Is The Games Console Becoming Obsolete?
What’s the Latest Development?
Among the critiques surrounding last month’s release of Microsoft’s latest Xbox iteration, the Xbox One, is this: In an age where, according to writer Tom Chatfield, “there are more smartphones in the world than consoles have been sold in history” and high-quality mobile games can be had for under a dollar, is it possible that the Xbox and similar systems are no longer relevant? The question is especially pointed given that Nintendo, which brought the world the Wii, has seen lackluster sales with its new Wii U and, this April, cited the drop as one cause for the annual loss it experienced in 2012.
What’s the Big Idea?
“Games consoles have never been for everyone,” argues Chatfield, who admits that he entered his teens when the two great gaming consoles, Sega and Nintendo, were vying for gamers’ loyalties. Describing the Xbox One’s upgraded version of Microsoft groundbreaking Kinect sensor technology, he says, “[W]hat seems gimmicky when you’re waving at it to change TV channels can become, in the middle of play, little less than a miracle…it’s about becoming an active, physical presence within the screen itself.” The heart of console gaming, he says, is “the passionate desire to meld play and technology into something entirely apart from everyday life.”
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