Where would we be if there was one dominant console on the market and no competition? Probably not a good place. Competition in the console industry is the driving force behind innovation and pricing. With the latest news that Sony looks to have taken a demanding lead in the ongoing console war, we must question whether this is indeed good for the gaming industry.
This is not what the everyday fanboy will tell you, they will vehemently deny any good can come from sales from the opposition. They take to the internet defending their bit of plastic with their last breath, trying to convince others that anything other than their console is a waste of time and a piece of junk. In an ideal situation for them their console would be top of the pile and everything else would be lagging behind, struggling for sales. If this happened the consequences for gaming would be catastrophic, here I explain why.
Firstly, their would be no need to price the console accordingly. Without any competition a console would be set at much inflated RRP and the price wouldn’t shift regardless of time. With an already high price for consoles this is something that none of us want to see.
Their would be a lack of innovation. Without competition pushing forward and making advances in the way we play there would be no need to push forward any new concepts. This could range from peripherals, in-game functions, to the games themselves. Why would a company be interested in pushing forward new concepts, investing their time and money if they could get away with selling anything?
It would also further stunt consoles taking chances. Whether that be through online play, to control pads. Every company has taken a chance at some point, whether it be back in the 90s with 3D technology, the birth of the dual analog sticks to Xbox Live. Taking risks is what gives us the gamers a much better experience and a talking point. Complacency would inevitably set in, as well as laziness.
It would be detrimental to customer service/promotion. With consoles offering a similar experience, customer service is paramount to success. Just think if there was only one king of the console world, they could get away with what they want. You wouldn’t see much in the way of advertisement either, which further drives sales and sales means bigger and better products/games for the user.
Part of the reason we see the internet rife with idiotic fanboys is because of market stability. We all want to be assured that we made the right purchase and straight after the launch of a console we seek the approval of others in our choice. We don’t want to be the one who bought the failing console, so we attack others who support the opposition in some kind of tribal like fashion, in order to justify our purchase. This is called post-purchase anxiety, which happens in every field where a purchase is relatively expensive and we made our decisions based on hype and our own predictions.
We find peace of mind in others who have made the same decisions as ourselves. We lash out at anyone who hasn’t made the same choice as us because we don’t want the grass to be greener, in any aspect. I shall say one thing, who cares how much a console sells? Is it really that important to you that your console has a few more million than your hated rival? If quality is based on sales, then Justin Bieber is one the best musicians of all time, right?
I expect this whole console war debate to die down in the coming years, the sensible and fortunate will go multi-platform and experience the highs of each console. Do not wish for the demise of your rivals, because it’s them which makes your own favorite so great.