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The console wars have been going on since there were more than two consoles to war with each other. Heck, the console wars isn't even limited to consoles... there's the Windows vs Linux crowd, the ATI vs Nvidia crowd and the – dare I say it – Marvel vs DC crowd. Anyway, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer doesn't really care about all this console war nonsense.
Speaking with Gamespot, Spencer explained to them...
I've said before, the one thing that I probably find a little distasteful in the discourse around games is the divisiveness that people try to build between platforms, […] It becomes more about what piece of plastic I own than what games I'm playing. It becomes more about somebody else failing than the things I love succeeding. I don't think that's a good place for our industry.
It is true that there's a strong console war vibe across various pockets of the internet. When the console wars get heated enough they turn into flame wars, where people insult each other and throw textual (or verbal) jabs at one another to defend their brand.
Of course, what Spencer is talking about isn't really limited to games. Have you ever entered into a debate between Android and Apple loyalists? Specs and durability numbers get thrown around like confetti at a birthday party. Or how about the ongoing and infamous debate about who would win between Goku and Superman? Oh man, the fanboy vitriol is off the charts and you'll get all sorts of scans, references, quantum physics breakdowns and long detailed posts about why one would destroy the other. In other words, the “console war” is just a microcosm of fanboy wars that happens across all mediums.
Thankfully, Spencer does recognize that the most heated of console war fandom is just a small part of the community, mentioning to Gamespot...
I know that's not everybody, and it's easy to find the pockets of that vitriol and I kind of think that that is gaming, but I'm not going to embrace that. I'm going to actively push against that,
Spencer has been walking the talk, actively congratulating Sony and Nintendo on various successes. He's focusing on what he's going to do to increase the value of the brand as opposed to spending time slinging mud at his competitors.
The thing is is that gamers didn't create the console wars... companies created the console wars. Gamers don't decide if one console or the other gets a third-party (timed) exclusive or whether or not certain features are locked to one console (or hardware device) over the other. Gamers had no control over device-specific APIs like Mantle, DirectX 12 or Nvidia's GameWorks.
When companies utilize exclusivity in some form or another it creates tribalism because someone will have what someone else doesn't have, and they will parade it around, defend it and fight for it.
Unfortunately, console wars is the nature of the beast; the beast being corporate competition.
Right now Sony has the edge over Microsoft with a large lead with the PS4. However, they didn't just gain that lead because they had the superior hardware (they did play a part), their real momentum and a lot of the vitriol Microsoft sees actually came from Microsoft. The summer of DRM turned Xbox fanboys into PlayStation loyalists and it perpetuated a lot of bad blood between both camps.
To his credit, Spencer has righted the Xbox brand and has done a marvelous job of making the Xbox One seem like a worthwhile purchase. Whether or not his anti-console war pacifism will turn into more sales for the brand remains to be seen but at least the image of the brand is viewed in a much better light than compared to two years ago.