How To: Understand Console Press

It struck me that there is a lot of lingo that goes around the gaming world in reference to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo as hardware companies. These bits of seductive jargon can be hard to decode, so here's a crude guide, and my responses.

1. "This console/handheld is in it's infancy."
This is usually used to explain away problems, such as hardware defects and little in the way of decent software. The jargon here is really the word 'infancy'. This is meant to imply that while small, it will grow into something big. Unfortunately, since the typical over the hill point (where everything is downhill from) for any console/handheld comes in about five years saying something is still an infant after a year is accusing a ten year old of not being potty trained. If it's true, that ten year old has some serious problems.

2. "We want to satisfy both hardcore gamers, and the casual crowd."
This is the mantra of everyone, and who exactly is going to pull it off is the matter of much 'debate' (read, internet forum flame wars). In any case, the idea presented is that the gaming company wants to bring in more people who play games casually, but not ruin the hardcore gamers experience. The shifty bit here is in 'want' (sometimes aim). It gives them leeway in failing to do either. Also, it's pretty easy to see that they're really just trying to make more money by having more people to sell to.

3. Anything that has "console war" in it.
Microsoft throws this around a lot, probably because they are imitating the gaming
populace they sell to. Sony uses it occaisionally, and Nintendo hasn't mentioned it as far as I know. In any case, the concept of "console war" dates back to the NES and SNES's thrashing of all other consoles quite thoroughly and beyond doubt that they had 'won' the "console war". However, because we were all children at the time the only real measure we understood was that eight out of seven friends had an SNES. Because of the dimness of most childhood memory, the exact measure of what exactly 'winning' or "console war" are is very vague. Exactly who won the last "console" war depends on who you talk to, and they all use different measures. Nintendo people cite the profitability of their company (and the lack of profit in others), kids, and killer first party titles (which Sony and Microsoft struggle with). Sony people cite the sheer market share of the PS2, the wealth of games, and Sony's megacorperation status (and a little bit of profit). Microsoft people cite the purpose of the Xbox being to build future market share, Halo 2, Ninja Gaiden, and Xbox Live (carefully noting that the Gaming Division of Microsoft's losses are merely a strategic output from a super wealthy company, pocket change even). The fact is, there really isn't a console war at all. People own multiple systems. The whole point of citing a "console war" is to try and get consumers to buy and only buy your product as opposed to anyone elses.

4. Anything including "Hardcore Gamer".
Basically, ask anyone to define this and you'll get different responses. One person will cite excessive amounts of play, another will cite variety, and another skill. Basically, this is so indefinable that trying to do so is foolhardy. Because of this, it's a great phrase to use because anyone who really cares about gaming will assume they are a part of it, and feel good about themselves because they are hardcore, or perhaps because they aren't one of those crazy nerds who rant about whatever is the next greatest game. It, and casual gamer, are great terms for dividing people and making them glad they are one thing and not the other. Shifty if ever I saw it.

Brief, but I hope helpful for the one person, me, who really cares about such things.

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