I can think of three fistfights I got in as a kid based solely on gaming. The first were the result of a quip I made regarding a friends Genesis and how I'd rather play outside than play any more Sonic. It escalated quickly from there, and pretty soon we had fought, I had to walk home alone, and we didn't talk for quite a while. The second was due to a round of GoldenEye at a friends house across the street. We only had a few kids our age that lived nearby, and their parents bought them anything they wanted. The younger brother of one of the guys we liked hanging out with kept coming in last and I was probably being a smartass. He accused me of somehow cheating, I said something aparantly offensive enough to force him to grab a nearby hockey stick, which he started swinging at me. I somehow got it out of his hands and beat him senseless with the stupid thing... and wasn't allowed back at their house ever again. I'm pretty sure we never spoke again either, even though he lived across the street and went to the same schools as me. Anyway, the last one was due to accidentally pulling a friends PSone off the shelf. I tripped on the controller cord, the system fell, it scratched up his game, he got pissed off, I said something about a cartridge not being scratchable, and we had it out.
You rarely hear about kids fist-fighting because of an argument over the Wii, PS3, or 360. Hell, most arguments about them are even brief, childish, and halfhearted. Maybe it's because most of the games are multiplatform so they can pull in the biggest profit, thereby killing console loyalty. Maybe the wars can't sustain themselves with three major players on the field. Maybe it's because today's youth are a bunch of pansy's who care too much about the environment and humanitarianism than proving a point. Maybe parents are just way more overprotective or we're old enough that we just don't hear about these instances. Maybe it's because the marketing focuses on what their own console does best, rather than what the others do worse. Or maybe it's just because information is so easily accessible that we can throw together charts, informed blogs, and statistical evidence for which system and games get the best sales, reviews, and hype, thus quelling the anger before a conflict can break out.
Although each could obviously contribute to the lack of a diehard console war in this generation, I think that the multiplatform dedication from third-party developers and the insane amount of access to gaming information hold the most weight. Both make a lot of sense and there's nothing like facts to diffuse a loyalists (or fundamentalists) argument. Then again, maybe the war hasn't really died down, but merely changed its face, way of fighting, and its overall focus. If that's the case, the only logical place for it to be currently waging war is in the realm of casual gaming
(rather than the core, where the battles have previously been waged). It is, after all, the casual arena where one group (Nintendo) holds the high ground, while the competition (Sony, Microsoft, etc), fight for what appears to be a lost cause.
In the past, whoever "lost" the fight either dropped out of the next generation, quit in the middle of the current generation, or would go on to make some pretty radical changes to their next console. If the same applies to the fight for the casual audience, maybe this version of the "console war" is just as important to the core-gamers than any of the other consoles war ever were.