It’s said that Americans want everything in a single package. We want a machine that chops, dices, blends, cooks, roasts, minces, and purees. We want a lawn tool that cuts, mows, prunes, digs, weeds, and buries bodies. The Japanese, however, supposedly want specific devices for each thing. They would rather own more things, each doing what they are designed for very well. I agree with the Japanese; I do not want a cell phone that takes pictures. I want a cell phone that has a long battery life, gets great reception and has clear sound. I do not want a dolly that is also a hand truck, a step ladder land a flatbed cart. Actually, I probably don’t really want any dolly.
So what the hell does this have to do with anything? Half of this generations systems have a built in DVD player (that’s right, I included the Dreamcast. Deal with it), the PSP plays movies, and next gen systems will have all sorts of additional crap. Ken Kuturagi has even said that the PS3 is not a game system. He is obviously deluded or a liar, but that’s beside the point. Is adding all the extra technology to these systems worth the cost?
I say no. People are concerned that the Revolution won’t be able to play DVDs, but I estimate about four people who spend hundreds of dollars on a new console in 2006 will not yet have a DVD player. A usable DVD player goes for $40, and I already have three in my living room and two in my bedroom. At this point, getting upset that a console won’t play DVDs is like caring if a system plays music CDs. It just shouldn’t matter.
Game systems should be about games. That seems painfully obvious but it seems Sony and Microsoft haven’t figured it out yet. The DVD player in the PS2, coupled with hype (lies) sold millions of the early systems, but the PSP is not destroying the DS despite many peoples’ predictions. The PS2 had enough good games to sell the system whereas the PSP may not. Had Sony invested the money they put into getting movie companies behind the UMD format into making one or two top quality titles, things may be going better for the system. The DS not only lacks any movie playback capability, its overall weaker technology, yet it’s doing better than the PSP in some markets. A mere handful of top notch games are selling the system.
I am confident that my complaints are in vain. All arts have their snobs: the film snob, the music snob, well I am a game snob, and as a game snob I am used to being on the losing side of philosophical arguments (about games… you wouldn’t understand). Sony and Microsoft will dominate the next generation with their non game systems, and respectable Nintendo who only wants to sell us video games (and Pokemon cards) will continue to scrape by. I hope I am wrong, but either way, I predict I’ll be right about this: the new systems will be primarily game systems and the battle will be won and lost by games, not lan ports, Blu Ray readers, and step ladder extensions. They can call their systems whatever PR bullshit they want, besides basic internet play I doubt any tech will make a difference.
So Sony and Microsoft, stop selling me multimedia hubs and portable movie players. Respect me and the medium; sell game systems.