Consoling consumers who waste coins on consoles
Many are excited to get their hands on an Xbox One, Playstation 4 or a Wii U as the holidays approach. But before splurging on that new console, ask yourself if any of these consoles are really worth spending your hard-earned money on. If thought about, one might find that they are struggling to justify spending $300 to $400 on any of them.
For instance, the Wii U has been available for nearly two years now, while the Xbox One and PS4 have been available for about a year. The sales for these systems have been stagnant, and for good reason too.
Today’s consoles struggle to provide benefits that compete with a PC. In terms of the entry price, it may still be cheaper to buy a console, but both the PS4 and Xbox One charge annual fees for online play and usually have higher prices for their games compared to PCs.
Over the course of 10 years, a PC user will likely save hundreds of dollars on the more frequent sales and free online play.
A decently built PC will offer better performance for a better price in the long term than a PS4 or Xbox One, but if the history of video games can teach us anything, it’s that technical performance is not the most important factor when it comes to console sales.
Sega, for instance, produced the Dreamcast and Master System that were technically superior to their competitors at the time of their release, but failed to hold their ground. Atari’s Jaguar held a similar fate. A balance between a strong library of games and a low price has consistently been the important factor in selling consoles throughout history.
While the Wii U’s sales have been slow throughout the past two years, there have been some releases such as “Super Smash Bros.,” “Super Mario 3D World” and “Mario Kart 8” that may breathe some life into the console. However, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have struggled to obtain attractive exclusive titles necessary to make the consoles sell. New consoles still lack an alluring library of exclusive games that can convince consumers to ignore the poor performance for the price.
On top of these factors, Microsoft’s unpopular plans for the Xbox One at announcement have left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths. With plans to curb borrowing, renting and buying used games and no option to not purchase a Kinect, Microsoft gave Sony free reign to smugly take the reigns. If last year’s reveal indicated anything, it’s that consoles are trying their best to follow the cable industry into the grave.
With Sony and Microsoft both focusing on making the console an all-in-one entertainment and social media machine for living rooms, it seems as though they have forgotten that games are the most important thing to their consumers.
Although there are some exclusives titles to consoles only, it may be smarter to hold off on purchasing one until more developers switch to developing for the next generation. Better yet, it may be time to switch to PC gaming instead.
Sony’s PlayStation Plus may be considered a better value than Xbox Live Gold, but nothing beats being able to play online for free. If you’re tired of companies wasting effort on pointless gimmicks, motion controllers or motion-tracking anything, it’s time to consider that consoles are no longer made with us in mind.
Opinion columnist Shane Brandt is a petroleum engineering senior and may be reached at [email protected]