One topic that instantly draws the most vehement discussion and irate comments on GameSpot is the so-called "console war." It seems like everyone either wants to sound off on how their console is the best and everyone who disagrees is a mindless fanboy, or comment with equal fervor about how none of this matters and everyone's an idiot.
People obviously care a lot, but is that a good thing? Is such ardent fandom just a harmless expression of brand loyalty, or does single-minded adherence to one system over another actually hurt discussion about games? GameSpot's staff sound off.
I Nintendon't give a damn - Daniel Hindes
If you're the kind of person who feels the need to take shots in this silly console war, take a second before hurling the next stone and look at the situation. You're arguing for the value of a product over the existence of another. You're grasping at company lines and transforming them into gospel. You're doing exactly what Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo want. You're not a gamer anymore--you're a mouthpiece for a corporation that doesn't actually care about you as an individual. I'm still battered and scarred from the PC gaming wars--AMD vs Intel; Radeon vs NVIDIA--and they were fighting over the exact same system, and the exact same games!
The biggest irony here is that the console war is over--and you won. The major systems are now so alike in core tech and third-party game options that the differences are, at best, negligible. We're well past the days of the Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1 and, let's not forget, the Dreamcast, when not even the controllers had enough similarities to make cross-platform games a viable thing. With very few exceptions, you can pretty much play whatever you want on whatever system your $600 outlay has turned you into a loyalist for. So what is there left to argue over? Display resolutions, refresh rates, multiplayer services--I'm already getting flashbacks to those PC gaming arguments.
A lot like appreciating LeBron - Tom Mc Shea
Alright, I realize that using an analogy is a tired way to get your point across, but I'm going to do it anyway. Rooting for a console manufacturer is a lot like pulling for your favorite sports team; I know this from experience. You laugh gleefully when your chosen idol succeeds and when your nastiest rival fails, and analyze every element so deeply that truth is blurred into an unrecognizable mess of nothingness. It's delightful chaos.
But here's where things become problematic. If you're a hard-nosed console loyalist, or a blind sports fanatic, you can paint yourself into a corner of bitterness. Yes, you may root for Sony to sell more consoles, or Nintendo to deliver their magic once again, but if you're ignoring everything else, than you're only hurting yourself. Just like how I eventually came to appreciate LeBron James even though I'm a Pacers apologist, it's important for console fans to not limit themselves to one platform.
There are tons of great games out there. Don't let your dogmatism prevent your from enjoying them all.
Make console love, not war - Carolyn Petit
Look, I've been as guilty of vehemently supporting one console over another as anyone. At the advent of the glorious 16-bit era, my parents weren't going to purchase both a Sega Genesis and a Super Nintendo for me. I had a Genesis and that was that. I was still an immature youth when I first experienced the charm and beauty of Super Mario World on a friend's Super Nintendo, and the delight of playing that timeless masterpiece was tarnished by a sinking feeling in my heart as I knew that I was stuck with a console that would never be home to Mario's latest grand adventure. My reaction to this sad reality was not a reasonable acknowledgment of the fact that there were good experiences available on both consoles, but a zealous championing of the Genesis as the one true console of the 16-bit era. I didn't even want to remotely acknowledge the possibility that I had made the "wrong" choice, so I loudly trumpeted the viewpoint that I had made the only right one.
Now that I'm older and (slightly) more mature, I recognize this mindset as youthful folly. Every console has a good deal to offer, and although it can be frustrating to not have access to all of the great experiences out there because we can't afford to stock our entertainment centers with every console on the market, the truth is that there isn't a reasonable basis for trashing one major console, and if you pour a lot of energy into criticizing one machine and those who enjoy it, I might suspect that you're trying to distract yourself from the fact that you're bitter or insecure about your own choices. I take my motto in these matters from my friend, former GameSpot staffer Carrie Gouskos, who famously said, "Make console love, not war."
Be vocal, be passionate, but don't be a dick - Mark Walton
I get the fanboy thing. I mean, if I've just spent too much money on a shiny black box, I want it to be the best damn box in the universe. I want it to fire rainbows at my face while I boot up a game, and have unicorns magically float out of the controller, wish me good luck, and gently kiss me on the forehead before I dive into an online battle. And if I finally find a box that does that, well, of course I want to share such good fortune with people I know.
I like being passionate about the things I love, and I love hearing from people who are passionate. It's those people that wait in line to buy the latest console, pre-order the needlessly over-the-top special editions of games, and go online to upload fan fiction and artwork of their favorite characters and universes. That is where console fanboys can triumph, and to those people, I salute you. The day I'm unlucky enough to not write about games, I'll be right there with you.
The trouble happens when that passion turns sour, and there's not really any need for it. I'm all for an open, heated debate on the merits of 1080p vs. 900p, or why the Xbox One UI sucks (seriously, it does), but when it gets personal, or turns into hate-speech, it all gets a bit silly. At the end of the day it's a big plastic box with some circuit boards in it. Be vocal, be passionate, but don't be a dick.
Dare to be dumb - Martin Gaston
Yes, the console war is dumb. But so is buying a hundred games in a Steam sale that I'll never play, watching all eight seasons of Dexter, and drinking so much Coke that I'm almost certainly going to end up with diabetes. There are a lot of dumb things in the world, and each and every one of us partakes in our fair share.
Still, there are a few important things to remember. Firstly, it's not weird that somebody wants to ensure they've invested their $500-odd dollars wisely, because most people aren't going to be able to afford all three consoles right now. Second, the battle between the PS4 and the Xbox One is equivalent to a drunken scuffle outside of a dodgy nightclub compared to the all-out nuclear war of the SNES and the Genesis, and the Genesis will always, always be coolest. Never forget. And finally, the fact that it's fun to add a bit of theatrics to the marketplace battles of the the gaming companies doesn't mean you're allowed to be a complete and utter douche about it.
Long Live These Console Wars - Randolph Ramsay
No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a fan of one particular console. After all, tribalism is in our natures. You see this everywhere and every day, from people cheering for their favorite sporting teams, to showing their political allegiances, to liking one type of mobile phone OS over another. It's Marvel vs DC, it's Coke vs Pepsi, it's Pokemon vs Digimon. It's who we all are--we choose a side, and we stick with it. Why should gaming consoles be any different?
Of course, you can still be a jerk about showing your console allegiances. But at its very core, being an Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo/PC fan--and being open about it--is nothing to be ashamed of.
Game of Consoles - Cindy Tang
In the Game of Thrones of console wars, no one is dying, weddings are relatively fun, and sneering narcissists are the bane of everyone's existence.
Being so passionate about a plastic box of chips and wires seems like all sorts of first-world-problem, Purple-Wedding-decadent ridiculousness. Anyone who limits their options is doing themselves a disservice. To want a competitor to fail is economically shortsighted. If fewer companies come out alive in this "console war," the likelihood of a healthy gaming marketplace slims down significantly--and rarely is an unregulated oligopoly beneficial to the consumer. It hurts you, the consumer, when you align yourself with a brand because of loyalty rather than product quality or lifestyle compatibility. Competition is healthy; a console "war" is not.
On the other hand, people are shelling out half a grand for these plastic boxes so I can understand where the defensiveness stems from. But passionate debate should be anchored by decorum and mutual respect--after all, we want every single company to produce the best products possible for all gamers. So when deciding to sound off on a public forum, remember that we're all on the same side of the market. Bottom line: Don't be the Joffrey of the console war.
I don't want to set the world on fire - Justin Haywald
Console wars are harmless fun, and you've got to admit that watching people completely lose their minds on message boards has a certain appeal. Some nights I just like to crack open a frosty beverage, then delve into the comments section in a dark corner of the site for a morbid evening of reading.
Strong opinions and passion are what drive our world, and it doesn't matter how crazy the console arguments get, they ultimately make for better products. The console and game creators work to appease their frothing fanbase and allay attacks from their detractors, and those self-same fans go to extremes to make sure their voice is heard and echoed by as many potential supporters as possible.
Now if we only we could turn that same kind of energy towards something really big, like ending world hunger. Maybe after the PS5 and Xbox One Two come out.