The Last Game Console

Posted: November 16, 2010 by ryanlecocq in Features

Recently I’ve seen a lot of articles in game magazines about what the next consoles, controllers and services should be like.  In my opinion these are all extremely conservative.  I think the next console is an inevitable combination of current technology that will make the console wars obsolete.  In this feature, Brice and I are going to envision what we think will be the next and last video game system ever made.  We’ll discuss the hardware, online service and controller we want to play on.  Here goes.

The Set-Top Console

Something we’ve been hearing about for years is a game console that functions like a cable box.  The content is sent to you from a local server like cable television and all of the processing is handled by a supercomputer cluster that runs the games flawlessly.  There is no lag between the systems because they are in the same location.  Client lag would be minimal if local cable providers got on board with servers in most areas.  The lag between your box and the local server would be even less than that experienced on say Xbox live as long as there was a fast connection from there to the regional server.  Also your game would always run at the highest settings in steady framerate because your box does none of it.  No more updating consoles or PC components.  You just rent or buy the receiver box and pay a monthly fee or per-transaction cost.  The box itself is basically just a network card and USB interface connected to something like an Android PDA board.  The box could not possibly retail for more than $100 or be rented per contract.  If it breaks you go to the local cable store and get a replacement immediately.  No 2-week return on red-ring consoles ever again.  In fact if the service was anything like a cable company, your box would be replaced at no cost to you ever.


The Service

I imagine this box being marketed by Apple/Valve/Netflix jointly.  They already own the PC space and this seems like an easy instant market domination in the console space, so a no-brainer.  Even Gamestop’s used games cannot consistently beat the deals offered on Steam.  Considering most DLC is free and so is online gameplay for life, this would spell instant death for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (well deserved in my opinion, may they rot).  Netflix is already available on all 3 current consoles, but is handicapped in some way on each.  iTunes support on consoles is pretty much nil unless you connect an iPod.  A single service that offered HD movies, games and music at a reasonable price with no hassle is years overdue.  The only thing giving the big 3 the power to steal from you hand-over-fist is their exclusive hardware.  Making videogames standardized like every other electronic medium is the next obvious step.  It only makes sense that the companies actually working towards a fair, wired future would crush the antiquated tyrants who are currently robbing you blind.  Imagine a world where you pay for things once and they continue to entertain you for free.  Minimal additions to games are provided free for your loyalty.  Movies and shows in HD cost you little to nothing besides a monthly fee and no overpriced blue-ray ever.  Then look at our current technology and ask yourself where the hell is it already?


The Controller (optional)

I say optional because as these will be PC games, any USB hardware should be compatible.  Most people will probably use keyboard and mouse to be competitive anyway.  I have this idea though that I think might change that.  If the system were to have a proprietary controller, with a few new features it just might hang with the kb/m.

First is a pebbled trackball instead of a right thumbstick.  I picture it as being rubberized yet solid like the ball from a track-mouse and pebbled like a golf ball.  With a little adjustment you could get mouse-like responsiveness from your right thumb.  Factoring in years of improved dexterity it might even prove superior in the long run.

Second is more buttons.  Brice will have more on this in his additional section, but my main desire is responsiveness.  The other advantage PC users have is the relative responsiveness of keys and mouse buttons.  In my experience a mouse click is far faster and more precise than a trigger albeit less realistic.  The trigger buttons should have force resistance and feedback with a programmable ‘click’ point in the middle to simulate trigger pull.  If you could set your controller to a hair trigger with a responsive click and rebound it would not only be more realistic but dramatically faster and more precise.


Closing Remarks

Overall I think the goal should be to bury the PC/console hatchet completely by making a hybrid that is superior to both.  With fair prices, equal performance at equal cost to everyone and a truly modern interface this is the system everyone could have and play together without being separated by hardware differences that only benefit the manufacturers.  Your ability to enjoy entertainment would no longer be limited by how much expensive hardware you can afford, but only by how much entertainment you could afford at a reasonable price.  The future isn’t now, it should have been yesterday.  The Sega Channel came out over 15 years ago and then we went backwards because of corporate greed.  Videogames are one of the few industries still generating huge profits in a bad economy.  It’s way past time some of those profits went to providing a better service, instead of buying rich guys bigger houses.


    • ryanlecocq says:

      Huh I thought I replaced that post. It’s true though, I made my Last Console post two or three days before OnLive announced the MicroConsole. I blame it on the racial consciousness. My mind was just 2 days ahead of my body in 4d space.

  1. […] a month later (check it out, it’s eerie how I envisioned every feature including the price: ).  I seriously doubt Steve Perlman read my article, as the MC must have been in development for […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s