Article re-posted from September 3, 2014
Around 2005 when developing mods and games for PC was the first time I got challenged for ‘not developing for console’. My answer back then was that ‘I did not believe the notion that console was going to destroy PC, and that I simply wanted to create games I liked to play, as an avid PC gamer’.
The funny thing is that I used to only play consoles… back during the SEGA and Nintendo days, I only played consoles as they were much more fun than the PC, which seemed mostly limited to single-player gaming as any guests would simply have to ‘look at the screen’ while 1 person played.
The answer I now give to why I don’t feel the need to go out and buy a console is simply because it does not give me a type of entertainment that I cannot get on the PC (and better!). I’m unaware of every single game on every single console out there, so bare with me in this generalization that its a perception, yet one that many share (and thus at the very least, an advertising problem for consoles).
The ‘this business is killing off that business’ argument therefore in my opinion was never really valid, as the markets simply provided varying forms of entertainment.
‘Back in the day’ the movie-business complained TV was killing off movie-theaters, and even before that theater-producers complained movies were killing off theater, and so on and so forth.
The reality is, that as long as a new type of entertainment does not provide the same-but-better experience as its predecessor, it will never replace it…
It might get bigger and more popular, but it won’t kill off the previous form of entertainment anymore than taco’s killed off pizza’s, metal music killed rock, or T-shirts replaced office-suits.
Entertainment is diversifying, creating more and more types of entertainment aiming for different time-slots in a person’s life: whether you are on a 5-minute bus-ride (‘Flappy Bird’), in a 12-hour planeride (‘pocket RPG’s), at work (Facebook gaming), or sitting on the couch at a party (Wii), they’re all pitching for a different kind of attention.
The problem with console-gaming for me is, that it isn’t offering me a type of entertainment PC doesn’t give me already, yet it used to… This isn’t just nostalgia talking: console gaming used to all be about couch-gaming, where your friends would physically come over, and sit around the TV playing Mario Smash Bros, or WWF, Mariocart, Streets of Rage, etc.
Hell even today I even run emulators to play couch-gaming titles of the past with friends, some games I never even played back then! (thus the nostalgia argument doesn’t really work there).
The problem is that to me, console started to venture into the PC-realm by aiming for online-play, which I understand is more lucrative (each player now needs to buy a copy of the game, and a console, headset, etc.) yet for me then removed the desire of also owning a new console (I need a PC for work so already have one expensive machine).
To counter that, consoles nowadays publish exclusive content which is meant to pull you in, like not having ‘The Last of Us’ on anything but a PS3 or 4…
I feel this is not the right way to strengthen a market, as it only serves to annoy potential customers (like myself): I could play it on the PC, the controls would be better on the PC (for me at least), the experience would be at least the same; so why not have a PC version? (I already stated the answer to this ) If consoles were to offer me a form of entertainment I cannot get on a PC that excites me, I’d buy them right away, which is why I instantly bought a ‘Nintendo Wii’ when it was released in the hopes it revived couch-gaming.
I understand the economics of online-console play + the fact that there’s a ton of players there, but I think in order for consoles to grow their business and attract new loyal customers, they should expand even more than they already do towards hardcore couch-gaming or other new forms of entertainment the PC cannot deliver (Occulus Rift + hardware?).
Hardcore gamers are the most loyal to have around, so if you become the new ‘Nintendo Wii’ yet instead of focusing on getting grandma’s to stay fit, you reenact couch-gaming PvP or coop, I think you can grow out a really strong fanbase.
I bet some games like this exist on the current gen-consoles, especially within their online-stores, and if so, it goes to show there’s an advertising-problem for them to solve.
My message is: convince me to be your customer! What’s your salespitch for me to spend $1k in console/game/accessories on top of the powerful PC I already have? (other than the ‘well you cannot get this game..)