Friday, February 1, 2013

The Center of the Universe

Centuries ago the leading minds of Earth believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the world was flat; they couldn’t conceive the world as anything other than what they knew to be true. We scoff at them now, dismiss them as little more than barbarians for their customs and beliefs. It is of interest because although our science is better, we haven’t changed much from our forebears. We don’t believe aliens exist; we scoff at the idea of space travel, time travel, or any number of theoretical sciences beyond our understanding. At the end of the day, underneath it all, is the same belief covering our eyes as those of our ancestors; we still believe that we are at the center of the universe. 

Gabe Newell, founder of Valve, recently made statements about his companies’ soon-to-be unveiled Steam Box game system. He dismissed Microsoft and Sony as irrelevant and intimated that Valve’s only real competition was Apple, in the battle for the home do-it-all system. Time and time again over the years console makers have harped upon the idea of controlling the way the world views media in the living room. Every console launch there is PR noise about how finally this console will be able to be the one stop center for the entire family. Microsoft has even gone so far as to say that non-gaming activities are the number one use of its flagship gaming console the Xbox 360.

Newell’s comments and the PR propaganda trumpeted by various companies completely miss the bulls eye in my opinion. PC’s aren’t the center of the gaming world, consoles aren’t the center of the gaming world, neither are handhelds, mobiles, or internet gaming. The world of gaming is unlikely to ever be anymore cohesive than it already is. There will always be those who want to tinker, those who want casual, those who want standardized, and those who want on-the-go. Gaming has never had a center of the universe, and it likely never will. Quite frankly, I hope it never does.

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