Consoles were “poor man’s arcades” to a large degree and that didn’t
seem to hinder consoles at all. What is inherently bad about a “poor
man’s PC” in the current market? Is it the philosophy that you
personally dislike, or do you think that it’s a business misstep?
I’ll refer to PS4 because that’s what I own. I don’t know if XBox can do
this stuff too. I can access a good assortment of “indie” games as well
as yearly blockbusters. Streaming and video recording are built-in and
easy to access, unlike PC. If I want to play a local co-op game (even if
it has no online functionality) I can share play with a buddy and play
Granted, I’m not saying that a PC gamer should jump over to such a
console. I’m not trying to say that such a console blows PC out of the
water. But it’s a convenient piece of kit. I’ve been a gamer since DOS
but have mostly moved away from PC due to the convenience of console.
And then we have VR. Let’s set aside whether or not “now is the time for
VR”. On PC, VR is $600 plus another $700+ for the PC itself (in order to
meet the minimum requirements). PS4 + VR comes in at about $800 total.
If someone really wanted VR, they have the option of a much cheaper
“poor man’s VR” too.
Why shouldn’t there be a market for inexpensive “PC Lite” consoles that
perform many of the functions of a gaming PC?
The PC Lite market doesn’t exist. It is entirely subsidized by PC companies such as Microsoft and Sony. The true price of the PC Lite machine exceeds your typical PC.
Nintendo consoles have never been ‘underpowered’. They simply are not subsidized. They reflect the actual console market. The reason why Nintendo is doing their funky control and output stuff is because they are competing against giant Goliath companies who are basically price manipulating the console market with their machines.
This subsidization of consoles has made consoles not cool and dorky. Console gaming lost their mojo when the subsidization hit. PC gaming also lost its mojo with the console subsidization as PC games are no longer designed for the PC. Gaming, as a whole, is suffering for it.
The Xbox was not designed to make gaming great. It was designed to keep game developers on Microsoft’s software architecture. The PlayStation was not designed to make gaming great. Kuturagi specifically aimed it to attack and destroy Microsoft (which is why Microsoft entered the marketed in the first place).
What purpose do the consoles serve now that Microsoft and Sony do not seem to be at war any longer? Nothing. This is why Xbox gaming will become Windows 10 gaming. PlayStation gaming will become something else not tied to a console.
The telling moment is that no one is interested in expanding the gaming population, corrected for population growth and independent household formation, than Nintendo. Sony and Microsoft should have been making their own Wiis in 2006, but they were not interested in expanding gaming. They were interested in expanding their corporate sphere of influence.