It's a pointy, uncomfortable topic. You can use it to bite off more than you can chew, but most people use it to pick through leftovers. It's not too fun. I myself made the decision about this pretty recently. My decision was based primarily upon the concept of saving myself from continually making investments every 3 -- 4 years for the next upgrade. It was a long term idea. Having relied on consoles for gaming up until these past two years, it's kind of a shock. I found myself digesting the benefits before I had even realized that there was a fork.
It was about a year after the Wii's release that I finally bought one. I had made a lot of money from my recent paid internship and felt the need to reward myself with my first ever completely independent console purchase. At first I regretted this decision, since only a week or two earlier there was this really sweet deal at Radio Shack for a 360 plus any one (or two, I forget) game(s) available in the store. They had CoD 4: MW and a few other acceptable titles. It was a really thrilling offer at the time since I had already logged plenty of hours playing CoD 4 on my brother's 360.
I seriously rode around on my bicycle in their parking lot for half an hour weighing my options. Even by the time I decided to leave I had no conception that I would just buy a Wii instead of taking advantage of this amazing offer. Not too much time later would I find myself buying a new computer that happened to be a decent gaming computer in its own right. Meaning that this was not a gaming decision at its root. It was something that was going to happen inevitably since my Mac had just recently died after I purchased my Wii that summer.
I entered this one for a dtoid contest years ago.
At first I thought to only play multi-player games with my roommate. In the beginning I was hesitant to dive deep into pc gaming under the preconception that this style of gaming lent itself to addicts and other such unsavory characters. Needless to say, it was a scary move for me. I'd never had access to playing games online made so readily available to me with no concept of having to pay a monthly charge or to go to the local internet cafe. My next move would be to download Steam which enabled me to download next gen titles I'd only ever dreamed of having access to with my old second-hand computers.
Something had clicked inside me. I can play games in multiplayer for free. I have a lot more control over the content on my computer than I could ever possibly have on a console. The only thing I truly missed was the feeling of having a controller in my hand.
This is where my Wii comes in handy. I fire it up and once again I feel as though there is a purpose to console gaming. There are things consoles can access that for a computer it might be a little too complicated, or, more appropriately, awkward. Yes, a company could always adapt the Wiimote, or something similar to it, to work for a computer. The bottom of line is, however, I wouldn't care for that to happen. The Wii is just not something that my computer is accustomed to in terms of concept of use. My computer is a work area, in addition to being an access point for hardcore internet gaming and some modern, graphically high-end games, usually RPGs. "I'm a PC."
The Wii can be a place for putting in long hours of intense gaming, but in a realistic sense it's not that much more than a substitute for movies. I can play for a bit and relax. I never feel worn out after playing a game on the Wii. As opposed to the end of a long session with Mass Effect, CoD 4, or Left 4 Dead on my brother's 360, which most often leave me exhausted and tense. Both experiences grant me with a sense of satisfaction. It definitely has something to do with the types of games available for the Wii, but more importantly I don't feel compelled to grind away for hours at a game on my Wii. I do what I want and move on with my day. This is how I like my console experiences to be. A little more push button and seamless, since I can't help but feel, after playing console and computer versions of a variety of games, that playing games like the ones that I've mentioned are a bit too slow and unwieldy when placed on a console.
With the 360, if I am subscribed to Xbox Live, then I am paying to participate and my participation depends upon the making friends and/or randomized server settings. The PS3, well, it's an investment in and of itself. You don't subscribe, but you certainly still have the console-style server settings. I just don't see the benefit. However, I do like the games that they offer. Games that I can spend nights working on, then fall exhausted into my bed afterward with a strange sense of satisfaction. The problem is that I can do that just as easily on my computer and remain a relatively productive human being in the meanwhile, switching between the game and my regular computing-related activities (like writing this Destructoid post.)
It's at this point where they split. It appears to me that consoles akin to the PS3 or 360 imitate computers and lure the crowds away by its stream-lined functionality. While the Wii actually provides a gaming experience unto its own that is hard to imitate by any computer I've ever come across. One of the most important distinctions to point out is best posed with a question. What best-selling game on either the 360 or PS3 does not use a split screen when playing a local multi-player match? Off the top of my head I can't name too many, while the Wii's library is filled to the brim with titles where the action fits into a single frame while multiple participants are in the same room.
What drives this kind of interaction is that Nintendo wants players to share in the experience of using the Wiimote. This exchange causes me to pause and reflect upon my own life in gaming. As much as I love completing single-player games alone much like reading any book, transforming my multi-player experience into a similarly isolating episodes, as MMOs do, seems to me to be too much. Not to mention that I'm paying to separate this from another medium I already spend a great deal of time sitting alone with anyway (my computer), I just can't buy into this concept. These are what LAN parties were made for; and with computer prices dropping and console prices on the rise, how could somebody accuse me of being elitist?
There is a fork. It is bearing down on the console. Or rather the console is barreling toward it. What the F &$% is the fork? To me it is the power struggle between software and hardware. With Project Natal coming soon to the 360, Microsoft has obviously seen something of worth in Nintendo's strategy. Though I have to wonder, whether Microsoft really hit this same fork or is it merely going to be another toy that accentuates the absence of real interaction, aka Sony's EyeToy?