Upgradable consoles? My ass.

Being in television news as I am, I’ve been a news-junkie for quite some time. So I’m constantly check out link-sites like Evil Avatar and Blue’s News. The only news site I actually take time out of my day to read for original content is Next Generation. Yes, it’s really that good. Not to say the others don’t have shining moments, but I find Next-Gen consistent and more ‘industry-based’ than ‘player-based’. So when I saw that they had a story on developer’s opinions on the two types of XBox 360s being released, I was naturally intrigued. So, I clicked.

When Dave Perry (of Shiny Entertainment, whom I’m sure is a cool guy,) said “The PC model is the example, giving gamers the experience they are happy to pay for. Xbox 360 actually beats the PC as there’s a common high-quality 3D baseline, so you can only go upwards. I hope Microsoft enjoys the experience from this strategy and truly opens up the model for Xbox 720. Meaning if I choose to add extra features or enhance features, I can do that. (Faster hard drives, more texture memory, physics chips etc.) Fingers crossed.” my jaw hit the fucking space bar. (And my tongue even rolled out and typed in “WTF?!” before pressing enter.)

But seriously. Upgradable gaming machines? They have those. They’re called PCs. You don’t think that some would consider Windows XP the ‘base’ computer model? “What about Win95?” you ask? Hell, why stop at ’95 instead of 3.1? The problem by saying “The PC model” is that just like PCs, some games will require certain modifications. Then we’re right back where we’ve been with PCs. I mean, it’s good that Dave likes cool toys and can afford them, but there are reasons why people have gravitated towards consoles over PCs. Not having to worry about setting shit up and installing it is a decent one, I’d assume. And I mean, this isn’t just me. In response to Dave, Tycho of Penny Arcade fame (and a reluctant voice of gamers everywhere) said “made my blood run cold.” And I don’t know the guy, but he does carry that ‘I’m largely a cold-blooded mother fucker’ attitude around to begin with. (Love ya, PA guys.)

But Tycho’s simple math is undeniable.
$340 = X360, and a $40 memory card.
$400 = X360, the $60 difference of the HDD rather than memory card, the $15 difference of a wireless controller, a $20 headset, and a $30 remote. Oh, and backwards compatibility on “top selling” titles. Not to mention a better cache, etc., on games that support it.

And then there’s the cost to ‘all’ gamers, regardless of their choice. Do developers have the money and time to support two versions of a given console? It’s apparently hell enough to port titles to three different consoles as it is. (I’ve heard mixed opinions on concurrent development.) And Lord knows many publishers/developers are happy going for the lowest common denominator. I don’t think I have to convince anyone of that. Gaming doesn’t need a more diversified gaming spectrum. We need standards. A new, and successful, 3D0.

Y’know what? If you read this and you are even remotely close to the fence that lies between Dave’s opinion and mine, let me point to one last argument that is very convincing and won’t take long to read. Here, read this.