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garison avatar 7:27 PM on 06.08.2010  (server time)
Garison imagines a world where the PS3, 360, and Wii never existed...

Let's just play pretend for a bit... let's just pretend that we live in an alternate universe. An alternate universe where the current state of the videogames industry was dramatically altered.

Let's pretend that the three big game console makers, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft decided to never come out with the PS3, Wii, or 360. What if the main three home consoles were - in 2010 - still the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox? How would the industry be different? Would videogames be as popular as they are now? What kind of games would be coming out right now? There really is no way that we could know for sure what it would be like, and it doesn't really matter anyway. But it really is fun to think about and guess what our favourite interactive entertainment medium would be like under said circumstances.

Think back to some of everyone's favourite games of last generation. Shadow of the Colossus, Zelda: Wind Waker, Final Fantasy XII, Resident Evil 4. All these games are absolute masterpieces, and if developers could make amazing games like these back then, imagine if they were still using the same hardware now. They would have the process of making videogames on last-gen systems perfected. I imagine there would be some unbelievably creative and different games being released now.

I would imagine that the cost of making games would be much cheaper as well. There were a lot of really cool, underrated, weird games last generation. The cult favourites like Rez on the PS2, Chibi-Robo on the GameCube, the Katamari games, Gitaroo Man, and of course the Persona series. Due to the lower cost of developing games, publishers could invest more money into smaller developer studios to create some really cool new gameplay ideas that just couldn't be possible on the 360, and PS3 because of how expensive they are to develop for.

(That last paragraph actually doesn't really apply at all if you think about the cool stuff coming out via digital distribution on Xbox LIVE Arcade, WiiWare, and the PlayStation network. Some of my favourite games have only been released as downloads. Braid, Machinarium, and of course the Bit.Trip games are all amazing.)

I hate to say it, but if Nintendo never did release the Wii, they probably wouldn't be doing as well as they are now. When it comes to sales, the GameCube is considered Nintendo's worst console of all time, and the system put a black spot on many gamer's minds. Since there wasn't nearly as many GameCubes sold as PS2s, Nintendo really did "lose" last generation, but I honestly have to say that the GameCube was my favourite system.

Nintendo made some truly spectacular games for the GameCube: Super Mario Sunshine, both the Pikmin games, Mario Kart: Double Dash, both the Metroid Prime games, and of course Zelda: Wind Waker. What if Nintendo never came out with the Wii and spent so much time and money focusing on minigame collections? All the money they used to make Wii Play, Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and Wii Music could have went to making actual games... Twilight Princess could have been released earlier because they wouldn't have held it for the extra year to coincide with the Wii's release.

But of course there would be negatives to the whole situation of the PS3, Wii, and 360 never being released; beautiful games only possible on the PS3 and 360 would cease to exist in their current form. Games like Uncharted 2, The Last Guardian (if it's ever released that is), and Metal Gear Solid 4 would be but fractions of what they are now. Online gaming would also be pretty much nothing in comparison to what it is now with Xbox LIVE, and none of those funky downloadable games would be around either.

I don't know, it really is crazy to think about how different things would be if history was different. It sure is fun to think about though.

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