Vice on what was the last true console war

People always love talking about the console wars. All the way from the Pong wars of the 70’s till today with PC/PS4/Xbone. My guess is that the most popular discussion is SNES vs Genesis/Mega Drive, since it was definitely the one that had the most direct backing by advertising departments. This article on Vice by Luke Holland talks about how the console war in the late 90’s; the last one he considers to have truly mattered.

Now, I must agree that this makes quite a lot of sense. Over time we’ve seen a sort of divergence and convergence in how videogames compete with each other. Pong machines in the 1970’s were extremely similar, most of which only had the one game, or slight variations of it. Then in the 80’s the Atari/NES/home PC generations all were very different. In my opinion, differences between consoles peaked in the SNES / Megadrive generation since that’s when all these new technologies were coming out… CDs, 3D, virtual reality… Even the internet was rearing its head around the corner. By the time the sixth gen came along (Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox), they all followed the same kind of approach to their positioning. They all said that they had the best games, and most powerful hardware. This comparison has been around since forever, but this is the first time that the focus was solely on that.

Now, take a step back to the N64/PS1/SS era. Each console had its own unique propositions, PS1 and Saturn had CDs, N64 had carts. N64 had Zelda, Mario and more, PS1 had Snake, Lara croft, Resident evil, and Final Fantasy, and Saturn had Sonic, Nights, and a whole bunch of arcade conversions. The PS1 and SS had FMV, but the N64 loaded a lot faster. You could tell that these consoles were different, and they were different in more ways than just specs.

So as you can see, they were all different in their own way, and it everyone had a clear choice of which console was more towards their style. Nowadays, the PS4 and Xbone are practically identical except an exclusive here or there, and Nintendo is off doing its own thing like it did with the Wii. So what is there really to argue about console wars? Nothing really. In my opinion, people online are more interested in re-living console wars of the past than discussing current consoles. They were just that much more interesting.

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Console wars have been a bit samey lately... Which was the last one that really mattered? Let's have a look at Luke Holland's view on the issue.
Article published on N64 Squid


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