By Jimmy Brancaccio (Jimmy@smalldog.com)

Recently a few articles have been written about how the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and xBox 360 might affect gaming on computers.

For the longest time there seemed to be a line on the types of games you saw on consoles versus the games you see on computers. For example, I don’t think Mario ever made an appearance on the computer, and you never saw Counter Strike on a console. Of course now you can play Counter Strike on the the console systems. It seems that consoles are getting some of the games you would normally only see on a computer and games that you would expect to be on the computer only are now being made for consoles only. A very good and recent example is Gears of War which is only being released for the xBox 360.

Is the computer in trouble, and more importantly is the Macintosh in trouble with the gaming community. Are we going to loose gamers because of the games and interaction gamers can get on consoles over computers?

Most likely not.

Console gaming is often thought of something done right in your house and not played with other people unless their sitting right next to you in the same room. Over the last couple years Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have created networks that let players send video messages, chat and play games together. Not only that but they have created online stores that let gamers buy and download other games, demo, TV shows, movies, images, music, and other types of media and it’s very simple to do all this. The console has transformed into more then just a gaming unit. It’s more like a media and gaming unit.

It’s completely mind-blowing that my xBox 360 is at least 50% more powerful then my PowerMac G5. It seems these consoles are beefed up computers that just happen to also play games!

Games like World of Warcraft are keeping the desktop gaming world alive. Of course that’s not the only hot title out, it’s just one of the most popular games that happens to work on both Macintosh and Windows. World of Warcraft allows players plenty of social activity and there’s always something to do in World of Warcraft. I think if there was no World of Warcraft, then the gaming aspect of computers would be hurting.

I don’t think console gaming is going to have a massive effect on computer gaming. Both the consoles and the computer have their games, and the games have their players.

I have a Nintendo Wii because that’s the only place I am going to find Legend of Zelda, I have a Playstation 2 because that’s the only place I am going to play Final Fantasy XII, I have an xBox 360 because that’s the place I can play Gears of War and view my photos on my TV with ease. I have my computer around because I can play World of Warcraft on their and do all my other computer activities.

I don’t think it’s the games that are going to hurt the computer, it’s the functionality of the console that will.

Back when there was Nintendo 64, and Playstation or even the original Nintendo system, all they did was play games. You weren’t adding friends, chatting, surfing the web, etc…Now the Playstation 3 let’s you install other operating systems such as Linux. That essentially turns the Playstation 3 into a full fledged computer. That is where the computer should start worrying. Why would you even need a computer anymore? I can do everything I do on my normal computer, but now I can also play some really great games! I think at that point the computer looses value.

For now I plan on keeping around the consoles and the computers. The fact that I can install Linux and hopefully Mac OS X one day really intrigues me though. I really don’t mind that I have multiple consoles and computers. If anyone else is a gamer out there, console gaming, computer gaming or both, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

By Jimmy Brancaccio (Jimmy@smalldog.com)

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