Console Gaming, Out of Hand?

I just read an article from a large gaming website about the Xbox 360 and was a bit surprised, not at the article but at the audacity of Microsoft and Xbox. I can’t believe they expect people to pay four and five hundred, yep that’s what I said, $400 & $500, for the next generation of console game systems. And the thing doesn’t even come with a game!

Or not from what they say. I won’t even go into the point of spending money on a console that will be replaced in two years, they are probably working on the next one right now. The console game started out to be a great idea, a game that you played on your TV and cost was less than that of a computer. You bought whatever game you wanted for a low price and played but did not have to go to the expense of a full computer and all the stuff that entails.

But now we have a system that will have a removable drive, CD & DVD media support, live hookup with Microsoft, friends and others over, you guessed it a DSL line or WI-Fi. And of all the silly things, customizable face plates. As if spending $400 on a video game system wasn’t bad enough you toss in a few extra bucks for a removable plate to coordinate with your home decor.

I did not mind and have owned several game systems, but when the price of games reached in the thirty and forty dollar range, I said enough was enough. I bought a computer and was quite content with the games that I could buy for it, now Xbox comes out with what basically looks and costs like a computer and doesn’t even have a word processor. If I was going to spend that much on something it should at least be able to type out a letter to the editor to complain about how much the games cost.

I can’t speak strongly enough that a console system that has all this stuff is actually a waste of money. You can get a decent computer system and have all the extras that go along with it for about $600. A good system costs about $1000, and that’s with a really good video card and all the nice things that make a good gaming system. Why not invest that four or five hundred in a computer and have all the things like, Email, video game updates, internet access where you can actually print stuff or save it to look at later and access to game tutorials, hints, tips and, yes I’ll say it, cheats.

Sometimes you just can’t figure out that one objective or need some help and a cheat or even tip or hint comes in handy. Tutorials are even better, and you can’t exactly get those from Xbox live.

The whole point of this being that there are so many things you can do for gaming with a computer and not the console game, but more importantly, the console game should cost less than a computer. If it has all the same things and more that a computer does, why should we get it. The games are not that much better on a console, are they?

They sure aren’t cheaper, I could pay twenty or thirty for a game for the computer and be able to get things like new levels and modifications, or mods as they are called on the internet by gamers. Most Xbox games don’t have much in the way of these extras and won’t be coming out with them due to the interest of money and how the company wants you to spend more on the next game instead of less and just keep playing the games for longer.

Now I’ll grant you that there are advantages to having and playing console games, no fussing with updates, no settings with your computer, no worries about crashing and problems with bugs and such. But the advantages of a computer far out weigh the disadvantages. I cannot see myself spending that much for a game system and would not recommend it for anyone else.

The cost of the games alone are a real disadvantage. I have not been able to find a console game for less than twenty dollars, except for the ones that are really old systems, I.e. Nintendo or Play Station. I mean the very first consoles, not the later ones, my kids have two stations in their room and the games play just fine, they are older but the video store gets rid of the games en masse when they have the newer systems out And you can pick them up for a coupe of dollars a piece.

But that is not what I am trying to point out, just that the games themselves are too costly to bother with. I can get a computer game for twenty dollars three months after it comes out, or maybe more for the better or more popular games. For instance, Lego Star Wars, it looks cool and my kids and I want to get it, it costs $30 at Walmart and at Lego.com. The Xbox and PS2 games cost $40 and that is not to mention that fact that once the game comes out and you find glitches or problems with the game, your stuck with them on the console ones.

I like to be able to have the choice of updating my game and have the problems they find after the game hit’s the market to be fixed and not ignored. I also do not like spending so much for a game in the first place, but if cost is no issue, then go ahead. I can’t tell the difference between the console, Ghost recon and the PC version or the Athena Sword.
I have played both on both the Xbox and the PC but the only difference that I can tell is the controls, I think they are easier on the PC with the keyboard and mouse.

And not to be outdone by the big Xbox company, rumors are starting to surface on GameSpot.com, a big internet gaming site hosted by CNET.com, that PS3 is going to cost up there in the four to five hundred price range, also. I don’t know which is better, the rumors or the actual company saying it’s going to cost half as much as a whole computer to get a console game. Oh wait, sorry, that’s just the console, the games are extra. At thirty to fifty dollars a game I don’t think this trend is going to be popular for the middle class people who are watching their pocket books.

I have not seen anything that compares console games and PC games that really gives much benefit to one or the other. The biggest difference is in the price. Some games play better or worse on one or the other, but not to such a degree that you could not play them, or they would not sell them. I have played both Xbox and PC versions of some games and could not for the life of me tell the difference as anything major. Halo plays the same, and has the same levels and such on both PC and Xbox. But that doesn’t stop people from wanting the console games.

I hope people can see the advantages of buying computer games and getting all the other things a computer can do, instead of giving in to the kids Christmas wish list of console games. If they made them with something that a computer doesn’t come with, then, maybe.

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