We really don't need Microsoft's Project Scorpio or Sony's PS4 Pro. They're nothing more than specs-based contests between hardware vendors, and they risk driving an unnecessary wedge into the console market from which video games may never recover.
There's a rule in video games hardware that has kept the console market intact while PCs have remained, for good or ill, the Wild West. That rule is the delineation of console ‘generations', and without it we could be looking at a near, or total, collapse of what we currently recognise as the video games market.
A rash forecast? Perhaps, but hear me out. There was a time when the games-buying public had too much choice, especially in the US.
From the Atari 2600 to the ColecoVision, Odyssey 2, Fairchild II, even the Atari 5200 eating the company's own business, not to mention the likes of Coleco and Mattel being allowed to create clones to play 2600 games, nobody knew what hardware to buy to play their games on.
Meanwhile, hundreds of games software firms sprang up, and turnover, some may say 'churnover', to produce games got beyond a joke.
Howard Scott Warshaw is often dubbed as the man who broke the camel's back with 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which he coded in under three months for a Christmas release by Atari. But it was obviously Atari's and the industry's fault for setting him up to fail in such a situation.
There were so many hardware platforms and so much rubbish to stick into them that throwing games out of the door as quickly as possible was the only way.
The current situation is forming an unsettling parallel. It is harder than ever to get a video game noticed among the noise of mobile games, free-to-play games with micro-transactions and viral indie games like Minecraft that become so important huge publishers buy them out.
So the budget being sunk into crafting a triple-A game means that more and more units have to sell to justify the publisher's investment.
There's not a lot of certainty left beyond the annual Call of Duty and FIFA instalments. Tomb Raider's 2013 first-month sales of 3.4 million units were below Square Enix's sales targets, highlighting the kind of margins required to produce a profit.
On top, how many games are now pushed out by publishers and require day-one patches as big as their original codebase just to work properly? Release windows are creating crunch periods so ferocious that games can't be finished before the disks are pressed.
Splitting the hardware market will make all of this worse. Even if a piece of software for the multi-tiered ecosystems of the PS4 and Xbox One ships as only one core, disk-based ‘version', but performs differently on each manifestation of the hardware, it'll cause unrest among the buying public.
That will also lead to confusion among coders as to which ‘level' of hardware they should target for a game.
Disparate development environments, coding techniques and the flow of technological progression could be affected by having so many different targets. This could result in an even split between triple-A titles aiming at the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One Scorpio, while smaller studios have to stay at the lower end and never seek to push boundaries.
Nobody likes having to buy the ‘cut down' poor man's version of a game. Just look at the Call of Duty: Black Ops III port that hit the last generation in all its low-res sadness in 2015. So ‘core' gaming audiences will be pushed to invest in the top-end system or risk slipping off the competitive rung that fuels their nightly fix.
And how often will a new model of those souped-up consoles be released? It depends entirely on the extent to which Sony or Microsoft feel like pushing this new agenda and making another £400 per customer.
Microsoft was cagey when this conversation began in March 2016, and remains so to this day. Sure, Scorpio isn't coming for a while, but you can bet that processes are already in place to produce a follow-up.
It's very unlikely that audiences will want to stick with that process. Why spend £400 every couple of years to bolt another revision onto a games console with so few games to take advantage of it?
The argument has already been made, but we're willing to spend £600+ on a new iPhone every two years because we use that hardware for many hours a day.
£400 every two to three years on a FIFA and CoD box just isn't going to wash, no matter how much the early marketing makes these machines sound essential.
Nintendo rescued the games industry from the brink by sliding the NES under the door into toy shops in 1983, but what made the console dominate the world for nearly a decade was a single hardware build and an extremely careful control over software.
In 2016, we're fast heading towards a future with neither. As mobile gaming becomes a freemium cash-grab to the top of the App Store, and the PC remains the domain of the technologically savvy, consoles remain the only place for a curated, investable experience for gamers from the casual to the obsessive.
A market with a fleet of PS4 and Xbox choices will put off the casual gamer, push aficionados into a top financial bracket most of the mobile game-playing public wouldn't dream of, and could shrink the market to such an extent that even Activision's and EA's annual cash cows will no longer be enough to justify R&D on hardware and software.
And all for what? Slightly better graphics, perhaps. But more accurately, specs for specs' sake and fuel for the sort of arguments that are already breaking out over headlines like the one on top of this piece.
We don't need the PS4 Pro and we don't need Project Scorpio. We should be happy to ride out another three or four years, and let games developers truly innovate creatively in the space.
And we should stop buying all the vendor marketing hype that could wipe real video games off the face of the Earth and leave us with nothing but Candy Crush and faded memories.
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