Years ago, someone said “Let’s make a device that will do things beyond what we’ve had up until now. Image, chatting in real-time with someone, or taking a picture and sending it to a social media site and sharing it with friends. Or play a game and then switch over and track my exercise for the day. All you need is an internet connection.” And people complained and said “but no one has internet everywhere! And why would you use a phone for something more than a phone? It’s for calling people! I don’t need a computer in my pocket! Then I have to answer my email on the beach.” But it was pushed forward. And people realized there phones could do more than simply make phone calls. And it actually made phone calls better because right after a phone call you could open your calendar and schedule an appointment you just made. And the people realized it was better. And (as of today) +50% of Americans bought one form or another.
Right now there is a heavy debate about the future of gaming and where next-generation consoles are taking it. Some feel the comfortable world of they way things has worked is better, and I’ll admit, sometimes it does. Why change it? It makes phone calls! Why would I need those other things? Others feel that there is room to grow and expand on the idea. But there are restrictions that come with that. Expectations, like having an internet connection. Mobile phones have been able to grow because the networks around them have grown. With the invention of data over mobile devices can do more than simply make phone calls now. Sending pictures, checking in to restaurants, updating social media and many, many other things have become possible.
As innovation marches on, things change. Products adapt and take advantage of those new resources. Does everyone have a smartphone? No, as sometimes the reach of that data connection is just not long enough (although it’s growing rapidly). Or cost is prohibited (an unsubsidized smartphone is around $600!) and not everyone can afford that. But if smartphone manufacturers decided that they wanted to wait until 100% of the population had high-speed mobile internet, would that really be a good thing?
Right now Sony is going the route of a basic cell phone. It’s playing it safe and playing games. And that’s great! Gaming is going to be awesome on all the next-gen consoles. Xbox One is going the way of the smartphone. People get a whiny because it needs an internet connection to do all the amazing things it’s going to do. If you ONLY want to make phone calls then get a “dumb” phone. It’ll do that very well. If you want to make phone calls AND a ton of other things, you probably want a smartphone (but you’ll need internet to do it!). Xbox is trying to make console gaming of the future feel like a smartphone does today.
Read More: Xbox One vs. PS4