Published on April 12th, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley2
The Console War of Attrition
What an ugly word.
It’s always being thrown around and is the Godwin’s law of the videogame community.
But this word is just a new coat for a thing that’s been around since the early days, mostly when the Megadrive came out. Not so much here in the UK which is predominately Sega territory.
I know that game related posts all over the internet are filled with dreary renditions of rose-tinted nostalgia stories, that are so similar to your own, you secretly wonder if everyone has been whole-stamped with the same videogame memories, undergoing a bit of “brain-in-the-vat” syndrome, but I’ll ignore the proverbial and just go ahead anyway.
When I was younger my friends and I (the plural may be a slight exaggeration on the number of friends I actually had back then) only had Megadrives so there was no argument between consoles. The only time I ever experienced anything of the sort was when she was able to move on and buy a Saturn and I couldn’t. That bloody girl had all the latest stuff.
So obviously that makes it very easy for me to say, “Back in my day we never argued about which was the better console” as for me it feels like this last generation has become so aggressive with ownership of consoles, however in America the SNES and Genesis were head to head in a war of sales figures and somehow this got transferred onto the consumers and quickly turned into a war of hearts and minds.
The beauty of it all lies in the way the companies managed their sales pitch, instead of attempting to win by appealing to their consumers, each company recruited their consumers to wage war on the other and in doing so, were just trying to make the other company lose. We’re all just pawns paying for our own military service as conscripts to the console army. We are being used as a cheap marketing tool, to companies too lazy to fight their own battles. We are the real losers.
The only other business as ridiculous is the PC vs Mac argument which has leaked out into the mobile phone market, it’s a slow trend but the use of consumers as a sales tool is certainly picking up traction. It’s like a more sinister materialistic 80’s without excess of money to fuel the consumers.
So although not exclusive to the Videogame industry, it is still rife here.
Why are we selling our souls to the corporations? Because gamers are dedicated soldiers if nothing else.
There are two main types of soldier in the console war, the martyr and hater.
I’m really not sure what is worse, one enables malpractice in companies and the other directly attacks the consumers, but both are extremely damaging to the games industry.
Haters “hate on” all of the consoles that aren’t their own and tend to use the term “fanboy” as a weapon to upset other people, it often can leave one feeling the need to prove oneself. For example, I wrote an editorial a while back for a website and one of the replies went something like this;
“Why no mention of (PS3 Game)? You don’t have a PS3”.
As if my entire article was now null and void because I hadn’t mentioned the game and might not own a PS3.
Luckily I’m a lot more civil when replying to people compared to my manner while writing normally in pieces like this, interestingly, I found myself trying to tread carefully trying to prove that I did in fact have a PS3 and the game in question, but without looking like I was trying too hard to say I did. I shouldn’t have given this person the time of day, but the desire to be accepted by this uninformed twat overrode all else.
Which means he won.
Martyrs are no less passive, defending their console often when nobody is attacking it. I have always thought that people shouldn’t be hated for loving something, but obviously this only goes so far and defending a company’s policies which are designed with their pockets in mind is certainly not going to gain any sympathy. Any perceived slight will instantly cause some people to jump straight into flinging insults with little regard to grammar let alone Wildeian wit.
For example, I once mentioned online that I tend to stick to Eastern games for the PS3 and Western for the Xbox unless otherwise informed but this kind of segregation basically had the same effect on the forumfolk as if I’d been doing it with people and concentration camps.
I’m sure we all have our favourite console and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but some people just seem to have no self-esteem.
The main reason that people antagonise one another over consoles, is insecurity about themselves, sometimes a poor method of justifying their own purchase of a console as they don’t have all of them.
I mean, if you didn’t have enough money/room/permission to get one, you don’t want to make the wrong choice right? That’s understandable, I used to suffer from this a lot myself.
So what better way to avoid this problem then to just bully your way to contentment, eh?
There are pros and cons to all consoles, you are allowed to lament not having the ability to play Halo, Metal Gear Solid 4 or Mario Galaxy without having to condemn them.People feel affronted as different consoles cater to a different demographic and somehow variety is supposed to be a bad thing?
The intent of the companies who introduce and enforce the console war is to destroy the opponent, but where’s the line for gamers? At what point constitutes the desired destruction when people and ideas are concerned?
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