issues in the world today, than arguing about how we each enjoy ourselves.
Look… Every gamer has their preferences. Some play on consoles, some play on PC. Some play PlayStation games, while others swear by Xbox (I’m a PS guy, myself), and still others are Nintendo fans. Therefore, I ask you: why do we constantly find it necessary to denigrate one another’s choices, when it comes to what we enjoy?
Think of it this way: I’m a HUGE foodie. I love to eat, and I love to experience new foods. Am I going to tell someone, “Dude! Thai food is SO much better than Italian food! Why do you eat that garbage?”? No, I’m not. Why? Because I respect the opinions of other people, and will not sit around and be holier than thou about my own choices. I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to call myself the superior eater, just because I may have tried more types of food than the next person. So why do we do it with gaming?
Another way of looking at this, would be the current amount of console-exclusive games which are being released. For example, we recently talked about two PlayStation-specific games (Horizon Zero Dawn & Nioh), which were both fantastic. There have also been some amazing XBox exclusives as well. However, the difference in these console-exclusive titles has become so negligible, that it’s almost not even worth mentioning. It seems to mainly boil down to a difference in game genre, which simply adds to the reasons why some gamers prefer one console over the other. However, it’s hardly something that should foster any kind of animosity toward the other consoles.
Again, we circle back to the time of Sega and Nintendo, going at each other tooth & nail. This was a point when gaming was in its relative infancy, so the big two gaming companies out there were always trying to 1-up one another. Sure, the debate mattered then, but it was because there were only two sides vying for the top spot, and they each had their own mascots pushing the public relations angle. Now, however, we’ve got several different consoles on the market, PC gaming is still going strong, mobile gaming is emerging and becoming popular, and there are still boundaries left to push (like virtual reality and augmented reality). The gaming market is nowhere near as specific as it once was, yet gamers are still acting like their way is the only way.
When all is said and done, we’re all gamers. We enjoy spending time in fantasy worlds, building environments, killing enemy soldiers, monsters, and demons of all kinds, or racing cars & winning at sports. Take solace in the fact that a lot of what we play, regardless of hardware, is the same thing (exclusives notwithstanding) but in a different wrapper. Talk to one another about our gaming accomplishments, how to get better at the games we have in common, and what it is that keeps us coming back to our old standbys.
Frankly, it shouldn’t be “Us vs. Them”, or “‘PC Master Race’ vs. ‘Console Peasants'”. It should be “We, the gamers”.