NOTE: This is not a list-wars discussion.
"It's all about the games" is a phrase I hear over and over as some sort of ultimate response to questions concerning different platforms.
I think it's a cute ideal but I'm not sure how much of it remains true on the consoles we play on today.
The 16 bit generation - games were the deciding factor. Though I'm sure, thanks mostly to Streetfigher 2, controllers were a consideration too. In fact I fondly recall that time when Streetfighter was such a prominent part of the gaming landscape that the best way to 'get a feel' of the comfort of a new controller would be to try out a couple of crouch, crouch forwards, forwards motions on it.
CDs appeared and soundtrack and sound fidelity became a consideration. Hard disks appeared and the option to have personalised soundtracks to some games was, reportedly, a big factor in platform preference.
And then ...
Online came to consoles. And with it a variety of services and functions. Also monetisation of product, online stores, DLC. Things would never be the same and the manufacturers clearly have no intent to change the direction they're headed.
So, it's nice to say "It's all about the games" I don't think today's console gamer can get away from the fact that it's really not. Some of us, especially us purists, would like it to be, but those days are gone. Such are the joys of a cocktail of progress, mainstream acceptance, technology and comsumerism.
The thing I do most on my consoles is to play games. I don't use Netflix. I don't stream my music. I don't browse the web. I very rarely play a game online.
But does that mean I've been all about the games? No.
I've got friends on a friends list. Some of whom have alerted me to a bargain game or a game I might not have heard of before.
I have purchased games from a digital store. I've recieved discounts on those games due to a service I've subscribed to.
I use cloud storage for my save games. I use a hard disk for my game content. I have a preference between wired and wireless controllers. I find the menu layout on one system easier to comprehend than on another.
I adore gaming. But I am also a realist. And the eve of a new generation is a good time to take stock - not only of what these platform makers are doing for me but of what I get from gaming and what aspects affect me. Gaming has changed. Gamers have changed.
Look back at all the things you've done on your last console and all the factors you're considering if planning to invest in a new one. Look at what gamers are saying and how animated they get over topics like DRM, voice chat, game patches and even politics.
Gaming was once all about the games. I don't believe that's the case any more but I think it's a nice thing to say to believe.
I love gaming. Truly. I loved it from the first day I encountered it. I love where it was, where it is and where it's going. It's not without its casualties and some of the things I wished for (such as mainstream acceptance) have occured but at a price I hadn't considered. I always believe TODAY is the best time to be gaming. YESTERDAY was great too - but yesterday is gone and it won't be coming back.