The Uselessness of Console Hate

Posted: December 16, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Console Hate
Video Game fandoms, just like any other, are subject to some very passionate opinions that, among some groups, transform from friendly disagreements into full-on arguments that can be rather personal and visceral. Being a pretty easy going guy, I’ve never understood this mentality and regularly ask why anyone would treat their opinions on the video game medium so seriously. What is gained by trying to force your opinion on others and, alternately, what is lost by having a differing opinion from others?

Basically, there exists a subset of gamers that simply aren’t content to play games they enjoy, they feel that their opinions are superior and, therefore, must be broadcast to other gamers. If other gamers disagree, then they must be ridiculed. It’s comparable to those people that argue on public forums about politics or religion (or lack thereof). It’s not enough that they have their own beliefs, they must also convert everyone else or tell them why they are wrong. Having political and religious beliefs is perfectly fine, but abjectly ridiculing those that disagree with your own beliefs serves absolutely no purpose. I’m not speaking of friendly disagreements or explaining what you believe and why while also discussing the beliefs of others. No, I’m talking about those arguments that are almost vicious, arguments in which there is true anger and malice. Just as they exist in politics or religion, they also exist in the world of video games and seem to focus more on consoles, or the console makers.

We call this intersection "Perfect Harmony"

We call this intersection “Perfect Harmony”

What’s missed by these people is that opinions are, by definition, completely personal and subjective. Based on many of the people we have in prison, not even everyone can agree that murder and theft are bad, much less what video games and consoles are the best. For reasons that escape me, there are those people that refuse to accept this and feel that what they believe is factually and objectively correct and they must therefore subdue and convince those that disagree. I’m always very careful on this blog to state when something I’m arguing is completely my opinion. There are times that I have no evidence whatsoever for what I’m saying, and I own the fact that I could be wrong. It is this latter part that the subset I’m speaking of refuse to accept. While I believe what I’m saying is correct, I not only accept differing thoughts, I want and welcome them because it forces me to defend my thoughts and, on many occasions, means I may even modify what I believe because someone has presented a very valid point that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

Ultimately, what is overlooked by those that want a company or console to fail is that when the current three competitors (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) are healthy and successful, it is beneficial to those of us that buy their products. For an example, look at the Nintendo Wii. It has received quite a bit of criticism during its life, despite selling over 100 million units. The success of the Wii and, by extension, its control input, resulted in Sony and Microsoft taking another look at their own consoles. Sony developed the Move (after adding some motion elements to their six axis controller) while Microsoft released the Kinect. While the Move wasn’t a roaring success, Kinect became fairly popular and has been refined for the Xbox One. According to those I know that have purchased an Xbox One, the functions of the Kinect seem to work very well (voice commands, for example) and are quite the positive for the console. Now, I don’t believe these were developed solely because the Wii was such a success (okay, the Move probably was), but I do believe that the Wii caused these new peripherals to be pushed harder towards the market. My point being that Nintendo being successful pushed both Sony and Microsoft to innovate their own products. There is little to no negative from this happening.

I understand when the vibrating function is enabled, the Move doubles as a....nevermind

I understand when the vibrating function is enabled, the Move doubles as a…nevermind

Fine, so you don’t care for motion controls or the Kinect? There are more examples of competition breeding better products. Nintendo was a curmudgeon about games on disc until the Sony Playstation became such an amazing success. Nintendo adapted accordingly with their next system. Online gaming was mostly the realm of the PC until Microsoft incorporated it so well into the Xbox. Now, it’s common place for most consoles. When the Sega Genesis became a serious threat to Nintendo’s dominance of the market, they loosened their draconian restrictions on game developers (such as the presence of blood in Mortal Kombat or the use of the Game Genie). The ultimate example? Nintendo’s NES was so successful it brought other companies (hello Sega!) into the market and brought us a golden age of gaming, only a decade after the disastrous crash of the early 80’s.

The entire mindset of rooting for one console or company while actively wishing for the demise of another is baseless. There is no positive to be gained from doing so. Complete dominance by one company is rarely a positive, simply take a look at Nintendo’s policies for developers on the NES that I mentioned above (limited yearly releases per developer, censorship). It took a threat to their market share to shake them up. In this industry, the success of multiple companies leads to each trying to one-up the other. The true winners when that starts happening? All of us that play and enjoy video games. Too bad that some people can’t just play what they enjoy while letting everyone else do the same.

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