Bit Wars vs. Resolution Wars
Many of us can think back to the “good old days of gaming” and see those early years as a nostalgia‐filled time of exploration. But sadly, there’s one other thing that has been a part of this amazing hobby since almost the beginning. I speak, of course, of the dreaded console wars. Ah, yes; many a gamer has lost their life to this senseless violence… OK so maybe not, but that doesn’t change the fact that console wars are a thing. A stupid thing, but a thing none the less.
Some might ask themselves, What is the cause of the console wars? The simplest answer I can give is marketing. And the people that get so caught up in the hype of owning a new console that they will say anything to defend their purchase. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially when you just spent a few hundred dollars to own one. Most people are always going tell themselves that their system is better so they don’t think they brought the wrong one.
That’s how things were as far back as I can remember. I’m sure most of you remember “Sega does what Nintendon’t”. That marketing tagline stuck with consumers. Same goes for “Blast Processing”. Now it’s true that the Sega Genesis had a faster processor, but it was trumped by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in almost every other way, even though both consoles were 16 Bit systems. Fans of both Nintendo and Sega were loyal. They waved their flags high in support of their favorite company.
I, too, am guilty of this; I grew up playing a Sega Genesis. I would defend Sega on the playground, and even quote their marketing taglines to friends. We’d waste our entire recess arguing about which console was better. “This game looks better on the Genesis,” “This one looks better on the SNES! ”Sonic’s better than Mario because he’s faster.” Yeah, I know, stupid thing to fall back on. Even I knew that Mario was the better game.
But most of the arguments came from how a game looked on one console opposed to the other. Genesis was better at making games with darker tones of color, whereas the SNES was better at making colorful worlds that would ignite your imagination. They both had their strong suits and a strong line up of exclusive games. But what we were defending were purchases, simple as that.
Nowadays the battlefield looks very similar, except for a few things:
- Many of us that grew up during the Bit Wars know marketing when we see or hear it.
- It’s no longer about Bits, but Resolution.
- Nintendo has effectively become “that console you own because the games they develop are solid”.
- Oh and no more Sega console.
Instead, it’s Microsoft and Sony that have people waving flags of honor. You’ve got Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and its “Greatness Awaits” ads on one side, and Microsoft’s Xbox One and their “Best Place to Play” ads on the other. But most peoples’ arguments this time around are about resolution and framerate. Will this game be in 1080p here? Will it be in 1080p there? Will it be running in 60 FPS?
A lot of us that grew up during the bit wars don’t really bother with console wars anymore. Or we try to not get as caught up. But to be honest, console wars have a place in the industry, and sometimes, when you see it nowadays, it’s happening more like a debate. People have their talking points and their opposing arguments. But it’s more about price and power now, and less about marketing taglines.
Some of the arguments are about resolution. I can agree with most cases of this argument. For instance, if you’re gonna spend 80+ hours in a game, most of the time you’re gonna want it to look the best it can. Now some of you may say, “buy a PC if you want it to look the greatest,” and you’re absolutely correct. A PC with the correct specs would do just that.
However, not everyone knows how to build or upgrade a PC. Which is why consoles are so popular to begin with. You buy the system, and the games just work. No worrying whether or not the game will run. No worrying whether or not you have to upgrade a component. And no worrying about playing with the settings to fix the resolution, just to have it crash on you minutes later.
But at the end of the day, resolution is just a luxury. At least, that’s the way I feel about it. I don’t think that the difference between 1080p and 720p is gonna stop you from having fun. After all, gameplay is king, and as long as the game’s fun to play, then you’re gonna have fun no matter what. And isn’t that what’s truly important? Does it really matter where someone chooses to game? I think we’re all gamers no matter where we choose to enjoy our hobby.
What do you think? What are some of your favorite consoles, and favorite console marketing gimmicks? Share your thoughts below or on Twitter by talking to me @rottenryeHD and the site over @supernerdland!