consoles

Thoughts: Are consoles and PC becoming the same?

With the recent news of Rocket League developer, Psyonix, having the possible answer to Xbox and PlayStation cross play, I think a new question should be asked. Along with other additions to consoles like keyboard and mouse support, or console exclusives also being available on PC, will consoles eventually die out, effectively creating an era where everyone plays on a PC/console hybrid of their choice?

The first reason I have to believe that a PC/console hybrid taking over for everyone is very possible, is the cross platform gaming. A huge reason for buying or choosing a console is to play with your friends. Why do you want to buy a WII U or an Xbox One, when all of your friends are enjoying the PS4, or vice versa. Well recently, some PS4/PC titles have been supporting cross platform environments, such as Rocket League, the soon to release Paragon, or Street Fighter V. This recent surge in cross play titles, along with Sony and Microsoft both showing interests in cross play titles with each other, could essentially bring all parties together. Gone will be the days where you have to choose which friends you want to play with when picking your platform. Eventually, we may be able to play with anyone, no matter the console of preference.

There is a potential problem that gamers may argue for this cross platform possibility. The unfair advantage for PC players over console players, as PC has a mouse and Keyboard. However, this argument will be irrelevant in the near future, due to the fact that both consoles will most likely have keyboard and mouse support themselves. Not only has Microsoft expressed interest in this support for Xbox, but Sony has their own mouse and keyboard coming out for PS4. This support addition will put all gamers on an even playing field, allowing everyone the option to play with a controller or a keyboard and mouse.

Tactical Assault Commander for PlayStation 4, their version of a keyboard and mouse.
Tactical Assault Commander for PlayStation 4, their version of a keyboard and mouse.

Moving past cross platform in the future, the second thing most people consider when buying a game system, is which platform has the best exclusives. This too may become irrelevant, as Microsoft has expressed an interest in releasing Xbox exclusives alongside Windows 10. A perfect example of this is the upcoming Quantum Break. If you pre-order an Xbox One copy of Quantum Break, you will also receive a Windows 10 edition. Though this isn’t a major change at all, and you still do need to own an Xbox, this could eventually lead to purchasing Xbox exclusives on Windows 10 alone. This change would take yet another reason away to own a certain console. You wouldn’t be forced into buying an Xbox to play a game like Gears of War, if you are able to buy the game elsewhere.

Furthermore, is the communication aspect of a certain system. As of now PS4 players can only talk to PS4 players, but that has changed for Xbox. With Windows 10, you are able to join Xbox live parties if you are signed in with your Xbox account. Another option on Xbox is to download Skype, adding an even broader way of communicating with friends who are on another Xbox, PC, or a phone. This obviously starts to touch more on the cross platform topic again, but it is important. If PS4 were to add Skype to their system tomorrow, everyone would be able to communicate, regardless of system choice. They may not be able to play together yet, but the communication barrier is removed.

The last big choice to take into consideration when buying a new game system, is convenience and price. These two aspects of consoles are a major selling point, and may even be the reason many people still don’t own a gaming PC. A PC that can run games well can empty your wallet, and there is a decent amount of maintenance that comes with it. Especially with software or hardware breaking down. I would agree with this, if it weren’t for the push being made for a more streamlined PC. The Alienware Steam machine is around the same price as a console, and even looks much like a console. But the hardware and software is a lot better and can be upgraded. Though you don’t need to upgrade. These machines are new and have a long way ahead, but it is a glimpse at a more convenient and affordable PC.

The Alienware Steam Machine.
The Alienware Steam Machine.

Consoles have been a staple of gaming for many years now, and I don’t think they will necessarily just die off. I think with all of these new additions being possible, consoles and PC will hit a sweet spot and may even become one in the same. There could be a system that allows for a base convenience and controller/couch feel, while also allowing for upgrades and a hardcore gaming experience. Everyone could potentially play together and exclusives could be a thing of the past. Obviously this isn’t the case yet, and more likely than not, there will be another generation of consoles. But I do believe that in the forseeable future, there will be no console wars or any real difference between console and PC.

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