In previous console generation transitions I was not an active participant.  During the showdown between the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 in 2005/2006 I was an architecture college student spending my days and nights in studio drawing plans, building balsa wood models, and super gluing my fingers together.  The price alone, $300-$400 for the Xbox 360 or $400-$600 for the Playstation 3, at launch was not a possible purchase for me.  Instead I purchased a Playstation 2 rationalizing that I also needed a DVD player for the much more comfortable price point of around $100.  My initial purchase of a Playstation 2, a memory card, and a couple of games was sustained well into the current generation with buying used games from the Playstation 2's extensive gaming library. 

Who is holding onto their current consoles through the new console releases?  And their teeth?

Nowadays, the console changeover faces the ongoing digitization of games requiring continuing online support for simple playability and a market with more challengers leaves me curious at the legacy of the soon to be old consoles.  Besides those of us holding onto our current consoles, what are those who purchase the current generation in cheap bundles actually buying?    

Look ma!  I am famous!

In early September 2013 Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 would receive at least 3 years of support by Microsoft following the release of the Xbox One and I was relieved.  I simply wanted access to my gaming library.  With gaming digitization I remain unsure which of my disc based games, single and multi-player, will play without server access as well as whether or not my digital purchases will play after Microsoft shuts down Xbox 360 support.  With the upcoming releases of the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 I discounted new current generation exclusives.  In my mind, the remaining big franchises such as Bioshock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V signaled the end of current generation only releases.

Additionally, after both consoles announced no backwards compatibility due to changes in the hardware architecture my mind gave no further thought to the strength of console exclusive games for the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3.  I envisioned Microsoft and Sony laying down their current generation gaming library in the pursuit of next generation.   Therefore, the "future" for those of us who are not early adopters would be cross generation releases.

Smack talk makes the console war fun and this smack talk includes a VCR reference. 

Within two weeks of the proclamation that the Xbox 360 would be supported into 2016, Microsoft's Fable Anniversary was delayed from a fall 2013 release to an indeterminate 2014 dates.  Without the game's release, the Xbox 360 has no console exclusives this fall.  Reading that the delay is potentially indicative of Microsoft not supporting the Xbox 360 similar to the rapid abandonment of the original Xbox upon the Xbox 360's release surprised me. Surely console exclusives matter little when the entire company is working towards a new console release I reasoned.  Yet, for fall 2013 the Playstation 3 already released Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD and the just released Beyond: Two Souls was highly anticipated. 

I realized that I did not expect further games solely for my Xbox 360 only that Microsoft kept the lights on.  After all Xbox Live continued for the original Xbox until 2010.  Still, coupled with Microsoft's announcement of 360 support was the claim that the 360 would be home to another 100 new games.  Sure, many of the Xbox One's highly touted games are cross generation releases, including the behemoth Titanfall.  While cross generation releases are in line with my expectations whether or not any of the 100 new titles, besides the now delayed Fable Anniversary, are console exclusives is highly questionable.  Still, I wondered, does it matter?    

Is this the future?  Or a future frustration?  

All the while, Valve's recent announcements of Valve essentially invading the living room with SteamOS, the Steam machine, and the Steam controller continues to diversify the upcoming console generation.  With more platforms than ever for gaming, Valve stepped into the television based console fight.  While Microsoft lost the "always (or at least once every 24 hours) online" fight, Valve is the digitization of gaming.    

We never know what will catch on in the next generation.  

The Steam machine is not about game development.  The games already exist in a massive gaming library separated largely by console exclusives.  In fact, Valve's announcements leave me wondering if Valve has any employees available with so much hardware and software in development for game design (I kid...maybe).  The entire purpose of the new peripherals is the transfer, the epitome of backwards compatibility, of PC gaming to the living room television with a variety of machine configurations running the SteamOS and available to play with a gaming controller rather than a keyboard and mouse.  Games yesterday, today, and tomorrow are presumably available with the Steam machine awaiting only proof that the system works.  Following such a PC transition, all games would be digital.  The Steam brand is strong and the definition of modern day PC gaming but the demise of Steam is the demise of your gaming library.  Remember when Dell and Gateway dominated the PC market?

Valve's announcements offer more questions than answers.  Will the Steam Machine begin a Linux revolution?  Are all new games released playable on a Steam machine without checking the minimum requirements to run the game? 

The dichotomy of the console approached snagged in my brain.  Traditional consoles created a new machine with the express (mostly) purpose of playing video games but unable to play the games of its precursor.  Valve picks up an entire gaming library and is dropping those games in the living room promising the PC gaming library playable by a console controller on the living room television.

Choices for us all!  Now we just need enough dollars so that we are not faced with such difficult decisions!  

Valve potentially moved the concept of video game legacy from a death clock countdown of the gaming hardware to until the developers turn off the servers.  The gaming systems remain separated by gaming libraries with the Steam machine bridging the console generation gap but not playing Sony and Microsoft's exclusives.  The Xbox 360 may be largely out of contention for high profile gaming exclusives but with DLC announced for the one million players of State Of Decay, the audience is there ready to play the games built only for the system, for now.  We will see what games the companies bring to us in both the current and new generations.     

For anyone who reads my posts, forgive the 2 week unexpected hiatus.  Other than the usual in schedule craziness I began assisting GI ex-intern Josh Straub with writing for his website regarding accessibility in gaming,  Certainly check out the site, we post news daily with features and reviews weekly!  Meanwhile, I am back to juggling my schedule to fit in my goal of 52 blogs in roughly 52 weeks with about 4 months of writing to go.

Are console exclusives a primary concern for you when choosing which console to buy?

What is your favorite console exclusive this year?  Or this generation?

What is your prediction for the Steam machine?