Will The Switch Bring Back Simple, Fun Consoles?
The Nintendo Switch is now the fastest-selling console in history, and one of its most underappreciated features is the fact that you can easily plug it in, insert a game, and start playing.
If you don't understand why that's valuable, let's say you've held off on getting a new Xbox or PlayStation, but you've finally decided to pull the trigger because you really want to play Dragon Masturbator 2018. So you head to Best Buy, where the clerk says, "Do you want an Xbox One, Xbox One S, or Xbox One X?" What's the difference, you ask? Well, the Xbox One is an older machine that plays Xbox One games, while the S and X are newer but also play One games in some vaguely defined better way that may or may not be worth the extra cost. Future games might take advantage of the stronger hardware, but maybe they won't! No one knows! If you're undecided, there's also the option of a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Slim, or PlayStation 4 Pro. The latter supports whatever the fuck Ultra HD Blu-Ray is.
Let's say you decide on some form of Xbox. Back home, you get it set up and hooked up to your WiFi network, and you sign up for a free Xbox Live account. Then you'd better have something else to do, because your new console has to download years of system updates. When that's done, you put DM18 in and install data to the hard drive that you'll later have to delete to make room for other games. Then the game starts downloading all of its massive patches, because it shipped with huge flaws, like the infinite ejaculation bug. Sometime next week, you're finally ready to play, but first you might as well unlock the free set of in-game Master-Chief-themed sounds that came with the special edition you sprung for, since all you have to do is laboriously type in an 84-character code. Then it's time to hop online and download some custom dragons!
Oh, but for that, you need to upgrade your free Xbox Live account to a paid account, and also register a uSemen account, which is maintained separately by the developer through an app on your console desktop. And you have to be connected to both at all times, even if you're only masturbating dragons in single-player. Better hope your internet connection never has an outage! $560, a paid yearly subscription, and two dozen hours of your life later, and you're finally ready to jerk off some wyverns! Except for the VR-exclusive content.
All of that complete lack of convenience represents the growing disconnect between what console creators think consumers want and what they actually seem to want. Do you want a PlayStation 4 Pro, plus a PlayStation VR headset and a new 4K TV to take advantage of all the Pro's features? Prepare to drop two grand. Do you just want to play a damn game, regardless of your K count? You're not in Sony and Microsoft's current target market. They're racing to advertise and sell the most powerful and expensive machines possible at a time when everyone's talking about how they're having trouble paying rent. And then they justify the cost by touting extra features of dubious value. How many people are navigating the baffling and hideous labyrinth that is the Xbox One's user interface so they can make a Skype call?