Consoling consumers who waste coins on consoles


Edith Rubio/The Cougar

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].

1 Comment

  • I’m not a console gamer either, but I’d like to point out that:

    1) You seem unable to concede that there may be benefits to this generation’s consoles versus current PC gaming. Not everyone is the same, and for many it seems, they really like current gen consoles for exclusive AAA games, networks that their friends may be more active on, convenience, and the entertainment options that consumers actually do want.
    2) All new consoles always start with a small library that builds up. Has anyone measured if more games have been released in the first year of this generation’s consoles versus previous generations?
    3) Anyone that actually looked into it would realize Microsoft was trying to follow the Steam-model that Valve’s been doing quite popularly, though they had terrible PR in regards to spokespersons and simply having answers to the media’s questions. They had mechanisms to allow digital sharing, they allowed all accounts tied to an X1 to play games attached to other accounts on the X1, etc.
    4) Sony and Microsoft haven’t forgotten gamers; they’ve became more inclusive as to make their consoles even more useful rather than just being another computer that plays games.
    5) Your last article is from over two years ago! Both PSN+ and Xbox Live Gold have changed a lot since then and it’s hardly representative of what they are today.

    I prefer PC gaming myself, but you seem to have a very narrow view of console gaming. I feel there was a lot of disinformation to convince readers that PC gaming > console gaming without all the facts or misleading quotes and spinning facts.

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