As we prepare to move into the next generation of consoles, most video game enthusiasts are primed and ready with their list of demands for a far fetched, complex dream machine. If you look at the debate for next generation its not about the games, its about the hardware. That one perfect build that will somehow eternalize gaming bliss for many years to come. The desires of such are unreachable and will ultimately hinder software progression in the long run. Generally speaking, consoles should serve one purpose, to play games. Other benefits should be taken as extra incentive and not a main focus, which is far from the case.
Consoles have vastly overextended their coverage into the mainstream. Now lies a heavy burden to measure up to this goal in the eyes of the general gaming public. No longer a single function piece of hardware, but a multimedia tool for web access, media sharing, movies, and video games a like. This is the draw for great expectation. We want to play games, surf the web, chat with friend across games, view movies, etc which is greatly spreading the focus thin. In turn, you must have the hardware to back up such features. This is not a downside specifically, but a mere waste of time and resources. Sure these features are great, but when the games suffer overwhelming issues there seems to be a problem and lack of direction. The focus should rest on optimizing the hardware to build the games upon. Not offer great hardware to allow a media hub of multiple features when, the primary goal of playing games, is still underwhelming.
My main concern is the outlandish demand for overwhelming power in the console. Gamers want high end video cards, high end processors, four plus gigs of ram, unlimited hard drive space and this list basically turns into a great pc build. Consoles are the polar opposite of a pc. They offer gamers a chance to play wonderful games without forking over insane amounts of cash to build a pc from scratch. Although, the trend seems to be imploding in on itself. A console often costs more than that of a pc in the long run, for a less productive solution.
If development studios can create enriching experiences with low end hardware, then what seems to be the debate at all? Sure, as gamers, we always want more. We want more frames per second, native 1080p, technical prowess and much more. Demands of this nature can still be achieved next generation, even with low end hardware. Granted, there seems to be wishful thinking that the latest and greatest will provide such privileges. Yet, the majority can't tell the difference between 720p or 1080p. Same could be said in the difference between 60 frames per second and 30 frames per second. Gamers tend to fool themselves into thinking they have a firm understanding of all those minor points and merely want the hardware as backup for clarification.
My hope for next generation is set quite low compared to the ultra spec ideas that are already taking root. I wish for my console to play games in 720p and for the technical issues to be ironed out. If this two items could be integrated then it would be care free gaming for me. Obviously, my thoughts are quite underwhelming. If I wanted anything more then I would opt for building a pc. "Expensive console" is sort of an oxymoron I can't quite understand. Pushing for the latest and greatest will only raise the price on a machine that should be a cheap entry point into gaming.
I have never bought or played a console based on hardware and I dont intend to start anytime soon. The games are what count and will always count regardless of the constraining limitations or abundant freedom. My view is that consoles should be a low price piece of hardware to play games. Merely a medium or vessel for interesting ideas in the form of interactive entertainment. The whole idea behind a console has gone out the window. The focus on pushing hardware power has lead to the most stagnant and unoriginal gaming generation I have ever been apart of. So far, by the looks of things, it will be another repeat blunder in the next generation to come. Hopefully the community can return to center and push for better ideas, better content and allow for the hardware to conform around those ideas.
Of course, I would like to thank anyone who takes time to read my posts here on n4g. Its something I always appreciate. Feel free to leave a comment.