This post kind of leads on to a future post, but I need to write this one first. It's also inspired by a conversation with a 20 year old, so as Mark has already pointed out, it's basically just a man reacting to the encroachment of age.
The 20 year old, for whatever reason because I've never really spoken to him about games before, decided to tell me that he was going to buy a PS2. I asked him why, he said he's always had a soft spot for the PS2 because it was his first console, back when he was 4.
Fuck all 20 year olds.
That started a thought worm tunnelling through my brain, one that resurfaced a few days later on a completely different tangent. All of a sudden I remembered the start of this generation. I know fanboyism is never going away, I know the launch of a console brings out the worst of people, but it was like people had never seen a new console before. I remember the conversations around it, I may even have started (possibly even finished) a God Mode On post about it, that the reason it felt like people's first new console generation is because it was, for many people, their first new console generation. If at 11 years old, rather than the hand me down consoles you've been putting up with/grateful for in the past, you're finally able to pick your console of choice for christmas or your birthday. If you get a 360 at launch, you're then 20 years old before the PS4 launches.
it got me thinking about my console history, and the sheer number of consoles that have come and gone over the years, particularly in the 1990s.Without checking, and sporadically including handhelds to make my point look a bit better, off the top of my head; The Master System 2 (included because it was an important release here in the UK), the Mega Drive, Snes, Neo Geo, Amiga CD 32, Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx, Game Gear, Mega CD, 32X, CDi, PS1, N64, Saturn, Neo Geo Pocket, and of course, the Sega Dreamcast. I’m missing some, loads probably, but I’m fairly sure all of those came out during the 1990s. If you compare that to the 12 years since the Xbox 360 released; The aforementioned Xbox 360, the PS3, the Wii, the 3DS, the Vita, the WiiU, the PS4, and the Xbox One. You can throw in a couple of forgettable Android machines like the Gamestick, there was also the Gizmondo, OnLive if that counts. It’s no comparison really.
There’s probably multiple causes for this shrinking of the market, in terms of choice at least. Costs and budgets have risen, I think that’s probably the obvious one, but I think the biggest reason is that the divergent videogame market of the 1980s began to converge in the 1990s. Home computers died out in favour of the unified Windows PC platform, those companies choosing instead to enter the console race, which is fine, both Microsoft and Sony have shown late entrants can succeed, and it’s probably worth remembering the PS1, Sony’s entrant in to the console market, prior to launch wasn’t initially looked at much differently from the likes of the Atari Jaguar, so many consoles had we seen fall by the wayside.
So when it struck me, and many others, how odd people’s reaction to the launch of this generation had been, how it seemed like they’d never experienced a good old-fashioned console war before, it’s because they probably hadn’t. The 20 year old I mentioned, granted he apparently mainly plays on PC, will have played on his PS2 from the age of 4, then presumably got a 360 for Christmas, aged 10 or 11 (main present of course), then nothing. He’s a kid, or was at least, he was in no position to buy a 2nd or third console, whatever console he had he would have had to stick with.
It’s a phenomenon that’s going to get worse I think. The next few years doesn’t seem like it will include a new handheld from Sony, it might, they’ve done stupider stuff, but not many. In fact we might not even see a 3DS successor from Nintendo, they seem to want to keep the 3DS plodding along for as long as they can, the Vita does still get the odd game too, I’m fine with that, I like both handhelds and am not itching for a new one, but I think we will need at least one sooner rather than later. The model for both Sony and Microsoft seems to be giving their current consoles a shot in the arm. I’m not against that model, I like my PS4 Pro, it sort of feels like the console the PS4 should have been in the first place, and I can see many baulking at the thought of buying another one of the same, but it does seem to suggest we’re in for a long generation. It’s feasible that this could be the longest generation yet, and we’ll have another generation that doesn’t know what they’re doing when the console war starts again
Header Image: HERE