Colin Campbell of Next-Gen.biz writes: I've always argued against the notion of a single games platform, for two reasons. First that it could never happen; the hardware big boys wouldn't wear it. Second that, even if such a thing were possible, on balance, it would not be a good thing for the consumer.
Now I've changed my mind on both; with a few caveats.
From an industry point of view, the benefits of multiple platforms are not greater than the drawbacks. It is entirely wasteful to be developing, marketing and manufacturing the exact same product for two systems that, for all intents and purposes, are pretty much the same while being entirely incompatible.
For consumers, multiple platforms offer choice. However, they also offer non-choice. If you are an Xbox 360 owner who would like to play Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or Metal Gear Solid 4, you must pay $400 for a PS3; even though you already own a product that does pretty much the same job. If we take it as gospel that software is more important than hardware, it's a bad deal to offer hardware choice at the expense of software choice.