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Why do video game consoles exist?

Neat Machine

Member
Jun 2, 2007
8,658
91
1,200
Hello friends,

It wasn't very long ago that nearly everyone expected the PS3/Xbox360/Wii generation to be the last one for game consoles. Every time a console launch comes around, I get to thinking about what will come next. Ever since Nintendo launched the Wii a couple of generations back, I've wondered about the place of "gimmicks" or of game consoles as a novelty device with exclusive games built around some new hardware feature. As far as I can tell, the value proposition or raison d'être for video game consoles seems to be something like:
  • Plug and Play
    • Historically, this might be the most important point. I think this one has been fading for some time, though. A console is still easier to use than a PC, but it seems like only a matter of time before this point drops off.
  • Low price and high value
    • Enabled by mass production.
    • Can even be sold at a loss and recouped later with profits from game sells.
  • Excellent support
    • Because of the value and popularity of game consoles, there are a lot of people playing games on them.
    • Closed system means everyone (both users and devs) know what to expect. Less hacking, fewer bugs.
  • Exclusive games
    • This one has to be mentioned, but it's probably the worst reason for a video game console to exist. Exclusive games add value to a platform only because they are kept off of others. It's not a real value add, but keeping value off other platforms.
  • Novel hardware
    • I feel like this is the most overlooked, and even at times stigmatized, value proposition of game consoles. When you combine novel hardware with the bullet points above this one, you get:
      • Wide support for a (hopefully) creative hardware feature that otherwise never would have seen the light of day (I think Wii motion controls is the clearest example). The PS5's dualsense, and the potential to see Sony and third party games taking advantage of its features has me very excited and is what inspired me to post this thread. I'm also excited to see Microsoft lift some of those features for their next controller (which I fully expect to happen this generation).
      • Exclusive games built around creative hardware - potential for artistic explosion. People make fun of Nintendo for releasing the same games every generation (ex: Mario Kart) but I think this is the way they make it work. Mario Kart on the Wii or Switch is not just a graphics update - they're familiar, but entirely new experiences.

Microsoft and Sony seem to have had divergent visions of what a game console in 2020 should be, who do you think had it more right (in 5 years, will Gamepass or DualSense be more significant)? Personally, I think these are both great products and I'm super happy that these guys are advancing the games industry. It feels like Microsoft doubled down on the first three points in my list, while Sony focused a lot more on the last two. It also feels a bit like Microsoft didn't care to invest in the idea of game consoles so much this time around - if people want them, they'll happily supply something with the first three points above for you to enjoy their services on. It's less exciting to me as an enthusiast, but it does make good sense for them especially as a software company. Sony, meanwhile, seems to be thinking of consoles as a product that is at the center of their software and services.

Do you think video game consoles are around to stay, or will they become obsolete with improved streaming technology (and how soon)? Are you a PC master race big boi, and do you think consoles are already obsolete?
 
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Oct 27, 2012
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Do you think video game consoles are around to stay, or will they become obsolete with...

dedicated GPUs → digital distribution → SSDs → improved streaming technology [YOU'RE HERE!]

No offense but this question has been asked since consoles went mainstream on the 80s. And the answer IMO hasn't changed:

The PC cannot kill consoles. Their plug-and-play value, the fact that they're closed systems that require close to zero maintenance and usually are sold at a much lesser cost than PCs (so when they break they are replaced instead of upgraded) cannot be overstated.

Only consoles can kill consoles, and I can't even begin to think how. Maybe, for example not getting any exclusive games anymore so the cheaper PC software prices tip the scale, and even then, I doubt this would be enough to kill the whole business).
 

DunDunDunpachi

Patient MembeR
Apr 18, 2018
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I think a purpose-built videogame system is around to stay for awhile. We're seeing more videogame consoles, not fewer. The quality of the low end stuff continues to get better. I think digital will continue to be sketchy over the next decade, so a not-zero amount of customers are gonna want a physical medium. We're also seeing more outlets printing physical copies of games, affirming what I'm talking about above.
 

Blood Borne

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,617
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505
The only thing that can kill consoles is if global internet infrastructure gets to the point where its speed can rival offline play, other than that, consoles will live forever.
PC can’t kill consoles, virtually impossible.
 

Arthimura

Member
Dec 20, 2015
306
230
380
They are here to stay. It's more practical than PC gaming and i see more people migrating from PC to consoles than the contrary.

In the Cyberpunk 2077 PC thread most people will be playing with lower specs than PS5 and Xbox Series X. That gives some notion of PC graphical superiority being more theoric than practical, most people don't want to upgrade their specs frequently, so they would ended up having a better experience playing on consoles.

And there's exclusive games. PC isn't a strong platform enough to receive big budget exclusives games. Most PC dedicated developers does games that can be run in a potato. Graphicallywise consoles have been receiving the most impressive games.
 
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John Day

Gold Member
Jan 12, 2018
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Karen ain’t got no time to learn to set up a Gaming PC for 5 year old little Jimmy to play with. Hell, she also can’t for her lazy ass bum 19 year old Tommy either!

So yeah, OP answered himself. 😜
 
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Nymphae

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Jun 3, 2013
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itsArtie

Member
Oct 23, 2019
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Big Boi Playstation gamer here. Consoles will become even more popular in the next 10 years. This new generation of PS and XB will produce some amazing games and the next Nintendo product will set new records.
Exclusives are simply too good to miss out on console gaming. My PC will be collecting dust until I see a good PC exclusive game. I got bored sitting in a stiff chair and playing on a 24" screen. Don't care about extra fps.
 

BigBooper

Member
Feb 28, 2018
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There will still be consoles around, but they might be more niche and smaller. I don't know that uncapped internet access will be widespread enough even after this generation to go all streaming for the big players, but I could see it getting there eventually. I'm still not entirely convinced people would ever like the streaming experience enougn for that to be all the gaming companies do.

It isn't obvious that will happen because if it did, why would people choose Sony's service over Google's? Exclusives maybe, but if you can subscribe for just one month and play the game and then cancel, I'm not sure it'd work.

TLDR, I don't know.
 

Quezacolt

Member
Jan 8, 2019
565
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I think that the "exclusives bad" mentality is not a good one. Some of the best games ever have been exclusives, games that might not ever even had existed if not for their exclusivity.

As a more recent example, just look at demon's souls on the ps3, if Sony had never funded that game, it might never had existed, never creating an entire new subgenre of action rpg's.
 

Lister

Banned
Nov 10, 2015
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In the Cyberpunk 2077 PC thread most people will be playing with lower specs than PS5 and Xbox Series X. That gives some notion of PC graphical superiority being more theoric than practical, most people don't want to upgrade their specs frequently, so they would ended up having a better experience playing on consoles.

This is a dumb point to make for a number of reasons:

- MOST console gamers aren't going to play it ona PS5 or series X either.
- There are more, MUCH more gamers with PC's as or more powerful than anext gen console, RIGHT NOW.
- Even with my "outdated" GTX 1080... which I will hopefully upgrade enxt year at some point, I'm going to get a BETTER experience playing Cyberpunk 2077 tomorrow, than people on a next gen console. Next gen console are stuck with last gen console settings. I won't be.

All that being said, yeah there are tons of reaosns why consoles will remian popular for along while yet. Stremaing will be their end thoguh, just not for at least another couple of decades IMHO.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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May 31, 2020
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The gaming industry has survived:
4 decades,
numerous recessions,
an industry crash,
mobile phones(competing tech)
the Internet
Explosive popularity
Varying mediums (cart, CD, dvd, blu Ray)


I think consoles will be just fine

Physical music survived some historically difficult periods as well.

But when your time is up, your time is up.
 

Petaya Berry

Member
Jun 21, 2017
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I mean, do you really think that Nintendo would make more money being a 3rd party pub/dev?
At least for them, they consoles are the heart of the company.

And, to be honest, Steam is just a glorified rent store, I will never "buy" anything there. The few PC games that I have I bought on GoG to play in my internetless notebook.
 
Dec 2, 2018
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The console model is fundamentally a mutually beneficial arrangement between gamers and platform holders. The platform holders use their R&D budgets and economies of scale to provide high-performing gaming hardware at a reasonable price to gamers. Gamers in turn pay a certain percentage of every game purchase to the platform holder (plus, in recent years, a yearly fee for online play). The economies of scale are such that gamers do not pay more over the course of the generation in fees to the platform holder than they would have paid if they'd built their own hardware.
 
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SirKicksalot

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Jan 9, 2018
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For consumers: low entry price and ease of use
For consolemakers: a way to trap the public into purchasing games for their system - they're taking a big nice cut out of those sales
 
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Lister

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Nov 10, 2015
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I mean, do you really think that Nintendo would make more money being a 3rd party pub/dev?

I think they could make a lot more money, if they expanded, yes?

If they would put up a PC Nintendo store, they would print money, almost certainly without cannibalizing their console sales.
 

Arthimura

Member
Dec 20, 2015
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This is a dumb point to make for a number of reasons:

- MOST console gamers aren't going to play it ona PS5 or series X either.
- There are more, MUCH more gamers with PC's as or more powerful than anext gen console, RIGHT NOW.
- Even with my "outdated" GTX 1080... which I will hopefully upgrade enxt year at some point, I'm going to get a BETTER experience playing Cyberpunk 2077 tomorrow, than people on a next gen console. Next gen console are stuck with last gen console settings. I won't be.

All that being said, yeah there are tons of reaosns why consoles will remian popular for along while yet. Stremaing will be their end thoguh, just not for at least another couple of decades IMHO.

Nah bruh you will be barely playing at 1080p and won't probably reach 60 fps. Most PC gamers act like they have a 3090 since day one when they actually have lower specs than consoles.

I'm gonna play Cyberpunk 2077 on my PS5 in 4k and 60 fps.
 
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Lister

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The economies of scale are such that gamers do not pay more over the course of the generation in fees to the platform holder than they would have paid if they'd built their own hardware.

I don't think this is necessarily, true, especially depending on a number of factors, such as when someone on say PC upgrades vs a console gamer.

The paywall of consoles across it's lifetime is $400+ dollars. Making a next gen console closer to $900 in lifetime costs. I think by February/March of next year you can build a 3060ti based PC for around that money.
 

RedVIper

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Jun 13, 2017
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My notebooks are on my office room, my consoles are on my living room (despite I'm being mostly a portable player).

Not everyone have everything in the same room.

And that's your choice, but it's not like PC's are incapable of being used on a couch or with a controller.
 

Lister

Banned
Nov 10, 2015
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Nah bruh you will be barely playing at 1080p and won't probably reach 60 fps. Most PC gamers act like they have a 3090 since day one when they actually have lower specs than consoles.

I will play on my PS5 in 4k and 60 fps.

You're an idiot if you think the PS5 will be runnign this game at 4K 60 FPS at anything resembling PC medium/high settings tomorrow.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the game is literally running in backwards compatibility mode until they get a new patch. Even if I'm wrong, reports say performance mode is brutla on resolution and IQ on the PS5.

I'll be playing at 144p ultra wide and 50-60 FPs on my 1080 with VRR support.
 
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Apr 20, 2015
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The PC cannot kill consoles. Their plug-and-play value, the fact that they're closed systems that require close to zero maintenance and usually are sold at a much lesser cost than PCs (so when they break they are replaced instead of upgraded) cannot be overstated.

So if game streaming actually did what it promised it'd have a chance at killing consoles?
 
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Resistance100

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Towards the end of gens I keep thinking of switching to PC and taking the plunge but there’s always Nintendo and Sony games i don’t want to miss out on and given the intial outlay I would have I can’t justify it as well. If I start seeing PC Exclusive games (including Xbox as recently sold my XBOX) in the next few years that I really have I play it might push me.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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May 31, 2020
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Physical music is no longer sold? I could have swore LP's are making a comeback.

Consoles time is not up. There's a crash coming, but that won't kill it.

Physical music is still sold, but at 1/100 the rate of what it was.

Sony, Nintendo, MS won't be making consoles if the market starts heading in that direction.

I think we're looking at one more console iteration at most.
 

Arthimura

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Dec 20, 2015
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You're an idiot if you think the PS5 will be runnign this game at 4K 60 FPS at anythign resembling PC medium/high settings tomorrow.
Ok bruh send us a benchmark of your 1080 running Cyberpunk 2077 tomorrow so we can compare with the performance from PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Lmao.
 
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Petaya Berry

Member
Jun 21, 2017
383
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And that's your choice, but it's not like PC's are incapable of being used on a couch or with a controller.

I agree.

But the few games that I play on PC are 4x or management/arcade sims (like Transport Tycoon or Elifoot 98). Would be hard to play them in a couch with a controller.
 

Heartkiller

Gold Member
Dec 7, 2020
82
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Cheaper, easier to set up, a lot of people don't keep their computers in their living room, fewer variables for developers, plenty of exclusives regardless of whether or not that seems fair or logical to you, blah blah blah.

There are plenty of reasons why consoles continue to exist and thrive. It's not any one factor but a combination of many.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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Away with the fairies
Physical music is still sold, but at 1/100 the rate of what it was.

Sony, Nintendo, MS won't be making consoles if the market starts heading in that direction.

I think we're looking at one more console iteration at most.
I know what you're saying, but think of this: If no physical consoles exists, and we move to 100% streaming, will the PC market crash and cease to exist?

Because i can't see that happening. Think of the billions spent on R+D for PC parts. Without PC's or to a lesser extent consoles, who foots the bill for R+D in to servers and industrial applications for computers?
 
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Jigsaah

Gold Member
Jan 31, 2018
5,594
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740
Hello friends,

It wasn't very long ago that nearly everyone expected the PS3/Xbox360/Wii generation to be the last one for game consoles. Every time a console launch comes around, I get to thinking about what will come next. Ever since Nintendo launched the Wii a couple of generations back, I've wondered about the place of "gimmicks" or of game consoles as a novelty device with exclusive games built around some new hardware feature. As far as I can tell, the value proposition or raison d'être for video game consoles seems to be something like:
  • Plug and Play
    • Historically, this might be the most important point. I think this one has been fading for some time, though. A console is still easier to use than a PC, but it seems like only a matter of time before this point drops off.
  • Low price and high value
    • Enabled by mass production.
    • Can even be sold at a loss and recouped later with profits from game sells.
  • Excellent support
    • Because of the value and popularity of game consoles, there are a lot of people playing games on them.
    • Closed system means everyone (both users and devs) know what to expect. Less hacking, fewer bugs.
  • Exclusive games
    • This one has to be mentioned, but it's probably the worst reason for a video game console to exist. Exclusive games add value to a platform only because they are kept off of others. It's not a real value add, but keeping value off other platforms.
  • Novel hardware
    • I feel like this is the most overlooked, and even at times stigmatized, value proposition of game consoles. When you combine novel hardware with the bullet points above this one, you get:
      • Wide support for a (hopefully) creative hardware feature that otherwise never would have seen the light of day (I think Wii motion controls is the clearest example). The PS5's dualsense, and the potential to see Sony and third party games taking advantage of its features has me very excited and is what inspired me to post this thread. I'm also excited to see Microsoft lift some of those features for their next controller (which I fully expect to happen this generation).
      • Exclusive games built around creative hardware - potential for artistic explosion. People make fun of Nintendo for releasing the same games every generation (ex: Mario Kart) but I think this is the way they make it work. Mario Kart on the Wii or Switch is not just a graphics update - they're familiar, but entirely new experiences.

Microsoft and Sony seem to have had divergent visions of what a game console in 2020 should be, who do you think had it more right (in 5 years, will Gamepass or DualSense be more significant)? Personally, I think these are both great products and I'm super happy that these guys are advancing the games industry. It feels like Microsoft doubled down on the first three points in my list, while Sony focused a lot more on the last two. It also feels a bit like Microsoft didn't care to invest in the idea of game consoles so much this time around - if people want them, they'll happily supply something with the first three points above for you to enjoy their services on. It's less exciting to me as an enthusiast, but it does make good sense for them especially as a software company. Sony, meanwhile, seems to be thinking of consoles as a product that is at the center of their software and services.

Do you think video game consoles are around to stay, or will they become obsolete with improved streaming technology (and how soon)? Are you a PC master race big boi, and do you think consoles are already obsolete?
Consoles will be here until the money runs out. It's really that simple.
 

Optimus Lime

Member
Dec 24, 2010
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Because the PC is an enthusiast platform that the majority of planet earth do not have any time or interest in.

The consoles offer a compact, easy-to-use solution for getting games up and running immediately on any HDMI-enabled TV, without any need for thinking about framerates, configurations, Windows maintenance, or upgrade pathways.

Since the majority of the 'gaming' population are not hanging around on forums, or on Reddit, and just want to play FIFA, CoD or Fortnite, most of them have no need to dedicate the time, space, money, or resources to a PC build.

I am not one of them. I love PC building, and have since the 1980's. But, I can also see that consoles make perfect sense for most people.

OP, why do you need this question answered? It should be patently obvious.
 
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Petaya Berry

Member
Jun 21, 2017
383
507
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Steam controller for the win.
I'll need a Steam account for that?

Plus, I do not want to pay the equivalent of US$ 260 dollars for a controller that need bateries. This controller is extremely expensive here. I could buy an Xbox One with this money.
 
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Lister

Banned
Nov 10, 2015
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407
480
Because the PC is an enthusiast platform that the majority of planet earth do not have any time or interest in.

The consoles offer a compact, easy-to-use solution for getting games up and running immediately on any HDMI-enabled TV, without any need for thinking about framerates, configurations, Windows maintenance, or upgrade pathways.

Since the majority of the 'gaming' population are not hanging around on forums, or on Reddit, and just want to play FIFA, CoD or Fortnite, most of them have no need to dedicate the time, space, money, or resources to a PC build.

I am not one of them. I love PC building, and have since the 1980's. But, I can also see that consoles make perfect sense for most people.

OP, why do you need this question answered? It should be patently obvious.

Lol did you time travel from 2000 or some shit. Its not like pc gaming isn't widely known to be larger than any single console platform or anything.

There are literally more people playing a single popular pc exclusive title right now than there are people playing any game on the entire Playstation ecosystem.
 
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Neat Machine

Member
Jun 2, 2007
8,658
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OP, why do you need this question answered? It should be patently obvious.
I'm curious to see what people expect from a video game console and how they think they will evolve. Is that ok? It seemed like an appropriate question for a forum dedicated to video game discussion.
 
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Petaya Berry

Member
Jun 21, 2017
383
507
360
Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus - PC-to-TV control

You could also just use that, and play WoW, 4X titles or whatever very comfortably and capably from the couch.
This is very interesting. And a nice surprise since is not that expensive around here. And works on Linux!

There is just two problems for me:
- The reach is just 10 meters, this is not sufficient in my home set;
- I use the mouse and mouse pad with the left hand.

But this keyboard sure looks nice for my work. Thanks.
I was sure that I read that works on Linux. If this don't work with Linux, so it is not useful for me.
 
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TeezzyD

Fantastik Tuna
Mar 18, 2020
8,481
21,543
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Why is anything anything?

I'm a pc player primarily.

Still, specialized machines serve their purpose, and people buy them. If people didnt buy them, they wouldnt sell. Simple. Theres a need for consoles still and it's not going away any time soon