Friday, February 25, 2011

Dashbored - consoles should stick to gaming

Our games consoles have evolved. No longer content with spending their existence performing the task we all bought them for - running our video games - they wanted more.

They craved our undivided attention, want to watch a movie? 'I'll do that!' bit of music? 'Me me me!!' Our console can now perform the tasks of a variety of devices all on it's own. It's become the 'Daddy' of the entertainment centre and it's managed it without resorting to violence.

Not so long ago this new found desire to give us gamers more landed on our dashboards. In came MSN Messenger, LastFM, Facebook, Twitter, Zune Videos, Zune Music and Sky Player, gatecrashing our gaming lives and turning our heads with their promises of an even more fulfilling console experience. I'll openly admit as someone that has regularly used most of these dashboard newcomers away from my console, I was excited...
That excitement was soon replaced by my old friend disappointment.

But how could I be disappointed with these attempts to transform my beige console into something altogether more colourful? Well, here's the problem. With the exception of Sky Player all these new apps are far superior on the old PC. Facebook & Twitter look like Lite versions of their bigger PC brothers , LastFM is choked by any real lack of scope on console and I stopped signing into Messenger after around a week of frustrating controller typed conversations.

'Take 5 seconds saying what you want on laptop?'

'Now you can take 5 minutes misspelling it on console.'

I had high hopes for this new chapter in the book of gaming, truth be known I still do, it's just that so far I've been left cold. If a console wants to dominate my spare time with activities other than feeding my passion for video games it needs a new angle, something fresh, something that isn't an infinitely more fulfilling experience on a PC, in fact something that has never been seen on monitor before.

What feature could herald this new dawn in console interactivity? I'll be damned if I know, I'm just a writer trying to put some form to the ramblings in my head, but until the light bulb sparks in the think tank at Microsoft and delivers I think I'll stick to using my games machine to do the unthinkable.....and just play games.

(Photo credits: