PCs will win the consoles war!
"commoditisation of consoles- whereby they were all based on the one platform, were upgradeable, and both intercompatible and backwards compatible with each other and their predecessors. Product could be differentiated with add-ons, or customisations- allowing both companies but also end users to differentiate their products."
That's the PC gaming industry, where you choose either ATI/AMD or Nvidia, Dell or Asus, but will end up eventually be playing all games with either hardware!... Slap in a few dozen emulators, and you got all the generations back to second's (and almost inventor of this madness) ATARI 2600. I don't know if Odyssey was ever emulated.
Let's checklist that, shall we?
- one plafform - IBM PC compatible, (check)
- upgradeable - I am planning on upgrading my video card separately from everything else to play games (check)
- intercompatible and backwards compatible - that can be done with emulators, sometimes
new games are ported STRAIGHT to PC and Consoles. Need For Speed Underground 2, Halo, Half-Life 2 didn´t change a bit in both. (check)
- add-ons and customisations (CHECK, CHECK, add a few dozens CHECK here). Not just case mods here, the whole thing can be customized. You can paint your PC after your car, you can SHOVE IT in the dash of your car too.
Video-games BECAME computers (they've always been technically, but in a more narrow POV meaning). The few last bastions of differentiation - the cartridges and perhaps zero-waiting-loading-screens- were the last thing that told them apart (from my Point Of View. Now they are built from the same hardware, use the same media, (CDs) can use a slew of USB devices , can suck your broadband through Ethernet ports, making all this discussion moot.
For chrissakes, you can fool one of them into loading a LINUX core! That is a PC to me!
Correcting myself, VGs didn´t become computers, they've ALWAYS been computers (hello MSX fans!). They are just coming home, and merging back together, returning to their origins.
Remember 3DO, one of the first 32-bit VG's? As an option, you could buy a PCI card, and put it in your PC, and all the games would run from the PCs CD-ROM. The gamepads and joystick would be plugged in the back, and there you had it. Too bad it didn´t evolve.
A real winner (idea) today would be assembling all the main components of modern VGs in a single PCI-express Card and sell it as a game platform for PCs, if there was anybody insane enough to do it. All the additional hardware aboard the host machine could be used - or not - to upgrade the graphics/gameplay, that would be shown on its fair minimum settings with only the main PCI-E board.
I was just itching to say all that...
In a few years, all the VGs will just have merged back in Personal Computers, that's my bet. Wii is a winner for now, however.