The Exigent Duality
Still a Purpose - 07:39 CST, 5/25/24 (Sniper)
Here is a great forum post I read this morning, talking about the nature of dedicated video game systems. Pasted verbatim, bold emphasis is mine:

"To start with, consoles are mostly a legacy market and only survive because there are big companies still interested in making sure they keep on existing. Biggest proof of this is the fact no one would be able to break through the industry with a new console of their own, even if Sony and Nintendo were to blow up tomorrow. Yes, i excluded MS as a dig.

Consoles were a product from a time when hardware was extremely limited in power and had to be designed for specific case usages, in this case home games. Exclusives were a byproduct of that since you had to design games for specific hardware. Naturally there was a lot of interest in securing the best games for your own console, or making them yourself.

Times have changed, most machines have very similar architechtures and have generally similar capabilities. Even consoles becames glorified budget PCs, most of its advantages relying on less critical things like smaller conveniences or subtly better price-for-power value. Similarly, exclusives remain as nothing more than marketing ploys rather than fundamental, unavoidable aspects of the industry like in the 90s. Any dev with a minimally decent publisher behind them can make their games multiplatform.

To make matters worse, the market is oversaturated with games and people are gradually finding their own niches. There's already far less exclusives nowadays and among the few that are there, even fewer can turn people's heads. No one makes queues to buy a ps5 because of Demon Souls remake, even bigger names like God of War don't tend to move the needle much these days."

There are still reasons to sell and buy these platforms however:

  1. Gaming-specific user interfaces; super streamlined, pretty to look at.

  2. Convenience features, like two or three button presses from suspend back to gameplay.

  3. They sit in an elegant, optimized spot on the power curve; to get its extra power my PC has a heat sink the size of a dump truck and a video card the size of an aircraft carrier-- it consumes the electricity of a small city, and generates a corresponding amount of heat.