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Console Wars

Recently, Paramount+ has gained quite a few subscribers thanks to the success of Yellowstone. Of course, due to some weird rights issues, Yellowstone itself is not on the Paramount+ but it’s prequel show 1883 is and recently brought in 4.9 million viewers for it’s debut. So, odds are, the crossover between 1883, this blog, and Paramount+ subscribers is relatively small, but just in case there are some folks who have Paramount+ and haven’t explored all it’s options, I want to tell you about my favorite video game documentary of all time: The Console Wars.

Console Wars was released in 2020 and is based on the book 2014 book by Blake J. Harris. It documents the epic battle between Sega and Nintendo in the 1990’s.

Just this week, Microsoft paid $68 billion dollars to buy Activision. This means going forward, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, and dozens of other successful franchises will be Xbox exclusives. The days of cross-console gaming is looking grim, and a lot of people are really upset about it. For me, it just takes me back to the 90’s, it’s Sega vs. Nintendo all over again.

All of the debate that has occurred regarding the future of gaming reminded me of how great Console Wars is. It documents the marketing and legal battles Sega had to put up with to take on Nintendo at the time. It discusses the importance of exclusive games and how providing a different product, whether it be better graphics or a different outlook on a system, is just as important as the system itself.

One of the biggest issues with Microsoft and Sony right now is that both systems are pretty much interchangeable. They both play the same games, the graphics are about the same, and neither does anything special to really put itself ahead of the other. Sure, the new Playstation controller has better vibrations and sure Microsoft has more affordable consoles, but what is the true difference? The software.

Microsoft has been pushing GamePass for a few years now and it looks to be quite solid. It’s subscription based take on gaming is probably going to be the future and will probably end up screwing us consumers all over in a few years (not too unlike the dozens of services nowadays) but for now, it’s nice. Microsoft knows it needs to control the games it’s putting out, so it’s buying up all the mega franchises and making them exclusive. And you know what, as a Playstation 5 owner, it’s working. They have snapped up franchises I will want to play and I will end up buying an Xbox because of it. It may be the cheap disc-drive less version, but I will have one if a new Tony Hawk game comes out or the next Elder Scrolls.

Who knows what the game industry will truly look like in five years, but I definitely think we will see another book and documentary called Console Wars in the near future. Then again, it probably should be more appropriately titled, Content Wars. Until then, if you have Paramount+ be sure to check out Console Wars, it’s a wonderfully made documentary.

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