Time for another soapbox article from yours truly. The last time I felt like ranting and raving at the unloving void of the internet (in exchange for some cash money, natch), I was mad about PewDiePie. This time I’m not mad. Instead, as an Internet Writer Man, I have a royal decree. I hereby declare the ongoing console wars, which have raged and claimed many lives and message board real estate, are over. Done. No longer needed and no longer a Thing. Due to a number of factors, some still in the works to be fair, hot takes about which console is better than the other are completely, utterly, irredeemably irrelevant.
Look, I get it; I was 15 once too. You’d get your one console probably, maybe even a second one. Then, inevitably, you’d see some goober on a message board or one of your friends in real life would get a different one and vocally trash the one you had and loved, the primary source of your gaming indulgences. Of course, the need to stop just short of an honor killing was in order. But times have changed.
Consoles used to be radically different. Back in the 90's, choosing a console was almost like choosing a lifestyle and like buying a house. Only rich kids could have both, and nobody likes rich kids. Committing to a console meant committing to a unique game library, one that often meant compromising in some way or another. In the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo era, that often meant losing swaths of content either way and even having to figure out the differences with multiplatform fare.
It doesn’t matter now. Multiplatform games are ubiquitous; other than tiny details like resolution and mayhap some exclusive DLC, these games are indistinguishable from one another. DOOM on Xbox One is the same game as DOOM on PlayStation 4, no matter what your Digital Foundry YouTube subscription and subsequent comments section say. Each system has also settled into more clearly defined niches. Sony gets you the big, splashy narratives and anime junk, while Microsoft is the more living room experiential fare like multiplayer shooters, tons of multimedia options, and an excellent social system.
Nintendo is also firmly of its own identity as well, often positioning itself as a second pillar. The Switch is a complementary gaming system, only primary if you’re a hardcore handheld gamer. And it’s affordable. I understand the financial factor in choosing a brand and ride or dying that bad boy forever, especially last generation when the differences were still more tangible and The Recession was in full force. But gamers obviously have more money than ever these days, making game after game a massive hit and buying more hardware than ever. Most people are willing and able to have more than one gaming platform.
In looking to the future, there will be even more reasons to not really care what platform other people are gaming on. After all, we’re heading toward a future in which everyone plays together. Sony may be reluctant to jump on board, but slowly and surely, cross-platform play is becoming a reality. PlayStation 4 and PC players are together, Xbox One and PC players are together, and even the Switch is jumping in on games like Minecraft and Rocket League. The corporations are acknowledging each other and working together. It’s time to catch up, authors of internet commentary.
And here we are. The end of the console wars as we know them. The competition is friendlier than ever and more cooperative. Even third parties are coming back to Nintendo, realizing that the more games in circulation, the more positivity, inclusion, and general friendliness, the better things are for games, gamers, and the people who fleece us for all our money. It’s time to stop the keyboard warrior nonsense and pick up a controller instead. Sonic and Mario are friends now, for god’s sake; it’s time to let go.