Why Video Game Consoles are Bad

I recently wondered why my Playstation 3 would turn on and stay in limbo. Turns out that the console was trying to update its firmware to version 4.90 and failed repeatedly.

The reason for all the commotion is error 8002F1F9, which turns out to be a faulty WiFi/Bluetooth board in the console itself.

On a PC, you would utter a sigh and replace the faulty component. On a Playstation 3 Slim you are shit out of luck. The console is now junk because the corresponding components are soldered right onto the motherboard, thus not being user-serviceable.

This is a sorry trend with mass-market electronics. I can get another second-hand Playstation 3 or try Sony’s awful cloud-gaming service, or I will have to dump all my games and use an emulator.

Only one of these routes ensures I can play Blur in 10 years: Emulation.

After Sony removed purchased video content from user libraries and given how fickle and stupid licensing agreements are for cloud-gaming, there is no way I will ever trust Sony with Playstation Now.

Similarly, there is no point in buying another set of ageing hardware, hoping it will last me this time.

Thankfully, my entire Playstation 3 library consists of physical media. Platform holders like Nintendo or Sony have a track record of dropping support for older devices, locking people from accessing their purchased digital content. This is why physical media is the way to go, and going through the process of dumping all your media is a must.

This way, you can play games and watch movies on a PC through emulators. The only digital storefront I have any trust in is Valve’s Steam. In the 20 years I have used Steam, it never failed me once. Meanwhile, Sony has repeatedly screwed me over.

I would also like to address that exclusivity is a cancer. Alan Wake 2 can be the best game of a decade – if it is locked to the Epic Game Store and unavailable on Steam, I do not care for it. Bloodborne is awesome, but I could not care less since it is trapped on a dead platform with shit FPS, forsaken by its creators and publishers.

Developers and publishers should bring their games to the only platform that has shown to be consistently backwards compatible over the last 30 years: The personal computer. Especially since newer generation consoles are essentially neutered PCs anyway.

Because whether you like it or not, your little black box will fail. And when it does, it will lock you out from playing your digital purchases. Not because it is impossible to provide you with proper backwards compatibility on newer systems but because you will begrudgingly buy the same game again and again. Nintendo knows it. Sony knows it.

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The fool's herald.

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