Richard Garriott on consoles: "their days might be numbered"
Many have weighedin on the ongoing war of speculation regarding PCs and the next generation of console boxes, but we've not yet heard the opinion of someone who's been in space. Until now! You could rightly argue that breaking free of the Earth's atmosphere doesn't qualify you to comment on the intricacies of gaming hardware, except this particular spaceman is Richard "Lord British" Garriott. He makes games too. Games like Ultima, and Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.
Speaking to Edge, Garriott questioned long-term viability of console devices. "It’s going to be interesting to see how consoles evolve in the next few iterations to see if they can find some new compelling reason to exist. Because, at least from my perspective, I think their days might be numbered."
Garriott's comments reflect what he sees as an abundance of powerful alternatives. "Tablets are becoming so powerful, your television is already connected to the internet and frankly it’s powerful. And there’s a cloud of computing behind there that’s easily accessed, so I’m going, ‘Why in the long run do we need a console? All you really need is a controller’."
"Why in the long run do we need a console? All you really need is a controller."
That thinking isn't limited to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo's efforts though. Garriott also questions the need for Valve to move into the console market. "Valve’s [Steam Box] is one I only know cursorily," he continues. "But the case I’ll still go back to make is the same.
"I think digital distribution with things like Steam is great, I actually think that people need to have convenient, ubiquitous access to digital content, and Steam is not only a great way to buy it, but also to stream it. The technology of Steam is fantastic. But I look at it and go, ‘Steam can be delivered on anything, you don’t need a particular piece of hardware’."
And Garriott's console beef extends beyond today's wonderland of technological advancement. There's a practical preference towards PC too.
"When you buy a new console, it means you have to unwire something from your living room stereo, and wire something new in. And generally, with console games you sit on the couch in the living room with the TV across the room, versus sitting at a desk with the screen right in front of your face.
"I’m a believer that if you’re playing in a virtual world, you want to be close to the screen and your experience is connecting to people through that screen. If you’re playing Madden Football, your experience is the people sitting on the couch with you, eating chips, on this side of the screen."
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is currently on Kickstarter, fast approaching its $1,000,000 funding target.