The Console game has begun to fragment. And that is bad.


Hello! I know I haven’t been around lately. Things have been very busy with work and buying a flat and all that jazz and I completely forgot about my blog. Terrible.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about a recent development that seems to be coming to the console business. Fragmentation. The 3DS already did it and no one cared, Microsoft talked about it and now it seems like Sony are actually going to do it. If you don’t know what i am talking about, Sony have decided to release the Playstation 4.5. Codename Neo. This is a more powerful PS4 with some interesting developer guidelines. Giantbombs podcast goes into more detail, but the long and short of it is that games can harness the power from the PS4.5 but also have to support the older console. The worry here is that we could get into a Hyrule Warriors 3DS situation, where games are essentially unplayable on the older console. Sony have also said nothing about if the older one will get phased out. They have gone down the PC route with a fixed piece of hardware.
This isn’t bad for consumers. They are fickle creatures who will adapt. This is bad for Sony. They sold 35 million units already to lots of happy customers and have the potential to alienate them very quickly and on top of that, lose business and turn their comeback console into the PS3 or worse the Vita. OK, the latter is pretty drastic, but you get the idea.
So what is bad about fragmenting the console base and going down the PC route.
Well for starters they have gone down the PC route and are now facing a strong competitor. The PC. Lets say they release a hardware revision at the end of 2017. How much are they going to price it for. Another £350? And is there any guarantee they won’t do it again? People are not stupid. Even the dedicated fanboys will clock on to this.
And, in my opinion, at time of writing, the PS4 still lack the “killer app”.
Destiny? Yeah I am sure we will see something similar or at some point even see Destiny itself on PC. Uncharted? A franchise that is getting tired and isn’t exactly a household name that say Halo is. Killzone? Terrible game. God Of War? Have you played Devil May Cry?
You get the idea.
So what is my point. Well my point is you can buy a PC for the same price along with a steam link if you wanted, hook up a controller, fire up big picture mode and have the same experience with the same if not more games. And when that 3 year console revision roles around. You upgrade your pc for £100 or so for a new graphics card and keep on gaming. They stop buying PS4 copies of multi platform games and head to Steam.
The second is the added costs for developers. If TCRs come through saying that devs now have to develop for both PS4 and PS4.5 and they are hard and fast… well the added dev cost could become quite significant, putting a lot of developers off developing for Sony’s console, which then means less titles to purchase.

The rise of PC and mobile gaming is happening and this has the potential to speed it up. Which is a shame, as I have always loved the simplicity of console gaming. I’m hoping in reality that most of the 35 million players will have the same attitude about it as me. Still buy the games to use their old PS4s, and not upgrade. Make it like the New 3DS. Where no one cares, developers still make great games for the hardware they had in the first place and this never happens again.

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