Welcome to The Dark Side!

April 8, 2006

The increasing popularity of online gaming looks set to continue with the launch of the next-generation video gaming consoles – Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3. The first generation Xbox online feature, Xbox Live, already has an existing base of about 2 million gamers. The Xbox 360, with enhanced Xbox Live features, is likely to attract more subscribers. The new online feature goes beyond the gaming arena itself. Users can use the improved Xbox Live to receive text, voice and short video messages, and even video conferencing using the camera add-on. This expands the appeal of Xbox360 to beyond the traditional gamers.

Eventually, Microsoft envisions part of the Xbox Live marketplace to be run by the gaming community itself, where creative types can design, upload and sell contents to other users. This type of practice is common amongst the PC-based online gaming community, but not console based online gaming arena. This way, Microsoft is bringing the console gaming market closer to the PC gaming market. Oh, I coined up this term “CBMMOG” (how original…), where CB stand for Console-Based. You heard it here first, it's not even on Wikipedia yet! Sniff sniff… I smell a PHD brewing…

While Sony’s Playstation series had been slow to catch on to the online gaming community, its latest PS3, slated for November 2006 release, plans to change that. The PS3 will have computer and entertainment media capabilities. Like the Xbox360, technological convergence is one important feature of the new console. PS3 allows for downloading of music, movies and videoconferencing. It will also have internet and network capabilities. Looks like Sony is also expanding its target audience to beyond the traditional gamers.

Both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are killer game machines. Just check out the graphics! The 360 already has high definition, cinematic graphics. PS3’s tech specs are slated to be 2x more powerful!The wave of technological convergence is unstoppable. As it is, the next-generation gaming consoles are already running on faster chips than the standard PC, and have extended entertainment capabilities such as playing DVDs and CDs. The way things are going, will the two gaming platforms eventually merge with television into a all-in-one powerful computing/gaming/entertainment system? That might not be too far-fetched, considering that Personal Computers with media center capabilities are already being used for recording and viewing TV programs. I think it's not a question of IF, but WHEN…

I’m not an online gaming fan (yet). So far I prefer the localized fighting, racing, shooting games in arcades. Compare to online RPG, They uses less brain cells, but gives me more adrenaline rush. Yup, call me a dense monkey. I plan to buy a PS3 or 360 when I start working again, simply…can’t….resist…They’re too cool to miss. And probably a High-Definition (HD) plasma TV. If you don’t realize by now (you dense monkey), the world is one big conspiracy – Get a game console… Ohhh! It would really go well with a HD set and broadband! Already has broadband? Get a wider bandwidth! What’s the point of getting these cool gaming machines without being able to realize their full potential?!?

Both machines have a grand ambition: to dominate our living rooms! If you are not a gamer – online or otherwise – yet, watch out! These big corporations will get to you or your future generations, sooner or later, Dead or Alive (haha…ok it's corny)! Welcome to the dark side (of consumerism).

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