What makes the system: hardware or games?

After all the chatter about E3, what does make a system worth owning? The hardware and the special tasks it can perform or the games it can play?

With the completion of the E3 conference, there has been much discussion about who "won" E3 with their presentation. Personally, I believe that Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft did a fantastic job with their respective conferences. Of course, others have voiced strong opinions that either Sony or Microsoft came out on top.

Without a doubt, the two companies had their big reveal moments. Microsoft received a strong reaction from their audience once they announced backwards compatibility for the Xbox One. Sony really wowed its fans with the quality and quantity of games for PlayStation consoles such as The Last Guardian and a Final Fantasy VII remake. And in these announcements, we see an interesting dichotomy. Microsoft revealed a huge hardware change, and Sony revealed some pretty irresistible new games. 

Consider the following:

Is it the hardware and the technical power of a video game console that make it worth the price of admission? Or is it the quality and quantity of the games available on the system that make it worthwhile?

Both are clearly important to a gaming system, and possessing both of them is an ideal situation. But if one has to be sacrificed for the other, which is the most important to gamers?

Last Guardian looks gorgeous at the sony conference

Hardware and the special tech features of gaming systems can really make a big difference in your gaming experience.

When cross-game chat debuted on the Xbox 360, it was a huge deal. It allowed gamers to talk to their friends while playing their favorite games. It could, in a way, redesign the experience of a gamer, allowing communication with fellow gaming friends. Hardware that groundbreaking could easily make a console worth its price. 

But today, it seems that most hardware updates, at least in the case of current-generation consoles, concern videos and streaming. These new additions seem less transforming for the gaming experience and more of a optional side application or use for the system.

cross game chat was huge at one time

In an age where hardware isn't making leaps and bounds, the games a system can run make the console worth buying.

All video game consoles, at their core, are made to play various games. It is the quality and diverse selection of these games that will determine whether the system is used daily or just gathers dust.

That is not to say that hardware and the tech specs of a gaming system are superfluous. The fact that the Xbox One will have backwards compatibility is a huge plus for the owners of the system. But even backwards compatibility isn't really about the hardware. It's about a whole new library of games that are available for the console. If Microsoft includes some of the classic 360 games like the Mass Effect trilogy, Halo 3 and Portal 2, this hardware update for the Xbox One will allow more games to be played on their newest console, adding a greater variety--as well as quality--of games. 

all about the games

What do you think about the hardware versus game repertoire argument? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below!

Published Jun. 20th 2015
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  • SwordandSorcery
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. While hardware can make a big difference in graphics and functionality, and it is important to have reliable hardware, games like Pokémon Blue have not lost their charm and appeal merely because their graphics are not the best. What really matters is what games are available and the attention put into elements like the story and game play.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    While I agree that gameplay is ultimately the most important, I think that many people (including myself) have come to expect a certain level of visual appeal. I love old games like Pokemon Blue or other of-era (or even earlier) titles. However, I would not excuse Nintendo from making a new Pokemon game that used the old sprite format. That being said, I don't need it to look photorealistic either (please don't do that ever Nintendo... I will never forgive you).

    When I heard that FFVII was getting a remake, I kinda just went "meh". It makes me think of when I picked up Soul Silver (while we're on the topic of Pokemon). I loved Silver version, and was playing it even just recently. However, when I played the remake I didn't get past the second gym without jonesing for the original. That's where the gameplay gets you. I don't like the new Pokemon with its "abilities" and "EV/DVs" and its new moves that basically make every pokemon viable against its weakness. I like the old battle style where Special Attack and Defense was just "SPECIAL" and etc. Graphics don't make the game, the game's gameplay defines it. Graphics just sell it.

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