The idea of an ‘open console’ While recently reading the BBC’s article on how EA wants an ‘open console’ it occured to me just how bad such an idea it is. While a box that costs £50 and plays any game under the sun may sound appealing, it is also short sighted. It has often been said that war is the biggest catalyst for inovation, and this is no different for the titanic console wars. Let’s face it, putting a man on the moon would still just be a fantasy if it wasn’t for the Cold War. The presence of three strong companies all rivalring for us gamers means that we’re constantly exploring new ways of expanding the possible. The computer games industry is relatively young yet look how far we’ve come in that time and what wonders it has done for society with so many technology developments across the board that can be somehow attributed in large or small to the computer games industry. In my short lifetime alone I’ve seen a move from sprite graphics on the SNES with Mario Kart to the beautifuly realistic graphics of Gran Turismo 5. With standard consoles, and competition between games rather than hardware developers what real change would we see? Every step of the way we’ve seen huge leaps, compare the PS3 to the PS2, the PS2 to the PS1 and the PS1 to the SNES. But with an open hardware system in my view (and as a computer games developer I feel perfectly entitled to say this) is just laziness on the part of EA. While it may be time consuming, hard work and expensive having; competition in terms of hardware is amazing both for the industry and for the world as a whole. And the idea of an open console already exists in what you are very probably reading this on right now, a personal computer. If we ever reach a ceiling in terms of computer games (or perhaps that should be when) I’ll see a reason for an open console, but until that time games hardware is nowhere near all it can be.