If you have not been living under a rock, you know that computer gaming has had a war raging since, oh, forever: PC gaming vs. Console gaming. On the one side, there are the “take a general machine and write software game platforms for it”, and on the other, there is the “built a special gaming machine”. Another look at the participants will reveal that what people usually call PC gaming is really “Windows gaming” — the Linux+Mac crowd are slightly less than any current console. We’ll get back to that point later.
So, who are the participants? We have Windows (XP/Vista) as the PC gaming representative, Wii, XBox and PS3 as the console representatives. Right? You may have noticed that Microsoft is actually two parts of the puzzle, competing with itself for gamers (and games). But is this really the whole picture?
What about those tech savvy people who used to be called the lithium-ion set. The people who travel with 2-5 devices running on lithium-ion batteries, who charge them when they can and discharge them when they must. These people are the proper 21st century heirs of the jet-set. Any device which cannot be thrown in a backpack with its charger is something with limited usefulness. The old PC maxim of “you have a PC anyway, just stick more RAM/CPU/Video hardware in it” breaks down when it comes to laptops — and breaks down even more when we come to netbooks and mac laptops, favourites of the lithium-ion set.
Enter the lithium ion console market, which MS does not have a represetative in: the prime candidates are the nintendo DS and the PSP. Both are light, durable and easy to throw in a backpack. Both, even when combined with the cost of an eeePC, are still cheap enough to compare favourably to a laptop — and both will not cause you to look for incompatibilities with your hardware.
Gaming for the lithium-ion set: it’s all consoles and none of it is Microsoft’s.
PS: If you are thinking of buying the PSP or any other Sony product, please look at a story about Sony which gives good reasons to boycott them for a looooong time and either refraining from a console or buying the DS Lite iinstead.