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A plea to end the war. No, not that one.

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Fanboys: they walk amongst us. They're in our schools. At the workplace. Even at your neighborhood grocery. In fact, odds are that someone you know might be a fanboy -- a friend or family member. They are amongst you! Panic! Suspicion! Neighbors spying upon neighbors! Secret meetings in undisclosed locations! Dogs and cats, living together!

If you haven't already guessed, I think both sides of the fence are acting a bit silly -- the die-hard lovers and the die-hard haters, all of you. Well, not you, obviously -- you're Destructoid readers! You're level-headed and of even judgment, right? Right.

So, the Washington Post's Mike Musgrove wrote a piece looking deep into the hearts and minds of two men -- one who adores Sony and another who hates 'em. Say it loud and proud, gentlemen:

Soto is about as die-hard as they come. He sold his Xbox 360 to pay for a PlayStation 3 back in November. He also has a PlayStation Portable, a Sony laptop, a Sony handheld computer and two Sony cameras. His car stereo system is all Sony, as is the home theater system that plugs into one of the four Sony televisions in his Potomac townhouse. I met Soto in November, when I was writing about the craziness surrounding the launch of the PS3. He was camped out at the head of a line at Best Buy in Rockville, waiting for the new game console to go on sale. When I asked what he was thinking, spending his time out in the cold and rain to get the $600 device, his answer boiled down to this: "It's Sony."

 And his counterpart?

Day 91 was when Fleisher's PlayStation 2 died -- one day after the warranty expired. The company told him it would cost $150 and take four to six months to repair the device. Annoyed, Fleisher passed on the company's offer and sold the unit. This was the beginning of what he calls the "Sony, you're on life support and I don't need you" phase of his relationship with the company. Years later, when his four-year-old Xbox started failing him, he placed a call to Microsoft. Two days later, a new unit landed on his doorstep -- even though the old system's warranty had long since expired. This sent him into the "Sony, you're dead to me" phase. He has avoided the company's products ever since.

As per the usual run of things for issues like this one, you're probably expecting me to side with one or the other, maybe crap in Sony's cereal or somesuch, yeah? Wrong! Hit the jump so I can explain to you why these blokes are both stupid.

Though one could hardly infer from the body of this article that these lads are the archetypal fanboys fanning the flames of the console war, it's their reasoning to which I object -- these disturbingly common modes of thinking that have us all embroiled in this worldwide pissing contest to begin with. Let me 'splain. 

The next-gen launch of late last year has me a little exhausted. No, wait -- very exhausted. So much so that I dread going into a GameStop just on the notion that I might encounter a cadre of squabbling idiots who are too busy arguing over which console is better to realize that I've got a copy of Devil May Cry 3 to buy and they're holding up the line with their vapid bullshittery. This is an argument that has been waged time and time again -- graphics versus gameplay, tradition versus innovation, the list goes on -- so let's forget about that for now and instead focus on the human side of things. You and me.

What's the reasoning that works into a decision to stick by a developer or hardware company 'til the bitter end? That's not a rhetorical question -- I'm genuinely curious, and I honestly don't know. Drawing from some personal experience and a relatively limited understanding of multi-billion dollar business, it seems as though we don't owe any of the companies that some of us fight so hard to defend the loyalty we've afforded them. To repeat a statement I've heard uttered by some of the more rational corners of the Internet, these corporations -- Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft -- they're corporations. They're businesses, they have obligations to their shareholders, and they don't care about you any farther than you can pay them.

Does that make 'em evil? Jesus, no. That makes them corporations. A preoccupation with your feelings steers too much attention away from the quest for profit

To those of you who, like Soto, angrily declare that every dollar destined for consumer electronics will land squarely in the pockets of one developer over all others, please understand that I don't really think you're dumb -- you're just not a smart consumer, maybe misinformed. There's nothing wrong with that, and you're certainly not in the minority. Take a moment to consider the following mantra: what does it do, and how well does it do it? If you ask yourself why you've chosen a particular piece of hardware and your answer to that question isn't "Well, it has a thousand bajillion gigahertz and a flux capacitor and ninety-four gigafloptuplets" but rather "It's Sony", as was Soto's, you're wasting your time on money on shit that might not do the job as well as something else potentially could.

Fleisher's no different, he's just the other side of the coin. Having a bad experience with a company -- or, in this case, the company's ostensibly outsourced technical support call center -- shouldn't turn you away from their entire inventory, and ignoring what could quite possibly be the best bang for your buck because of an old grudge is just as silly as, say, swearing fealty to some other brand. Sony makes a hell of a product, and while I'd sooner cut off my own balls than shell out two rent payments' worth of cash for their newest system right now, that doesn't make their high-end stereo components suck. Why would it? My distaste for high-priced consoles doesn't magically bleed into their other product lines.

I don't care what reasons you have to hate whatever company you hate, nor am I concerned with what long-ago romance spurred you into carrying a torch Microsoft. Nobody's forcing you to buy one over the other, and nobody's keeping you from playing your system of choice. I'm all for praising these companies for what they do right, but when you begin taking criticism for them instead of participating in a rational discussion, there's another word for that -- oh, what was it? Right. F*cking lunacy.

If I called you stupid and said that everything you do was crap, you think Nintendo's going to be right there to tell me otherwise? Then why offer them the same loyalty?

Let's remember what we're here for, people: we play games, not systems. The system that you play on will never be as important as the games you play on them, and if the games are fun, why bother trying to eviscerate someone who disagrees? You still get to play the game, after all, no matter what anybody says. There's nothing wrong with preferring one console over another, and that goes for everyone -- even the Nintendo fan whose face you want to beat to a bloody pulp at this very moment because he likes his Wii. Shut up and go play some bloody games already.

In Annie Hall, Woody Allen said, "I can't enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening." If that sounds as ridiculous to you as it's meant to, don't forget to ask yourself why.

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Aaron Linde
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