A new generation of consoles is upon us, with the Wii U already six months into its life, the next Xbox and PlayStation cannot be too far behind. Something interesting has happened over the years though, gaming consoles have become so much more than just a way to play video games for a dozen hours a week, but like with most things when it comes to video games, people find a way to complain about extra features and now the term “entertainment” has a negative stigma attached to it. It had me wondering if a console company released a new gaming console that strictly played video games and had no other features, would anyone buy it?
Gaming consoles used to be just that, and they were also looked at as something nerdy kids used in their parent’s basement; but these days there are definitely a lot more gamer’s and with that we’ve gotten a natural evolution with what we can do with these consoles. I think that when consoles add entertainment applications they have the intent to keep us using those consoles, they want people to put as much time in on these machines as possible, and I can understand why. When I was younger and had a Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, I was allowed to play games for around two hours a day if I did my homework and chores, as I’ve grown my gaming time has expanded, but even so, before this generation once my game session was over, my console was turned off, sometimes it’d be turned off for days at a time if I was busy, and when you add up the time my consoles were actually used, I guess I felt a bit ripped off, which is why I have been loving all the apps and entertainment features that are now standard, I never turn off my console anymore, when I’m done gaming, I can check out Netflix, Hulu Plus or Youtube.
Granted, I think I can understand where some people are coming from when they say they want a console that only plays games, but I got to thinking about this the other day, would I even buy a console that lacked features like Netflix and Hulu Plus? I don’t think I would, it’s the same way with Smartphones, I wouldn’t buy a phone that could only make calls and not text, access the internet and various other applications. I couldn’t imagine a gaming console that couldn’t do multiple things, I feel like you really get your money’s worth from the new consoles, and it probably helps bring in more consumers for the console maker’s. People want to feel like they are getting the most value for their cash, and adding more and more features surely accomplishes that.
When Microsoft announced that they were going to reveal the next Xbox on May 21st, the headline mentioned a new generation of gaming and entertainment, and this got some people up in arms, as if Microsoft or any other console maker couldn’t equally focus on games and entertainment. It could just be typical fanboy ignorance, but when you think about it, Nintendo already has a ton of non gaming apps and entertainment features with the Wii U, the PlayStation 4 looks to equally have as many apps and a focus on social aspects, but the only company that seems to get ire for promoting entertainment is Microsoft, and although it’s a bit of a double standard, I can see that some people feel some of their apps are overkill, and maybe so, I mean how many of us are going to order a pizza through a game console? Okay, I admit it, I did order a pizza with the app that one time.
I guess really I’d wonder why so many people feel like it’s an “either or” type of situation when it comes to extra’s like entertainment applications. The games will be there, I’m sure of it, but why must we act like the evolution of game consoles is a bad thing? Would anyone out there really, I mean really want a console with no Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or other entertainment apps? I don’t think many would line up for that console, probably about as many lining up for the latest cell phone that only makes phone calls and nothing else. Not that I’ve done a scientific poll, but I asked some of my closer gaming friends if they’d buy a console that lacked entertainment, and of the ten people I asked, they all said “no”, or “probably not”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even though some of the vocal minority has come out against extra features and options on gaming consoles, I think the actual majority like the ability to do other things apart from gaming on these expensive pieces of hardware.
I guess if you aren’t a person who’s into entertainment, you might be a little disappointed with the next generation of consoles, because the apps aren’t going to slow down, we’ll only see more and more as the console companies try to gain as many different types of gamer’s and techies as possible to buy their consoles. We have to keep in mind that these are businesses that are trying to attract as many consumers as they can, and the way you do that is by broadening your horizons. I think keeping your options open, and being open to getting the most value from a console you purchase is a good thing, I mean the first year or so that I had my PS3 I used it strictly as a Blue Ray player, there literally were no games that interested me at its launch, I use my Wii U for apps mostly now because there is a severe lack of games, so it’s times like that, where added features really save the day, and I don’t recall anyone complaining when CD player, DVD players and Blu-Ray players were added to consoles, and what was that if not a way to lure in people other than gamer’s?
In closing, I’d like to ask people to keep an open mind when it comes to more features on gaming consoles, you aren’t forced to use them, but there are a lot of people who do use them and enjoy them very much, options are a great thing in life, and all three console makers will continue to try to lure in consumers that aren’t gamer’s at all, we’ll see more of a mix this generation than in any previous generation, so I’d suggest that we all kind of embrace it, go with the flow and remember that nobody is stopping us from using consoles to game. So with that in mind, game on my friends, and sound off in the comment section below and let us know what you think about added entertainment options on gaming consoles.