There’s an interview with Yuji Horii up at Eurogamer regarding the impending localized release of Dragon Quest VIII. The article is a good read overall, but I found one particular quote to be very interesting:
“I don’t care too much about the progression of hardware,” he says, grinning, when asked about the next round of machines from Sony and Microsoft. “It really doesn’t matter that much any more. I think it’s sad that people are moving away from games because they’re becoming more complicated, and it’s getting harder to choose between platforms. I wish everyone would settle on one platform and make games for that platform. Controversial, I know.”
While competition is certainly good, I’m not entirely sure it’s been working that well for gaming recently, and I can certainly see his point. Modern gaming hardware, in general, doesn’t really differ much between platforms, and the gap has been getting smaller. The PS2, GameCube, and Xbox are, at least for users, basically the same thing – which is why most games and game engines are available for all the different systems. Even the PC isn’t much different these days, other than the display resolution and the keyboard/mouse interface.
If the whole point is the games, might we be better off with fewer options, so the developers could focus their efforts and optimizations to give us better software?