Why do we need consoles anyway?
design by on of my favorite designers ever, Olly Moss.
In a market well-known by big corporations and the rivalry between then as the video game industry is, it’s was our duty to choose among the available consoles based on the forthcoming titles. But even then, commonly, some games we reaaaaally wanted to play are not released in the “chosen” console. That always happened in video game history; you had to chose between Mario or Sonic or between Master Chief and Solid Snake. You can say “Well, we have PCs for that”, but many titles are not released for PC or take too long until the release.
This reality haven’t stop some enthusiasts and it’s thanks to them that we do or will have a bit more freedom in our choices. Pandora is a great example on this; the handheld game console runs on open source software and began shipping to its customers on May 2010. For now, Pandora targets homebrew gaming and emulation of older computer systems and video game consoles, but I think that if Pandora catches on, we may dream of some bigger titles on Open Source consoles somewhere in the near future. For now, the Pandora developers have already shown working emulators for Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Amiga, SNES, Atari Jaguar and Sega Mega Drive software [which is good enough for me!].
But if you don’t want to wait until “near future” or is not looking for vintage games on a handheld, streaming may be your thing. Companies like Gaikai and LiveOn offer on line cloud-sourcing games, no special hardware needed. That way, you login on Gaikai or LiveOn with your netbook, laptop or desktop computer, chose/buy the game and that’s it! As long as you have good internet connection, your computer sends over your moves and receives a video feed back, processed on their servers. And, as you are using their platform, there is no difference between Mac, Windows or Linux users; all can cooperate or challenge each other. I took a look on their catalogs and found no console exclusive game available, but in theory, it’s possible to soon find Red Dead Redemption or Gears of War II.