Hey Fanboys: PS3 And 360 Success Isn't Mutually Exclusive
Look, all of you can scream at each other through a video screen until your fingers fuse into claws. You can call each other names and smash and bash and act like typical idiots, 'cuz that's what the fanboy does. But the rest of us - the real gamers - who have always indulged in this hobby for the sake of entertainment, know the truth of the matter. In some ways, Sony and Microsoft can attribute some of their success to the opposition, as is almost always the case in business.
You know what eventually happens without competition? Stagnation. The complete and total lack of drive and ambition. Consumers scanning store shelves, desperately searching for something new, or something that can even be considered "innovative." Of course, companies do have internal motivation to continually top themselves with better products, but the absolute best result doesn't come unless a direct competitor pops up and challenges them. So for all you Xbots calling for the PS3's demise, pay close attention: Microsoft will own your asses for all eternity; it's the same thing that would happen if any one company "owned" any particular generation. And for all you Sony fans trashing the 360's lack of power or competing exclusives, you better hope the 360 continues to sell units. Sony is forced to scramble to catch up, yes, but how exactly is that "scrambling" bad for consumers? What, not interested in more hardware price drops?
If you've been at a press conference, you know that both Sony and Microsoft will take jabs at one another. They will make a boast of some kind and in the very next breath, compare it to their closest competition. They do this because, despite what some may believe, many important decisions made at each company are made to combat the decision of the other company. Oh, the PS3 lowered the price? We better lower the price of the 360 soon, then! If there was no direct competition in the PS3, do all you Microsoft fans honestly believe the 360 would cost what it does now? What if Microsoft or Sony simply cornered the market? If you wanted to play video games, you'd just have to pay the cost or not play at all. Right? Nobody wants this, and even though it may appear like "game, set and match" for any company that pulls this off in the future, it'd be a short-lived celebration.
Everything would change. Everything. And not for the better as far as the consumer is concerned. Some may say, "sure, it'll be easier because we won't have to think or make any more tough purchase decisions." You know, if there's only one system and one set of games, what is there to talk or argue about? Well, for one, we could talk about the lack of competition allowing the "winning" company to simply cater to a mainstream audience that will continually reward the same ol' same ol' because they don't know any better...because no other competitor is offering anything different (or better). See how this works? So all you loyalists and silly fanboys can smash each other around all you want, but if you honestly want either the PS3 or 360 to "die," you had best accept the fact that gaming suddenly may hit a roadblock. Just think about it this way-
The video game industry has advanced at an extraordinarily rapid rate over the past couple of decades. ...at one point was only one company completely in charge? Was direct competition ever non-existent? Nope. So logically speaking, couldn't we easily attribute the aforementioned growth to that competition?
1/22/2009 Ben Dutka