hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Next Xbox Console
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Trends of this Generation: The PC-ification of consoles

4:00 PM on 02.18.2013 // Sterling Aiayla Lyons

Say 'PC gaming is dead' one more time please

Last week, we covered the trend of consoles as an all in one media center. The trend is very noticeable, but it is part of a much larger trend that happened over the generation. It's a trend that I feel a lot of people overlook, and perhaps it's because the trend happens on a higher level than that of the consumer.

This trend that I'm referring to, is the morphing of consoles into a piece of hardware that resembles a living room PC. As I like to call it, it is the "PCification of consoles." It's something that the Xbox 360's lifespan in particular highlights, and that the PS3's launch foretold.

Hard Drive Required

The first major sign of the PCification is the inclusion of hard drives. A hard drive in a console by itself is not an odd thing. Theey can store more data than memory cards of the past. PS3s have always required one, but the 360 originally launched with hard drives optional. At the time, I didn't think many would imagine just how necessary large amounts of storage would be.

Downloadable games started small, but grew to be gigabytes in size. This, paired with the inclusion of installs, made a large shift in how storage is viewed. The 360 would see multiple revisions, with hard drives becoming part of a SKU you'd buy off the shelf, eventually ending with the slim model which has an unchangeable internal hard drive. As for the PS3, the system outright used laptop hard drives, which allowed anyone to buy and use their own storage.

Downloadable Gaming

Downloadable gaming blew up in popularity this generation. I'm not just talking about stuff like XBLA either. It's very true that sub-retail releases were able to find a nice home on the platform, and as time went on, the size of downloadable games got bigger. Originally, on XBL, a downloadable game was limited to 50 MB. Today, the limit is 2 gigs. Some games are even bigger than that!

Aside from those games, there was an increase in making retail games available to download from home. Steam does this for PC, and it's still much better at it. Digital distribution of retail games on consoles hasn't slowed down at all. On both the 360 and the PS3, a large number of retail games have also been put up on the console's respective store fronts for digital purchase. Many of these games rank in with a good 5-10 gigabytes of data needed to run them, so it's no wonder that the 80 gig hard drive had become standard in a console.

Game Installs and Patches

Up until this generation only PC games were capable of receiving patches. Now, consoles share this trait. Small ones, frequent ones, release day ones, they were all suddenly there! There are updates to fix bugs, and a little note to say what changed. Even the base firmware of a console can get changed in a patch. The most notable case would be with the major revision of the 360 dashboard, replacing the blades of yore with the current metro tiles. Game installs were the cherry on top.

Installs is something that people once said consoles had over PC. On console, all you had to do was pop in a disk and play it. On PC, you had to pop it in, and then wait ten minutes for it to install. Not anymore though! Want to play Halo 4's multiplayer with that freshly opened box you just brought back from GameStop? Hang on a minute then, we need to install it to that fancy 80 gig hard drive that we made sure to install on that 360 slim you have.

Some games have taken this to a ridiculous level, such as Metal Gear Solid 4. You're required to install a chapter you're about to play, but you can only have one chapter installed at a time. Not all games actually need it on console to play so far, but the 360 has a particularly interesting quirk here. Any 360 game can be installed to increase performance when playing. This leads to a situation where installing is desired, as it helps load times move faster and prevent disc stuttering.

Program Expandability! Or Apps...

Installing new programs to do new things with a console hit with this generation.
Wii had it first, PS3 wasn't far behind, and the 360 was quick to catch up. Last week, Starkey brought up a lot of good points about how the consoles were expanded through greater media playback capabilities. Much of this is thanks to console makers allowing programs to be made and installed on their machines. It's something that, till then, only PCs did. Hell, even now, the PC does it better. Long strides have been made since the start of the generation for consoles despite that.

The first indicator fell with the idea of Channels on the Wii. Not only could games fill these slots, but so could some Nintendo made "non-games" as well. Fun little things, like a photo viewer, a news ticker or weather station. PS3 and 360 would pass the Wii in time when programs, or apps if you will, for things like Hulu and Netflix would become available to install on these platforms. The 360 even began to embrace the nomenclature with the release of the current dashboard layout. Video, music, and social apps are legitimate categories with a myriad of options in each one. Internet Explorer was even made available for the 360, which goes to show just how integrated some programs would become in the future.

The Future

The trend of PC-ification does not seem to be slowing down, as we enter the next generation. All ready, we have the Wii U which makes almost all games available at day one in both retail and digital formats. The system has firmware patches being readied too.

Rumors aren't hard set facts, but they do give strong indications -- and in the case of Microsoft, well, let's just say they've been kind of transparent leading into this. Much of the rumors surrounding the next PlayStation and the next Xbox, indicate an even further merging of PC and console.

Rumors suggest each machine will be based off of currently existing PC architecture. That means, unlike the past, much of the innards of the consoles will basically be the same as the innards of a typical PC; so, nothing extravagant and proprietary like a cell processor. In Microsoft's case, there are strong indications that the next Xbox will use a slightly modified version of Windows 8 as the base firmware. Given how much the current 360 dashboard already resembles the Windows 8 start screen, I don't find that to be too far a stretch.

It's a exciting time to be in gaming, no matter what side of the field you're on. I haven't even taken into account mobile or handheld gaming as a part of this article. With a mysterious conference on February 20 by Sony that may lead to the announcement of the PS4, the stakes are high. We may get to see a real look at the future of gaming. And then, of course, there's Valve tackling the problem from the other end, trying to make the PC as viable in the living room as a console. It may still be a long way off, but the intersection point between the two methods will be the most interesting. Did someone say "one platform world?"

[Header image courtesy of SnQQpyDog]



Sterling Aiayla Lyons, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Sterling Lyons, better known in some circles as "Aiayla", is an avid videogame player of all genres. From Genesis, to Playstation, to PC, Aiayla does it all. League of Legends, and other PC and M... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
So there's a chance more MKX characters are being revealed today. Now, I'm not saying you *should* cross your fingers and say a prayer for me to get my waifu Sindel just, y'know, it would be monstrous of you to make me cry with your lack of love & support
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Just so you know, I've been a Huge subscriber for a few years but I thought I had until the end of September to cancel it. So I've opened an inquiry for the refund, which is on tinypass' end of things by the way.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I once posted that Total Recall was the best movie ever made. I would like to make note that Starship Troopers is a close second. Carry on.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I put too many peppers in my sausage and potatoes. My asshole is on fire. I want to cry when I wipe. But it was good.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
One glorious Japanese twitter user made a custom LBX of one of my favorite Kamen Riders: [img]http://i.imgur.com/yp1oraHm.jpg[/img] It's like getting peanut butter in chocolate but with small robots and spandex banana men!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I feel terrible for not reading most of you beautiful people's blogs. Let's just say my passion is writing, not reading :s
techsupport avatartechsupport
People can debate GOTY all they want, but the real question is: D-Horse or Roach?
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I'm dragging myself away from my PS4 long enough to say that MGS V is pretty darn awesome so far.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
Down with that PAX Pox. Auhhhghghghhhh
Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV: Sneaking into a heavily guarded Russian military base in Afghanistan at night, slashing throats while listening to this. [youtube]https://youtu.be/-hWZqllm3mQ[/youtube] Comes off like a perfectly planned scene in a Scorsese movie or something.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Tortilla chips: The only food I know and love to betray me by deciding to flip to a bad angle and stab me in the gums.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm ok with Namco shutting down Soul Calibur: Lost Souls, as long as they keep Ace Combat:Infinity running. Love that game and just hit 3 million credits.
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Holy fuck I feel new again. I've been on hiatus for a while and haven't been up to writing. I might just jump back into things after I relearn things here. Does anyone even remember me? Like damn it's been a while.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
In MGS5: The Phantom Pain, Solid Snake dies from lung cancer from all those years of smoking. #FakeSpoilers
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
[youtube]http://youtu.be/FDSHslyrxkM[/youtube] If you don't know the truth, you don't know the score. The end is coming near. MAJOR SPOILERS!
Paul S avatarPaul S
Wow, it's really easy to get people upset over video games.
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I hope MGS V is living up to everyone's expectations. I can't get enough.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I dislike the idea of intentionally reinforcing the notions that either race or gender are character traits, and those that don't match your own are completely unrelatable.
Shinta avatarShinta
Who's your favorite female black writer on Destructoid's staff? Post a comment below with your votes.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I'm ok if someone chooses a character's ethnicity in a story with the intent of being more representative, as long as the story is good. And if even SOME people feel like it helps them relate, then good! Don't bother me none.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Next Xbox Console


  Mar 10

Pachter: Next-gen games cost $70, no more consoles after

But that won't stop consoles from selling big


  Feb 22

Ubisoft wants PS4, Next Xbox, to have shorter lives

Already looking forward to the PS5 and Nexter Xbox


  Feb 18

Crytek: It's impossible for next-gen consoles to beat PCs

PS4/Next Xbox just can't pack $2,000 of tech in one system


  Feb 08

GameStop: Next Xbox will hurt if it blocks used games

North American retailer addresses Xbox rumors


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -