Open, Cross-Platform Gaming is the Future

Spawned from a youtube comment, this blog post is!

Historically, console gaming has forced gamers to choose a side and play games from only that side. It’s a money thing, a tactic employed by vendors to lock users into buying their product. I say the world needs more cross-platform games.

There’s a game Shadowgun for iOS and Android. It’s a third person shooter that looks like a lot of fun. Two of my younger brothers play it. One on his iPod 5, the other on his Nexus 7. I refuse to play it because I despise touchscreen gaming. Give me a mouse and keyboard, or at least some thumbsticks! With cross-platform games, everybody gets to use what they like the best. Instead of focusing on console wars, gamers can concentrate on what actually matters– the games!

Cross platform gaming isn’t new. I’m sure there were others prior, but the first cross-platform game I saw was Final Fantasy XI. No, I wasn’t a player, I had a roomate who was. I was surprised that the megacorp bigname hackersuing Sony would allow one of their PlayStation games to also be played on a windows computer.

Wait. Now that I think about it, it’s not surprising. The game was surely developed on windows machines, so a windows client would be a piece of cake. Windows is a neutral platform, it’s not an Xbox and it’s not a Wii; The console war line is still drawn.

Final Fantasy is an MMO, a pay-per-month subscription MMO. More exposure = more players = more money.  Damnit, it’s all about the money!

Enter OUYA. OUYA promises a completely open gaming platform. One with easy, nonrestrictive publishing. This type of gaming platform brings new hope to the state of freedom in mainstream gaming.

I see open gaming platforms as the next step in our societal development. A closed gaming platform limits possible innovation to those behind the project, whereas an open gaming platform allows everyone to have a chance at innovating. Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo shrouding their new consoles in secrecy, claiming copyrights, and restricting the players, is done so to protect their own interests. Open platforms are the exact opposite; they encourage educational hacking, enable collaboration, and inspire new ideas. Because of their nature, open platforms benefit not only those behind the project, but others.

The idea of closed platforms can be likened to the phrase, “It’s my way or the highway.” I much prefer the idea of open platforms, “Let’s work together.”

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