Chris Grant, Editor-in-Chief of Polygon, on reasons to invest in PC gaming with the launch of next-gen consoles on the horizon. An incredibly good argument for anyone who cares about art, history, preservation, media, and/or video games.
Begin video at 24:08:
The problem for me is that if we are going to consider video games as a viable, meaningful art form, we have got to stop the forced obsolescence of software every five years. It’s untenable. We can’t keep treating these things as disposable junkets that you play on your new toy and then throw out and get a new toy. These things have merit, they have value over time, they’re still important, they’re still valuable. We keep listening to two giant companies tell us that they’re not and to get a new piece of hardware that plays new games.
One of the really cool things about PC gaming is that you have the opportunity to assume some of this responsibility yourself. If your old game doesn’t work and it frustrates you, somebody’s probably hacked apart an executable that will work. Go look and see all the work people have done to get System Shock 1 to run properly because System Shock 1 is a really important game historically. Especially if you bought it in the past, which I did, being able to play it again now in the context of BioShock and in the context of Dishonored and all of these other games that have sort of been born off of that original philosophy. That’s important to me and that is meaningful.
As somebody who really feels connected to the history and chronology of games, I just got “last straw” with this new round of consoles which has seemingly, almost flippantly abandoned it’s entire history. Sony will kind of coyly say “oh… well… the power of the cloud and Gaiki will do this…” Any request for clarification on how that’s going to work is met with silence. I know Microsoft said the same thing but I don’t buy it. So for me, some it’s about that, it’s about having some personal responsibility over what I’ve purchased, where it goes, what I can expect to do with my purchases, where I can give that money to and I increasingly just didn’t want to pump another 200 x $60 a pop into a closed ecosystem that was almost aggressively [pushing obsolescence].
Note: Prior to this quote, Chris fully acknowledged the difficulties around backwards-compatibility and the ability to simply plug in old consoles to play old games.