Monday, 7 September 2015

Why do we have only one real type of movie medium and yet a whole bunch of competing consoles?

The world of Video Games is very different to the world of films. Sure both of them contain lots and lots of different products for sale but the real difference is the platforms that these products are sold on.

In the world of films there was initially a fight between several types of media for dominance but eventually VHS became the dominant tape based medium for viewing films, then we progressed on to DVD's and now we are in the process of moving on to Blue Rays even if the transition seems to be a slow one. Sure there were some abandoned mediums along the way Beta Max, VCD's. Laser Discs, HD DVD's but it has mostly been a fight for dominance with the loser simply fading away a million films to watch but only one dominant medium on which to do it at anyone time, with maybe the last big medium just hanging around for those who cant afford the newest thing or are resistant to change.

Gaming has never been like this there has pretty much always been two or more competing platforms which have been at each others throats for there whole lifespan, usually with each of these being replaced by its successor with things carrying on much as they were before. Sure sometimes a competitor has bowed out and another has taken its place on the dance floor, Sega has gone 3rd party and stopped producing its own machines, and Microsoft has entered the market etcetera.

There have been attempts at approaching the idea of a single format for Video games with the most notable attempt being The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer or as it was better known the 3DO. The 3DO Company, founded in 1991 by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins was created with the objective to create a next-generation, CD-based video game standard.

The idea was that people would be sold the license and specifications to manufacture there own version of the 3DO, so you would have a Panasonic 3DO, a Sony 3DO, a Samsung 3DO and etcetera. The 3DO company would make most of its profits via the royalty rate they would receive per game sold, apparently the royalty's paid were going to be much lower than those that you had to pay to sell a game on either Nintendo or Sega platforms.

Pretty much every electronics manufacturer was approached. However, Sony had already begun development on their own console, the PlayStation, and so they choose to peruse this angle rather than go down the 3DO route. With Manufacturers needing to make a profit on the machines where as Sega and Nintendo could happily sell there machines at a loss and recoup there expenses through game sales this led to the various types of 3DO being too expensive to adequately compete.

Will we ever have one platform? I really doubt it at least any-time remotely soon. For a start with have Nintendo who when you look at there last few consoles seem to like the idea of controlling there hardware. They like to shape it directly for the kind of experiences they want to offer, I also believe that both Microsoft and Sony prefer calling the shots on there hardware. The only way one platform works is if it is in every-bodies best interest and everyone agrees to it.

The closest thing we are likely to see to single platforms is the current system some companies have where by it is advantageous to try and have matching hardware. What do I mean by this? Well With Microsoft the creators of the Xbox brand also owning Windows which is on computers, as well as also now being on phones and tablets, they can provide strong incentives for you to try and keep to there brand. You can have a Windows laptop which will talk and share data with a windows phone both of which can talk to your Xbox One. The same can be seen with Apple Mac's talking to Apple phones, talking to Apple Tablets. Sony Has the PS4 which can interact with the Vita or beem itself to the Sony Vita TV or be controlled by your Sony Phone. 

At the moment there will be several companies trying there best to sell themselves to you but not just as the best game company but as the best overall lifestyle company capable of offering you home and portable gaming,both communication and work based devices. They would rather fight the war for each and every market sector by trying to show you a future whereby everything you own can come from them and can communicate for your ease and comfort and while this is happening the video game market will never settle on a standard. Personally I think this is a good thing as I like competition I think it is good for the consumer but I also find it neat when my laptop can talk/sync with my phone to my benefit.

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