I have a few guidelines in life. One of them is if I don’t like something, I should have an alternative. Otherwise, I’m just doing unproductive whining. I complained about Sony (PS3) and Microsoft (Xbox 360) and how they were handling the hacking community. Therefore, I have to come up with an alternative of what I would do (if I could).
(Some of this is notes and ideas since I don’t know if anyone who reads this blog is interesting in game consoles and open-source as much as me.)
Hackers are like writing fans who create entire websites, document every single bit character in a series of novels, or create entire histories of what happens. They are fans, obsessed fans who love things enough to expand on it. The people who took the Kinect and made it do more than just play games. The Sony issue is a different one, mainly when Sony took out features that people were excited about.
It is hard to “vote with my dollars” when I don’t buy that much. I don’t buy a game every week, mainly because I spend most of my time writing. I’m behind on my reading pile too. So, if I decide not to buy the PS4 or the Xbox 720 (or whatever they call them), neither Sony or Microsoft is going to care. It isn’t even a blip.
But, I still think of alternatives. I would love to have a gaming console that embraces people who hack or write indie games. Open-source games would also be cool, but I have a bunch of opinions on those too (for later).
The main draw for developers who aim for console is consistency. Anyone who has tried to get a game working on a hundred different platforms knows that pain. Having a consistent platform and environment reduces those variances. With consoles, you know that if it works on one, it will work on every other one pretty much until the end of time. Homebrew NES (Nintendo) game writers still use the original NES hardware to play games (side note, there are some amazing demakes for NES). On the other hand, few people play the NES system because the graphics are rather dated.
People like the new toys but console game developers prefer to have stability. To do that, I would say a platform is under active development for eight years, but have two platforms with overlapping schedules four years apart.
For example, OGC 1 (Open Game Console, a placeholder since I don’t come up with good generic names) would be considered active from 2012 to 2020. OGC 2 would go from 2016 to 2022. If we spent four years of development (2012 to 2016 for OGC2), then as soon as the next platform goes live, then we can start working on the next one (OGC 3 would be developed from 2016 to 2020 so it would be available as OGC 1 is retired).
It would have a schedule, something that could be planned for.