With the announcements of all these new consoles, the Nvidia Shield, the Ouya, the Game Stick, bringing small form factor gaming to the living room, console gaming is certainly feeling the winds of change. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all pushing for lower power usage, lower startup costs for their next-gen hardware and they've been adding media features for years. Netflix, Youtube, LoveFilm, iPlayer – so much so, that we've ended up using our consoles more for their media functions than we have for gaming.
This got me wondering, will the age old PC gamers vs console gamers war come to an end soon? Are console gamers assimilating to become more like us as time goes on?
Now you could argue that just because consoles are adding more functions, doesn't make them PC gamers. They can't do a lot of things we can do – though the Ouya is getting a Firefox browser – but we certainly aren't PC gamers because we have a glorified type writer built into our gaming platform, we're PC gamers because we choose to play on an open platform, one that doesn't restrict us, lets us use the fantastic mouse/keyboard combo, upgrade our hardware, install whatever OS we want: it gives us choices.
What a PC is, what the PC really is, is freedom. [10 MegaGames points for those of you that get that reference without Googling]
While the next-gen Xbox is hardly likely to hike up its skirts and let us tinker away with its undercarriage, we've heard rumours of possible upgrades for the next generation. We've got increased media functions, browser capabilities on smaller systems – we have an increasingly competitive market place with different controller types.
Hell we have PCs in the lounge through Steam's Big Picture and we have hardware from other companies designed to make that a reality. What exactly is the difference between that and a gaming machine? And if there's no difference between that and a console, what's the difference between that and the PC?
Am I making sense yet, or just asking lots and lots of questions?
My point is, when I can sit in my lounge and switch between mouse and keyboard to game controller on the same platform – say the new Steam Box – or surf the internet on my Ouya with a fully functioning browser, where's the line drawn between a PC and a console gamer?
Another way to look at it all however could be to see a further deepening on that line. As consoles take over the media functions performed by HTPCs, will that mean that our personal computers go back to being dedicated working or gaming machines? A lot of people browse the internet on their phone or tablets. Do people still use a laptop or desktop to look at Youtube any more?
The many uses of the PC are actually being farmed off to other devices, so perhaps the PC will become more specialised while consoles become more generalised.
There really were a lot of questions in this piece but I think that's the interesting part, we don't know where this is going, all we can do is speculate. What does the Megagames audience think? You're PC gamers through and through, let's hear it.