A gaming console used to be such a simple concept. If you wanted to play games in your house, you bought a game console, and voila, games in your living room. Sure, you probably watched shows and movies on the same television, but you had bunny ears, a VCR, a cable box, or your neighbor’s cable line to do that with. With the current generation, across all platforms, the gaming console as we know it has now merged with media delivery, and the result is that we have machines that can stream Netflix, ESPN, and even a selection of our cable offerings directly through our gaming consoles. Sure, there’s a convenience factor in play here, since having everything done from one box makes it easier to switch between content, but from a gaming perspective, is this a good thing? It helped me come up with this week’s question:
Do you prefer to have your gaming console and media entertainment delivery separate?
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All gamers make time to enjoy other forms of entertainment; you can’t watch a TV show while being engrossed in a game (well, I suppose you COULD, but you wouldn’t be paying full attention to something). I think some integration is good (I’m still waiting for a game to use Pandora as its radio station, so that you don’t have to be limited in the music selection of your game), and I’m all for combining social networking aspects to your gaming (leveraging Facebook to find people interested in playing games you like, for example), but there is a trade-off. The gaming console becoming the entertainment console means that my family now uses the machine more. This is great, until I need to wait for my family to finish watching their shows before I can use my Xbox. Fortunately, for now the shows on my Xbox can be viewed on other TVs, but as this becomes a more integrated experience, what happens when all of my cable boxes are replaced by a single Xbox, streaming its content around to the TVs? If I have to wait to play, I don’t know if that’s going to be a good thing. Sure, right now this is largely hypothetical, but the entertainment console is already in our living rooms, no matter what we use. The question is, are you ready to give up your gaming time for it?
A Simple Question (ASQ) is a weekly segment for Platform Nation. Give a response and let the world know what you think; there is no right or wrong answer here. If you have a suggestion for a question, hit me up on twitter @vttym.