With the release of the DSi LL and Sky Player on Xbox Live, thoughts about the way modern devices have evolved over the years began to enter my head. Not so long ago, cell phones only made phone calls. Amongst other things, they allow the user to play games, listen to music, surf the net and take photos. The humble Walkman has matured into an all-singing, all-dancing media device with as much functionality as a high end cell phone- Hell, phone calls can even be made on a simple iPod.
Consoles have evolved to with online play, voice/video chat, DLC, web browsers, enhanced sound and graphics. Now with the Sky player on XBL in the UK, live-streaming TV is available (for a fee). Playcast has teamed up with an Israeli cable company to stream “PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 quality games” straight to Israel’s set-top cable boxes.
These devices are becoming more and more alike, no longer specializing in one area- instead, they add extra functions to appeal to a broader marketplace. But at what cost? My MK1 Sega Master System and Game Gear still work fine. My iPod Touch on the other hand is playing up after only eight months and am on my second 360. It certainly does seem that as these devices become more powerful and feature rich the less time they last, they have more to go wrong after all.
Extra functionality can be a great deal maker but when it comes to my next console purchase, the only thing I actually want it to be able to do well is to play games.