This is just a piece reflecting my personal subjective thoughts about the consoles and console games, and very much disputable. I am, a forty something male college professor, relatively successful scholar, as well as a self identified "nerd", with an innocent obsession on my youth, starting from the 80s until my college times. This has given me the desire to archive basically all the relics of youth, my happiness, the innocent times, if you will.
I was a rather hyper active but nerdy kid in the 80s and early 90s, where the (subjectively) boring and story driven RPGs never appealed to me, which is why I was never into the hype of the NES or SNES; but rather, as a geek, who had relatives in Europe, could not wait to get his hands on the action oriented world of Commodore 64, to a lesser extent, Atari ST, Amiga 500(+), and finally the Genesis / Mega Drive. My heros, back then, was Commdore and Sega.
It was early 93 or so, when I first played Doom and Wolf3d, when I started to ignore my Amiga and Genesis, in favor of the new almighty PC thingy, for which, I would either make up excuses to pretend-study in my father's office at the weekend nights (in order to play DOOM), or simply borrow-steal my father's office keys to play it on the sly. Of course, this was very risky, because, especially online play was done over the dial-up back then, phone would give a busy signal if somebody would call the office! Those were the days.
Then came the Sony, with its playstation, which made my jaw drop when I first saw Crash Bandicoot in a mall, leaving me in awe! I guess there was either the news of the new Mario 64 or it was just released, I don't quite remember, but I had never bought into the Mario hype, which looked too "kiddy" to me. But man, this Crash Bandicoot thing was something else. I was already a big fan of the 3D with the then recently released Quake, Tomb Raider, and the pc port of the Virtua Fighter (which made me curious about the fighting games for the first time), but seeing Tekken on the arcades made my head spin. Though Tekken 1 was quite rough on the edges, Tekken 2, later, was marvelous. That was it, I had to go back to the consoles! Then I bought the Playstation, played the hell out of it. My new hero was Sony (all the PS games), and a little bit of Sega (arcade games) and ID (Quake) on the side.
But then Sony broke my heart, by killing the much loved Dreamcast, which I adored due to the arcade ports, and relatively better looking early games in contrast to the interlaced jaggy games of the expensive PS2. One of my heros, Sega turned into a victim, while my major hero, Sony became the villain. Nintendo was doing its own thing, with gamecube not much to distinguish itself from the crowd (that, I thought). However, there was always something that I had adored about Nintendo's consoles. They are friendly and cute toy-like devices. N64 looked cute, which I wanted to cuddle with. Gamecube also looked like a cute box with a handle, screaming take me home. My sub-conscious was taking notes.
Well, Microsoft made its debut with the almighty Xbox, and I forgot all about gamecube or n64. I was very much disliking Sony for killing my beloved dreamcast, and I considered Xbox as the spiritual successor to it, dreamcast 2, if you will. So I went the Xbox route. In gaming machines wise, my path was basically....
Commodore 64 => Amiga 500 => Genesis => Playstation => Dreamcast => Xbox
Of course, I had owned some other consoles on the way such as Atari ST and Saturn, but I rarely played them. One of my tech-savvy and even nerdier friends modded his Xbox, installing, I believe 20 or 80 gb HDD on it, dumping discs and playing on the go, which made it even more compelling. He also had a ps2 (unlike me), and when we compared the versions of the same game, I was awed by the Xbox version, and likewise repulsed by the PS2 one. It was then I had understood the hype and the reality of what the ps2 was.
Later, I went on the grad school and became mainly a college professor, so the ps3-x360 generation was more of a theoretical background, with me not much of a chance to play them all. At some point, over the summer, I remembered the PSP I had bought way back in time, sitting in dust somewhere. My anger towards Sony prevented me to make any purchases towards it, I believe, but I had loved the little miracle machine actually. But I went the naughty route and got it modded by one of my Eastern European friends. All of a sudden, the whole world of Sony PSP was open to me. Me likey, I said. Sony wasn't that bad after all, and maybe it was the evolutionary "survival of the fittest", and Sega's demise was inevitable. So Sony wasn't the bad guy anymore, in my head.
Ok, I said, maybe what else did I miss by not tapping into the ps2 games.... Well, I ended buying 3 ps2's in a flee market in parts of Eastern Europe, the first in Krakow. Actually 4. I first bought a modded ps2 with a broken dvd drive but playing usb games. Another one with a 500 gb hdd, which died after one week. I did not give up though, and bought another one. Finally I bought a slim model with a working dvd drive. So I could play both original ps2 games, and if the game is too expensive or too difficult to find, I could just, you know... So my love for sony returned with a vengeance.
The more ps2 I played, the more psps I bought, all of the 5 models, so to speak. PSP fat, slim, bright, street, and go. Of course they are much cheaper in Eastern Europe and already modded. To be honest, I loved it. This kind of gave me a headache on the customs but still made it thru after half an hour of interrogation, since the machines were very old.
Up to that point, I had never owned a nintendo console, which was interesting, because I vividly remember many of my friends, even the nintendo-unfriendly ones, playing the Wii. I would give it a try once, with the Metroid, whichever version it was, and I was deeply unimpressed, or worse, disappointed. The interlaced low resolution image of the TV did not help either. But after all these years, in one of my visits to Eastern Europe, I rediscovered the Wii, as they were trailing in console gaming due to how expensive it relatively was over there. When I came back, I bought 2 wii bundles from ebay, with several wii-motes, nunchuks etc. so that I would re-discover the lost part of my youth. It was then my first hurray into the Nintendo world. Of course it would play gamecube games as well, negating the reason to buy a separate a gamecube!
There are two points I skipped though. First, wii was not actually my first nintendo console, I had another one. Actually my first ever game console, which I got when I was in early elementary school, was a dual screen Donkey-Kong themed Game & Watch handheld, which my brother had brought me all the way from Germany, housing only one very repetitive game. The second point was, many of my Chinese grad-school friends had Nintendo DS's. They would play it all the time, though the kind of games they played never appealed to me. Still, though, all of these experiences were written on the back of my mind, only to be revealed in the right place at the right time.
After 5 psp's, I naturally upgraded to a vita, after it had decidedly failed in the marketplace and the modding community settled. I could now, play all of my vita, psp and ps1 games in one machine. The hunger in me prompted me to buy the slim version as well as pstv so I completed the vita family.... Well, owning all psp and vita models, why not hurray into the lovely world of nintendo handhelds? After all, wii was a lovely machine. So, I bought a regular (old) 3ds, and I loved it, more than I expected it. Then I felt the uncontrollable urge to buy the 3ds xl, and I did. But my god, then the new 3ds xl came up, I bought it too! I thought about getting the 2ds's as well, but deemed them unnecessary, instead, I bought another regular old 3ds so that I would not need to carry them back and forth.
I came to appreciate the Nintendo's "simplicity, cuteness, family-friendliness" and overall a consistent entertainment toy-like consistency. While Sony and Microsoft want to address everybody and become the whole-in entertainment centers, Nintendo keeps it simple, focused and consistent. They create franchises that appeal to a certain audience and go on in them, consistently. There are many things I don't like about Nintendo, as well as many things I do. Yet They are the only firm that still produces a true gaming console, a small, sleek, silent, simple, and elegant machine that does one thing very well; play games (with the exception of Series S). Playstation and Xbox today are no longer true consoles, they have become console-like PCs. They are great value for what they achieve but from a console perspective, they are too expensive, too bulky, too hot, and they are nothing like what a console should be. People are obsessed with progressively increasing graphical fidelity, and ever increasing demands have turned consoles into monsters. Nintendo did not go this route and I am happy with that. This is why I have bought 2 wii's as well as 3 ps2's after all those years.
Of course, the archiving nostalgic maniacal nerd in me could not help buying 2 ps3 slims and an xbox 360, but I would still appreciate sleeker, slimmer, quieter and simpler machines. This is exactly why I never bought ps4 or xbox one since 2013, in addition to the very little time I have aside to play games, let alone ps5 or xbox series x. The only modern console that I have is, you guessed it, a Nintendo Switch! I entertained the idea of buying the Switch lite as well, but it was too expensive as a repeat purchase and I had too little time for it to be worth it. The only viable console options for me to buy, giving the time and money constraints is either a more modern upgraded Switch, or Xbox Series S, which is actually a surprisingly good little console for my tastes (sleek, compact, quite, reasonably priced, relatively powerful, and an engineering marvel), but the lack of an optical drive that mandates digital download, the online check-in system, as well as the paltry SSD, made me hesitate. If a 1 TB version of the Series S comes with a decent gamepass option, I will go for it.
Hopefully, someone will read and comment on all this. I don't like hype or click-bait content and I tend to be on the boring side, so I don't usually get much turnout, so we'll see. I only write once or twice a year or so. Best Regards :)
Regional Analysis (only MS and Sony Consoles)
Europe => XB1 : 23-24 % vs PS4 : 76-77%
N. America => XB1 : 49-52% vs PS4 : 48-51%
Global => XB1 : 32-34% vs PS4 : 66-68%