From Peripheral to Preeminence: The Rise of the Video Media Console, Part III, “From arcade to VR ecosystem.”

Unfortunately, he does not go into detail as to what he means by his statement. It would seem that he takes issue with the console being “optimized” for gaming, to the exclusion of any other functions. Curiously, he offers no other explanations for why the PC would be a better technology than a console. Nor does he in anyway attempt to justify his comments, which is, again, “unfortunate,” because several of his statements need clarification.

By this I mean, his comments regarding the Playstation are misinformed at best, and misleading at worst. As I have argued numerous times in this series, video game consoles have evolved light years beyond their original focus and functionality. Even the term “Video Media Console” is an attempt, on my part, to reposition the console so that it fits better with its contemporary role in the home entertainment ecosystem.

For someone, especially a “futurist,” to state that the Playstation 4, or any other next-gen console, is, “largely a gaming platform,” would suggest that they are unfamiliar with the expanded functionality of these machines. A short list, of which, would include: household media library, including music, video, and stills; a multimedia, non-linear-editing station; a media distribution device; a pro-social, communication and social-networking platform; a video content streaming appliance; and yes, they play video games too.

Thus, the evolution of the console in the home-based entertainment paradigm, from peripheral to preeminence, is a direct reflection of its expanding media focus and technological capability. For these reasons, and many others, the console seems a far better choice as a VR platform than Mr. Bajarin suggests. That being said, is he right? Is the PC still a more appropriate platform for VR software development?

From an industry standpoint, the answer has to be, “no.” VR is not going to save the PC industry from its rapid fall from cultural relevance. HP, Dell, and other major manufacturers of PCs, are all struggling with declines in sales, both consumer and commercial, in a manner which would make any futurist point to the end of an obsolescence cycle for the PC sector as a whole (see Figure 4). But while the PC ship shows signs of going under, sales of next generation consoles are booming internationally, especially, the Sony Playstation 4.[4]

Figure 4: Gartner Group slide on PC Shipments: 2001-2019.
Figure 4: Gartner Group slide on PC Shipments

Even from a technological perspective, the PC lost its edge years ago. Flash memory, digital downloads, high speed networks, faster CPUs, GPUs, have largely leveled the playing field between PC and console in the last three years. The fact that the console was already a technological native of the living room, while the PC has rarely been outside the office or bedroom, gave it an advantage in terms of design aesthetics and spatial cohesion. But what really makes the console the King of the VR future is that it continues to evolve.

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