Not long ago, Mitch wrote an article about one of the gaming community’s gripes of the moment:
“The problem surrounding Sony is two-fold. The first is that Sony simply doesn’t allow third-party titles to interact with each other on different platforms. If you are playing Rocket League on your PlayStation 4, you can’t play with people on Nintendo Switch or Xbox One. The other issue surrounding Sony’s inability to allow players to interact with those on other platforms is that it goes so far as to restrict their accounts to only PlayStation 4. In the case of Fortnite, with Sony’s rigid rules, require that Epic Games—the creators of Fortnite—restrict player’s accounts to PSN if they have ever played on a PlayStation 4 and can’t be used on a different platform.”
Mitch, and a large portion of the community (particularly those vocal players of Fortnite) seem to agree that Microsoft and Nintendo should pressure Sony to break down their little walled garden of exclusivity around their PS4 and play nice with their competitors.
I agree, but where Mitch offers reasons simply on the basis of change, “that was then and this is now, times have changed and the console marketplace has become more open than it ever has before,” I see Mitch in a rare moment advocating for a particular kind of inevitable change that I’ve foreseen all along: that the physical console’s time is at an end.
Throwing another reason on the pile of inevitability…
Mitch astutely points out that, “Regardless of the true reasoning, Microsoft and Nintendo don’t see each other as threats because they are both offering different enough products and don’t see a consumer on one platform a loss for another.” He’s suggesting here that both Microsoft and Nintendo don’t have a problem with consumers playing games across different consoles, and further adds that, “both have sold fewer consoles in comparison to Sony, meaning there is a lot more room for growth and are willing to try different things.”
Different things, indeed. If true, it follows that, in the event of selling less consoles, two major players in the market of console gaming have come around to the thinking of Yours Truly and have decided that, you know what, it doesn’t even matter which consoles they’re even playing on; they’re all our customers. Mitch handily quoted Microsoft’s push to see everyone as an X-box customer to bring home that point.
And it follows that if the consoles the players are playing their games on matters less than before, and Sony does capitulate to the pressure these two competitors and the thousands of angry Fortnite players are providing, then… well, we as a gaming community are more or less slouching towards the realization that… physical console platforms are increasingly irrelevant.
See you in Bethlehem, where physical consoles are a thing of the past. 😉
Post-publishing update: It does appear that Google is now pursuing a streaming platform as it makes preparations to make its own entry into the foray of the console market. Details are scarce at the moment, but if they choose to make their service one that depends more on streamed content and less on hardware, that’ll be one more major player who endorses what I see to be the inexorable, intangible future of gaming and PC’s in general.