A Cold Console War
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 October 2013, 11:24 am

We received an interesting question on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, and it’s one I’ve found myself chewing over occasionally ever since. The question was simple, something along the lines of “Are you actually excited for the next generation of consoles or just going through the motions?”

It’s a good question, and one I hadn’t thought consciously about yet. I do think I had experienced some telling internal monologue that hadn’t been fully fleshed out yet, particularly anytime some new nugget of information sprung up around the console launch. I would see whatever the thing was that I was supposed to think was important, and remind myself that I was supposed to actually care. But apparently, I didn’t.

It’s not right to say I’m not excited about the next generation. I am. Just not as much as I feel like I’m supposed to be. I remember when the Playstation or the Xbox first came out, and that rush of excitement at the unlimited possibilities provided by this next generation technology. I would go around saying how such-and-such was a true 64-bit machine, even though I had no earthly clue what that meant or why it was relevant. Apparently there was some causal relationship between the number of bits something in the machine had, or had access to — or maybe just had etched on its side, like a super-techno tramp stamp — that equated directly to how great the platform was going to be.

And the console makers seemed every bit as excited to unload useless information and constant teases of marketing, fueling great brush-fires of brand loyalty across the face of the internet. “Our 64 bits are much better than their substandard 64-bits — if they even are 64-bits that is,” their marketing message would say. I would metaphorically rise from my chair, thrust my fist in the air and shout my ignorant agreement. Obviously, I would conclude, their 64-bits were much more bittier than everyone else’s. I was younger, dumber and in love with the console cycle.

But here’s the thing: It’s not just that I’m not as excited as I used to be, whether that’s a function of knowledge, maturity or something else. Rather, I’d argue the console makers aren’t even all that excited. It’s like they’re going through the motions just as much as the rest of us are.

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